This too shall pass / one-take video

You’re about to see this everywhere. So simply amazing. I’ve watched it three times in a row. You should too.

What others are saying:

This video, directed by James Frost, is flat-out incredible. OK Go spent several months with Synn Labs building a giant Rube Goldberg machine in a warehouse to create a new one-take video for the song This Too Shall Pass. I’m not sure how they will ever top this one, but that’s what I thought three videos ago.

BOOOOOOM!

For its latest video, released on YouTube Monday night, pop band OK Go recruited a gang of very talented engineers to build a huge, elaborate Rube Goldberg machine whose action perfectly meshes with the band’s song, “This Too Shall Pass,” from the band’s new album, Of the Blue Color of the Sky.

For nearly four minutes — captured in a single, unbroken camera shot — the machine rolls metal balls down tracks, swings sledgehammers, pours water, unfurls flags and drops a flock of umbrellas from the second story, all perfectly synchronized with the song. A few gasp-inducing, grin-producing moments when the machine’s action lines up so perfectly, you can only shake your head in admiration at the creativity and precision of the builders.

Those builders were Syyn Labs, a Los Angeles-based arts and technology collective that has a history of doing surprising, entertaining science and tech projects that involve crowds of people, at a monthly gathering called Mindshare LA. …

Sadowsky estimates that 55 to 60 people worked on the project in all. That includes eight “core builders” who did the bulk of the design and building, along with another 12 or so builders who helped part-time. In addition, Syyn Labs recruited 30 or more people to help reset the machine after each run…

The video was shot by a single Steadicam, but it took more than 60 takes, over the course of two days, to get it right. Many of those takes lasted about 30 seconds, Sadowsky said, getting no further than the spot in the video where the car tire rolls down a ramp.

“The most fiddly stuff, you always want to put that at the front, because you don’t want to be resetting the whole thing.”

OK Go hired Syyn Labs to produce the contraption according to certain specifications. One example: The machine couldn’t use any magic.

“That was really important,” said Sadowsky, “because we are all engineers, and we love magic. We love computers, and servomotors, and fire, and all of that stuff.” All those “magic” tricks — basically anything your mom can’t understand — couldn’t be in the machine.

The band was also heavily involved in the project for the final two weeks of its construction, and the band members are right inside the machine during the video, of course.

“We wanted to make a video where we have essentially a giant machine that we dance with,” said the band’s Damian Kulash, Jr., in a short “making-of” video posted on YouTube.

Wired

See below for more videos about the making of “This Too Shall Pass.”