This week, guest writer Jon Shapiro, Producer of the U2 3D movie (along with his brother, Peter Shapiro, John Modell and Director Catherine Owens) shares thoughts on the making of the groundbreaking movie, working with U2 and experiencing the movie in all its digital 3D glory– this time at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s new Foster Theater.
Through January 2, 2010, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is showing a film unlike any you’ve ever experienced (unless of course you’ve seen U2 3D before). I traveled to Cleveland to unveil it last month and was absolutely blown away by the technology and viewing experience in the Museum’s incredible new Foster Theater.
The first-ever live-action digital 3-D film, U2 3D places viewers within the pulsing energy of a U2 stadium concert. Combining innovative digital 3-D imagery and multi-channel surround sound with the excitement of a live U2 concert – shot in South America during the final leg of their “Vertigo” tour – it creates an immersive theatrical experience unlike any 3-D or concert film that has come before. Ushering in a new dimension of filmmaking, U2 3D takes viewers on an extraordinary journey they will never forget.
I’ve watched this movie more times than I can even recall (several dozen times to be sure…), and this was the best I’ve seen it.
Here’s a behind the scenes look at the film:
Says director Catherine Owens, “Bono wanted to go somewhere magical with the creation of U2 3D,” seeking to intensify the already ecstatic feelings evoked by U2’s live concerts.
U2 3D came to life through the passion and production savvy of 3ality Digital, one of the world’s leading live-action, full service production companies specializing in advanced 3-D technology of which I am a proud co-founder. After shooting a single-camera test during an early “Vertigo” tour concert at the Anaheim Pond, we ultimately received the thumbs-up from U2 to have our huge production crew travel and shoot on the road with the band in South America, with Owens as director. “Bono felt that if we were going to do this right, we had to do it in South America, since the band’s presence after an eight-year hiatus from the continent was certain to draw vibrant and enthusiastic crowds” explained Peter Shapiro.
With what became the largest collection of 3-D camera technology ever used on a single project, the production crew joined up with U2’s globe-trotting caravan for a month and shot the huge outdoor stadium shows (not seen in North America) at cities in four countries including Mexico City, Mexico; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
After five days of shooting, however, what the production had was still not enough to create the experience that everyone envisioned.
I felt that this film should be a love letter to U2’s fans and that what we needed, ideally, was to set cameras onstage for intimate close-ups. What we needed was to shoot without an audience. That need was fulfilled by Bono who, along with the entire band, agreed to perform 10 songs in a cameras-only show the night before two public concerts in Buenos Aires. “It was an incredibly generous gesture, but not surprising,” said Owens. “U2 is about passion, politics and love; in addition, there is an overriding aspect which is their creative generosity. It’s a generosity I’ve personally experienced for as long as I’ve worked with them.”
During the March 1-2 concerts in Buenos Aires, Argentina (River Plate Stadium), the production team set up unobtrusively for mid- to long-distance shots, capturing the performances onstage and the passionate reactions of 80,000 fans from nine digital 3-D camera systems.
“The challenge of working with U2 and digital 3-D technology on this film has been very exciting. When collaborating with U2 you walk a fine line between making art and reflecting the honesty of their performance,” said Owens. “The band has been involved in each step of the process and having this kind of commitment from them has been very encouraging for everyone working on the film. Between their passion for the project and our extraordinary team, I feel that together we have carved out a delicate and exquisite piece of film history.”
NEW YEAR’S DAY
SOMETIMES YOU CAN’T MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN
LOVE AND PEACE
SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY
BULLET THE BLUE SKY
U.N. DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
PRIDE (IN THE NAME OF LOVE)
WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAME
WITH OR WITHOUT YOU