OK Go won't let you down
October 27, 2014 11:53 AM   Subscribe

OK Go's latest video for their new song "I Won't Let You Down" is as always, a great video with interesting choreography mixing modern dance numbers with stuff often seen in old musicals and then goes kind of nuts at the end.
posted by mathowie (57 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm curious what tech was used in the making of. It appears the whole first minute or so it time-lapsed, kind of like Instagram's Hyperlapse app, but how did they move to up above boom cranes so smoothly? Also, I assume the insane giant umbrella pull back at the end is computer generated and there's no way that was shot practical, right?
posted by mathowie at 11:54 AM on October 27, 2014


Ah, apparently the boom question is solved by drones.
posted by mathowie at 11:55 AM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've been enjoying the output of this experimental film group for years. You say they also score their own movies? Outstanding!
posted by gwint at 12:10 PM on October 27, 2014 [63 favorites]


Jaw. Floor.
posted by Faintdreams at 12:16 PM on October 27, 2014


Cool
posted by Flood at 12:26 PM on October 27, 2014


It looks like some sort of bullet hell shooter in the overhead shots in the middle
posted by dng at 12:27 PM on October 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


I think the drummer is arguably a little more into it this time, but I still feel he'd be happier if every video was just a concert video.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:27 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was going to go for the easy OK Go snark regarding the music letting me down and so forth but then I realized the drone thing, and the zoom starting at 3:22 started and kept going and going and my brain broke a little.

I mean... that switched to CG at some point, right?
posted by sparklemotion at 12:32 PM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nice video. I liked the last 30 seconds the best. You know, once the music stops.
posted by jontyjago at 12:36 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's not quite time-lapsed, but they did slow the music down and shoot (in sync to the slower track) at a somewhat lower frame rate so that the movement would be sped up when sync'd to the music playing at normal speed. And, yeah, the big pullback looks like CG to me.
posted by Mothlight at 12:42 PM on October 27, 2014


I especially love the end where a few of the little yellow umbrellas realize they're in the wrong spot and shuffle around to the right spots. Something about that was just so endearing and wonderful and real.

Drones! I kept looking for the boom and didn't even think of drones.
posted by mochapickle at 12:47 PM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


What's the word for getting served exactly what you expected while being simultaneously surprised and impressed?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:48 PM on October 27, 2014 [19 favorites]


When Chaplin, Keaton and others did it 100 years ago, they called it undercranking.
posted by Longtime Listener at 12:48 PM on October 27, 2014 [6 favorites]


Per an interview mentioned on Reddit, it is composited at the end.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:54 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed that with the sound turned off.
posted by slogger at 1:16 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


So you're saying that it's possible to mount cameras on drones that don't have horrible fisheye distortion? Maybe you should tell every drone user anywhere.
posted by ckape at 1:16 PM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


This was exactly what I needed today and I'm going to figure out how to do something like this on a budget (of like $45) right now.

Step one - replace drone with extensive series of ropes and pullies.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:18 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


I went to high school with Damian. He was a nice, unassuming guy back then. I remember him selling demo tapes at school that he'd recorded with his then-band in somebody's garage. It was very rough-sounding stuff as I recall -- pretty sure I still have a copy somewhere. I absolutely never would have predicted he'd be famous.
posted by killdevil at 1:22 PM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ah, apparently the boom question is solved by drones.

I wonder whether Johnny LaRue would have regarded drones as a dream come true or if they just would have cheapened it for him.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:23 PM on October 27, 2014 [11 favorites]


I am trying to imagine how this catchy little pop song could be SO IRRITATING that a viewer is forced to turn the sound off in order to enjoy the dancing unicycles.

Anyway.

THIS WAS CHARMING, THANKS FOR THE LINK!

I am also really curious about the logistics/technical details of that sequence.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 1:37 PM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am trying to imagine how this catchy little pop song could be SO IRRITATING that a viewer is forced to turn the sound off in order to enjoy the dancing unicycles.

I'm at work, so no sound, but I've always thought of OK GO as a music video band that makes music, too.

Not that they are terrible - it's not really my kind of music - so, whatever. Their videos are an order of magnitude better than the music, though.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:49 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's not that I found the song SO IRRITATING, it's just that I happened to have the sound turned off at my desk while at work. That being said, I've really tried to like Okay GO in the past, bought several of their albums, but for some reason, in my personal experience, the music never lives up to the emotional energy that their videos generate.

Anyway.
posted by slogger at 1:57 PM on October 27, 2014


I could watch OK Go videos all day long.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:02 PM on October 27, 2014


So Microsoft showed off their video stabilization concept, and then there Instagram released Hyperlapse, and now iOS 8 / iPhone 6 builds in high framerate video with a smart timelapse mode. I feel like this is the tech's moment in the sun, and a few months / years from now it'll look very dated - oh that's so 2014?

