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OK Go’s video, for the song “The One Moment”, took only 4.2 seconds to film (npr.org)
280 points by breck on Nov 24, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 85 comments

Title is inaccurate. >How long did the routine take in real time? The first three quarters of the video, from the beginning of the song until I pick up the umbrella at the a cappella breakdown, unfold over 4.2 seconds of real time. Then I lip sync in real time for about 16 seconds (we thought it was important to have a moment of human contact at this point in the song, so we returned to the realm of human experience) and we return to slow motion for the final chorus paint scene, which took a little longer than 3 seconds in real time.

That dodgy formatting made me think you were in OK Go for a moment.

I don't know, I doubt that. If you look at the first guy's bit, he's lipsyncing even though he doesn't move his lips at all in the first (4.2 second) cut, plus lipsyncing the words in half a second would be nigh impossible, PLUS the confetti bits from the background color fall at normalish speed, where I would expect them to pretty much stay stationary if this were filmed over half a second.

"Tim and Andy’s short bursts of lip sync (Tim twice and Andy once) are only 3x slower than real life (90 frames per second)."


Different sections of the video are filmed at different speeds.

The background notes are pretty interesting.


"I made a motherfucker of a spreadsheet"

Love it.

    <div class="post-image bg-center bg-contain bg-no-repeat" data-img="" style="background-image: url(&quot;http://okgo.net/build/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/spreadsheet.png&quot;); padding-top: 57%;"></div>
What ever happened to <img> elements :(

Easier to overlay other dom nodes than having a wrapper and position hacks.

I recently learned of a CSS property, object-fit, than can achieve the same positioning effects as background-size for DOM elements without having to inject background-image style attributes. But, unsurprisingly, it's got no IE support.


Indeed. It makes it only more annoying to get at the content you want, the way you want.



Anybody know of a mirror? Facebook won't let me through :(

Edit:: found https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QvW61K2s0tA

Bafflingly, a search on YouTube for 'OK go the one moment' didn't turn this up for me. Bunch of ripped songs came up though.

Edit 2: Ah, it's 'unlisted'. Also, I've read a few of the comments on the youtube video, so you don't have to. It's still the worst bit of the internet.

OK Go have listed there last couple songs on facebook first and then youtube second, i think it has something to do with preventing reuploads to facebook for sharing

Yet another solid example of the spreadsheet being the best programming tool for the masses there is out there

Spreadsheets are like FORTRAN: If you have certain, specific needs, they're the best tool for the job. However, they're not the best tool in the general case, and if you learned another programming tool first, you will recoil in disgust from some of the more non-ideal uses of it. At the end of the day, though, it gets the job done.

I never really learned spreadsheets, so for most of the (very simple) work I have to do that would involve spreadsheets, I use AWK.

> if you learned another programming tool first, you will recoil in disgust from some of the more non-ideal uses of it

Will you? I've learned plenty of programming tools and I recoil in disgust at the sight of them - of all the bullshit you need to jump through to get anything done, and the arcane (and constantly changing!) knowledge you need to have to make it work. Spreadsheets are pretty much the best tool out there for exploratory work with numbers.

And because the masses don't think of it as "programming", they still build suprisingly complex models and tools within the spreadsheets, when otherwise they'd likely be scared away.

Personally, I'm in a process of learning Excel in depth - the more I work with it, the more I like it. It's like a REPL for moderate-complexity data processing and visualization.

>I've learned plenty of programming tools and I recoil in disgust at the sight of them

As do I.

>Spreadsheets are pretty much the best tool out there for exploratory work with numbers.

That's an ideal use of a spreadsheet. A non-ideal use would be, say, re-inventing the RDBMS in Excel (perhaps the most common one, but there are far worse sins).

>Personally, I'm in a process of learning Excel in depth

I would, but I don't have the time. As I've said: with the sort of data analysis I'm doing (very little), AWK works well enough.

The interesting thing for me about this video is the math behind "scaling up" the rhythm of the song, syncing that with the "events" (popping balloon, splodin guitar, etc), so the 6000fps cameras can cut down to, idk, 500fps or something in editing and have them all reflect the actual rhythm. Pretty cool stuff

That was one thing that occurred to me while watching the video, because they keep transitioning between different speeds they can choose the transition point so that the music will continue to match up even if in real time there was a very minute timing difference that would cause a problem. I'm assuming that's how they got the various flipbooks to sync up perfectly, where the lead singers singing when they went back to real-time video for a second.

I think I have all their albums, I love their videos and their music is often pretty good. I suppose I should know his name. (Edit: Damien)

Note that in their FAQ they specify that they really weren't fiddling with the playback speed: it's not constant but it has a handful of discrete jumps to different rates at each part (eg: the guitars exploding versus the lip syncing are at different rates but the rate is constant within the guitars exploding). Knowing this makes it much more impressive.

