Michael Bay is a man who knows exactly how to properly tease an audience to get them pumped for his movies. On Wednesday night, before a nearly-packed house on the Paramount lot, Bay presented another teaser reel of footage from “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” all of it in 3-D mind you, and brought along buddy James Cameron to join him onstage for a lively (and highly technical, slightly nerdy) discussion about their adventures in 3-D filmmaking.
First let me touch on the footage… I’ve been very lucky to have seen about a half hour of the film, thanks to a preview event with Bay a few weeks ago, so I figured I’d be seeing the same stuff again this week.
Not so! Bay rolled out the entire opening of the film, which, in a nutshell, is the “real” backstory behind our rush to land on the moon in 1969. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say that something unidentified might have crash-landed on the moon, which prompted the mad dash to get Neil Armstrong and company up there to investigate.
We also saw the 3-D version of the trailer which, on that massive screen, is such a joy to behold. Your computer screens don’t do it justice, people! Wait to see it in front of “Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides” this weekend.
Anyway, with regard to Bay and Cameron’s 3-D discussion, my favorite parts involved the two millionaire masterminds playfully harassing each other about their hugely successful films and careers (i.e. “Like you ever have anything that’s not aggressive,” Cameron to Bay, regarding the “Transformer” director’s claims that not all of his sequences in this third film are aggressive.) Bay reiterated the fact that Cameron is the one who convinced him to go 3-D, despite his prior and public misgivings. They both referred to 3-D as a “tool” and a “fun toy,” something more to add to a filmgoing experience, that it’s almost like music, that it can be sculpted, etc. There was also a lot of talk about the technical aspects of going 3-D: camera specs, angle measurements, lenses, etc., basically a bunch of things that were way over my head.
Other highlights include: Bay revealing that shooting in 3-D cost $30 million, both Bay and Cameron lamenting the overuse of last-minute 3-D conversion: “It’s a danger for the business,” Cameron said. “We’re abusing it left and right… you can’t wedge [3-D] into post production like a sound mix.”
Also, bonus Cameron facts: In order to write action scenes, Cameron said he has to “crank music so loud [he] can barely think.” Also, when asked a question about what limits there are to visual FX nowadays, Cameron said there are none. “There’s nothing you can’t do, it’s just a matter of money and time.”
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