Part of U2 long-standing notoriety is their ability to ‘wow’. From amazing live performances to personal humanitarian crusades to jaw-dropping videos, the band always seems to do things to the fullest. They deliver once again with ‘Windows in the Skies’, a video directed by Gary Koepke. The Mill was fortunate enough to team up with Modernista!, the agency where Gary resides as Creative Director, on this project.
Selecting and referencing artists who reflect U2’s sensibility, The Mill and Boston-based Modernista! created a compilation of various musical talents “singing” the U2 songs. Footage of artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Beyonce, Bob MArley, Louie Armstrong, Nirvana and manu others in live concert are spliced togeather to create a distinctive piece.
The editing process was monumental with the editors searching through hundreds of hours of footage. It was an incredibly tedious effort finding moments in the performances that work. Equally as impressive was the clearance and rights approval process that Modernista! went through for each piece of archival film. The edit constantly evolved throughout the online, even until the final delivery day.
Modernista! turned to The Mill New York creative team to lift the project to the next level. ‘It was a highly collaborative process’ said Mill Creative Director Angus Kneale. The Mill New York assembled one of the more unique workflow environments for the project. Two editorial workstations were integrated into the Flame suite. This allowed Mill Lead Flame Artist Dan Williams to be heavily involved in the rights approval process, compressing timeframes continually.
Dan along with a sizeable team at The Mill New York integrated all the footage and carefully finessed the lip-sync to match the lyrics. It was important to maintain the magic of the spot by producing mouths that felt natural and unaffected. A range of techniques were used, mostly simple time warps and speed changes. In some rare cases, complex mouth manipulations were performed in order to achieve the required sync. It was important that the work generated did not detract from the integrity of the video.
In addition to the seamless effects work, the theme of light and red was used to tie everything together. Extra light effects were added to emphasize the melody of the piece and give the images their own rhythm.
The final piece was a masterpiece of creativity, tenacity, and a little bit of luck.
‘Window in the Skies’ is one of two new tracks on their collection of hit singles spanning their nearly 30-year history, entitled ‘U218 Singles’.
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