Michael Bay Calls 3D a Gimmick During His ShoWest Update

April 3, 2009
Source: Collider, SlashFilm

Michael Bay

Hot shot director Michael Bay was in Vegas yesterday to accept the ShoWest Vanguard Award for Excellence in Filmmaking, and not only did he share some new footage of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (including the first shot of Devastator), but he spoke to the members of the press and answered numerous questions. Collider has a comprehensive rundown of his answers and a video, but I wanted to highlight a few of the better ones. One of them, in particular, also comes from SlashFilm, where when asked about 3D, Bay responded with, "I don't know… I might be old school. I think it might be a gimmick."

He says that the way he shoots is "too aggressive" for 3D cameras and they haven't come up with the technology that would allow him to work that aggressively and shoot in 3D. When asked if he's coming back to do Transformers 3, he wouldn't say officially either way. "I don't know, we'll see how Transformers 2 does," Bay said with a smile. And speaking of doing well, Bay also said that the budget for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was around $200 million and he even came in $4 million under budget - damn! That extra money is now being spent on polishing and improving some additional effects at ILM.

Although I've always loved Michael Bay and his explosive and highly entertaining movies, I think I'm now an even bigger fan because he called 3D a gimmick. Finally, some big filmmaker out there agrees that it really is a gimmick and nothing more! If it could only be used correctly, and even Bay said that he's interested in seeing what James Cameron has done on Avatar, then maybe it can finally become something more than just a gimmick. Anyway, I'm not trying to use this as an opportunity to slam 3D yet again, because this is supposed to be an update on all things Michael Bay. Head over to Collider for a bit more.

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I am along with Bay in thinking that it is a gimmick. However we will have to see what Cameron has done in Avatar. But even after seeing the huge undertaking Cameron has done on the film, will all films that want to do 3D want to spend as much time in it as he has or just go the easy way out? Or will his technology become the staple 3D technology?

Dan W on Apr 3, 2009


3-D is a gimmick, there really is no need for 3-D in films.

Xerxex on Apr 3, 2009


I second the gimmick talk. It's a complete waste of time and money, in my opinion.

stupidmovie on Apr 3, 2009


its a complete gimmick, its never been done well but i will still see avatar since everyone seems impressed

Ally420 on Apr 3, 2009


I like 3D movies *tear*

Scott McHenry on Apr 3, 2009


the first good thing Bay has done since The Rock. I say, good for him.

Al on Apr 3, 2009


Poor choice of words, don't say gimmick, maybe it's a technology not being fully utilized to it's potential, there.. now u don't sound like a jackass.

Matthew on Apr 3, 2009


I agree with Bay!

The_Phantom on Apr 3, 2009


I hate this douche-bag... he's right, but Christ I hate that twat!

Kevin on Apr 3, 2009


I'm sure this movie will have the Autobots in a synchronized rhythmic dance number. Atta boy Michael.

AK on Apr 3, 2009


Dudes. EVERYTHING IS A STORYTELLING GIMMICK! making a movie is a gimmick to reach a wider audience. If you are against gimmicks, go back to the campfire and tell stories that can be passed down to the next generation verbally. Oh right the voice is a gimmick too. Michael Bay can hang with Roger Ebert and poo poo 3D while TV and iphone go 3D. Is HD a gimmick too? Ooops. So are music and lighting...

James on Apr 3, 2009


Well, I can't believe that I actually agree with Bay on somethng. Oh, and James (#11): The problem with 3D is that it is a gimmick, while music and lighting are actual tools. While music and lighting are used to enhance the story, 3D justs replaces the story. I guess that 3D is not a story-telling gimmick because it's not telling a story.

Ajax on Apr 3, 2009


3D is a novelty, and sadly our culture is fascinated more by novelty than by anything. Children in particular are fascinated by novelty....which, wow big shocker, is why 3D has been such a big hit with animated films. Personally I think 3D is cool, but it's not cool enough to pay the extra few bucks. I was in line today to see Fast and the Furious and the lady in front of me was taking 3 kids to see Monsters/Aliens and she thought she could bring in her own glasses and just pay the regular price. Nope. She refused to pay the extra (nearly double what just seeing the regular version costs with 3 kids). I talked to her in the lobby, and she was just going to sneak into the 3D version....which is exactly what I would do if I were in her shoes, and I wouldn't be surprised if this type of consumer behavior is what ultimately brings 3D movies down. It's not worth the extra money to pay for a gimmick, that to a child isn't going to make or break their day. Young kids really won't notice a difference between a 3D and 2D film. Sure they can visually see the difference, but to them the movie itself is the extra novelty of 3D is almost a waste on kids who really don't care either way. Parents know this, and movie theaters aren't set up to keep people from sneaking into theaters (trust me, I've been doing it regularly for about 10 years). So until they come up with a 3D film that is absolutely mind blowing, that has to be seen in 3D to even be worth viewing (although Journey to the Center of the Earth was like that, but not in a good way. The movie was worthless as a movie, and the 3D was the only thing that made it tolerable)....3D will fade, because people are going to stop paying for a gimmick when they realize it means 1) overpaying for a bad movie 2) overpaying for an experience that a child is indifferent to.