[1] http://okgo.net/2016/11/23/background-notes-and-full-credits...

Except, sometimes the music would match up not only with the flipbook but also some of the explosions. At least it would match them somewhat.

Yeah, my guess is they're playing with the speed constantly to keep things in sync.

You are correct. From the background notes [1] on the band's page:

"It is not all one speed, but each section is at a constant rate, meaning that time does not “ramp” (accelerate or decelerate). We just toggle from one speed to another. When the guitars explode, we are 200x slower than reality (6,000 frames per second), but Tim and Andy’s short bursts of lip sync (Tim twice and Andy once) are only 3x slower than real life (90 frames per second). The watermelons are around 150x, and the spray paint cans are a little over 60x."

[1] http://okgo.net/2016/11/23/background-notes-and-full-credits...

Each section has it's speed, but in each of those section the speed is not manipulated. Like, the explosions at the beginning and water balloon at the end are really synced with the music and not edited to appear in sync.

I doubt it. In the article someone else linked they said all the events were pretty tightly coordinated. I don't want to take the time to actually nerd out on the math, but it seems like there'd be one ratio you'd apply to everything. Like if the song's 124bpm at 60fps (2.066..7beats per frame), you'd want to multiple all that by 100 if you're shooting at 6000fps, so like 206.66..7 beats per frame. THen you can run the video back in super slow mo (60 fps again) and get the real 124bpm deal?

welp I was wrong and I can't edit so.. mea culpa

You're more right than wrong. While they do change the speed, the changes were pre-planned and weren't adjusted to make up for timing issues (I.e. allowing down or speeding up so the flipbook / lipsync lines up).

OK Go really do make some amazing music videos. The Rube Goldberg machine [0] one is particularily impressive. It even got its own TED talk [1].

0: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w

1: https://www.ted.com/talks/adam_sadowsky_engineers_a_viral_mu...

Needing/Getting is pretty cool as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MejbOFk7H6c

It looks like they take a video first approach with their music.

Not exactly. "The One Moment" is already over two years old.

  What role did Morton Salt play, and what is
  Morton Salt have recently launched a campaign to
  support a group of people who are bravely making
  a positive difference in the world. They’ve
  pledged funding and assistance to incredibly
  inspiring and effective young innovators who are
  tackling difficult issues like the global water
  crisis, the plight of young female refugees,
  systemic failures in arts and music education,
  and children’s health and wellness education.
  The slogan for this campaign is #WalkHerWalk, a
  reference to the girl in their iconic logo, and
  you can learn more about the innovators and the
  many facets of the campaign at

  Morton was moved by the message of “The One
  Moment,” and felt it captured the spirit of
  what they are trying to do with #WalkHerWalk, so
  they reached out to us and asked if we were
  interested in making art with their salt – a
  video that could fly the banner for their
  initiative. We were impressed with their efforts
  to support positive change, so we proposed this
  idea, and together we collaborated to bring this
  video to life.
A beautiful and inspiring 4 minute video ad for Morton Salt.

Just a friendly FYI: block-quoting long-line text makes it very hard to read, especially on mobile, due to side scrolling.

It's for this reason that I usually use

> blockquoted text

but even that is imperfect; is there some reason that HN doesn't support actual blockquotes? has it just not been done, or is there some objection to it?

I know that perhaps egregious formatting can be detrimental, but blockquotes seem to be one of those formatting things that is extremely useful in discourse…

Agreed. I've been using italics myself. I'm not sure the reason behind the quoting limitations. Just using what I have available.


The lines max out at 75 characters. (`fold --spaces --width 75`) But I'll nudge it down to 60. (Now 50)

On mobile it's about half that. If you use two newlines per line, you'll get the same effect with decent breaks in narrower view ports.

You can see that the first flipbook has a digital overlay mask for the sync of the mouth video to the words. See his right hand fingers.

Yeah, there's definitely a lot more manipulation than they admit to. Around 1:50-2:00, a guy is turning a crank that flips the pages of another flipbook, but the pages keep turning at the same speed even while the speed of the crank changes dramatically.

Also, the apparent lack of regard for personal safety irks me a little. Wear some eye protection, dudes!

It's may have a flywheel to keep it consistent speed. It kind of looks like one at the top.

The fact that they were confident enough to not wear eye protection is one more thing that makes it impressive. I mean, certainly they have an insurance company that would want to see that they are being safe, right?

I assumed the crank was attached to some kind of flywheel that kept spinning after he stopped cranking. Just a guess.

From the behind the scenes video [0] it looks like safety was taken into consideration (though the final edited product doesn't make this obvious).

