Hanukkah and Rube Goldberg Feels Right

Another Rube Goldberg device via Laughing Squid.

If you want to read a critique of this video, click for more.


This video is a great “How Not to Shoot a Rube Goldberg Machine” demonstration.

Let’s start with my biggest gripe, never cut to different angles. The moment I see a cut, the first thing that pops into mind is, “This does not work.” A Rube Goldberg machine is meant to be viewed as a seamless progression from one mechanism to the next. That’s what makes them so incredible. Yes, you probably have countless takes of one portion of your contraption failing, but everyone who has ever tried capturing their creation on video does as well. Many RG machines on YouTube will have links to their outtakes or they’ll call it “Behind the Scenes” videos.

Second, don’t choose a shot so close to the action that it’s difficult to tell what’s going on. There were several camera angles in this video that took me a moment to find where the action was. It was hard to see how the previous contraption led into this new one, and worst of all, if it had anything to do with the what had come prior at all.

This next peccadillo could have done a lot for reconciling the failings that I pointed out above. Give us a master shot! Do a quick walk through of what we’re about to see at the beginning to give us an idea of the size and scope of your work. You’ve put the time and effort into it, now show it off even if it’s crammed into a small space! Big or small, if you’ve got some impressive stages set up, you’re going to hook a viewer into watch the rest of your video.

This video could have been really impressive. Dominoes are always great, robotics are always a plus, and then pyrotechnics should have made this a slam dunk. Yet I’m left scratching my head at what I just saw and wondering if there was ever a successful run.

2 thoughts on “Hanukkah and Rube Goldberg Feels Right

  1. Just to add to that, it feels like cheating if a robot does all the work at the end of the ambiguous contraption. Nothing about the rest of the device actually lit the menorah, it just flicked the switch on the robot.

    1. I can give them a pass for that. The point is to make a complex machine to do a simple task, like hitting return. Had they wanted to amaze us, they would have made a system to program the arm.

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