Michael Bay and James Cameron Talk 3D & 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon'

This past Wednesday evening we were able to attend a moderated conversation between filmmakers James Cameron and Michael Bay about the use of 3D in Transformers 3. Yesterday we teased some of the particulars of the conversation and gave details on the nearly twenty minutes of preview footage that was screened from Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Today we provided the new trailer for Transformers 3 which screens (in 3D) at the head of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Now Paramount Pictures has released a featurette with highlights from Wednesday evening's dialogue.

In addition to their chat on 3D, we were able to enjoy a bit of conversation about how these two men work as directors beyond the technical processes of filmmaking. Both Bay and Cameron are known for creating elaborate, jaw-dropping, crystal-meth-level-intensity action sequences. Cameron's work has a particular reputation for pushing the boundaries of what is currently thought to be possible.

When asked how he begins to imagine the spectacle we see in his films, Cameron said that in the writing process he likes to, "Crank up the music so loud that I can barely think." Whereas Bay finds himself dreaming up action-scenes when his mind and/or body are busy with other tasks. He envisioned one of the most vivid "destruction of Chicago" sequences in Dark of the Moon - "while doing crunches." Cameron recalled coming up with the idea to have one man jumping out of a plane (sans parachute) in order to chase down his target (as seen in Point Break) while he himself was mid-flight.

The bulk of the dialogue did, of course, center on 3D. For a flavor of the event, take a look at the featurette below:

As to the use of 3D, Bay and Cameron engaged in a fairly honest conversation about the format - and Bay was open about the headaches and hassles he felt were involved in working with 3D. We must confess, it was a good time to watch these two men occasionally verbally spar about both the benefits and limits of the technology.

When Bay said that working with 3D added $30 million to his budget, Cameron retorted, "Yeah, but how much more are you going to make?" To which Bay replied, "Well, that's the risk." Cameron concluded that it went without saying that a "film like this" is going to make more money.

Bay, who has traditionally been a supporter of working with film-stock pointed out some of what he believes are a few of the drawbacks to the digital format, in general. When Cameron extolled the virtues of the Red Epic, Bay said he wasn't so sure, and that he heard they had a ton of "techs" on the set of Spider-Man to deal with some of the shutter issues associated with the camera. Cameron replied that they (we assume his company) had, "just done a shoot with "Spider-Man" and there were no shutter issues."

Transformers 3 trailer 3D

As both Bay and Cameron mentioned in the talk, there has been a lot of poorly done 3D over the last couple of years, which has soured the public a bit to the medium. Cameron likens working with 3D to working with a score. Bay had mentioned that he had to slow down and smooth out his style somewhat in order to accommodate the constraints of 3D and Cameron advised that, like music, you can dial the 3D up, and dial it down depending on the needs of the particular scene. If there is a scene that needs to feel more fast paced and kinetic in order to communicate some level of emotional intensity, then he advised that a filmmaker simply "dial it back" in that moment.

Cameron, who is of course a driving force behind 3D, likened the stage that the technology is currently in to that of the automobile in 1905. It is a process, it is developing, changing and adapting to the needs of both the users and the viewers. As we know, technology develops at a far more rapid pace at this point in our shared history, and as such, we will likely see 3D tech advancing more quickly than automobiles did.

Obviously the tech will continue to grow and continue to be utilized in different ways by filmmakers. You can see our articles on the trailer and preview footage for our take on the 3D in this film, the long and the short of if it is this: From what we have seen -- it works.

Audiences will be able to have their say about the use of 3D in Transformers: Dark of the Moon when the film opens in theaters on June 29th.

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