How Spike Jonze Shot Karen O's Live Music Video in One Take

Spike Jonze and Karen O are singular voices in their mediums. And when they team up, not even Stephen Colbert can contain them. 

Spike Jonze is maybe the best (certainly one of the best) music video directors of all time. His work is always interesting, always avant-garde, and usually goes viral. Now he has teamed up with Karen O and...Stephen shoot a music video in one take. We love a good oner, so it was excellent to dive into this long take and extrapolate how it happened.

The video pits Karen O and Danger Mouse together on Colbert's set. Jonze used Colbert's band, Stay Human, as well, and then they recorded the entire process from planning to execution.

The video is done in stunning black and white. 

Jonze enlisted dancers and choreographer Tanisha Scott to create a continuous sequence that involved audience participation and a burning car. But don't read about it, watch the video below. 

There's an insane amount of prep and storyboarding that goes into a shoot like this one. Watching it work, take after take, is a rhythmic dance unto itself. While it's impressive to see the behind the scenes of what was going on, I can't take my eyes off the actual video and performance. 

What's next? Learn more about the long take

You’ve had that moment before. You’re sitting there on the couch, watching a scene that feels like it’s been going on a few minutes when the realization hits you.

“Wait, has this all been one continuous shot?”

You rewind just to be sure and watch the scene again, and sure enough, it’s all one long take. You’re blown away.

This article takes you through the kinds of long takes that exist and how you can use them in your own film and television projects!      

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