The “Dark of the Moon” helmer talks to THR about how the movie’s climactic Chicago destruction sequence came to be and the scene that caused Industrial Light and Magic’s computer system to crash.
This story first appeared in the Dec. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The Hollywood Reporter: You have quite a large below-the-line team.
Michael Bay: Roughly 3,000 people worked on this Transformers. Some have been with me since 1995′s Bad Boys. The people I work with are animals. They’re passionate. It irks me that VFX and VFX movies aren’t considered art. It’s a different type of art, but it’s definitely art.
THR: How important is sound to your films?
Bay: Sound has been a major part of my movies. It’s something I love and put a huge emphasis on. The sound on this film is the most complex I’ve ever done. The Transformers sound team invents sounds, and they start very early. It’s a long, creative process, and nothing for this movie is off-the-shelf.
THR: What did you use to create some of the sound that became part of The Driller’s “voice”?
Bay: At one point, we worked with an orangutan whose trainer said to sound designer Erik Aadahl, “Turn your back and put your keys to the side. I’m going to steal your keys when the orangutan is watching. He’ll go crazy because he can’t imagine the injustice of what’s going on.”
THR: Can you discuss the Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound mix in the climactic Chicago destruction sequence?
Bay: [Rerecording mixer] Greg Russell said reel seven [the destruction of Chicago, including The Driller] was the hardest of his career. He said it had 30,000 fades files, and the entire [Pro Tools audio postproduction system] locked up.
They had to call the engineers who developed the program to fix it. They had never heard of a reel having 30,000 fades.
THR: Didn’t the movie also crash ILM’s computer system?
Bay: It was the scene where The Driller destroys Chicago. It was single-handedly the most complex shot ILM has ever done in its history. They had to hijack the entire computer system over the weekends to get the shots finished.
I never really bother to correct gossip sites. Some of the time they report untrue things, but celebrities and public people often just let them pass. I am going to comment now on sites like TMZ and others recently reporting about a woman names Lauren Stoner. She is not my girlfriend. We are not dating nor have we ever dated. We have been friends for five years. She in fact is dating a friend of mine named, Matt Anthony. Just because a photograph was taken on the beach a while back, they had to create a story.
I know this because I talked to the photographer who took the pic. He told me “this is how I make my living”. I’m glad to have helped in any job creation I can in America. Now with the facts straight can I get back to prepping my new movie?
Transformers 3 is nominated in the following categories:
Favorite Action Movie
Click on the image below to vote!
A couple of nights ago, TF3 Dark Of The Moon quietly passed Lord Of the Rings: Return Of The King to become the 4th highest film of all time. Thanks to all the fans for making it so and especially that one person who we know has seen it about 60 times. Yes, you read right. 60.
In other news, the TF3 DVD/Blu-ray debuted at the #1 spot with 64% of the sales being Blu-ray.
HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Sept. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Spectacular action, stunning visual effects, non-stop thrills and fan-favorite characters including OPTIMUS PRIME, BUMBLEBEE and Sam Witwicky rocketed Transformers: Dark of the Moon into the stratosphere, with the latest installment of the wildly popular TRANSFORMERS franchise surpassing its predecessors to earn over $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office. From Paramount Pictures in association with Hasbro, the breathtaking film redefines the scale, scope and emotional impact of what a blockbuster can be with the ongoing epic story of the mighty AUTOBOTS in a thrill-packed adventure that the whole family can enjoy. Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment, the film will debut in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo with a digital copy and on standard DVD on Friday, September 30, 2011, followed by a deluxe Blu-ray and DVD release, including a Blu-ray 3D, in the coming months.
“For fans who can’t wait, the Blu-ray release in September will deliver an awesome ride with the movie in stunning 1080p high definition and a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack that was personally overseen by our phenomenal supervising sound mixer just for the Blu-ray,” said director Michael Bay. “As you know, we put a lot of effort into the 3D experience for the theatrical release and I want to make sure we get it right for home viewing–and that process takes time. So stay tuned for an even more incredible release that will include the film on Blu-ray 3D and loads of bonus features.”
