1. Marcus says

    Probably took for ever to get it right. Here’s where their ‘inspiration’ no doubt came from:

  2. Lynna, OM says

    It took more than one take, that’s for certain. The guys are already spray-painted at the start of the video. I was wondering how many old TV sets they smashed before they got it right.

    I recognized some of the wooden train tracks as part of BRIO set like my children had.

  3. quesarah21 says

    Very good. It was more creative than others I’ve seen. I particularly liked the mousetrap-flag waving, followed up with the typewriter pecking, carriage triggering the next step.

  4. Maslab says

    T’was most entertaining. I wish our Mission Possible events would have been more like that.

  5. Glen Davidson says

    I finally understand ID “science.” See, effects can come from unexpected causes, so we know nothing at all about the world, except that a trickster god faked us all out.

    I’m always surprised at how happily they discard the noble god purported by the ancients to have existed, so they can have a “god” who apparently only cares that you’ve been punked.

    Glen D

  6. Matt Penfold says

    I recognized some of the wooden train tracks as part of BRIO set like my children had.

    My brother and I had a BRIO trainset as well. He had it shipped to OZ for his kids.

  7. FrankT says

    There are a few identifiable cuts. Such as the point where the camera stops at the curtains. Everything is stationary at that point, and so once the camera goes through the curtains, it’s a new take. And since you can’t see where the power sources for things are coming from at that point, there’s no precision – it’s just a bunch of stuff happening.

  8. Aquaria says

    It reminds me of the old computer game series, The Incredible Machine.

    That one was all about setting it all up to work, without having to do any lifting, or risk someone getting hurt.

  9. Q.E.D says

    I stand corrected by MS @ 10

    The world needs more Rube Goldberg devices *with fire*

  10. Gus Snarp says

    I can’t stop thinking about the toxic substances no longer safely sealed in all the TV tubes they must have smashed.

    I once got paid to smash a bunch of CRTs out in the open air with no respiratory protection and I’m OK though.

  11. Matt Penfold says

    This reminds of an old BBC2 series called “The Great Egg Race”.

    It was presented by somewhat eccentric Professor called Heinz Woolf with a wonderful German accent. Each week two teams had to devise apparatus to perform a certain task using only the sort of materials you would find in an average house, shed and garage. The Egg part came from the fact the first series had the teams having to move eggs around without breaking them. Later series did not always involve eggs.

  12. Sili says

    This is gonna end in tears.

    When I was a kid record setting dominoes dioramas made the news. But they’re ratcheting up the game now. Someone’s gonna get hurt eventually.

    Oh dear … oh dear oh dear oh dear …

    I just realised what was the real motivation for Sept 11.

  13. vanharris says

    What was the moral of this? That the Earth rolls resolutely on its course, there’ll be widespread collapse across many sectors, & the humans will get screwed, blued, & tattooed?

  14. JTDC says

    60 takes, most within the first 30 seconds. That’s when all the precisely calibrated stuff happens. The rest has very few opportunities for failure, so it’s easy to reset it.

    Full reset was over an hour.

  15. says

    60 takes, but most of them ended early on, if you notice, more complicated stuff happens early, so if a take went bad they didn’t have to reset the whole thing.

    and as a guy who went to art school, I would say that it’s as hard or harder. because you can’t necessarily fall back on fact to prove your point…

    and frankt, there are no cuts, that was the point… and if you pay attention a fair amount of the mechanisms are playing on the beat. the ‘making of’ videos on go into some of the setup issues with this.

  16. mikerattlesnake says

    @15 FrankT

    Are there identifiable cuts or identifiable places for potential cuts? Judging by their past videos they seem to have a pretty strict “one take” policy, so I’d give them the benefit of the doubt. As for “not seeing the power source for everything”, you realize the magnitude and speed of what’s going on makes that pretty impossible right? The camera seems to be struggling to keep up. Given the live audience and the band’s interest in this sort of thing, I wouldn’t suspect too much trickery.

    @24 NiChrome

    I suggested to a friend who posted this on facebook that this band should just make videos for good bands (though this particular song is not unpleasant).

