Wired: The Untold Story of ILM

Posted on May 20, 2015

From the Wired article: The Untold Story of ILM, a Titan That Forever Changed Film

Wired Magazine June 2016 Cover

In the early 1980s, a teenager named Michael Bay had a summer job at Lucasfilm, filing artwork. Two decades later he would become ILM’s most … hands-on collaborator.

SPIELBERG: Michael Bay is the most demanding special effects director ever. When we do the Transformers movies, Michael lives at ILM with them. He just goes up and camps out there.

MICHAEL BAY (DIRECTOR, PRODUCER): They’re always thinking about story, that’s what I like about ’em. It’s not just paint-by-numbers there. It’s a very involved shop.

JAEGER: I’ve worked on seven of his films now. It’s come to the point where he asks for me, like, “Make sure Alex takes a look before you guys send it out.” But on Pearl Harbor I was just “the guy.” I didn’t have a name.

BAY: Pearl Harbor was the first time I worked with ILM.


From left to right: Rian Johnson, Michael Bay, Ron Howard and Guillermo Del Toro

JAEGER: At the beginning of the process he came at us like, “I want to see real explosions, real planes, real ships.” We built a 35-foot-long battleship with teak decking, but as the model was getting prepped, we developed a computer-generated version.

BAY: We filmed 20 real planes, but we would’ve never been able to do the shots without making those digital planes.

JAEGER: In one scene where we fly over the USS Hornet, there’s supposed to be a whole deck full of B-25 bombers. We only had two on the real aircraft carrier. We sat down with Michael and said, “Pick out which one is the real plane and which ones are the CG planes.” And he’s like, “I was there, I shot this.” He probably looked at it 10 times, and he’s like, “Well, the first one’s gotta be real because you wouldn’t put a fake one first.” “Nope, it’s CG.”

BAY: After Pearl Harbor, George Lucas wrote me a note saying we’d raised the bar at ILM.

BAY: A lot of artists worked on Optimus’ face. Getting it right was very important. But it’s like a bad face-lift. And I’m there meeting with the artists and we can’t figure out why it doesn’t look right.

PHILLIPS: One of our technical directors—the artist who designs how parts move relative to each other—is a guy named Keiji.

BAY: Keiji wasn’t even on Optimus’ face, but he had a meltdown.

KEIJI YAMAGUCHI (TECHNICAL ANIMATOR): I wanted Optimus Prime to look like a hero, but he didn’t, and I exploded. It was very gentle; I wanted the transformation to be huge, like a wrestler in a sumo ceremony. I said, “You’re insulting the Japanese idea of animation.”

PHILLIPS: Nobody talks to Michael Bay like that.

BAY: I just smiled and I’m like, “Oh my God, I want you to do Optimus Prime.” So he took it and fixed the face. And he also was the genius who helped us figure out how to take these 10,000 parts and make them transform.

JEFF WHITE (VFX SUPERVISOR): It’s equal parts technology and artistry.

WAYNE BILLHEIMER (VFX EXECUTIVE PRODUCER): The second Transformers was my first real working relationship with Bay. I went into a couple of early preproduction meetings with him where I began to get what was going on: “I’m going to shoot it, I’m going to give it to you guys, and you guys are going to have to come up with some stuff. It’s going to be brutal.”

BAY: It has gotten heated a few times. Directors like me love our crew and we love the people we work with, but we push ’em and push ’em and push ’em.

BILLHEIMER: There was a point toward the very end of production when he lost it. He had just come from a screening with Jerry Bruckheimer and didn’t have a complete third act. He called me, screaming: “I just saw a movie that I can’t fucking release!” It was nuclear-level Bay screaming. All I could do was scream back at him. There was a good five minutes of screaming along those lines. The next day he goes, “That was a fun little yell yesterday.”

BAY: They never let you down.

BILLHEIMER: He gets very hot very fast, and very sweary, which is always entertaining.

PHILLIPS: He’s a tyrant. He’s a nonstop string of obscenities. He’ll berate you and tell you you’re an idiot. But he always makes your shot better.

BILLHEIMER: And the movie makes a billion dollars.

Happy 50th Dolby

Posted on May 18, 2015



Happy 50th Dolby! Thanks for all the inspiration. And thanks for Dolby Atmos! I’m currently shooting in Malta. I’m looking forward to all your future innovations.

Michael Bay

Stephen Amell as Casey Jones

Posted on May 1, 2015

Stephen Amell as Casey Jones

Just Some Stuff I Found . . .

