27 April 2005
Vancouver, video shoot.
Video shoots have a reputation for being tedious, drawn-out affairs, and today was certainly no exception. At least we didn't have too early a start, as the entire show system was loaded in yesterday, but it was still an enormously long day, mostly spent sitting in the dark in a mode known as 'hurry up and hang around'.
The video directors are Alex and Martin, the French duo who shot thegloriously bilious Vertigo video with the band performing in the undulating rings. That video was no small influence on the Vertigo Tour stage, so Alex and Martin must have felt quite at home here. They're a great couple of guys, always tirelessly enthusiastic, full of ideas and constantly looking for a cigarette break.
They are here to shoot a promo video for 'City of Blinding Lights' and the general idea was to shoot several takes of the band performing the song in a pseudo-live setting. We got through about half a dozen takes in four or five hours, so there was, as always, a huge amount of sitting about whilst shots were set up, lighting re-jigged, etc. It's a monumentally dull process, but I could see that what was getting into the camera lens was looking very good indeed, so no complaints.During these takes the building had been empty, but clearly for some shots we would need at least the appearance of an audience, so we called in the local Vancouver rent-a-crowd to give the place some atmosphere. An announcement on the internet and local radio easily found the 4,000 or so bodies which we needed and their eventual arrival injected a welcome shot of energy. They may have been 'extras' in the filmmakers' eyes, but in the audience's mind this was clearly a gig. They did really well, managing to project a clearly genuine excitement even when watching 'City of Blinding Lights'' being performed for the tenth time.
By about midnight, Alex and Martin had got all they needed, so U2 played another four or five songs as a token reward for the audience's patience. It was chaotic but eventually it was fun.