[0] http://okgo.net/2016/11/23/the-one-moment-bts/

Here's the robotic camera control arm they used which you can see in the BTS video.


Yeah, the choreography was impressive for what it was. Claiming that it was "real" when there are clearly multiple aspects of the clip that are, at the very least, time shifted relative to each other in the same frame, cheapens it a bit to me.

The first few seconds are legit, then the flipbook synchs up and you have that "oh wow" moment that sadly I am coming more and more to associate with "no wait, it's bogus."

Great song and great video clip, though, even if it's not "real".

There's certainly no way he could have flipped the pages at the correct rate.

It seems like it's only released on FB, which is a shame because even with their "HD" option on, I feel like I'm being transported back to YouTube circa 2008. Holy crud is the quality awful on FB videos, really undermines the work they did here.


It's unlisted on YT for some reason

Whenever I hear an OK Go song (or see one of their amazing videos), I have to remember the appearance of Damien Kulash at the Aaron Swartz memorial at the Cooper Union Great Hall. "Everybody's heart's breaking now..." Very moving.

Any other bands (or music videos) that does this sort of thing? I am ready to love them!

In the 90s there were 3 very creative directors : - Michel Gondry - Chris Cunningham - Spike Jonze I'd recommend you check their music videos.

Some of the older music videos are really ingrained in my memory for me - particularly Aha!'s "Take On Me" video, which was a composite of real and hand drawn cartoon imagery all done in the pre digital editing days. Clever stuff.

The early Michael Jackson clips when morphing and digital editing was still in its infancy are also still really cool to look at (particularly "Black & White")

They may seem really dated and cheesy now, but in their day, it was pretty cutting edge stuff.

"Take On Me" is rotoscoping, the drawings are traces over the video frames. An evolution of that effect was used in the film "A Scanner Darkly" I believe.


One of my favourite "physical effects" music videos (for lack of a better term) is http://nigelstanford.com/Cymatics/

Check out OK Go's other videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/OkGo

In particular, starting with their oldest and working towards their newest: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0FB9262CF878A34A

AJJ - Goodbye, Oh Goodbye (make sure to watch the whole thing) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDVCpm10SQI

Their video for End Love is exactly the opposite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2fpgpanZAw

REM - Imitation of Life is amazing : https://youtu.be/PbgKEjNBHqM Here is a visualization of what has been done : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ew-E3jfK5U It's a 20 seconds sequence.

The band Goodshirt from the late 90s had some pretty interesting but low budget one take/reversed music videos.

The Pharcyde's video for "The Drop" was filmed entirely in reverse. They apparently worked with a linguist to work out mouth movements that would sync to the lyrics when played backwards. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co3qMdkucM0

It's a really cool effect -- except for a few bits where objects fall upwards and the like, there's nothing too strikingly "off" about the motion in the video, but you can tell that something's up. It doesn't form an uncanny valley, though -- there's still an overarching "organic" feeling to the thing.

I was pretty impressed by «2 guys 600 pillows»: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=01TL9bUWr6I

It reminds me of this old french show, they once played a scene (live) backwards. So funny and amazing : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Noy0DdjG3FI

Filmed both normal and in reverse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN9auBn6Jys

That's delightful.

Avatar did the same sort of thing for their music video for Torn Apart as well. They had a bunch of 'pro' wrestlers put on an over the top bar brawl while they did the song backwards, then reversed the footage for the video.

mildly nsfw - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apZlp-ZKe9g

I didn't think they could top the 'Zero Gravity' clip, but indeed they did... indeed they did!

Personally, I think this clip looks almost as boring as a screensaver. But then again, I might not be the target audience.

OK Go needs good videos to compensate for the music quality.

tech makes music cool sometimes

with integrated sponsorship. "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom"

HN and GO(lang) has ruined me. Every-time I see "Go" my brain tries to think Golang.

I'm sorry about that. Have you considered programming in Haskell?

Why all the downvotes? His (dis)position is legitimate nonetheless.

probably because there is no way anyone could read the title of this post and think they are referring to a programming language ...

No video appears in latest Firefox Mac. Also, blogspam. Official link is


(which is notable for not being at YouTube...)

I think the article adds enough context to the video that it's ok for it to be here. No one who wants to watch the video will have trouble finding it.

We did replace the baity title with the article's first sentence. (That's in accordance with the HN guideline that asks to not use original titles when they're clickbait.)

Fortunately that doesn't stop youtube-dl from working!

...and in related news, water continues to flow downhill.

What planet are you on?

...The one where OK Go consistantly puts out amazing music videos. Which one are you on?

So we should just ignore it?

...No, but a comment about the consistancy is wholly deserved, imho.

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