New ​OK Go Music Video Defies Gravity

Music group OK Go practice for zero-gravity video shoot
OK Go zero gravity music video filmed on a plane flying parabolic curves.

OK Go / Facebook / Video Screencapture

OK Go’s latest music video, “Upside Down & Inside Out,” features a zero-gravity performance — recorded in a single take. The band is known for innovative videos, and their latest undertaking might be the most ambitious thing they've done yet.

OK Go have been in the viral video business since 2005 when they released the quirkily choreographed “A Million Ways,” which was filmed in lead singer Damian Kulash's backyard. Since then, they’ve danced on treadmills, performed with a marching band, and even created a massive Rube Goldberg machine. This new video is a far cry from the backyard.

To achieve weightlessness for “Upside Down & Inside Out,” OK Go filmed the video aboard Russian company S7 Airlines’ zero-gravity plane. According to TechCrunch, “To create the video, the S7 Airlines plane flew up and down in a wave-like path. This parabolic motion created the sensation of zero gravity for the band members who were free-falling inside the plane.” Because the plane flew in a wave, you can see the gravity shift from hypergravity (where gravity is stronger than on Earth) and the weightlessness that microgravity affords. However, much of the band's time aboard the plane has been cut from the footage, because during these flights, weightlessness occurs in, at most, 27-second long increments followed by several minutes of recovery time.

OK GO explains how they made the video appear like three-plus minutes of weightlessness, "After we filmed a scene when gravity returned, we stayed as still as we could for the five minutes of the plane climbing, and then began the next scene as soon as we were weightless again." The cut time is not noticeable because, "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."

The band says that the video took months to plan. They were in Russia for three weeks in preparation. Over the course of planning, training, rehearsing, and filming, OK Go took 21 flights in total (with 58 “puke events”). The video required the efforts of 60 people including pilots, aerialist dancers, film crew, and cosmonaut trainers.

“Upside Down & Inside Out” was choreographed by Damian Kulash and his sister Trish Sie. OK Go released the video exclusively on Facebook on Feb. 11 with the hashtag #GravitysJustAHabit.