Well, OK Go has done it again: they’ve improved themselves with a new single-take music video shot in zero-g (well, weightless microgravity). The song is called Upside Down & Inside Out. Now you should probably watch the video; it’s really great.
To make the video, the band used a Russian “vomit comet” – a huge Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifter. The jet flies in parabolic arcs: on the way up the band would experience high g-force (about 1.8g), and on the way down they would experience weightlessness (about 0g). Each up-down maneuver takes about 70 seconds, with about 20-30 seconds of weightlessness in the middle.
Vomit comets have traditionally been used to train/prepare astronauts for space, but a number of commercial services have appeared in recent years (Zero G in the US, Air Zero G in France), charging around £4,000 for a flight with 10-15 arcs (so about 5 minutes weightlessness). In the OK Go music video, there is one external shot with the legend “Cosmonaut Training Center” on the side of the Ilyushin Il-76; maybe Roscosmos didn’t need the plane that afternoon?
At the beginning of the video, OK Go states that “no wires or green screens” were used. OK Go also says that like many of his other music videos, this one was shot in one take, “but some time was cut out to make that happen.” Basically, each take of the music video lasted about 45 minutes with eight consecutive zero-g parabolas. The camera kept rolling the whole time, but during editing they cut out most of the non-weightless parts. There is a full FAQ on the OK Go website if you want to know more.
The behind-the-scenes video embedded below shows just how much effort they put into the extraordinary final scene:
So, what are you going to do now, OK Go? A trip to the International Space Station? A submarine single-take sequence beneath the Antarctic ice sheet? A thousand stringed instruments humming to amplified gravitational waves?