Michael Bay: ‘Jury Still Out’ on Transformers 3 In 3D

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:26 pm,

Following the new Transformers 3 casting report, Michael Bay recently offered his take on 3D filmmaking, asserting that as far as he is concerned, the “jury is still out.”

That said, the Transformers director appears to have become a bit more open to the idea of 3D filmmaking, at least when compared to his statement nearly at year ago at ShoWest 2009, when he said, “I might be old school. I think it might be a gimmick.”

Following the success of Avatar, Bay is undoubtedly being pressured into going 3D with his upcoming Transformers 3 project.

However, the director remains unconvinced:

“I shoot complicated stuff, I put real elements into action scenes and honestly, I am not sold right now on the conversion process.”

Bay also challenged the notion that retrofitting a film for 3D costs around $100,000 per minute of footage, asserting that the number is closer to the $120,000 – $150,000 range – meaning a quality conversion of Transformers 3 could run about $30 million.

In addition to the cost, the director doesn’t feel the completed conversions have held up to his litmus test for awesomeness:

“I am trying to be sold, and some companies are still working on the shots I gave them. Right now, it looks like fake 3D, with layers that are very apparent. You go to the screening room, you are hoping to be thrilled, and you’re thinking, huh, this kind of sucks. People can say whatever they want about my movies, but they are technically precise, and if this isn’t going to be excellent, I don’t want to do it. And it is my choice. I’m used to having the A-team working on my films, and I’m going to hand it over to the D-team, have it shipped to India and hope for the best? This conversion process is always going to be inferior to shooting in real 3D.”

Transformers 3 Optimus Prime Michael Bay: Jury Still Out on Transformers 3 In 3D

So why doesn’t Bay just shoot in 3D?

On the same stage where he asserted that 3D might just be a “gimmick,” the director also stated that the way he shoots a film is “too aggressive for 3-D cameras.” While Bay’s feelings about the possibilities of 3D may have softened a bit, it’s safe to say the technology hasn’t evolved enough over the last year to meet the director’s fast-paced, go-go-go filming style.

Always the championing for the everyday moviegoer, Bay concludes:

“Studios might be willing to sacrifice the look and use the gimmick to make $3 more a ticket, but I’m not.  Avatar took four years. You can’t just $#!% out a 3D movie. I’m saying, the jury is still out.”

It’s good to see Bay holding his ground on this point; at the very least it means that if Bay ultimately caves, Transformers 3 will get the best possible 3D conversion possible icon wink Michael Bay: Jury Still Out on Transformers 3 In 3D .

transfomres 2 bumblebee fight Michael Bay: Jury Still Out on Transformers 3 In 3D

Transformers 2 was a clear example of a film muddled by too much high-powered visual tech. The combination of fast-paced CGI effects, mixed with IMAX-sized visuals, at times detracted from the overall experience. Imagine if Bay had added 3D into the mix.

While the forest sequence was a highlight of the TF2, other set-pieces flew by in a blurry mishmash of colorful robot parts – even in 2D. Watching the film again on DVD allowed for a much clearer notion of what was actually happening – even if it was missing the epic “wow” factor.

This is certainly a line that filmmakers will need to investigate for themselves going forward, as retrofitting films with 3D can detract from the visual experience the director had originally intended, undermining the overall experience.

Regardless, the pressure for filmmakers to produce the next Avatar isn’t going dissipate anytime soon.

What do you think of Bay’s comments? Would you like to see 3D sequences in the next Transformers?

Transformers 3 is scheduled for a July 1, 2011 release.

Source: Deadline

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  1. “at the very least it means that if Bay ultimately caves, Transformers 3 will get the best possible 3D conversion possible ;-) .”

    That's not saying a lot, as Bay says, even the best 3D conversion doesn't match the real thing and really just makes things look plain weird. I've heard early buzz about Clash of the Titans looking terrible in 3D, and you have to imagine it's conversion was fairly top notch. At the end of the day, it'll always remind me of people taking old Black and White films and digitally making them colour.

  2. Well said Bay. I know his films are dodgy storywise, but you've got to admit, those action scenes must take an amazing set of skills to make.

    I like Bay's films and have a lot of respect for the man. Bravo.

    Very underrated.

  3. DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I'm all the way with the BayMan. I liked the two TF films the way they were. I hope he keeps Transformers 3 2D. And as a fan of his work, I can say that his style is not exactly a 3D material. It's way too aggressive, like he said.

