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15 Music Videos Filmed In One Shot

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When a musical act and a director feel like doing something really challenging, they make a music video in a single take. 

1. OK Go // “The Writing's on the Wall” (4:17)

OK Go is known for their elaborate, unbroken single shot music videos, including "White Knuckles," "A Million Ways to Die," and "Here It Goes Again." Their latest, "The Writing's On the Wall," features 20 optical illusions captured in one shot. The music video took two months to plan and about 65 takes to execute; the band and directors Aaron Duffy, Damian Kulash, Jr., and Bob Partington were influenced by Swiss artist Felice Varini, who is known for his geometric perspective sculptures. "The Writing's on the Wall" gained more than 7 million views on YouTube within only a week after it premiered in June 2014.

2. Gin Blossoms // “Allison Road” (3:26)

In 1994, the Gin Blossoms released their sixth single "Allison Road" from their sophomore effort New Miserable Experience. The music video featured a single steadicam shot moving from room to room capturing a collection of television sets playing the Gin Blossoms performing the pop rock song.

3. Feist // “1234” (3:21)

In early 2007, the single "1234" launched Canadian singer-songwriter Feist into mainstream popularity in the U.S. Patrick Daughters directed the music video, which featured an impressive and colorful choreographed dance routine captured in one continuous tracking shot. "1234" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video, and Pitchfork Media named it one of the best of the decade.

4. Lorde // “Tennis Court” (3:22)

Lorde's single-take music video for "Tennis Court," directed by Joel Kefali (who also directed the video for "Royals"), featured the New Zealand pop star staring into the camera, lip-syncing only the "Yeah" bits at the end of each verse and during the chorus.

5. Cibo Matto // “Sugar Water” (4:02)

Michel Gondry directed the music video for Cibo Matto's 1996 single "Sugar Water." It featured one long continuous shot displayed in split screen with parallel action. Although the scene was exactly the same, the left side of the screen started at the beginning and was moving forward, while the right side started from the end in reverse.

6. Weezer // “Undone" (The Sweater Song) (4:15)

In 1994, Spike Jonze directed Weezer's first music video. "Undone (The Sweater Song)" featured the band playing in front of a blue backdrop with a pack of dogs racing in and out of the camera's frame. While Jonze captured the performance in one unbroken slow motion steadicam shot, the director had Weezer perform to a sped up version of the song to get the slow motion effect in camera. It took about 20 takes to complete the shot, but towards the end, the band started to take the music video less seriously, which shows in their performance. It premiered on MTV and immediately became a smash hit with the music channel's young viewers.

7. Spoon // "The Underdog" (3:48)

In 2007, Keven McAlester directed the music video for "The Underdog," Spoon's first single from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. The unbroken steadicam shot featured the indie rock band playing the song with an El Mariachi horns section and a number of percussionists in various rooms of an Austin, Texas recording studio.

8. Radiohead // “No Surprises” (3:46)

The music video, directed by Grant Gee, features Thom Yorke's head inside of a dome helmet with the song's lyrics reflected (in reverse) on its plastic shield. At the start of the song's second verse, the helmet begins to slowly fill with water, submerging a clearly uncomfortable Yorke for nearly a minute.

9. Taylor Swift // “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (3:35)

Taylor Swift's music video for "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" is an elaborate production featuring multiple sets and costume changes, all captured in one single shot. It follows Swift going through a nasty break up and experiencing flashbacks of the destructive relationship, as her band, dressed as furry woodland creatures, joyfully perform. It's a fun music video for a very fun and poppy song.

10. Michael Penn // “Try” (3:09)

Paul Thomas Anderson shot the music video for Michael Penn's "Try" during post-production of the director's film Boogie Nights in 1997. It was shot in the longest hallway in Los Angeles and features Penn performing the single while walking through the hallway. It also features three actors—Thomas Jane, Melora Walters, and Philip Seymour Hoffman—who also appeared in Boogie Nights. In fact, Hoffman wears a Angels Live in My Town (one of the fictional adult films in Boogie Nights) jacket as a reference to Anderson's sophomore effort.

11. Lisa Loeb // “Stay (I Missed You)" (3:05)

Ethan Hawke's directorial debut was the music video for Lisa Loeb's debut single "Stay" in 1994. It featured Loeb in an empty New York City loft performing the song in one single take. The song was featured on the Reality Bites soundtrack and was a #1 song for three weeks. Loeb was also the first recording artist to have a #1 hit song on the Billboard Hot 100 without being signed to a record label. In 2013, Lisa Loeb re-created the single take music video for Billboard Magazine in their New York City offices.

12. Vampire Weekend // “Oxford Comma” (3:39)

In 2008, Richard Ayoade directed the music video for Vampire Weekend's "Oxford Comma." It featured the band performing the song while lead singer and guitarist Ezra Koenig walks through a farm as a film crew shoots a movie in the background.

13. Metric // “Gimme Sympathy” (3:50)

In 2009, Canadian indie rock band Metric released "Gimme Sympathy," the first single from their fourth studio album "Fantasies." Its music video was captured in one long extended shot and featured the band performing in an empty gymnasium; halfway through the song all of the band members switch instruments.

Lou Reed was the inspiration behind the song. Metric lead singer Emily Haines wrote in Rolling Stone after Reed's death in 2013, "When Lou Reed asked me, 'Emily Haines, who would you rather be, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones,' I shot back, 'The Velvet Underground.' Quick thinking, sure, but also the truth. In our song 'Gimme Sympathy,' we lament the fact that none of us living today are likely to achieve the stature or saturation the signature acts of that era enjoyed."

