The Opposite of DIY: Michael Bay and James Cameron Talk 3D Production on the $195 Million 'Transformers'
When a director like Michael Bay talks about his $195 million 3D blockbuster to-be (regardless of whether it’s any good) Transformers: Dark of the Moon, you might think that very little of it would apply to indie pictures. But in the new era of large sensor digital cameras, the Sony F23 and F35 cameras Bay used are more similar to the new Sony F3 and FS100 than you’d think. When I watched F35 and F3 footage side by side, in fact, the F35 actually lost to the F3 in some tests (notably low-light). The Hollywood Reporter, in its reincarnation as a weekly publication, recently sat down with the duo of blockbuster directors to talk 3D, which, love or hate the technology, is a technology all filmmakers should be aware of — whether you’re indie or Hollywood.
Bay had himself called 3D a “gimmick” in the past but was convinced by James Cameron that the tech was finally to the point where it wouldn’t be a hindrance to his shooting style — yet he still found himself using the notoriously large Sony cameras. With compact cameras like the 5 lb RED EPIC being used on 3D films such as The Hobbit, however, 3D is getting smaller and cheaper by the month. And with films like Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams currently in theaters, 3D isn’t just for blockbusters anymore. Here’s video of the discussion between the two directors:
Regardless of your budget level, any filmmaker can certainly identify with this quote from Bay:
The first day was wonderful. We were shooting our [scenes on the] moon, and it was beautiful. It really fit very natural how we were shooting, and it was just great to sculpt with space. We got some great shots. I wake up the next morning, and I’m like: “I’m in love with 3D. This is a great experience.” And my producer Ian Bryce calls me up. He says, “Mike, bad news. We lost the first day.” I said, “What?” And he says, “Yeah, the hard drive is just gone.”
Wait, seriously? They weren’t making quintuple backups of the footage in real-time on a $195 million shoot? That’s kind of shocking… Though I would assume that they revamped their data management for the second day. Read a transcript of the full interview below.