Cool video, though - it even looks like one long take.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:13 PM on October 27, 2014


I wonder whether Johnny LaRue would have regarded drones as a dream come true or if they just would have cheapened it for him.

Forget about it, George_Spiggott. It's Polynesiantown.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 2:16 PM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


Holy shitsnacks!
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:40 PM on October 27, 2014


I actually don't mind the song. OK Go do fantastic videoes but I always have the thought, "I hope I like the music this time" before watching new video from them.

Are those unicycle thingies like segway unicycles or what? Because now I kind of want one of those thingies.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:52 PM on October 27, 2014


the street team these guys have working for them apparently spraypainted ads for the new album all over the sidewalks near Granville recently with a stencil. I am OK with graffiti and stuff but dudes, pretty sure you need to pay for stuff like that when you're actually defacing public property to sell an album.

Cool video anyway.
posted by Hoopo at 3:05 PM on October 27, 2014


So you're saying that it's possible to mount cameras on drones that don't have horrible fisheye distortion?

There are drones that carry pro quality 4K movie cameras. The drone and camera rig might run $20,000 or more but they're as good as a crane and can do stuff like this a crane can't do.
posted by localroger at 3:19 PM on October 27, 2014


(Those are apparently Honda unicycles.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:35 PM on October 27, 2014


Obviously since the dawn of the video era, there have been bands whose video work trumped their musical work. That said, I feel like OK Go have raised the bar significantly on this concept. Their music is fine, but their seemingly endless ability to create stunning (or just plain old neat) videos has really set them apart from other bands. Yes, I don't necessarily look forward to their songs coming out, but I get genuinely excited when I see that a new video by them has come out and so far have always been pleasantly surprised.

I can't think of another band whose videos are so consistently, delightfully re-playable and sharable. So, yeah.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:59 PM on October 27, 2014 [6 favorites]


I genuinely like a few of their songs (A Million Ways to be Cruel and Needing/Getting spring to mind) but am not blown away....but I don't need to be to enjoy the songs from time to time. The videos though? They really have legitimately elevated the genre to new heights and I hope they never ever stop making videos. Every time a new one comes out I get puppy-level excited for what they are gonna do with it. This one didn't buck the trend. A+++ would Go again.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:11 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


huh, someone on twitter said this took about 50 takes, but I can't find any write-up about that claim.
posted by mathowie at 4:13 PM on October 27, 2014


That was delightful. I'm imagining Busby Berkeley looking down from heaven and nodding in approval.
posted by Lexica at 4:18 PM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


> > So you're saying that it's possible to mount cameras on drones that don't have horrible fisheye distortion? Maybe you should tell every drone user anywhere.

> There are drones that carry pro quality 4K movie cameras. The drone and camera rig might run $20,000 or more but they're as good as a crane and can do stuff like this a crane can't do.


ckape was making with the funny. But I suspect the reason the built-in camera in consumer quadcopters is usually wide angle is twofold: 1) because taking in a big view puts a lot of wow factor into your initial experience with it, and 2) with a narrow angle lens you'd quickly lose interest in landscape shots and move on to peeking into peoples yards and windows and I think they don't want to encourage that sheeat.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:25 PM on October 27, 2014


Actually, I can wrap my mind around the whole bit at the end more than some of their other incredible videos. It's a crowd in a grid with a count being broadcast over loudspeakers. The images and what "lights" are needed and when are figured out ahead of time and each person is given their own instructions: "Open umbrella on 2, 3, 9, 11, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21..." A lot of damn planning, yes, but not brain meltingly so.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:47 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thoughts, in order:

1. Hey, the lead singer is hot.
2. Ooh. Sitting segways. That's... That's interesting.
3. Oh man, the lead singer is really hot.
4 - 9. BUSBY BERKELEY MADNESS
10. What just happened to me?
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:55 PM on October 27, 2014 [10 favorites]


The only thing that broke the illusion of the shot for me was knowing that Honda hasn't produced that many Uni-Cubs. The only way it could have been done was with multiple takes then compositting (sp?) them together. All the umbrellas were actually opened by people, just not at the same time (due to lack of Uni-Cubs.)
posted by hellphish at 5:56 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also I sort of wish they'd removed the blocking markers in post but at the same time I get why they didn't
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:56 PM on October 27, 2014


The three girls who appear in the beginning are Perfume!
posted by misozaki at 6:27 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


The lead singer sang an entire song six inches in front of me and I can attest that he is, indeed, hot.

My takeaway from their show: these guys work really, really hard.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:50 PM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I love OK Go.

I love most of their songs.

I love pretty much all of their videos.

I love their choreography in this particular video.

I can't stand this song though. It's like a screwdriver to the eardrum.

