Long rehearsals, carefully planned camera movements, and polished choreography—these are all essential elements that have to be taken care of in order to successfully pull off a one-take. However, even the most meticulous preparations will not prevent you from making mistakes that will require resetting everything and starting anew. Shooting a one-take is a staggering undertaking, but a highly satisfying one. Join us for a look at the most impressive music videos shot in a single take. 

Justin Timberlake - Say Something ft. Chris Stapleton

We’ll start with something truly spectacular—a picture where not only the video but also the musical performance itself was captured live at the same time. Seventeen performers and a sixty-person choir, joined by Justin Timberlake and Christ Stapleton wandering the atmospheric interiors of the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles. The particularly tricky shoot required a variety of creative solutions, so do yourself a favor and read more about how the music video came to be.
Justin Timberlake - Say Something ft. Chris Stapleton (Official Video)

Radiohead - No surprises 

The simplicity of this music video tugs at the heartstrings. In the video, we see Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke with his head stuck in what looks like an astronaut helmet and the camera up close and personal. Although the concept behind the music video is very simple, the footage carries many potential meanings that have been examined at a variety of different angles.
Radiohead - No Surprises

Green Day - Redundant 

Zbigniew Rybczyński’s 1983 film Tango, which brought him an Academy Award in the Best Short Film, Animated category, inspired the US band Green Day to shoot a music video in a similar setting—the band performs in what looks like a regular living room as a strange cast of characters goes about their business behind them, paying the musicians no mind.
Green Day - Redundant [Official Music Video]

Goldfrapp - Happiness

Long before Pharrell Williams put Happy on the airwaves, the English electronic duo Goldfrapp hit the charts with their single Happiness. The music video features a man in a white suit making his way through the streets one charming jump after another, his manner so disarmingly polite that it ends up spreading to the people he passes by—luckily it’s only his smile that’s infectious!
Goldfrapp - Happiness

OK GO - This too shall pass

OK Go have repeatedly proven themselves masters of the music video genre, every one of their efforts better and more surprising than the last. The video for This Too Shall Pass features a large Rube Goldberg Machine, which is a complex series of mechanisms where one action triggers the next. As the camera closely follows each individual element of the enormous machine, it also gives us glimpses of individual OK Go members clad in the typical white jumpsuit we tend to associate with scientists and engineers.
OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine - Official Video

Kylie Minogue - Come into my world

In the video, Kylie Minogue walks through picturesque Parisian streets, teeming with life. When, at one point, she finds herself in the same exact spot she was in the beginning, two identical Kylies appear and continue down the streets of the French capital. With every loop, the number of Kylies on the screen doubles. Despite being released all the way back in 2002, the mind-bending video, directed by Michel Gondry, is still really impressive, from both a technical and a visual standpoint.
Kylie Minogue - Come Into My World (Official Video)

Spice Girls - Wannabe

The debut single of the Spice Girls also boasted a one-take music video. Dealing with matters of friendship, the single was illustrated with a video showing the Spice Girls turning up a party in an exclusive hotel. Curiously enough, the choreography was not planned and the girls ended up creating much of it on the fly, improvising as they saw fit.
Spice Girls - Wannabe

Kiesza – Hideaway

In contrast to Wannabe, the music video for Kiesza’s Hideaway had meticulously planned choreography. The singer dances through the streets and, as the video unfolds, different groups of performers join her to deliver one hell of an impressive show.
Kiesza - Hideaway (Official Music Video)

Billie Eilish - when the party is over

One of the latest entries in the one-take genre. The single when the party’s over was accompanied by a minimalist video featuring Billie drinking a glass of black liquid. Like in the Radiohead video mentioned above, the singer’s proximity to the camera and her gaze directed straight into the lens produce a sense of a more personal relationship between artist and audience.
Billie Eilish - when the party's over
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