  5. Way to go Bay for sticking to your guns! I love it. Don't let anyone push you around with the possible 4th world 3D technology!! I say if it looks crap and you can see it in the screening test room, then most of the who pay close attention to your films and the action on large 50″ plasma's like mine, will see the difference in quality too. I say for now, if you go 3D – film in 3D for the real experience. If not – leave it alone..

  6. I totally agree my good man !

  7. Yup – like you said !! NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!

  8. I totally agree. He is always under the microscope from film critics, and fan-boys! It's always easier to criticize than actually do.

    But, I seriously doubt anyone could make a better film with his action/CGI sequences, and I challenge anyone on earth to take his position at the helm thinking they could.. Way to go Bay, way to Go !

  9. Forget conversions to 3D – if he goes that route – FILM it in 3D.. The experience will be so much better !!

  10. I have alot more respect for Bay now. Down with 3D conversions.

  11. I very much doubt he'll do that, I think that's the line he won't cross. He's said before, his style of film-making doesn't lend itself well to shooting in 3D (requiring two cameras shooting at the same time).

  12. I'm with Bay here. If you're going to invest an extra 30 million into this picture, might as well spend it on robot screen time, which was the thing that both movies needed to improve on. He may know much (or care much, it's kinda hard to tell) about the story process of filmmaking, but he sure has a lot of integrity in regards to the technical aspects of it, and for that he has my total respect.

  13. *not know

    Should have proofread that a bit better

  14. Yea the jury is still out… to the tune of $2.5 billion and counting. What an idiot.

  15. Read the article again. I think you missed his point.

  16. Nice to see Bay has some standards. I can see his point, with the exception of Avatar, there have been no 3D successes at all, and Transformers may feature a lot of CGI it is still filmed in the real world and 3D has hardly been proven to blend seemlessly with real world locations and images.

  17. I too heard Titans looks awful in 3D, how couldnt it, they did the conversion in a matter of weeks!

  18. I agree with both of you, Bay is a very technically accomplished movies, and it almost seems blasphemous to suggest but; imagine a Superman movie in his hands….

  19. Thats One movie. One movie that has been in development for nearly 2 decades. 3D is a new technology that has worked well on One movie.

  20. I’m willing to bet anyone’s Salary or Job for that matter that neither the ‘Dinobots’ nor ‘Unicron’ will ever be in this film (maybe even any film for that matter). ‘Unicron’ is too big of an element to be in the sequel, and the ‘Dinos’ are too irrelevant in today’s world. I’m guessing that it will be based on the mythology of “Energon” and the “Life” of any ‘Transformer’ on Earth as we know it. How will the “Transformers” continue to live on Earth without an energy source to live off of? According to Hasbro’s CEO, “You’re going to see that great core mythology brought to the fore, and Michael is hard at work at making this a reality and we’re very excited about it,” Hasbro’s head Brian Goldner also quoted Mr. Bay stating, “What we’re really doing is getting back to some of the core character development and storytelling. And I think there’s some elements of the core story that the filmmakers, Michael in particular wanted to tell…” With that said, this sequels cast includes Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Ken Jeong, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Ramon Rodriguez, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, and Kym Whitley, they really are focusing on character placement and development. It will be pretty difficult for Bay & Spielberg to come up with something historic as well as original. Possibly by now everyone has read the “Leaked Script” that was release immaturely late last year and everyone should know how that story was told, but everyone should also keep in mind that not everything presented from a “Leaked Script” is considered a complete fake; Nevertheless, that most of what is said is completely useless. This same leaked script does point out an issue that the humans are revolting against the same “Transformers” that have turned up here on Earth, which coincidently has been expressed and shown online with pictures depicting city walls and garbage cans spray-painted with crossed-out “Autobot” or “Decepticon” logos depicted in a circle with the words “Go Home” sprayed below. Many of you believe stories related to the comics and cartoons may seem too “Old,” while others may believe the stories that are original and/or new may not seem too “Traditional.” Either way, Hasbro, Paramount, Michael Bay, and Steven Spielberg can’t make everyone happy at once. It will take several creative ideas to come together that will touch all generations. Basicly, from everything I’ve read (real or not) and stated here, Transformers 3 will be very simple (similar to Part 1) and less complex (similar to Part 2) where the storyline will be easy to follow, more understanding, over and above with dialog between the Humans and Robots; which will return with improvements and essentially become more in depth. By just adding a few newbie’s (Autobots / Decepticons) as well as bringing back all “survivors” from the last two films, I believe this film could be more epic than the other two combined; But, I believe that it will regrettably just resemble its predecessors and fail after its first opening weekend. The Transformers 3 story will suffer from dehydration while falling victim to an aging cast that will somehow bring some type of human emotion to the forefront.