My apologies to the band. I know lots of people like it judging from the comments I've seen, but by gawd was that torture on my ears.
posted by surazal at 7:02 PM on October 27, 2014


1) because taking in a big view puts a lot of wow factor into your initial experience with it, and 2) with a narrow angle lens you'd quickly lose interest in landscape shots and move on to peeking into peoples yards

Actually, it's because with a fisheye lens you don't need stabilization. With a narrow angle lens you need a very good stabilizer countering the motions of the copter to keep the shot steady, and those things aren't cheap either.

Give the tech another few years and yeah, we'll all be able to own a proxy Blue Thunder for less than the cost of a small car. Don't kid yourself that it's anything other than a technical limitation they aren't flying already.
posted by localroger at 7:08 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hermione Granger: you may be interested in this video.

I really like their songs. I'm pretty uncool in general though.
posted by artychoke at 7:34 PM on October 27, 2014


OK videos make me teary halfway through every song as I think about how much creatively and discipline go into them. When do they end? How?
posted by armacy at 7:50 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is great. I'm genuinely surprised and excited that those unicycle things are for real, rather than a stop-motion illusion just for the video (which is where I thought things were going at first).

Also, and maybe this is dense, I'm surprised that you can have a quadcopter flying stably in such close quarters with a ring of people around it. Or was that part not done by drone?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:32 PM on October 27, 2014


George_Spiggott, as near as I can tell, the reason most quadcopter video has intense fisheye distortion is that GoPros have intense fish-eye distortion and "DJI Phantom with their 2-axis GoPro gimbal" is the go-to "I have too much money and no time but I want one of those cool drone things" purchase these days. Even if you get into more interesting platforms than the Phantom, almost everybody's shooting with a GoPro because even the low-cost version of a gimbal for a mirrorless camera costs about as much as the Phantom sans gimbal, nevermind the cost of a big enough multirotor platform to lift it.

If you want to lift a mirrorless camera (like a Sony NEX or etc) you're looking at $3k-$4k in platform/gimbal, nevermind batteries, chargers, ground station, and spares because you inevitably will eventually crash the thing. If you want to fly a RED or similar, multiply that by a few times, and buy some serious freakin' insurance. Also look happy that you've found the one version of small-UAV-for-profit that the FAA hasn't just entirely shut down.

Also, that was a pretty cool video.
posted by Alterscape at 10:49 PM on October 27, 2014


So, are we in agreement that a lot of the unicycle stuff is composited? Because the first shot where they ride out of the building and into the parking lot looks really composited to me, the lead singer guy looks like he's floating in space with no relation to the background at all.

It's a really well done video, but there's some stuff that looks fake to me. Still fun.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:45 AM on October 28, 2014


So, are we in agreement that a lot of the unicycle stuff is composited? Because the first shot where they ride out of the building and into the parking lot looks really composited to me, the lead singer guy looks like he's floating in space with no relation to the background at all.

I think you're being thrown off by the undercranking, which is making the camera motion look a little weird. There may be some image stabilization going on too. But that's the kind of shot where it would be harder to get a decent composite (on a music video budget) than to just do it in camera, unless they were using a motion control rig to reproduce exactly the same camera move every time. Which, again, seems unlikely given OK Go's ethos and music-video budget. But I wasn't there, so ...
posted by Mothlight at 5:08 AM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


My son worked an OK Go concert a few weeks ago at a pretty small venue. It's interesting how millions and millions of YouTube views don't seem to translate into huge concert attendance. Nothing against the band, just an observation about how the music business has changed since the heyday of MTV in the eighties.
posted by octothorpe at 5:24 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here's a photo of the rig they used.

They used the camera on the octocopter on a pneumatic-tire dolly for the opening shot until the first takeoff, and then it looks like they may have landed back on the dolly for a couple of subsequent sections.

The weirdness of the riding shot as they are leaving the building is almost definitely post stabilization, though it looks like they are bouncing around a bit on the suspension of the unicycles.
posted by tomierna at 7:57 AM on October 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, here's a brief video of one of the choreography practice sessions.

There's a few more BTS images on Damian Kulash's Instagram feed.
posted by tomierna at 8:05 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]




Interesting choice that they didn't remove the choreography marks on the ground. It wouldn't have been that much work to "fix", surely, but it kind of makes it feel more authentic.
posted by ODiV at 9:10 AM on October 28, 2014


I wonder if this was made in Japan--I would guess that it was. At first I thought it was the Karuizawa outlet mall but didn't see any big mountains nearby.

And I like OK Go's songs perfectly well, but this one is a bit too disco-heavy for me.
posted by zardoz at 6:35 PM on October 28, 2014


Disco-heavy works perfectly with their video style though, and as a child of the 1970's I liked it.
posted by localroger at 8:10 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


“Interesting choice that they didn't remove the choreography marks on the ground.”

I think part of their aesthetic is that they want you to see how it's done. Ultimately it's not a magic trick; what you see is what they really did. Leaving parts of the “machinery” exposed is part of that.
posted by mbrubeck at 12:57 PM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


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