If you’ve been anywhere near a computer in the past 24 hours, you’ve probably seen, or at least heard of OK Go’s new video for their song “I Won’t Let You Down.” I really don’t want to spoil anything for you, so if you haven’t seen it, stop reading this and give it a quick watch, you probably won’t regret it.
You might remember OK Go from the video they made for their 2007 hit single “Here it Goes Again,” in which the band first showcased the use of a single continuous take via a complex treadmill routine, a technique that would define them as a group in the years to come. The original video reached over 52,000,000 views before it was taken down, which might not seem like a lot today, but this was during the dawn of Youtube, before it was as integrated into our society as it is today.
The video for “I Won’t Let You Down” features the group riding around these little Honda things that look like a cross between a Segway and a vacuum cleaner. After scooting around for about half a minute, the band enters what looks like a park and participates in what can only be described as a synchronized swimming routine on dry land featuring liberal use of umbrellas. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the opening ceremony to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in that it features a massive crowd acting in complete unison, but might actually be more impressive due its innovative use of technology throughout every aspect of the video.
The video was shot not only in one take, but by a remote controlled drone that was at certain points in the video up to half a mile in the air. In a Billboard Interview the band stated that it took somewhere between fifty and sixty attempts to get the video right.
In addition to being shot on a drone, and in one take, it was also sped up at certain times! So while the backup dancers are frantically darting around the set, the band is moving smoothly and naturally. This was achieved not through some sort of green screen trickery, but by utilizing a technique similar what Ross Bagdasarian (better known by his stage name David Seville) was doing when he first created Alvin and the Chipmunks over fifty years ago. Seville achieved his trademarked “Chipmunk Voice” by talking slowly and speeding it up. OK Go was able to look normal in the sped up video by doing basically the same thing.