How’d They Film “Upside Down & Inside Out” – the Crazy OK GO ‘Weightless’ Music Video

by planetMitch1 Comment

Ok, you've seen the video (or at least I suspect you have…), but how'd they do it? 

OK Go is famous for making music videos that are extremely coordinated and are shot in ‘one take' – and they've made it their trademark. The “treadmill” video put them on the map some 7 years ago.

This one attracted millions right away (including me) as it takes place in zero gravity!

Now because I'm a space fanatic (have been since I was a kid watching the moon landings (which never got old for me)), I knew a bit about the ‘vomit comet' that NASA used to train astronauts to fly in zero g.

I knew that weightlessness only lasted something like 20 seconds (the info below will clarify my memory and educate you too) so I knew this wasn't all shot at once… but I learned a lot thanks to the behind-the-scenes post.

Oh and Wired has a great post on “the Physics Behind OK Go's Epic Zero G Music Video

This is fascinating stuff – finding out it took months to put together, 3 weeks of flights and 21 total flights (totaling over 2 hours of weightlessness). Read their post to find out how many of the 60 people in the crew threw up, passed out, and info about the flight attendants!

What they didn't tell us is how they cleaned up the aircraft between takes from all that paint or how much it cost to shoot.

The video:

the behind-the-scenes!

An image they shared on their post:

How did you do this? 

This video was shot in an airplane that flies parabolic maneuvers to provide brief periods of weightlessness, sometimes referred to as or “zero gravity” or “zero g.” To learn more about how that works visit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduced_gravity_aircraft or see the answer to the next question, below.

The video is a single take, but there is some time removed to make that possible.

The longest period of weightlessness that it is possible to achieve in these circumstances is about 27 seconds, and after each period of weightlessness, it takes about five minutes for the plane to recover and prepare for then next round. Because we wanted the video to be a single, uninterrupted routine, we shot continuously over the course of 8 consecutive weightless periods, which took about 45 minutes, total. We paused our actions, and the music, during the non-weightless periods, and then cut out these sections and smoothed over each transition with a morph.

You can spot the moments in the video when we skip ahead in time because they are points when gravity briefly returns. This happens at 0:46, 1:06, 1:27, 1:48, 2:09, 2:30, and 2:50.

You might notice that these moments aren’t 27 seconds apart. That’s because the song moves in musical sections that are a little less than 21 seconds long, and it was important to us that the punctuations of gravity in our routine work musically with the song. To fit the 27-second periods weightlessness into 21-second sections of music, we performed our routine slightly slower than what you see here (the song is normally 92.5 BPM, and we performed it at 72 BPM), and later sped up the footage (28.47%) to bring it back up to normal speed.

Before and after each period of weightlessness, there is a roughly 20-second stretch when it feels like there’s increased gravity. These are most easily understood as the periods when the plane is throwing everyone up out of their seats into weightlessness, and then catching them again when it ends. (For a better explanation of parabolic flight, see the link above) In this video, the first scene, in which we sit waiting and then do the goofy laptop dance, was performed while we were experiencing double gravity, just before the beginning of the first weightless section. The first round of weightlessness hits at about 0:26, and you can see us all lift a little in our chairs when double gravity gives way to zero gravity. You can also see double gravity at the end of the video. When the last weightless period ends, at 3:20, the paint we’ve splattered all over the plane comes raining down with double force as we are all pressed into our seats.

Read the rest of their post with more behind-the-scenes: UPSIDE DOWN & INSIDE OUT FAQ & CREDITS

(cover photo credit: snap from the Ok Go post)


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