Filmed in one long take, thanks to 20 flights aboard a Russian S7 Airlines parabolic flight, stunt-video aficionados OK Go present Upside Down & Inside Out, all filmed in zero gravity with, as they note, no wires or green screen. Video co-director Trish Sie and OKGo’s Damian Kulash explain in this interview:
Sie: First of all, we broke the song into chunks that could be fit into a single period of weightlessness, but we wanted the shape of the dance to emphasize the structure of the song, not fight it.
Kulash: We also came up with a system for doing a single take over eight parabolas. In each flight you have 15 parabolas and in each parabola you have 20 seconds of double gravity, then 50 seconds of weightlessness and few minutes of setting it all up again. So to make it one take, we took eight of these in a row over 40-45 minutes.
Sie: We also we slowed our playback of the song down a bit (28.5 percent, to be exact) and performed each portion of the dance a little slower. This way, the 21 seconds of song fit neatly into the 27 seconds of weightlessness. The pilots — there are 10 OF THEM flying the plane at the same time, by the way — pull out of the parabola when the plane has enough downward speed and momentum in order to “scoop” itself up out of the downward acceleration.
How does parabolic flight create zero gravity? From Northrop Grumman:
Zero gravity flights are performed using a specially modified aircraft, an FAA approved aircraft called G-Force One. The maneuvers are conducted in dedicated airspace 100 miles long by 10 miles wide. Specially trained pilots fly the aircraft in a series of maneuvers called parabolas, or arcs, between the altitudes of 24,000 and 32,000 feet.
At the beginning of each parabola, the aircraft climbs at a 45-degree angle. At the “top” of the parabola, the aircraft is “pushed over” into a controlled descent that creates a temporary zero-gravity environment. The teacher flights include approximately 15 parabolas ranging from low-gravity environments typical of the moon (1/6th G) or Mars (1/3 G) to complete weightlessness. At the end of each “weightless” period, which lasts approximately 30 seconds, the aircraft is gradually pulled out of the descent, reestablishing a more normal gravity environment inside the plane.
UPDATE: OK Go explains it in this “How We Did It” video:
For more, check out 2,000 ping pong balls and 30 middle-school teachers in Zero G and this Zero Gravity 360°.