'Don't Have to Be Shy About It'

24 Nov 2005
World Premiere: Check out a clip from the stunning new video, directed by Catherine Owens, for Original of the Species.

The video, a dazzling work of futuristic animation, is one of the most unusual the band have ever made.

Watch a clip of Original of the Species video Check out the video

The video was conceived and directed by Catherine Owens, a long time friend and collaborator of U2 who is responsible for many of the striking visual concepts in the band's live show. The idea grew out of a piece that she was working on to accompany the song during the Vertigo Tour.

It was after Owens had shown the band her ideas for a visual to accompany 'Original Of The Species', featuring a rotating, digitally rendered female head with flowers growing out of her mouth, that Bono started to develop more possibilities.

'He said to me he wanted to be in a video with her, he wanted to be in her world and have her reflect his world ... and could I make that happen?'

In order to achieve this, and at the suggestion of her CGI team at Spontaneous in New York, a process called Motion Capture was identified as the best way to get what Bono was after. In late September they went to Chicago and worked with XYZ/RGB from Canada, House of Moves and Blur Studio from Los Angeles to scan the bands' heads and motion capture Bono's singing performance. While there they also Motion Captured a female friend for the Digital head's facial movements.

Using new motion capture software from Soft Image in Canada called Face Robot, the team set about the task of delivering the completed CGI/live action video within seven weeks.

The live performance element was filmed backstage at Madison Square Garden in early October and this version of the song, currently at radio in the US, is the one that the band recorded in Holland over the summer with Garrett Lee.

'It's the first video to include this new software which enables us to bring a human emotion to digital technology,' explains Owens. 'The result is something which is intimate and emotional.'

And that's just how she finds the song itself. 'When I first heard it, I thought this song was about those tiny little moments when you look at another person - at your wife, your child, your best friend, your collaborator - and you realise how magnificent they are - just for a moment before you go back to what you were doing. The song to me is about acknowledging the utter beauty of another person, a beauty which gets lost in a world obsessed with the body as product and where consumerism and the accumulation of stuff has become the goal that we are encouraged to strive for. To me Original of the Species is about the divine, it's about self-worth and a joyful mind. And that's what we've tried to capture with the video.'

The editing work of Olivier Wicki from Blue Rock in New York City combines the world of CGI technology with the world of 16 mil film seamlessly, his straight forward use of a clean cut or a simple dissolve is refreshing. Film treatments for the 16 mil footage were created by the renowned film and video Director Mark Pellington.

'Our team at Spontaneous and my editor Olivier Wicki in New York have been quite extraordinary, as was our DP Tom Krueger. The team has worked tirelessly over the past seven weeks.... It's not easy having an Irish woman as the go between for four Irish men, especially when none of the four likes the word 'No'! '

Watch a clip of Original of the Species video here


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