Posted on Apr 25, 2015

Just some stuff I found . . .

Just some stuff I found . . .

Tartaruga Bros

‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’ Is 2014’s Most Valuable Blockbuster

‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’ Is 2014’s Most Valuable Blockbuster

Posted on Mar 13, 2015

From Deadline Hollywood:

Transformers: Age Of Extinction turned in a $245M domestic gross, did $545M foreign and another $301M China (Paramount kept $75 million of that), for a total of $1.09 billion. That is just short of the last installment, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, which grossed $1.12B to become the first Transformers to crack the billion dollar gross mark. Paramount rebooted this franchise with new core characters led by the ever-reliable Mark Wahlberg. The first dollar gross positions of that actor and Bay meant big backend positions. But who’s to complain when the movie dropped $250.2M in net profit to Paramount, and a Cash on Cash Return of 1.42?

Transformers 4: Bay On Action

Posted on Jan 1, 2015

2014 Producers Of The Year

Posted on Dec 19, 2014

Michael Bay

From the Hollywood Reporter:

“Michael Bay was trying to come up with a good name for his new short film. It was 1988 and he had been doing graduate work at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena when a friend brought Bay’s quandary to the attention of Oliver Stone. The Platoon director glanced at a list of titles Bay had supplied and zeroed in on one. “He said, ‘Platinum Dunes! That’s a great f—ing title!’ ” recalls Bay.

Cut to 13 years later. It was 2001, Bay had become one of Hollywood’s top directors, and he and his two partners, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, were trying to think up a name for their brand-new production company. Why not Platinum Dunes, they wondered?

Since that moment, Dunes has taken its place as one of the most prolific small companies in the business, with credits ranging from 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to 2013’s microbudget The Purge.”

Read the entire article and watch the video.

Transformers 4 Reel

Posted on Nov 17, 2014

Transformers 4 Is #1 In Blu-ray & Media Sales

Posted on Oct 10, 2014

From Variety:

“The big sci-fi action sequel “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” from Paramount Pictures, easily topped all three national home video charts for the week ending Oct. 5…“Transformers” generated a whopping 63% of its total first-week unit sales from the high-definition format.”


New Site

Posted on Sep 28, 2014

Nelson here…

Welcome to the new web site. We’ve just about finished migrating all the content from the past 15 years. Most of the old content is now available with the exception of some videos, which I’ll be adding soon. The layout is different and some of the menu items have changed. Which brings me to…

The menu. If you’re wondering where the menu is, click or tap on the 3 white bars (better known as the hamburger icon) found at the upper right corner of the page. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the new layout.



Transformers 4 Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD Debuts September 30th

Posted on Aug 26, 2014

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. (August 26, 2014) – From director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg and in association with Hasbro, Inc., Paramount Pictures’ $1 billion worldwide blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction makes its highly-anticipated debut September 30, 2014 on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and VOD. The film will be available to own two weeks earlier on Digital HD September 16, 2014.

The Transformers: Age of Extinction four-disc Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and three-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack feature more than three hours of illuminating bonus content. From selecting fierce new cars and designing new TRANSFORMERS characters to constructing elaborately detailed sets, this comprehensive footage truly takes viewers inside the fun, hard work and excitement of making an electrifying global blockbuster film.

The spectacular Combo Packs also include an in-depth interview with Michael Bay about his approach to the film’s jaw-dropping action sequences, a crash course on the “Bayhem” of being on set for the massive, global production, a revealing look at the design process inside Hasbro Headquarters, and more. Plus there’s even more than meets the eye with the hilarious TRANSFORMERS KREON trailer where KREON figures take you through all of the blockbuster TRANSFORMERS movies. In addition, the Combo Packs include a brand new Angry Bird TRANSFORMERS trailer where birds and pigs turn into Autobots and Deceptihogs, creating havoc on Piggy Island.

The Blu-ray 3D includes expanded images as seen in IMAX™ theaters.



Blu-ray Combo Pack

The Transformers: Age of Extinction Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 5.1 Discrete Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Discrete Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The English 5.1 and English 2.0 tracks were each individually mastered to ensure optimal sound for the home entertainment experience.

The DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Discrete Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

The disc breakdown is as follows:

Disc 1 (Blu-ray):

Feature film in high definition

Disc 2 (Blu-ray):

Bay On Action—In-depth interview with Michael Bay about his vision and approach to the film’s mind-blowing action sequences.

