Thursday, March 04, 2010

This Too Shall Pass as a Rube Goldberg device

Your assignment: identify the energy transformations shown in this OK Go video. Repeated viewings may be required.

One thing that's often under-appreciated in such undertakings is the mechanics of the camera movement. Watch it again and imagine yourself as the camera operator.

ETA: This video has understandably gone "crazy viral." And many Scrutinizers Of The Web (and commenters on the YouTube page) have been clamoring to point out that the video was not shot in one take. "See the obvious edit at 2:28, etc."

To The Scrutinizers, I say
1. A+, good eye, nicely done, gold star and smiley face for the day...
2. Who ever said it was a single shot or one take? This point is somewhat important if we are to attach any merit to the "debunking" so ably accomplished by the Scrutinizers.

Here's what the video description claims:
"The video was filmed in a two story warehouse, in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. The "machine" was designed and built by the band, along with members of Syyn Labs ( ) over the course of several months."

When I read that, I don't see a one-take claim.

I fear the Scrutinizers may have debunked something that was never bunk to begin with. If someone can direct me to OK Go's claim of a single shot/one take, please do. Otherwise enjoy the video and respect the creativity, cleverness, engineering, and energy that went into it!

ETA2: According to band member Damian Kulash, one of the flakiest elements of the machine was the marble table. Advice to future Rube Goldberg designers: put the flakiest stuff at the beginning of the sequence. Not at the end.


Unknown said...

Physics aside (gasp), I wonder if that was really one take -- even the Honda "Cog" video was stitched in the middle...

I got a smile from the evidence of the previous attempts -- the paint splatters and the pile of broken TVs, the look of desperation/hope on the faces at times (please let it work this time!).

A great one to share with the kids.

Dean Baird said...

As far as I know, no one involved in producing the video ever claimed it was done in a single shot/one take.

Commenters and bloggers have stepped in to Zapruder the video for evidence to edits. And they have proudly planted flags at 2:28 and elsewhere.

To which I say, "congratulations," and, "so what?"

Disproof of a claim that was never made.

CJ Chretien said...

I heard a story on NPR today where they talk about doing it in a single take with a band member. Here is the link...


Dean Baird said...

Hey CJ,
I heard that piece. It's host Robert Siegel who claims it was done in one take. I saw a similar report on Yahoo news. Invariably it's the reportage that claims one take, not the band. Reporters simply report it as it appears. (What? A credulous press? When did that start?!)

One might complain that band members have an obligation to jump in and correct reporters. Remember: Galileo never claimed to have invented the telescope, but he never pointed out that he hadn't.

CJ Chretien said...


Yes, I was careful not to say that the band member himself said that it was done in a single take for just that reason.


CJ Chretien said...

Here is some confirmation from an interview MAKE magazine did.

sbusque: Is there a cut at 2:27? The light behind the curtain seems to jump.

HA:We were initially unsure of what the selected take for the final video would be, since we managed to go all the way through in only 3 takes, but they all had "something" that made it less than ideal (crew members showing up on camera, TV not exploding, music going out of sync, etc). In the end the band decided to make a splice right there when the curtain opens in order to have a better video. We weren't involved in the post-production, so I'm unsure whether it's a merging from two different takes, or a single take with a second or two removed in that section to allow the song to sync back up.

Here is the interview...