A lip-dub film in the Library

On Whit Sunday, 12 June 2011, a lip-dub film was recorded in and around the Library. More than two hundred enthusiastic students and staff of the University mimed the words to a song, which was recorded in a single continuous take.

Hanging Out

Hanging Out : A member of the student mountaineering club

The University Library is obviously an excellent setting for such a film: located in the heart of the city and of the University, and ‘neutral’ in the sense that it is used every day by students from all disciplines. In order to make it clear that the film was a corporate communication for the University as a whole, rather just the Library, it was decided that the finale would be staged in the square in front of the Library, ending with the stately facade of the Academy Building as the backdrop. In the weeks before the film itself was recorded, a trailer was filmed. It featured a drummer, in the same pose each time, playing the drums in front of a series of University buildings. Viewers could thus catch a glimpse of the important University buildings.

Obviously, the lip-dub recording had to be scheduled for a day on which the University Library is normally closed – so there were not many opportunities. The date chosen as the red-letter day was 12 June: Whit Sunday. Unsuspecting students who wandered into the Library on the Sunday morning were confused: they told that we were actually closed, so they wouldn’t be able to study in the Library that day – but at the same time they could see two hundred strangely dressed people running through the building!


Using a special camera made 360-degree shot of the final scene at the Broerplein

The second take went without a hitch. The third take was supposed to be the ‘dress rehearsal’, but since everyone was focused and enthusiastic, we decided to make it ‘the real one’. Inevitably, there were one or two minor ‘hitches’, but once we were all standing in the square, we knew there was no turning back. It was 3.10 in the afternoon, and the lip-dub film was in the can!

By the Friday morning following Whit Sunday, the sound editing was finished and the film was ready to be posted in the University’s YouTube channel. Because all those involved have extensive social networks (Facebook and Twitter …), there was a huge snowball effect. The explosion of ‘hits’ on the Friday morning took us into the top three most frequently viewed films in the Netherlands, and consequently into the list of ‘YouTube trends’, attracting viewers worldwide. To our great surprise, the counter read 20,000 views after 48 hours, and in the next 48 hours it reached 50,000 views!


Many – mainly enthusiastic – responses soon flowed in on the YouTube channel, and also via Twitter and e-mail. It was news to us that, about 5 minutes into the film, someone could clearly be seen stealing a bicycle at Broerplein – just as student policemen Matthijs and Nico were filmed driving past in their police car!