A cut above
High school receives applause for its music videos.
When Greg Spencer became Broken Arrow High School’s video production teacher in 2014, only seven of 3,600 students were enrolled in the program’s classes.
So the University of Oklahoma graduate and Miami, Oklahoma, native devoted his first months at BAHS to rebranding its TV network and creating buzz around the program.
Three years later, the department has 100 students and a partnership with News on 6, says Spencer, who now manages ArrowVision, the district-wide video production department.
The crux of Spencer’s success has been his ability to document student life in cinematic quality, most notably by producing and directing an annual “lip dub” music video featuring lip-synching BAHS students. Assisted by video production students, Spencer and instructor Nolan Couch film the lib dubs. COLABASH, a leadership committee of BAHS seniors, helps coordinate the filming.
The 2015-16 Lip Dub, which had a “High School Musical” theme, received over 1.7 million YouTube views. The recent “Stranger Things”-themed Lip Dub represents the work of over 300 students and required 25 hours of footage over approximately one month.
But it was another 2016-17 project, “BA ‘Til I Die,” which features original music by BA students, that helped BA clench Varsity brand’s “Most Spirited High School” award this past May out of 2,000 entries. The school split its $25,000 winnings among ArrowVision, the general student fund, and the student leadership and athletics programs.
“Everything we do around campus, we film,” Spencer says. He’s not kidding. Even the yearbook — the old-fashioned book with pages — incorporates videos. Spencer’s wife, Ashley Spencer, is the yearbook advisor and utilizes the app Aurasma, which allows smart phone users to scan codes printed in the yearbook to pull up videos that correspond with activities.
And there’s plenty to film. “ArrowVision’s job is to capture all the amazing moments created by our students and create memories they can remember forever,” Spencer says.