  17. sudonim2 says

    If you want to know how many times they did this, just count the busted TVs sitting to the side. One TV per run gives you a minimum number of attempts.

    As a side note, I really like OK Go’s videos. They are far more inventive and experimental than most videos you see.

  18. woozy says

    I finally understand ID “science.”

    Damn it! I was going to make a joke about “I dunno… this whole thing seems like subtle indoctrination of an intelligent designer” but you beat me too it.

  19. nicholas.laux says

    The “only 60 takes” is misleading. According to the people here who were helping, they said that “Action” was yelled over 200 times:


    Thanks for the kudos Peoria! “Takes” they counted as the machine going past a certain point, the tire, which was around 60. The dominoes and that speaker that pushes the bearing out were very fidgety and so the number of times that “Action!” was yelled was over 200. So those dominoes had to be reset 200 times, albeit sometimes only 4 as Mahdroo mentioned. =)

    During one take we got all the way to the bottom floor and a series of things went wrong- the camera guy got hit with the barrel, causing the bowling ball to hit him instead of the target. But we realized later someone forgot to set the filing cabinet anyway so it wouldn’t have worked. There were lots of those human errors.

    Dominoes those ball bearings at the beginning were the most common problem, which was why we put them first.

    They never changed jumpsuits, but they had to duct tape their crotches cuz they were falling apart. You can see the duct tape in the video =)

  20. F says

    Lulz. That is hilariously like my login procedure for posting here.

    Gus Snarp @ 18

    A little bit of phosphorous. Breaking fluorescent bulbs would be worse, due to the tiny mercury content as well as the phosphors.

    Knockgoats @ 23

    But is it science?

    I would think it is mostly engineering.

  21. Gus Snarp says

    @F – There’s also lead. I suppose you’re not breathing that, but what are the odds that the broken TVs and the resulting dust don’t just get dumped in the garbage and end up in the nearest landfill?

  22. JJ says

    Only if OK GO made better music. Awesome video (saw this yesterday on, bad song.

  23. mikeinmaine says

    As production goes—a visual feast.

    But what was that RACKET on the soundtrack?

  24. mikerattlesnake says


    meh, if anything I’d call it pleasantly ignorable. Racket is a bit strong.

    Also: THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE! Though, I guess there’s a lot of us mikes, even in this tiny state.

  25. and7barton says

    At 40 seconds I vomited.
    At 1 minute I tried to chew my own eyeballs.
    At 1 minute 14 seconds I lost the will to live.
    After that my mood seemed to go downhill rapidly and I had to run away.

  26. Menyambal says

    TV tubes don’t have that much bad stuff inside them. However, if you break them wrong, they collapse suddenly, since what they are full of is vacuum, then all the glass shards come bouncing back out. In the vid, they went in from the front and cracked the glass where it is thickest.

    Seriously, if you have an old CRT be careful with it, but think of a creative way to dispose of it.

    At one point in the vid, you can see the reflection of the steadycam operator. All praise to him for an amazing job. Given that there is a steadycam, I don’t think the take could have been split in the middle without a noticable jump.

  27. Haruhiist says

    Pfft so many grumpy people here. Personally, I did like the music.

    On a completely unrelated note, anyone seen this yet?

  28. says

    Gus snarps in #34: …but what are the odds that the broken TVs and the resulting dust don’t just get dumped in the garbage and end up in the nearest landfill?

    (shrug) What are the odds they wouldn’t be so dumped anyway? I don’t think the picture tubes get re-used whole even if the things get recycled—and sending a CRT to a recycler doesn’t guarantee that it won’t end up in a streambed in China. It’s a dirty game, and I recycle and compost stuff till hell wouldn’t have it but also realize that there’s no way to be perfect.

  29. MoonShark says

    Ah, lovely futility. I’m as impressed that the cameraman navigated the maze of dangerous objects as I am of the contraption.

    Anyway, this is a better OK Go song. If you like horribly catchy pop-rock.

  30. Mu says

    One thing does NOT make sense. Why are their jump suits dirty? The exploding paint is the last gag in the sequence, so once they make it to there the take should be done. Unless of course they took “aiming” shots.

  31. FrankT says

    2:27. They don’t have to have recut the video there, but they left themselves the ability to do so if they wanted to.

  32. tsg says


    There’s already paint on the wall with body outlines, so maybe. Although I wonder if it was an aiming shot why they didn’t just shoot the wall and then stand in front of the paint.

    Then again, maybe that’s on purpose. The first shot in the video is of one of them removing his goggles.

  33. Gus Snarp says

    @48 – 50

    I just assumed that there were earlier takes in which something went wrong or wasn’t quite the way they wanted, but that nevertheless made it all the way through to the paint guns, so they are covered in paint at the beginning from an earlier take.

  34. Creature of the Universe says

    wow what a chain of events! …my favorite part was when th

  35. mikerattlesnake says

    @48 mu

    given how fast the camera had to whip around, I’m guessing it was just not as good of a shot as they would have liked. Something could have been out of rhythm too.

  36. pixelfish says

    No offense to alglyn, but that’s the second time the Honda ad has been mentioned as the probable inspiration, and I kinda wanna note that Rube Goldberg machines have been around for years. You might as well declare that the inspiration was this Sesame Street cartoon or the Mythbuster’s episode with Rube Goldberg machines. Or maybe Wallace and Gromit. Or possibly one of the crazy dad’s machines in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

  37. Peter H says

    ” But is it science?

    I would think it is mostly engineering.”

    Yep. F=MA (physics 101)

  38. mikerattlesnake says


    Is that an elaborate octopus stomping machine (on this blog of all places!)? What’s the windowed grapefruit thing hanging from the ceiling? I lose track of what it’s supposed to be doing at the door.

  39. charley says

    Speaking of difficult takes, has anyone seen this?

    tl;dw version:

    The Old Spice TV commercial where the guy moves from the bathroom shower to the boat to the horse is a single continuous take using a physical bathroom set on a crane, a boat set on a beach and a special trolley to move him from the boat to the horse while he keeps talking. The only CG is the objects (clam/diamonds/Old Spice) in his hand.

  40. F says

    Gus Snarp @ 34

    Yes, I was only addressing you’re breaking the CRTs and the immediate effects to your person.

    As far as the lead content goes, don’t forget there are all sorts of not-very-good-for-living-beasties metals and chemical compounds in any electrical, especially electronic, devices. Mining the metals in the first place, as well as processing them, is even worse. You have any idea what goes into cell phones?

  41. Happy Tentacles says

    Fun, but there were cuts. Reminded me of a car advert (Honda?) from about five years ago – which was all done in a single take – there were several features on ‘The Making of the Ad’.

  42. says

    Did anyone else here have a “Mousetrap” game back in the 60s? That certainly reminded me of it.

  43. says

    If anyone had a Mousetrap or Crazy Clock (blatant Mousetrap rip off, which I had) game, you know how touchy even these things can be.

    Even though the game had a board telling you exactly where to place everything, there always seemed to be things that needed tweaking and this was a game for kids, yet! And furthermore, the tweaks were never the same from build to build.

    So, yeah. Amazing!

    -Dwarf Zebu

  44. thehuntbox says

    I think this proves that a tornado can, in fact, assemble a 747. What?! What did I say?

  45. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    You have any idea what goes into cell phones?

    Pixie dust and Fairy wings?

  46. Zernk says

    I ordered Der Lauf der Ding from Amazon the day I saw the Honda ad. It’s a good thing DVDs don’t wear out. We’ve played that movie thousands of times.

    Some website had given Fischli and Weiss credit for the ad, but it’s not true. They were talking about suing, but never did. At least a little of my money went to them instead of Honda. Check out Lauf der Ding. It’s so so cool.

  47. SaintStephen says

    One would think former advisors to Donald Rumsfeld could find more productive employment.

  48. Blondin says

    PZ might have posted these before but they’re pretty cool anyway…
    the octapult:

    and the rotapult:

  49. MadScientist says

    Easy – 1 take per scene + CG + editing + props folks with strings and boards with switches.

