The video was very influential as it was one of the first to sequentially blend numerous faces of different ages and races from one to another as they mimed the lyrics to the song. Godley & Creme directed it themselves, making sure to position the subjects (obtained from the London Ugly Agency) in the same part of the frame.
The technique used to get from one face to the next is sometimes referred to as "morphing," with it was really just dissolves and soft switcher wipes - technology that had been around for decades. The innovation was the concept.
"It occurred to us that the song itself is a kind of song that anyone can sing," Godley told Songfacts. "So, we thought, why not do just that
? Find a load of interesting faces, including ourselves of course, get them in the studio and get them to lip sync to the song and see what happens, which is precisely what we did."
He added: "We tried cutting between them and that didn't quite work. We tried dissolving between them, and that worked. In fact, if you watch the video from the beginning, the first few transitions are just basic dissolves. But then we tried - for a laugh really to see what would happen - this thing called a 'soft wipe,' which essentially is a shape - it could be a circle that opens from nothing and takes you to the next shot and the edge of it can be soft or you can wipe from one image to the next, up or down, left or right, again with the soft edge. And we discovered that when we did that, all the way from person A to person B, you would get a person that didn't exist - a 'plus' if you like. And I was like, Whoa, that's really interesting
. And sometimes if you did it fast or slow, this sort of person would pop out. So that was the moment, that was the lightbulb going off during the editing process.
So we just followed that, and we kept trying this face against that face, and so on and so forth, until we found what we felt was the perfect half-person between every transition. It was not exactly an accident, but it was a trial-and-error thing because we were tuned to be looking for something interesting."
The first real use of morphing in a music video came in 1991 with Michael Jackson's "Black Or White
." That one borrowed Godley & Creme's concept of having people of various shapes and colors sing the song, then blend their faces together. Jackson's morph was a very render-intensive digital effect that was stunning at the time.