The Mother of all Rube Goldberg Machines!

By Eliza Strickland | March 2, 2010 5:44 pm

You’ve probably seen a Rube Goldberg machine in a science museum sometime, and watched with amusement while balls rolled down tracks or balloons inflated, triggering other mechanical events in a complicated chain reaction. But we guarantee you’ve never seen a Rube Goldberg machine quite like this.

When the rock band OK Go, justly famous for its treadmill dancing video, decided to make a new music video for its song “This Too Shall Pass,” the rockers tapped the artsy engineers at Syyn Labs to do something really special. The result was this 4-minute Rube Goldberg machine that plays part of the song, synchronizes with the beat, and involves the band members getting very messy. It runs the length of a two-story warehouse, and the action was filmed in a single shot. With no further ado, we give you: The mother of all Rube Goldberg machines.

Update: Check out the newest OK Go video, which warps time in many amusing ways. It also features a charismatic goose.

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Video: OK Go / Synn Labs

  • http://superstitionfree.blogspot.com Robert Madewell

    That was cool!

  • jeremy

    i wounder how many passes it took them to get the whole thing perfect.

  • Jason

    Look at the TVs section for an idea of how many efforts that one section took.

  • Kevin Also

    What a pile of Also now done that crap

  • Paige

    Woah, one of the coolest Rube Goldberg machines I’ve ever seen.

  • qR

    What a terrible song, christ. Ruined the whole video IMO.

  • dz

    I counted 10 destroyed tvs, but I could have missed some. That’s a lot of work and setup!

  • Michelle

    Tweekers! :P

  • FG

    COOL

  • http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/educational_and_howto/watch/v18898748hZq9F6hr James

    The “Way Things Go” is still the mother of all Rube Goldberg. Pretty sweet though..

  • jimjambandit

    Great another cool video distracting from the average song

  • Peter

    You can tell by looking at the shadowing and most of the shots that the majority of this video was done using 3d imaging after the fact. I’m sure it was all one shot, but most of the machine pieces are very obviously done in a program similar to blender

  • http://loopyrocket.blogspot.com Loppy

    3d imaging or not… that was the greatest thing I have ever seen!!!!

  • http://www.blah.com redric

    That was fantastic. I can’t believe they keep coming up with this stuff.

  • dzent1

    These guys are cosmic adventurers.

  • Zac

    Everytime I see something posted as “greatest ____ ever” Im always quick to doubt, but I cant tell what might have been done with 3d imaging other than possibly the marbles in the wooden track near the beginning. Peter (or anyone) can you give an example of what wasnt real?

  • http://www.supercrank.com unleashed

    love the rube machine, not the pussified pop music.

  • http://freaksmack.blogspot.com/ FreakSmack

    These guys make pretty cool videos, I’m not a fan of their music, but the Rube Goldberg machine wins.

  • http://www.rivergatedentalcare.com Farrahfawcett

    i wounder how many passes it took them to get the whole thing perfect.

    Dental Care Services

  • djDeathx

    Your intro para should be: “Guys at synlabs created this (cool, awesome, amazing, mother of all goldberg machines)” and it should continue without the assumption that we’ve never seen something like this before, because this is the 5th stumble that brings up this video — which is very awesome but looks totally lame, yet again in someone else’s blog who likes to have all the attention as if you’re the first to bring news of this blog…and if you ARE the first to introduce this video – via being the associated with synlabs as the rightful distributor – then you *must* mention this at the beginning, otherwise, it’s YATD – yet another thumbs down (on stumble, which brings your servers to your knees..and then some)

  • Forrest

    3d image tracking takes a lot of technical work, including multiple passes of the camera (like a clean slate image to add the 3d images into), to pull off. Not to mention the thousands of dollars to pay for. These guys pride themselves on pulling these kinds of videos off in one shot, I’d like to think they wouldn’t ‘cheat’ like that. This is a great video, but the thing that is weird to me is that they already made a video for this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0&feature=PlayList&p=9597876E8DF8EBA1&index=0&playnext=1).

  • LEONARD C

    THOUGHT IT WAS GREAT BUT HARDLY CREDIBLE!

  • swanlove

    3d image tracking takes a lot of technical work, including multiple passes of the camera (like a clean slate image to add the 3d images into), to pull off. Not to mention the thousands of dollars to pay for. These guys pride themselves on pulling these kinds of videos off in one shot, I’d like to think they wouldn’t ‘cheat’ like that. This is a great video, but the thing that is weird to me is that they already made a video for this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0&feature=PlayList&p=9597876E8DF8EBA1&index=0&playnext=1).

    …….Damn, just got rickroll’d

  • thisblows

    Wow! Another overdone/redid OK Go video. Here is what a nearly unlimited budget with no actual flavor will get you. WEEEE!

    Screw this crap music.

  • Eric

    The money spent on this video could have fed..um.. orphans..um Haiti..
    Well, what about the carbon footprint…um..global warming.. um.. mankind is to blame.. um
    Well, what about the poor whales, and.. um..no nukes and such…and.. um……..

    Maybe all anti-human crazies and the rest of us normal people can agree… this video was pure enjoyment. Kudos.

  • Keith

    For those of you asking how many passes, check the pile of TV’s from 2:40 to 2:45

  • Fuhaku

    There is no 3d imaging. In fact, the engineers (NASA scientist included), artists and friends that ended up helping with this insisted that the whole thing be done au-natural with no computer generated effects. Most of the work was donated time by many, many friends and friends of friends of OK Go members.

  • Joe

    Nice music video!
    Although I have seen much more impressive Rube Goldberg machines. i saw one that was like… an hour long…. through a string of warehouses. It had explosions, chemical reactions, you name it. No Goldberg I’ve seen since compares.

  • chris

    Its not all in one shot….there are cuts just look at the scene at 2:25 or so. Creative, looks seamless…

  • philip

    just because it’s cut doesn’t change the fact that it still may be one single shot. At 2:25, the bit missing may just be the camera swinging down and lining up with the rail… it may have been lost simply to the timing of the singing. That section of the rube goldberg may have been put in just so they had a place to cut time and re-sync everything as things do go off time, and getting it to work in the first place is probably no easy feat.

  • Mangraa

    Yeah… OK Go’s videos are best viewed muted …

  • http://www.adrianspencerphotography.com Adrian Spencer

    Fantastic – I wonder how long that took to put together?

  • Rixart

    The longest video Rube Goldberg was mentioned before, is called “Der Lauf Der Dinge”(The way things go) By Peter Fishle from Switzerland. This vid has several cuts, check you tube for the “making of” vid.

  • Hardestyjw

    Hate to break this to you guys, but this was actually several takes edited together. There are a few subtle cuts throughout the clip. None the less, awesome vid!

  • Jake

    Not one take. Look behind the left curtain at 2:28. As it breaks open, the light behind it disappears.

  • BillDWP

    That was wonderful and I don’t want to look for faults to ruin the magic.

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