The Gold Standard for Drone Videos: OK Go

November 1, 2014

Someone spent an altogether scary amount of time planning this thing out. Drone-shot Music video from OK Go.  We’re all amateurs compared to this.


The L.A. rock band OK Go is famous for its lively viral music videos featuring highly choreographed routines using treadmillsoptical illusions and elaborate product placement.

The band’s latest video — for the their new track “I Won’t Let You Down” — is another viral sensation, racking up almost 9 million views in just four days. The video features the band riding what appears to be high-tech motorized unicycles, along with an alarming number of umbrella-wielding Japanese school girls.

Filmed at an abandoned warehouse complex outside of Tokyo, the video was funded by Honda and features the company’s U3-X personal mobility device. Officially unveiled in 2009, the one-wheel-drive U3-X is still in development and not yet available to consumers.

It’s evidently available to rock bands, though, and OK Go makes good use of the technology by performing a complex Busby Berkeley style routine showcasing the device’s surprising range of movement. Sort of like a Segway with a seat, the U3-X allows riders to achieve a full 360-degree range of lateral movement — forward, backward, side-to-side or diagonally — simply by shifting their weight.

The U3-X achieves this by way of internal gyroscopic balance system and a large central wheel, whose outer rim is wrapped in perpendicular smaller-diameter wheels. It’s a little hard to describe, but you can check out the specs on Honda’s project page.

As the five-minute video unspools — in one unbroken take, mind you — the camera zips around and shoots up into the sky, looking down on the 1,500 volunteer dancers below. Film director Morihiro Harano told Billboard magazine that he used an “octocopter” drone platform to move the camera, using both GPS and hand-held controls.

In the video’s final scene, the drone camera ascends to an altitude of nearly half a mile, as the dancers below use their umbrellas to the illusion of an impossible scrolling pixel display. It’s a pretty great trick, and the creative team says it took about 50 to 60 tries to get it right. Check it out.


6 Responses to “The Gold Standard for Drone Videos: OK Go”

  1. Pretty amazing video for sure.

    Just for fun, this is my favorite Japanese school girl video (no, it’s not porn). Starts out looking like amateur video, but it soon becomes apparent it’s professionally produced.

  2. Oh yes, another amazing Japanese school girl video I almost forgot about. There was a movie called “Swing Girls” (about a Japanese high school swing band). To produce the movie, they gave five months of music lessons to a group of girls who had never played an instrument before. They were so good that after the movie debuted, they gave one (and only one) live concert. The following video is from that concert – a little slow in the beginning, but gets especially good after 4:00…

  3. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Mind. Blown.

    Probably the awesomest thing I’ve seen this year.

  4. Busby Berkeley would approve.

  5. redskylite Says:

    Amazing synchronization and charismatic video, I wonder if it’s the same drone that’s been mysteriously buzzing the French Nuclear establishments lately.

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