Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Mesmerizing Moment

It's a bit curious when a band is known for videography, rather than their music, but American rock band OK Go had done just that. From filming in zero gravity to performing complex routines on treadmills, their music videos have always had a special, creative element thrown into production. 

Their latest project, The One Moment, is no exception. The first three-quarters of the video are shot in 4.2 seconds in real time; with an added 16 seconds of real-time lip-synching and a final scene of 3 seconds, the video totals out to 23.2 seconds shot in real time. The video was then slowed down, toggling at different speeds, to sync with the 4.5 minute song. It's no wonder Rolling Stone called this music video a "marvel" (an understatement, in my opinion). 

"The song is a celebration of... those moments in life when we are most alive. Humans are not equipped to understand our own temporariness," front man and video director Damian Kulash, Jr. said about the song. "For the video, we tried to represent this idea literally — we shot it in a single moment. We constructed a moment of total chaos and confusion, and then unraveled that moment, discovering the beauty, wonder, and structure within." 

With a total of 318 events happening within the filmed 23.2 seconds of the video, the final product involved hours of planning, patience, and hard work. For Kulash, this meant a spreadsheet of 25 columns and 400 rows to synchronize the timing of the song with every single salt explosion and exploding guitar: 

OK Go's project relates to Czikszentmihalyi's idea of dichotomies (1997). The bright colors and fast pace represent a playfulness, yet, as seen with this spreadsheet, it took a great amount of discipline to pull off. OK Go's reputation for imaginative videos is backed up with the reality of creating a spreadsheet like the one above to make sure the product comes out well-timed with each event and each beat of the song. And finally, the band plays music in line with classic alternative rock music, yet rebels against with traditional music videos with their creative concepts. 

OK Go is masterful at keeping everyone on their toes, so I'm excited to see what their next music video concept will be. 


Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper/Collins. - Chapter 3



  1. I've loved Ok Go's incredibly creative videos for a long time now. They've redefined the genre of music videos and pushed the limits of online filmmaking. I appreciated your relation to Csikszentmihalyi idea of creatives inhabiting dichotomies as they do exhibit playfulness and discipline. I would also say that this band demonstrates the role of technology in the creative process. In many of their videos, they utilize technologies unavailable to filmmakers even 10-15 years ago. In their 2014 video, "I Won't Let You Go," they utilized the new technology of lightweight, inexpensive drone cameras to shoot a beautifully choreographed one-take music video. In the final scenes of the music video, the drone flies high into the clouds past the parking lot where they were filming. In that moment, you can really understand how they were able to create this new kind of content by working with new technology.

  2. I love this video! I appreciate how you pointed out the combination of more traditional rock/pop music forms with cutting-edge music video concepts. I particularly enjoy how the various shenanigans of the video match with the different rhythms of the instruments as well. This video is an excellent example of the deep thought process behind great creative work. While some may be more prone to creativity than others, there is still a lot of work and effort and thought that goes into bringing these creative ideas to life -- which is highlighted in this video!

  3. I have never been a huge fan of OK GO’s music, but their videos have been an avid fan of their videos for quite some time. The extent of my knowledge on their creative process consists only of what they provide in the description of their videos. It’s safe to say that I have severely underestimated them. My personal favorite video, “Needing/Getting,” consists of the group driving a car through the desert. I can only imagine how tough the four months of preparation would have been for such a project. Anyways, I believe OK GO to be experts in their creative language of music videos. It seems that the concept for a video usually correlates to the song’s lyrics, but their true creative expertise is shown when the finished product emerges.

  4. This music video was so amazing to watch. I loved how they showed the video in real time just before the full slowed down version. It makes the video seem unreal and adds to the wow factor. I recently watched another music video that used a similar concept except the video I watched was filmed in slow motion over a span of 6 months and then sped up to fit the 3 minute song. I still cannot believe how OK GO managed to make this video all synchronized and fit all of those visual elements in the video in such a short amount of time. The amount of planning that was put into making this video shows how dedicated this band is creating a visually stunning product to match their music.


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