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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 13:37 GMT
Experiencing U2 in 3D
By Martin Shankleman
Business correspondent, BBC News

U2 in 3D

I'm still recovering from an unnerving experience; I was nearly hit by Adam Clayton's bass guitar as he swung the neck around, and then had to duck out of the way of Bono as he stepped towards me.

Serves me right for being on stage with U2. Not literally, but that's what it felt like, when I went to see the band's new film U2 3D at the Imax cinema in London.

As a sceptic I did not expect much, 3D has been tried before but always seemed a gimmick with little artistic or commercial potential.

But this film shows the exciting opportunities for the medium. It can create "space" in front of your eyes.

On arrival at the cinema we were handed large 3D specs which made us look like "Brains" from Thunderbirds.

And from industry's point of view, a 3D Imax film is the one product which is difficult to pirate.

Taking our seat we were confronted by the giant IMAX screen 20 metres high by 26 metres wide. As the film starts I was transported to U2's gig in Buenos Aires in March 2006, and I was not just watching it on a flat screen, but it felt like I was there amongst the tens of thousands of fans at River Plate Stadium.

Slightly unflattering

Even more exciting is the on-stage experience. Larry Mullen's drum kit seems so real in front of your eyes, you feel you could reach out and touch it.

You are closer to Bono than the mike stand. In his words he worried that the film would make him appear as a "40 foot lard arse".

It doesn't, but there are times when he's so close it is slightly unflattering.

Bono says the film is aimed at people such as students who cannot afford to buy the tickets for their concerts. That made me think about other business opportunities.

Virtual concert

Ageing rock stars can be embarrassing, but with a "virtual concert" you capture the experience of seeing them in their prime.

From the fan's perspective you probably get a better view of the show from a 3D film, than in a seat in row Z at some wretched arena, where you are so far away from the performers they are the size of a thimble.

And from industry's point of view, a 3D Imax film is the one product which is difficult to pirate. I've yet to see an 80 foot cinema screen and 3D projector on offer at a dodgy car boot sale.

Oh, one other thing, the music's pretty good as well.

A tour of the 3D production process

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