14. Metronomy // "Love Letters” (3:07)

In 2014, Michel Gondry directed the music video for Metronomy's "Love Letters." In it, the band performed the song in a six-sided box with various cutouts, as the camera spun around with a 360 degree view. Depending on where the camera landed, you could see Metronomy in various scenarios including in a recording studio, on a laptop, in a concert hall, and on a road trip.

15. Bob Dylan // “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (2:19)

Although it's a film clip from D.A. Pennebaker's 1964 documentary Dont Look Back, Rolling Stone considers Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" to be the precursor to the modern day music video. The two-minute clip featured Dylan displaying a number of cue cards with the lyrics to the song, as he revealed one after another. It was shot in the back alley of the Savoy Hotel in London, England; Allen Ginsberg and Bob Neuwirth can be seen in the background chatting.

The promotional film clip was highly influential to many recording artists, including The Flaming Lips, Belle & Sebastian, and the punk band Anti-Flag, who all attempted to mimic its style.

BONUS: Spice Girls // “Wannabe” (3:56)

The music video for the Spice Girls' "Wannabe" appears to be shot in one take, although there are apparently two very subtle edits. At the time of its release in 1996, the video was considered controversial thanks to its risqué content. Virgin Records asked for re-shoots and an alternative version for the American market, but the Spice Girls refused because they were very proud of how the music video turned out. It won Best Dance Video at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards.

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ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]

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6 Great (and Not-So-Great) Works of Art Made by Robots
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Cold, calculating, unfeeling—none of the stereotypes associated with robots seem to describe makers of great art. But that hasn’t stopped roboticists from trying to engineer the next Picasso in a lab. Some machines and algorithms are capable of crafting works impressive enough to fool even the toughest critics. As for the rest of the robot artists and writers out there, let’s just say they won’t have creative types fearing for their jobs anytime soon. 

1. A BEATLES-ESQUE POP SONG

If you heard the song above at a party or in a crowded store, you might assume it’s just a generic pop tune. But if you listened closer, you’d hear the dissonant vocals and nonsense lyrics that place this number in the sonic equivalent of the uncanny valley. “Daddy’s Car” was composed by an artificial intelligence system from the Sony CSL Research Laboratory. After analyzing sheet music from a variety of artists and genres, the AI generated the words, harmony, and melody for the song. A human composer chose the style (1960s Beatles-style pop) and did the producing and mixing, but other than that the music is all machine. It may not have topped the pop charts, but the song did give us the genius lyric: “Down on the ground, the rainbow led me to the sun.”

2. A NOVEL THAT MADE IT PAST THE FIRST ROUND OF A FICTION CONTEST

Will the next War and Peace be written by a complex computer algorithm? Probably not, but that isn’t to say that AI can’t compose some serviceable fiction with help from human minds. In 2016, a team of Japanese researchers invented a program and fed it the plot, characters, and general structure of an original story. They also wrote sentences for the system to choose from, so the content of the novel relied heavily on humans. But the final product and the work required to string the components together was made possible by AI. The researchers submitted the story to Japan's Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Contest where it made it past the first round of judging. Though one notable Japanese author praised the novel for its structure, he also said there were some character description issues holding it back.

3. A 'NEW' REMBRANDT PAINTING

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In 2016, a 3D printer did something extraordinary: It produced a brand new painting in the spirit of a long-dead artist. The piece, titled “The Next Rembrandt,” would fit right in at an exhibition of art from the 17th-century Dutch painter. But this work is entirely modern. Bas Korsten, creative director at the Amsterdam-based advertising firm J. Walter Thompson, had a computer program analyze 346 Rembrandt paintings over 18 months. Every element of the final image, from the age of the subject and the color of his clothes to the physical brushstrokes, is reminiscent of the artist’s distinct style. But while it’s good enough to fool the amateur art fan, it failed to hold up under scruntiny from Rembrandt experts.

4. DREARY LOVE POETRY

What do you get when you dump thousands of unpublished romance novels into an AI system? Some incredibly bleak poetry, as Google discovered in 2016. The purpose of the neural network was to connect two separate sentences from a book into one whole thought. The result gave us such existential gems as this excerpt:

"there is no one else in the world.
there is no one else in sight.
they were the only ones who mattered.
they were the only ones left.
he had to be with me.
she had to be with him.
i had to do this.
i wanted to kill him.
i started to cry."

To be fair, the algorithm was designed to construct natural-sounding sentences rather than write great verse. But that doesn’t stop the passages from sounding oddly poetic.

5. A CREEPY CHRISTMAS SONG

Christmas songs rely heavily on formulas and cliches, aka ideal neural network fodder. So you’d think that an AI program would be capable of whipping up a fairly decent holiday tune, but a project from the University of Toronto proved this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Their algorithm was prompted to compose the song above based on a digital image of a Christmas tree. From there it somehow came up with trippy lyrics like, “I’ve always been there for the rest of our lives.”

6. A CROWDSOURCED ABSTRACT PAINTING

Art made by a robot.
Instapainter

The image above was painted by the mechanical arm of a robot, but naming the true artist of the piece gets complicated. That’s because the robotic painter was controlled by multiple users on the internet. In 2015, the commissioned art service Instapainting invited the online community at Twitch to crowdsource a painting. The robot, following script commands over a 36-hour period, produced what looks like graffiti-inspired abstract art. More impressive than the painting itself was the fact that the machine was able to paint it at all. Instapainting founder Chris Chen told artnet, “It was a $250 machine slapped together with quickly written software, so running it for that long was an endurance test.”

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