by Mel Valentin
What better combination can there be than U2, the most successful rock bands of the last thirty years, and live concert footage recorded via 3D technology? The aptly named "U2 3D" does just that, following U2 as they performed in front of massive audiences in stadiums in Mexico City, Mexico, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Catherine Owens, U2’s content video director, and Mark Pellington ("The Mothman Prophecies," "Arlington Road"), co-directed a complex, live-action shoot into a remarkable achievement, one even casual U2 fans will likely revisit multiple times at 3D-equipped movie theaters (or IMAX, if they’re lucky).Owens and Pellington ended up working with the largest collection of 3D technology used on a single project, filming U2, Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion) in Latin America during the Latin American leg of their 2005-2006 “Vertigo” tour. Working with 3ality Digital, a production company specializing in advanced 3-D technology, Owens and Pellington expanded or shrank their production crew as needed, depending on the venue and the demands of filming U2 in front of stadium-sized audiences. In Buenos Aires, where most of U2 3D was shot, Owens and Pellington’s crew grew to 140. Despite new lightweight 3D camera, coverage (i.e., angles) required Owens and Pellington to push their camera operators and the support crew to the limit. Ultimately, Owens and Pellington obtained more than 100 hours of footage, which they then edited down into 90 minutes.
"It's the world's biggest band...in 3D."
U2’s longtime fans certainly won’t be disappointed with the selection of songs. U2 perform many of their most beloved songs, including “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “New Year’s Day,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Miss Sarajevo,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “With or Without You,” “Bullet the Blue Sky,” “The Fly” “One,” “Beautiful Day,” “Love and Peace or Else,” “Vertigo,” “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own,” and “Yahweh.” Well, actually they (or you) might. Given more than 10 albums (not counting live albums or compilations), there’s a lot that fans won’t see or hear performed by U2. Most of U2’s early work is missing action (e.g., War, Boy, October), with arguably their best studio album, The Unforgettable Fire getting almost no play, with the exception of “Pride (In the Name of Love).”
But all that is the ear of the hearer and the eye of the beholder. Fans are likely to disagree, sometimes vehemently, about what songs they’d like to hear U2 perform. U2’s concerts are known for bringing fans to a state of near ecstasy and outside of a full-on, immersive, virtual reality experience, sitting in a comfortable, darkened movie theater can only take you (or us) so far. While U2 3D doesn’t come close to seeing U2 in concert, it’s the next best thing for U2 fans, especially on a seventy-foot IMAX screen in 5.1-surround sound.Not surprisingly, the 3D images literally jump off the screen; the level of detail, the depth of field is nothing short of remarkable (with the exception of the occasional haze or ghosting), and, given U2’s penchant for making their lives shows multimedia events that employ giant video screens, colored lights, and, of course, smoke, "U2 3D" shows U2 at their best. To be fair, "U2 3D" also shows U2 at their preachiest, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s followed U2 over the last twenty-five years. They also put on one hell of a show, as anyone who gets a chance to see "U2 3D" will attest.
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originally posted: 01/23/08 08:00:00