ImaginaryVisionary on Apr 3, 2009


I can't believe there's so many people on here who have no imagination, and can't even understand the benefits of 3-D. Sure it's a gimmick if it's only used to poke at your eyes, but it can also be used to draw you into the story and the world it takes place in, by creating an immersive environment.

sc on Apr 3, 2009


#7 - Bingo! It's a new technology in it's infancy. Give it some time people. Geez! Is today's 3D pefect? No, of course not. But look at the advances CGI has made in just the past 10 years. Gollum, King Kong, etc. Those look pretty friggin amazing and life like. 10-20-30 years from now 3D will be the standard. How can you say it's a gimmick? That's just an uneducated, inmature statement. Once it's been perfected, prices come down, etc it will be common place. 3D will make movies even better, even more life like, you will feel like one with the story, the characters, like your actually part of the film. How is that a bad thing? It's not! I'm incredibly excited to see what Mr Cameron has done. Will his new technology revolutionize filmmaking, push it in a different direction??? I have a feeling it will. And then will all you doubters still call it a gimmick?

K on Apr 4, 2009


Depth of field is a gimmick? They said the same thing about the Talkies, then colour. 3-D is the future and filmmakers can either adapt or be overcome. Sure 3-D might be a gimmick on something like American Idol or some crap sitcom, but the depth of field of 3-D is where it's going to be at for video gaming, porn, animation and action movies. Michael Bay can ignore this prophecy at his own risk.

J. Jonah Hexas Texas on Apr 4, 2009


I seem to remember many so-called old school directors saying that digital was a gimmick, too, and that they'd never stop shooting with real film...

J. Jonah Hexas Texas on Apr 4, 2009


The other thing about 3-D that will make it a success is that the mind forms a much stronger bond with something it perceives to be real. I just read a study out about people 'bonding' more to 3-D images than a simple 2-D image. This all said, there will be people who like it and people who don't. If you don't, then don't go. Plain and simple. And allow the rest of us who prefer a more immersive experience our simple pleasures in life.

J. Jonah Hexas Texas on Apr 4, 2009


Included in that extra bonding was a much stronger emotional reaction to what they were viewing, making it far more intense, enjoyable and memorable. The memories formed from 3-D viewing were much stronger, bordering on recollection of real memories in comparison to the weak memories formed from viewing something in 2 dimensions. It was a fascinating article, but I'll be darned if I can find it anywhere again...

J. Jonah Hexas Texas on Apr 4, 2009


So... 3D is a gimmick, and something exploding every five minutes in every one of your movies isn't? O-kay... Bay, yer a douche. I loved Bad Boys (both) and I liked Transformers, but yer still a douche.

Feo Amante on Apr 4, 2009


3_D, is nothing more than a way for movie studios to imbed marketing into films all under the guise of making the movie more realistc. Proponants of 3_D usally avoid this dialog. As some know that subliminal marketing techniques are real and that 3_D opens up a huge area to exploit for profit and manipluation. 3_D a gimmick?, sure is working out that way for Cameron...

