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Penguins Themed High School Video is an Instant Hit

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Plum High School students displayed their Penguins pride in a five-minute lipdub video inspired by Pittsburgh’s professional hockey team.

Plum TV Productions teacher Rick Berrott and 96 students wrote, organized and produced a Penguins themed music video set to the Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling” that has become a local sensation.

The video, which was filmed at various locations in the high school in one continuous shot, features the students with Penguins garb – jerseys, shirts, towels, etc. – dancing and lip syncing the song’s lyrics with special anecdotal touches added.

“We spent a couple of weeks working on it,” Berrott said. “We mapped out our building and figured out where we wanted to go. We thought about props and different ideas. One of the art teachers made Penguins signs for us.

“We’re all huge Penguin fans here. And I thought this could be potentially big.”

Potentially big is an understatement. This video has blown up after being posted on the internet.

Since the video was uploaded on on April 6, it already has over 45,000 hits in just three days. WTAE-TV is doing a story on the video as well. The video even aired in Florida at a Penguins bar prior to Pittsburgh’s 7-3 victory over the New York Islanders in the final regular-season game at Mellon Arena on Thursday.

“This is the third day and I’m looking and there are 45,640 views in three days,” Berrott said. “I’m absolutely flabbergasted. I never really thought this would take off.”

The video, which was filmed on April 1, starts out with two students discarding their Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr jerseys for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin – a symbolic gesture showing that while their parents grew up with Jagr and Lemieux, Crosby and Malkin represent the next generation of Penguins fans.

The camera then travels throughout the school, from the locker room to the gymnasium to the hallway and finally to the auditorium with students jumping in and out of frame.

“We had 96 students come up that night,” Berrott said. “We had it mapped it with the students on where they were supposed to be. After about an hour and a half of setting up and decorating, we did a couple dry runs. …  The hardest part was mapping out the building and knowing where everyone was. Then we filmed it twice. After watching the first time, I thought we could do better. We filmed it a second time and that was it.”

The students also synced the songs lyrics to actions in the film. Such as when the lyrics sang, “I got my money,” students threw fake money into the air. Or on the line “Let’s do it,” students flash the picture of “Charlie” who is a prominent figure on Pensblog. Or on the line “Go out and smash it,” a student belts a hanging puck piñata full of candy. Two nearby students then “jump off that sofa” to pick up the candy in a veiled reference to Brooks Orpik dishing out hits.

But the best parallel is when the line “Fill up my cup” plays as students confidently point to their makeshift Stanley Cups.

There are also instances of badgering hated opponents, such as signs with “Red Wings” and “Flyers” written with a slash through them. Or the fake tackling of a student wearing a jersey of Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.

Berrott deflected all the credit and creativity to the youths.

“It was all the students’ ideas,” he said. “They all participated equally. They asked ‘Mr. Berrott what do you think?’ I would say it’s not me. What do you think? We’ll try it. The students volunteered for lines. They’d say put me here or here, or put me wherever. The students made up their own moves. I just went around the building to video tape it.“

Berrott, being the most experienced working on the steady shot, handled the camera while senior Dave Grasso, who is not in the video, followed him with an ipod and dock playing the song so students could follow along.

“Dave was a big help because he helped me with the pace,” Berrott said. “I’m concentrating on video taping, he would tell me the speed. He’d tell people to say your line out loud.”

Three other students that Berrott said really “took the bull by the horns” were seniors Nic Manupelli, Zach Klein and C.J. Stotler.

The video has become so popular in just three days that other schools are now using it as an example to teach their own students how to create such a great piece.

“The ultimate compliment is that schools in Philadelphia in TV media classes are watching the video,” Berrott said. “Other high school’s in Pittsburgh have aired it. That wasn’t the intent. It was just fun to do.”
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