Visual effects studios are facing a major challenge in keeping up with and meeting the expectations of director Michael Bay who’s attempting to really push the special effects envelope for Revenge of the Fallen.
Variety spoke with some of the special effects supervisors working on the sequel to Transformers and it sounds like they may be feeling a tad bit of pressure to pull off the insane special effects requirements needed to bring the next Transformers film to life - especially under the strict time-lines they are given.
The lead visual effects supervisor for both Transformers films, Scott Farrar (from Industrial Light and Magic) spoke about the massive increase in scale and effects from the predecessor to Revenge of the Fallen:
"Michael took the production value up many, many notches," he says. "Just the backgrounds alone are huge. It's a combination of 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Ben-Hur,' in regards to fantastic backgrounds and the unbelievable sets we worked at around the world."
Everyone involved in "Revenge of the Fallen" is keeping the details under wraps, but Farrar says there are some 60 robot characters, and they play in settings around the world. Some, like refineries at night, were chosen to boost the visual drama and show off the scale of the giant 'bots.
What's more, this time the Transformers will interact much more with the world around them. Farrar highlights "the splashes and the hits and the fighting on dirt or moving, banging into trees," explaining, "Things splinter and break, they spit, they outgas, they sweat, they snort."
60 robot characters?! That’s more than three times as much as we got to see in the first Transformers. Also, this movie presents a new challenge for Bay as he’s spending a big portion of the film directing non-existent computer-generated characters.
"(Bay) had to learn a whole litany of new things by getting into this robot culture on the first film," Farrar says. "I don't think he'd ever worked on a film where he'd done so much directing of animated characters. So he's really taken it to heart, and I think not everybody does, but he actually enjoys the process."
While ILM is doing the majority of the effects for the movie, Digital Domain which Bay co-owns is also helping in the visual effects department. Matthew Butler who’s the vfx supervisor for Digital Domain comments on the movie and Bay’s ability to manage the conflicting interests as a director, producer and owner of the visual effects house:
"He's brilliant, but he's a challenge.” Not only is Bay demanding, as top directors generally are, but "he's incredibly fast-paced. He's a whirlwind to keep up with, both on the set and in post."
"Michael is very fiscally responsible. A director but he's very much a producer too. In fact, whenever we're talking about any shot or sequence, he's thinking about what it costs, and he's thinking about bang for the buck."
For those of you demanding more action, more robots and more screen time devoted to your Cybertronian friends, your demands have been answered.
Are you excited for next Transformers movie?
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen opens in theaters June 24, 2009.