  50. F says


    Yep. F=MA (physics 101)

    So, you are saying that they discovered that F=MA in the making of this video? Because even if they applied the equation in building the Device (out of probably 20 other equations that would be connected with this in some way), that isn’t doing science.

    As to Physics 101, I surely hope that kids are still learning that F=MA prior to high school, let alone college.

  51. F says

    The Honorable Reverend Big Dumb Chimp

    Pixie dust and Fairy wings?

    I don’t know about those, but if they are made from toxic metals, they are probably used in the manufacture of cell phones.

  52. Peter H says

    My putting in “F=MA” was just a bit of levity; certainly without that basic relationship, none of their wacky scheme would have worked – and the remainder of the universe would be in tough shape. I was not indicating that such a basic understanding of mass & acceleration should be left to college years (a 6-year old can readily grasp demonstrations of F=MA). It’s a cliché to pose “course 101” as indicating something at the very basic level. I’m not saying the group “discovered” anything, but that they had a great deal of fun in applying a known, simple, fundamental principle.

  53. gmartincv says

    Ah but maybe in Physics 101 in college, you probably learn that F=MA is a differential equation and you have to solve it that way. “Consider a Hook’s law spring ….” Do high school advance placement courses in math include differential equations?


  54. F says

    Peter H

    Sorry if I sounded too serious. I didn’t mean to be pedantic or anything. The Physics 101 bit was a jab at the general educational weirdness in the U.S.

    I guess I miscalculated your seriousness/levity ratio.


    Well, we had non-AP maths including differential equations, I assume the AP coursed would have them as well. Nothing of that intensity in the Physics courses, though a fair bit of physics-related math was covered (mostly applied, but I recall having to show how some things were derived).

    I did take a Physics 101 in college, which was entertaining, but covered nothing I hadn’t seen in high school physics (quite possibly less), and surely did not involve differential equations (nor much math at all, really). I’ll guess there are 100-level physics courses which do.

    Now you fellows have me all interested in physics maths. I’ve not done much in the way of such interesting math in a long while, aside from working through some equations to make sure i could understand something I was reading.

    Cheers to the both of you.

    Straying off topic:
    Bomb for Beginners: A DIY Guide to Going Nuclear – SPIEGEL ONLINE –
    News – International

  55. Peter H says

    We establish that there ought to be a jocular motif here & George goes all serious on us. Where’s the fun in that? And F=MA need not be wafted off into differentials. An everyday slide-rule will generally suffice. You do remember slide rules, don’t you? They can do some things simply and quickly that are ungainly and time-consuming on a Cray mega-cruncher.

  56. H.H. says

    I don’t understand people who say the song isn’t good. I think it’s freaking amazing. I can’t get it out of my head. I even like the marching band version.

  57. ChristineLynne says

    Thanks so much for this – it has totally captured my 6yo daughter’s imagination. She can’t stop talking about how she’s going to make a “contraption” for the science fair next year, and what items she will use.

    Getting little girls into physics – hell yeah!

  58. says

    There’s an identifiable cut in there at the curtains part – you can see the light source, an overhead strip-light, through the curtains before they open, but as they do its position changes (if you step through frame by frame as they open, there’s a moment when TWO strip-lights are visible, one through the fabric, one in clear view). If they did genuinely do it all in one take, then they still edited it at this point for some reason, perhaps using a better take for one part, or possibly to get the timing on the roller blinds right.

  59. JNorris says

    A salute to Rube Goldberg, and the best part was the spoons and water glasses.

  60. says


    I didn’t notice that before. There’s also something odd going on at one point with the piano. Somebody directed me to this.

    As you say, it may not necessarily have been the result of splicing, but a recalibration of the timing.

  61. SQB says

    it has totally captured my 6yo daughter’s imagination

    Same here, for my three and a half year old son. He’s watched it 20 times in a row without any exaggeration.

    I hadn’t noticed, but it’s not one continuous shot (as noted above). According to this guy, there are at least two cuts. Now that I know, I also noticed that after those splices, there is less paint on their suits.