Ok Go, and arts group Syyn Labs, build the most stupendous and creative Rube Goldberg machine ever and synch its “performance” to a great song.
The band, OK Go, and an LA based arts and technology collective, Syyn Labs, collaborate and build the most gigantic and elaborate Rube Goldberg machine I’ve ever seen or imagined. This is quite a fascinating and visually arresting music video.
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.
Check out Dylan Tweney’s excellent article about the music video project for WIRED magazine…
How OK Go’s Amazing Rube Goldberg Machine Was Built By Dylan Tweney
In music, timing is everything. When you’re dancing with an enormous machine, it’s even more important to get the timing correct, down to the microsecond.
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.
Behind-The-Scenes Look At Creating The Thing
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.
OK Go developed a reputation for making catchy, viral videos four years ago with the homemade video for “Here It Goes Again,” which features the band members dancing around on treadmills. The company ran afoul of music label EMI’s restrictive licensing rules, which required YouTube to disable embedding, cutting views to 1/10 of their previous level. Now, the new video is up — and it’s embeddable, so the band seems to have won this round with its label — and is already generating buzz on YouTube and on Twitter.
Planning for the video began in November, when Syyn Labs secured a warehouse in the Echo Park area of L.A. But it wasn’t until January that work really got going. The video was shot on Feb. 11 and 12. “A Rube Goldberg machine is in its essence a trial-and-error thing,” Adam Sadowsky, the president of Syyn Labs, told Wired. Sadowsky explained how many tiny details needed to be just right for the machine’s timing to work out.
For example, the wooden tracks used to guide metal balls at the beginning of the video had to be cleaned and waxed to keep dust from slowing down the balls and making them stick. And the angle of that board was set at a precise 3.4 degrees of incline, which was perfect for the timing but sometimes led the balls to jump the track. (more)