SWAY Studio Alters History for U2 and Green Day Video “The Saints are Coming”

Publish date:

Los Angeles -- Nov. 20, 2006 -- SWAY Studio, one of North America‘s leading visual effects studios, announced today its contribution to the new U2 and Green Day music video entitled, “The Saints are Coming.” For this powerful production, SWAY integrated many photo-real CG elements, including Harrier jets, Apache helicopters, Stealth Bombers and tanks into existing news footage from Hurricane Katrina. The result is a thought-provoking and emotional video that shows what it might have looked like had the government responded differently to the disaster.

Directed by Chris Milk of Radical Media, this controversial video was produced to raise funds for Gulf Coast musicians affected by the Hurricane Katrina disaster. “The Saints are Coming” has been featured on prominent newscasts such as CNN and is currently airing on VH1 and MTV. It can also be viewed online at mtv.com or vh1.com.

“This project had a very tight deadline of two and a half weeks from start to finish,” said Mark Glaser, Owner and Creative Director at SWAY Studio. “This made our work particularly challenging because the CG elements that were integrated into existing news footage needed to have a very high degree of photorealism to be successful.”

Working closely with Director Chris Milk, Glaser and his team worked meticulously to ensure all shots were done to the high level of detail and quality that was expected. SWAY‘s main challenge was to make the Iraqi Desert Storm aircraft and tanks look like they were actually there in New Orleans for the rescue and mass evacuation. Every shot was scrutinized, worked and reworked to ensure its believability - all within a tight timeframe.

“SWAY also added video degradation to the CG elements so that they would match the original footage, which varied substantially from shot to shot,” continues Glaser. “The most challenging was taking a shot of a flooded main boulevard and adding rows of tanks rolling through the water. We developed some incredible techniques to make this feasible.”

SWAY utilized a variety of off-the-shelf and proprietary hardware and software to compete the project. The most prominently used tools were 3ds Max, V-Ray, Flame, NUKE and After Effects. All of the water effects were done using Real Flow 4.

“The Saints are Coming” is performed by U2 and Green Day, and directed by Chris Milk of Radical Media. All proceeds from the sale of “The Saints are Coming” will go to Music Rising, an instrument replacement fund for musicians located on the Gulf Coast. To watch the video visit: mtv.com or vh1.com. To obtain SWAY production images visit:



About SWAY Studio

SWAY Studio is one of the top visual effects shops in North America. SWAY‘s aim is to help advertising agencies eliminate traditional views of how their products are seen and enable exciting new creative ideas. The goal is to create unforgettable imagery and to confuse the viewer into believing that everything is real with no thought about effects.

SWAY‘s proprietary software, the SWAY Driving Simulator has been used to create stunning visual effects and spots for Chevy, Mazda, Pontiac, Hyundai, Hummer and Toyota. This software replicates the performance of any vehicle with complete precision.

In addition to their commercial work, SWAY has begun visual effects work on their first feature film titled “Mr. Brooks,” starring Kevin Costner and Demi Moore.

Currently located in Westwood, Calif., SWAY is moving its headquarters to Culver City. For additional information on SWAY Studio, visit its website at



SWAY CREDITS - U2 and Green Day "The Saints Are Coming"

Creative Director: Mark Glaser

Executive Producer: Mike Pardee

Executive Producer: Shira Boardman

Producer: Matt Winkel

Production Coordinator Daughn Ward

Flame Artist/ Compositing Lead: Ben Looram

CG Supervisor: Wayne England

Artists 3D: Richard Wardlow, Rob Meyers, Aaron Powell, Daniel Buck, Rob Glazer, Josh Hooker, John Allardice, Greg Tsadilas

Compositing: Ryan Gibson, Maciek Sokalski, Chris Bankoff, Feli DiGiorgio, Lauren Mayer-Beug

Technical Directors: Graham Fyffe, Carlos Anguiano

Rotoscoping & Paint: Lyndal Heathwood, Edgar Diaz, Christine Felman

I.T. dept: Nick Swartz, Kevin Beier

Production Assistants: Nick Mayer, Jessica Anderson


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