Monday, June 14, 2010

Geeks Gone Wild

Galley Reader M.C. sends along this fantastic story about how the Rube Goldberg contraption in the instant-classic OK Go video was built. Turns out, it was partly some NASA scientists geeking out in their spare time:
There were a few guiding principles behind the machine. No magic: Mechanisms should be understandable and built from found objects where possible. Small to big: The size of the modules and parts becomes bigger over the course of the video. One take: As in their other videos, the band wanted the entire piece shot in one piece by a single handheld camera. . . .
We learned something very important about physics in the process of making this video. It is much harder to make small things reliable. Temperature, friction, even dust all greatly effect the repeatability and timing of the small stuff. The first minute of the video failed at a rate that was tenfold of the rest of the machine. Remembering that rule about getting everything in one shot -- if your module is further down the line in the video, you're in big trouble if it doesn't work! The machine took half an hour and 20 people to reset. 

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