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U2 goes 3D to give moviegoers concert vibe

Irish band U2 gets the digital 3D treatment in a new film that its makers say is a pioneering recreation of a live concert.
/ Source: Reuters

Irish band U2 gets the digital 3D treatment in a new film that its makers say is a pioneering recreation of a live concert.

“U2 3D,” shot in South America during the band’s “Vertigo” tour, seeks to recreate the atmosphere of a gig and take fans on a thrilling visual ride.

The film combines camera angles that soar over the audience of up to 80,000, zoom in to within inches of the performers, join them on stage and look back into the stadium.

At one point, U2’s lead singer Bono reaches out towards the 3D camera and looks as if he is about to step into the cinema.

Journalists at a preview screening of a 55-minute version of what will eventually be an 80-90 minute picture, were given glasses through which to view the film and were generally impressed with the authenticity of the images and sound.

‘Replicating the physiology of sight’The film’s backers say “U2 3D” is part of a revolution in the industry leading to more 3D productions and ever more elaborate techniques.

“Not every film will benefit, in my opinion, from 3D technology,” said executive producer Sandy Climan.

“I think when you have the choice of 3D and 2D, you will choose 3D overwhelmingly,” he told a news conference. “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The band had been due to appear before the press, but their plane was delayed. They are in Cannes for Saturday’s official late evening screening of the film, however.

Producer John Modell described the technology used in “U2 3D” as a sea change from what came before.

“We are replicating the physiology of sight, and that’s a very tricky thing to do,” Modell said. “If you get it off by just a hair it creates actual physical problems -- eye strain, nausea. We don’t have that at all.”

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One possible limit on the film’s box office prospects is the limited number of appropriate 3D cinemas across the world, although Climan said he expected the number to grow rapidly in the United States and elsewhere.

The digital 3D film is expected to be released internationally in around 1,000 theatres equipped with digital projection systems. It will be shown only in 3D.

“U2 3D” is one of several rock-related pictures at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

“Control,” a biopic about Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, has been widely praised by critics. Late on Saturday Finnish Eurovision Song Contest winners Lordi are performing on the beach to promote their upcoming horror movie.