We've all seen it...The Grand Rapids LipDub video. It's been 11 years since it was produced by Rob Bliss. Do you know the story behind the LipDub?

Bill Steffen in Grand Rapids LipDub
Photo: The Grand Rapids LipDub via Facebook
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Why was the Grand Rapids LipDub Produced?

It all started with a magazine article in Newsweek. The story called Grand Rapids, MI a "dying city". Rob Bliss, Creo Productions, and a big group of people strongly disagreed with that description of the city back in 2011. They decided to create a video that "encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city." The entire video cost $40,000 to produce and was funded entirely by the generosity of local sponsors.

Grand Rapids LipDub
Photo: The Grand Rapids LipDub via Facebook
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When was the Grand Rapids LipDub Recorded?

Over 5,000 people gather on Sunday, May 22nd, 2011. A large portion of downtown Grand Rapids was shut down to accommodate the recording of the video. Included in that group of people you'd find marching bands, parades, a wedding, motorcades, bridges on fire, and even a helicopter taking off. Everything had to be timed out just perfect -- and it all had to be recorded in one continuous take. The video was released and uploaded to YouTube on May 26th, 2011.

Grand Rapids LipDub
Photo: The Grand Rapids LipDub via Facebook
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What Song Was Used in the Grand Rapids LipDub?

The song that was chosen to represent the City of Grand Rapids in the LipDub was Don McLean's "American Pie". It was a song about death, but in the end it was filled with life and hope. The producers of the video thought it was a good fit to showcase the City of Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids LipDub
Photo: The Grand Rapids LipDub via Facebook
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Who Appears in the Grand Rapids LipDub?

The complete list of credits can be found on The Grand Rapids LipDub Video Facebook page, but here are the featured groups in the video:

  • Grand Rapids Police Department & Grand Rapids Fire Department
  • Paul Jendrasiak / Pete Brand / Grand Rapids Social Diary / Associated Attractions
  • Grand Rapids Gymnastics Boosters
  • Zach and Meghan Raven’s Wedding Party
  • FOX 17 / WZZM 13 / WOODTV 8
  • Jim Borst; East Grand Rapids Choir
  • Forest Hills Central Football Team
  • Catholic Central and Grand Rapids Christian Cheer Teams
  • Forest Hills Central Marching Band
  • Chip Richards, Grand Rapids White Water Society
  • Rosalynn Bliss / Greg Sundstrom / George Heartwell / Mark T. Wild
  • Doug Small / Peter Secchia / Jim Dunlap / Bing Goei / Tom Haas
  • Zomb Nerf Fighters
  • Grand Rapids Original Swing Society
Grand Rapids LipDub
Photo: The Grand Rapids LipDub via Facebook
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What World Record Did the Grand Rapids LipDub Break?

The record was for the size and scope of the LipDub, not the duration. At the time it produced, it was the largest and longest LipDub video.

Grand Rapids LipDub
Photo: The Grand Rapids LipDub via Facebook
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The Grand Rapids LipDub is Dedicated to Roger Ebert

The video was dedicated to the late Roger Ebert, who passed away on April 4th, 2013 at the age of 70. He named the LipDub "The Greatest Music Video Ever Made"

Grand Rapids LipDub
Photo: The Grand Rapids LipDub via Facebook
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How Many Takes Did it Take to Get it Right?

Surprisingly, with all the exact timing that had to take place during the video, the final take was the fifth attempt. The video is one continuous shot throughout the streets of downtown Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids LipDub
Photo: The Grand Rapids LipDub via Facebook
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Response to the Grand Rapids LipDub

The video has been posted on YouTube and has almost six million views. There are also over 7,000 comments on the video.

Let's go back and watch the video one  more time. As you watch, pay attention to not only what is happening in the foreground, but also in the background. There was just so much going on in this video. It's incredible that they were able to pull this off with all the intricate timing that was involved -- from football players, cheerleaders, marching bands, and kayakers being at the perfect spot in the river -- to a helicopter taking off at the very end! Here is all 9 minutes and 48 seconds of the video...

 

ABC's of Grand Rapids

Here is an interesting, alphabetical look at the people and places that played a part in Grand Rapids history.