Source: PRNews Wire/MarketWatch
Exclusive to Michael Bay Dot Com are some never before seen photos of what went on behind the scenes on Transformers 3 Dark Of The Moon.
Paramount’s blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon is being re-released in Imax theaters for an extended two-week run, beginning Friday.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon: An IMAX 3D Experience has been digitally remastered with proprietary IMAX technology.
According to insiders, Dark of the Moon will play in 246 Imax theaters in North America from Aug. 26 to Sept. 8. During those two weeks, the film will play simultaneously with other movies already booked by Imax.
From the Mailibu Patch:
Francesco Quinn, an Italian-born actor and a son of Oscar winner Anthony Quinn, died Friday night of an apparent heart attack near his home in the La Costa neighborhood of Malibu. He was 48.
Quinn was born March 22, 1963 in Rome, Italy to Anthony Quinn’s second wife Iolanda. His acting career began in 1986 with a role in the Oscar-winning Oliver Stone film Platoon. He went on to appear in numerous films and television shows, including playing Tomas Del Cerro in the CBS soap opera Young and the Restless. For that role, Quinn was nominated for an American Latino Media Arts Award, which recognizes people who portray positive representations of Latinos.
In a notable victory for Paramount and director Michael Bay, threequel Transformers: Dark of the Moon has become the first film in the franchise to reach $1 billion in worldwide grosses.
Through Tuesday, the pic’s international cume was $663 million; through Monday, its domestic total was $338.8 million, the top grossing film of the year in North America.
Dark of the Moon is only the 10th film in history to hit the $1 billion mark, as well as securing the record for top Paramount pic of all time. The film’s performance has no doubt been boosted by being the first title in the series to be shot and released in 3D.
Paramount chairman-CEO Brad Gray said Dark of the Moon was “a substantial milestone in the 99 year life” of the studio.
“We are grateful for the extraordinary work of Michael Bay and his film-making team, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and everyone at Paramount around the globe who played a part in helping make this latest Transformers one of the 10 highest grossing films worldwide of all time,” Gray said.
Over the weekend, Paramount’s threequel Transformers: Dark of the Moon became the top grossing film in the series, with a worldwide total of $882.4 million through Sunday.
The original Transformers grossed $709.7 million globally, while sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen took in $836.3 million. Dark of the Moon’s performance has no doubt been helped by being the only one of the three to be released in 3D.
Dark of the Moon’s weekend tally included $62 million in foreign grosses—fueled by a $40 million-plus opening in China, the biggest three-day launch of all time for an American film and eclipsing Avatar’s debut by 72%.
I really do hate how writers get it wrong. They write as if they were there every day, every hour, for two years of production. David Cohen’s 3D story for Variety, missed the mark. I often ask my what is the point in talking to writer’s because they just want to print their own reality of the truth.
David didn’t print the whole story from me, or my team, which makes a deceiving portrait of the truth. He got the conversion percentages wrong. And more importantly missed the true point of what the story should have been. The world was asking for a good 3D experience. How you could seamlessly blend Native to converted. Transformers 3D stands on it own, and we feel proud we delivered.
David wasn’t interested into how Transformers revolutionized the conversion process in it’s approach, and technique. He thought he would bore readers by forgetting to mention the massive complexity of the hundreds of layers, and the full year we had our two conversion companies working on some of the shots. We did think way different, and outside the box.
He could’ve made an educational article where directors and producers could’ve learned about new conversion techniques and the innovative ways to approach the process. But instead it was a lame attempt to say we fibbed to the audience.
I always thought Variety was a film trade magazine?
I read some of the blogs people sent me from other sites, a couple have totally missed the point. Yes I could of bought one for Cody. Not the point, I’m trying to get Apple and Steve Jobs to understand what an amazing device they have – and never intended. Cody’s mother told me the device for communication they insure Cody for are basically shitty and cost 10k. No internet connection. Ipad $700. Insurance will not cover them because you can connect to the internet – are you kidding me? Insurance is always so lame and behind the times.
The point is to get the message out to that these devices like iPads can help kids like Cody.
Some of you might not know who Greg Russell is, but I guarantee you’ve heard his work.
