Hey Remember Videos!?: The Rube Goldberg Machine


Some of the most visually stunning music videos are the hardest to execute. In recent years, and I’m talking the last ten years, there have been a few brave few musicians that have risen to the challenge of making a Rube Goldberg Machine music video. The term “Rube Goldberg” may seem foreign to most but it’s technique is quite common. Remember that scene in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure when he makes breakfast with a complicated machine? That’s a Rube Goldberg. Typically a Rube Goldberg machine is a series of machines and devices that are used in conjunction with each other to perform a simple task. This device is incredibly difficult to construct and execute, but the pay-off is well worth it.

There are two artists that I know of that have done this for a video: Ok Go and the Bravery. The Bravery’s “An Honest Mistake” was the first I had ever seen of it’s kind. Say what you will about the Bravery, this is a bad ass music video. They obviously didn’t do it all in one take, as proven in the multiple cuts used throughout it, but it looks incredible. The colors, the texture, the machine itself, it all make for an entertaining watch:

The second, and probably more famous, is Ok Go’s “This Too Shall Pass.” Unlike the Bravery, Ok Go shot their Rube Goldberg all in one take. Which is extremely difficult, mind you. Their machine is massive, and building one this intricate is a trial and error process. They shot the video over 80 times and got 3 good takes. You do the math there. The pay-off is obviously worth it because it’s once of the coolest music videos of the decade: