Did you see Birdman? Not the Hanna-Barbera cartoon (though that’s worth checking out, too), but rather the 2014 Michael Keaton-starring film that was presented in one unbroken shot with no edits. While that technique may have seemed revolutionary, it’s actually been practiced for quite some time in the feature film’s redheaded stepchild, the music video. Check out these impressive clips and blink all you want: There be no edits here.
Lucas – “Lucas With The Lid Off”
Michel Gondry, director of mind-bogglers like Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, got his start making mind-boggling music videos, like this one-shot wonder. Whoever operated the camera on this shoot must not have needed cardio for a solid month after, because damn they’re moving all over the place.
Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – “Sunday Candy”
I could spend several hours writing about how much of a genius Chance The Rapper is, or I could just implore you watch this outstanding one-shot video he co-directed. Besides all of the intense choreography, both from the dancers and the camera, my favorite part is around 1:51, when their heads move in time with the music. It’s the simple things, you know?
OK Go – “Upside Down & Inside Out”
OK Go are basically the contemporary masters of the one-shot music video. While their first effort was relatively modest, featuring a charmingly simple, choreographed dance in the backyard, their follow-ups, like any good sequel, have increased in complexity and scope. From treadmills to Rube Goldberg machines to, now, zero gravity shenanigans, this band makes zero edits look good.
Kylie Minogue – “Come Into My World”
Another Michel Gondry joint, this video might bend the rules of the one-take video just as it seems to bend the space-time continuum, layering the same one shot over itself over and over until there are several Kylie Minogues interacting with the city all at once, all without a single noticeable edit! Phew. Sorry for the run-on sentence, but this video just makes me that excited. Stop criticizing my grammar and start watching!
Wax – “Southern California”
”Wouldn’t it be cool if we filmed a dude on fire in the middle of the street?” Yes, Spike Jonze, music-video-director-turned-Oscar-winning-filmmaker, it would absolutely be cool. So cool that there’s no need to cut away from it.
Kanye West – “Power”
“No one man should have all that power.” – Kanye West, regarding his video editor.
Weezer – “Undone (The Sweater Song)”
Another Spike Jonze joint, this slow-motion odyssey features a still-universally-adored Weezer performing their still-universally-adored smash while slowly descending into silly madness. Highlights include PUPPIES. LOTS AND LOTS OF CUTESY-WUTESY PUPPIES. Um, sorry. Got distracted for a second there. The video also has PUPPIES.
Black Hippy – “Vice City”
When you’re socially conscious hip-hop pioneer Kendrick Lamar, coming off one of the decade’s most acclaimed albums, what’s your next move? Gathering a bunch of your hip-hop friends and making a silly one-shot video with lots of butts, of course. Why didn’t I think of that?
Feist – “1234”
Has there been a more charming song ever written, or a more appropriately wistful video ever choreographed? Dance moves, bright colors, and aerial photography all merge together to create such a lovely feeling that I, like so many YouTube compilations before me, dare you not to smile. Bet you can’t do it!
What one-take masterpiece impressed you the most? Which ones did we miss? And if you like these, you’ll love lots of broken-up and heavily edited tweets from me!