Greg has been working with Bay since ‘The Rock.’ He’s been nominated a whopping fourteen times for an Oscar. You can read a cover story of him in this month’s Editors Guild magazine.
Recently, the Motion Picture Editors Guild magazine interviewed Greg and Michael Bay.
Editors Guild Magazine: Greg, how do you set up for a mix on an effects-heavy movie like Transformers: Dark of the Moon?
Greg Russell: Having worked with the same basic crew, including supervising sound editors Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl, on two previous Transformers films, we have developed a formula for the effects food groups that would come to the stage as well as how the elements would be broken out. I worked toward a total of eight robot pre-dubs and 14 hard effects pre-dubs, plus four background and four Foley pre-dubs.
For robots, I first started with the feet, literally building the mix from the ground up. Then I moved onto bigger metal movements and the medium metal movements, right on down to the eyelash clicks. The other food groups included vocalizations––the robot language and tonalities are in the effects, not part of dialogue. The hard effects included vehicles, skids, cars, jets, trucks, helicopters, human artillery, and fire and explosions, plus some props and Foley elements, as well as touchy-feely stuff like paper downs and so on. Since I prefer to do all the panning, these mono elements comprise maybe 20 or 25 tracks for each food group.
EGM: How do you work with the sound editorial crew?
GR: The sound editors are pretty disciplined by now; they are more concise in what they bring to the stage and they don’t over-cut. If necessary, ProTools sessions can be opened and an element refined without the need to re-cut the track. In the old days of 35mm mag, editors didn’t want to commit and would over-cut, meaning that I spent my time weeding out things I didn’t need.
EGM: Michael, how important is sound to your movies?
Michael Bay: Sound is 50 percent of the movie; it is critical. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an effects-heavy movie, stylized and beautiful. Greg Russell is a key to its success.
We consistently try and make my movies the best sounding we’ve ever done. As James Cameron told me the other day when I played him an in-progress mix: “It’s f*cking epic!” We were in the middle of mixing the wall-to-wall sound in Act 3, as we’re preparing for the Battle of Chicago with a few characters in the middle of the city. It is all too easy for the mix to become too overwhelming. I rely on Greg to keep me grounded. You can make it totally loud, but then you have nowhere to go in terms of dynamics. Less, quite often, can be more for a movie soundtrack.
EGM: What does Greg Russell bring to your productions?
MB: I’ve been working with Greg since 1996; he is fantastic at his job. I prefer to weave the sound so that audiences can hear important cues and I can focus their attention on specific elements. A director basically manipulates audiences in terms of guiding where he wants their eyes to go from shot to shot. It is exactly the same with sound; we use it as a tool to have the audience hear exactly what is important in the film. It is how you focus the audience with sound effects, which can all too often dominate the action.
EGM: Greg, what did Dolby 7.1 Surround bring to the production?
GR: This was my first 7.1-channel mix, with Gary Summers handling dialogue and Jeff Haboush the music; we had a great time! The four surround channels—left-wall, left-back, right-wall and right-back—offer a full-field quad scenario. If I have a machine gun going “rat-tat-tat” in the right-side surround, a separate “kaboom” in the right-rear adds impact and interest; 7.1 offers creative opportunities to move sounds around the room with much more defined rear-field panning.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon was a very busy mix. I was out to around 256 faders on the Harrison MC-4D at Sony’s Kim Novak Stage, with 32 open-channel sweeteners for things that changed or where we wanted a different sound. We often received new or revised visuals for which I might need to add new material. We just muted tracks in the pre-dub and added the new sweetener tracks.
EGM: Michael, what was the standout for you, sound-wise?
MB: Act 3, which focuses on an all-out attack on Chicago, is ridiculously complex. The sound weaves around the action; it is just staggering what a good mix these talented people can produce. I look for creativity in my re-recording crew—people who come up with something fresh and new for me. Ingenuity is the key; people who think outside the box and constantly have a varied approach to the movie’s soundtrack. During pre-production, I get involved with the mixers early; I’m constantly demanding the very best of people.
Source: MPEG Magazine