Ok Go’s latest has an autumnal theme and utilizes 2,430 pieces of toast. Mashable:
“Last Leaf”… was made possible in part by Samsung, who spurred the creation of the video by asking, “What’s your next project?” The band told the electronics company that it wanted to work with Nadeem Mazen and Ali Mohammad, founders of Serious Business Design, on a sketchy concept — literally.
Samsung then furnished the guys with a Samsung NX100 camera, with which the project was shot (each second of the video is a sequence of 15 photographs). Geoff Mcfetridge, founder of Champion Graphics, provided the animation itself. You can check out some behind-the-scenes footage on Samsung’s website.
The band says, “The result is a bit different than the last few videos we’ve made from this album, and we hope you like it.” As good an excuse as any to go revisit their last, White Knuckles. Shot all in one take, as has been their trademark, it premiered on Ellen in September and features a dozen dogs, most of which are rescues:
The making of, a trainer’s tale:
We had only four weeks total to make the video from beginning to end: two weeks to train the dogs, one week to rehearse with the band, and one week to film it. Or so we thought! Once we started, we discovered that much of the first two weeks needed to be spent figuring out the trainer choreography! We had 12 trainers, two furniture movers, 12 dogs, one goat, 38 buckets, and a bunch of furniture, all of which needed to move around and be in the right place at the right time without anyone stepping in front of camera. We ended up with stuffed animals, spreadsheets, flow-charts, and recorded audio instructions, and for many hours we tried various configurations until we finally found one that worked. And then we practiced and practiced.
Take 72 was the one:
By the end, we had filmed for three and a half days and 124 takes. We had 30 complete takes, of which 10 were deemed excellent. And in each of these takes there were magical moments, but we could not concatenate them into one ideal, we had to discard every take except one, even knowing that in some of the discards were some of our very best work. That is painful! For a brief moment I thought about going to Damian one more time and trying to persuade him to cut them together into one supertake with all the best moments. But then I watched Take 72 again, and I saw exactly what Damian had imagined years earlier—one uninterrupted dance between OK Go and 12 amazing dogs. There was something so special about NOT having “cheated.” Somehow it came across on screen that this was real and had integrity. This three-and-a-half minutes of unedited truth allows the viewer to connect with the band and the dogs and essentially experience the dance exactly as it was, and that is far more genuine and touching than any perfectly-polished and cut-together special effects extravaganza.
Bandmembers Damian Kulash, Tim Nordwind, Dan Konokpka and Andy Ross aren’t professional dancers and don’t pretend to be. That’s never been the appeal of these pieces, directed and choreographed by lead singer Kulash’s sister Trish Sie (one of the videos, 2007’s “Here it Goes Again,” won the band a Grammy for best short-form video). They dance about as well as someone with a smidgen of rhythm might dance if he or she spent a couple of weeks rehearsing a routine with a professional choreographer and film crew — and that, paradoxically, is a big part of what makes these videos so beguiling.
It’s a testament to the power of simplicity that modest performers like these can generate ten times the excitement of a typical Hollywood production number, with its aerobicized backup dancers, strobe-flash cutting and swooping camera moves. Even though you can clearly see the bandmates fretting as the video unfolds — worrying that they won’t hit this or that mark, or that the dog will run in the wrong direction — their eager-to-please concentration is entertaining because it’s all bound up in their determination to give viewers a pure performance, unmediated by filmmaking voodoo. What they’re doing is more pure, and thus more enjoyable, than the norm. Purity trumps a fat budget any day.
Buy the video on this page and net proceeds go to the ASPCA.
You might remember that the band split with their label in March after it disabled embedding for their video, “This Too Shall Pass.” That story here.
Copyright 2010 The Moderate Voice