Evolution Within Extinction:

Generation 2—A look at where the fourth film picks up as we meet new faces—both man and machine—and a Transformers world after the Battle of Chicago.

Drive Like Hell—Two entirely re-envisioned models of OPTIMUS PRIME and BUMBLEBEE appear in the film, along with an intimidating new nemesis, LOCKDOWN, as a Lamborghini Aventador plus other incredibly cool cars including a sophisticated Bugatti Veyron and a sleek Pagani Huayra. Check them out and see how actor Jack Reynor learned how to drive his Sonic rally car for the intense chase sequences.

Small Town, Big Movie— When Transformers rolls into some small Texas towns, the normally quiet and picturesque countryside is suddenly alight with explosive action. Explore the different locations with members of the show’s art department and hear from robotics students whose designs appear as part of Cade’s lab.

Shadow Protocol Activated— Follow the production to Detroit with unprecedented access to GM’s Lansing plant and Milford Proving Grounds test track; watch an impressive indoor car chase created in an auto parts factory; return to Chicago where location managers discovered a historical movie theater that served as the backdrop for Cade’s fateful first encounter with OPTIMUS PRIME; and finally travel to Washington state and the unlikely site of a never-used nuclear power plant. o The Last Stand—A vacant lot in downtown Detroit is turned into a square block of Hong Kong. Watch as it literally takes shape from the ground up—then marvel as the crew blows it up piece by piece.

The People’s Republic— China plays an extremely prominent role in the film both on-screen and behind-the-scenes; in fact, four Chinese actors were chosen from thousands of applicants on a reality TV show to appear in the movie. In addition, the production traveled to Hong Kong, the beautiful valley of Wulong Karst National Park in Chongqing and the Great Wall in Beijing to capture breathtaking footage. o Rise of the DINOBOTS—Several new TRANSFORMERS characters make their live-action debut in this film. Get a brief history of the new recruits and then go inside Industrial Light & Magic to see how they were designed and conceptualized for the film

The Finishing Touch— Watch Michael Bay work like you’ve never seen him before. The director connects virtually with his Santa Monica headquarters, visits the editing bay and then checks in on the visual effects house in San Francisco—all from the comfort of his Miami home office. Also, get an in-depth look at the music contributions of Imagine Dragons as they collaborate with the film’s composer Steve Jablonsky. Finally, get exclusive red carpet access to the film’s world premiere in Hong Kong.

Just Another Giant Effin’ Movie—Discover the fun, frenetic and amazing way a movie like Transformers: Age of Extinction gets made.

A Spark of Design— Enjoy an exclusive look inside Hasbro’s creation of TRANSFORMERS: Age of Extinction Stomp and Chomp Grimlock action figure from concept and development to sculpting and painting, and then ultimately to the assembly line.

T.J. Miller: Farm Hippie — Actor/comedian T.J. Miller never imagined he’d be part of a massively successful franchise like Transformers so he sets off to personally thank the people who made it possible. Come along as he visits Bay Films, gets some pointers from Kelsey Grammer, and even stops by Mark Wahlberg’s house in this funny piece.

KRE-O TRANSFORMERS: Take Us Through the Movies! – OPTIMUS PRIME will bring you up to speed on all of the TRANSFORMERS movies one by one in this hilarious, animated short where the TRANSFORMERS KREON figures act out the movies while building and rebuilding each scene…brick by brick.

The Angry Birds TRANSFORMERS: Origin Story – Bonus content tells the origin story of how the EggSpark has landed on Piggy Island causing the eggs on the island to turn into evil Egg-bots, wreaking havoc across the whole island. The EggSpark has also caused the Birds and Pigs to turn into Autobots and Deceptihogs, who must team up in order to stop the Egg-bots before it’s too late!


Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack

The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack includes all of the above, as well as a Blu-ray 3D with expanded images as seen in IMAX theaters presented in 1080p high definition, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 5.1 Discrete Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Discrete Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The English 5.1 and English 2.0 tracks were each individually mastered to ensure optimal sound for the home entertainment experience.

The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack available for purchase include a Digital Version of the film that can be accessed through UltraViolet™, a new way to collect, access and enjoy movies. With UltraViolet, consumers can add movies to their digital collection in the cloud, and then stream or download them—reliably and securely—to a variety of devices.

Disc 3 (DVD):

Feature film in standard definition



The Transformers: Age of Extinction DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Discrete Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The disc includes the feature film in standard definition.

ALS Challenge

Posted on Aug 21, 2014

Please donate to the ALS Association at their web site: http://www.alsa.org