790 on Apr 4, 2009


Drawing IMAX 3D out of the picture... I welcome you all to talk to your local film buyers for the theatres in your area and see how many additional points they pay for 3D or for Digital Cinema for that matter. The ticket premium is a means for the theatres to recoup costs of their digital cinema gear, and for the studios additional costs. Really #21??? - look out.. Conspiracy theorist... grassy knoll, alien upduction, and immersive entertainment(oops I mean advertising)… I have to say... WELL NO SH!T… every viral campaign, every commercial, every piece of candy and popcorn you eat in yoru theatres is branded.. wake up and realize you live in a consumer-driven environment and CHOSE to buy what products you wish… if Cola is flying at my face in 3D it is no more influential than 2D, so I am sorry… can’t the valid argument there. Notably, 3D is an enabling technology. Everyone of these same websites blasted digital cinema even as few as 12 months ago, but now it is done right with the right manufacturers and service providers putting gorgeous flicks on screen. 3D is the catalyst and economical stimulus that cinema needed to bring folks back to the seats to take part in this new product offering. Just go turn on your large LCD/Plasma and sit at home with the DVD of the 3D films you did not want to see and further 'prove' your points, instead of loving the theatres. Keep on thinking your local cinema will survive on the same equipment without 3D in this economy, but I can start down the list and show you that cinema needed a reawakening. Confidently, I would thank 3D for its gift of additional revenue in the cinema space to keep your theatres near you in business. Or Instead of whining about 3D gimmicks, go watch it in 2D and enjoy, but I believe I can make a fair assumption that the majority of those complaining about 3D are not interested in the pictures in question in 2D anyways, so relax. Crap.... Wow, late night rant… good times And BTW::: regarding subliminal marketing, Go back and read the first capital letters of each of the paragraphs and let me know if you are thirsty... hehehe COLA

Dusty on Apr 4, 2009


I don't care one way or the other. I think 3D can be fun for certain movies but for some it gets a little old. Maybe if this came from someone with a little more talent, i might take it seriously. But no its Michael Bay, a man so out of ideas that he rehashes the opening scene in Armageddon and puts it into Transformers.

Chris on Apr 4, 2009


Too bad #22 that you can't see the big picture with subliminal manipulation. I'm hardly ignorant to the consumer driven inviroment, however 3_D offers the producers of media content deeper advertisement options that are imbedded in the 3_D spectrum. This spectrum is mostly conceled on a consumer level,,, Btw, going full digital for theatres costs aprox $65.000. 3-D and Digital are two different categories one is a seamless advancement in recording film the other is a, in your face visual manipulation that is interacted with the movie's action sequences... Conspiracy, nope real facts #22.

790 on Apr 4, 2009


James camerons 3d is going to be amazing and i guarantee bay uses it eventually

Jont on Apr 5, 2009


Bay is just badass and i respected the guy more for agreeing that 3D is just a gimmick. Looking Forward to T2:ROTF and more to come from Bay. 3 words:"Big Fan" "Respect"

Fisherr on Apr 5, 2009


i wont say 3d is a gimmick, the problem is that some directors doesnt know how to use it. watch caroline, the used it the best so far, and UP! from walt disney might pull off a great 3d flick.

Darrin on Apr 5, 2009


3D doesn't HAVE to be a gimmick. I think the only thing Bay's comments say is that HE would use it in a gimmicky way - probably because he can't be bothered to think of a way to use it that wouldn't be gimmicky. Coming from a guy who's movies are nothing but shitty action sequences and explosions, i find it a bit ironic. You'd think that if ANYONE was going to embrace 3D as a gimmick it would be someone like him. I think that from a photography point of view, 3D adds SO MUCH to the composition of the frame, that it opens up whole new fucking worlds of potential to explore. That most directors choose to just have crap fly out and scare the audience says a lot about them, but you can't use that as an argument against the entire technology. Every new technology in film starts out as a gimmick. Look at early color films. Look at the Wizard of Oz. One of the first color features, the colors are not used with any sort of subtlety at all. She opens that door and from that moment until she clicks her heels, your eyes are assaulted by the entire color spectrum all at once, brightly lit and over-saturated. It was the film's main selling point. Look at talkies. Sound was a huge deal, but a LOT of early talkies were just song and dance shorts. Hell, film itself was nothing but short slapstick novelties and eye candy plotless crap like trains running into each other, or recorded stage acts / vaudeville stuff and things like that when it started out. The whole thing started out as nothing but a huge money-making gimmick, and then some people decided you could tell real stories with it and 100 years later you get some jackass making a giant-robot color talkie saying 3D is just a gimmick.

Squiggly on Apr 5, 2009


@24 "This spectrum is mostly conceled on a consumer level,,," what the hell does that even mean? the 3D spectrum is concealed on the consumer level? That makes no sense at all. It's gibberish. "3-D and Digital are two different categories one is a seamless advancement in recording film the other is a, in your face visual manipulation that is interacted with the movie's action sequences…" Digital projection is more than just a conversion of an existing technology. It might cost a bit to install the system, but it's cheaper and more reliable overall, and these systems are capable of projecting images at a much higher framerate than film currently runs at. You could digitally shoot and then digitally project images at twice or thrice the current FPS. The technology for SHOOTING those speeds isn't really solid yet, but the tech for projecting them is there right now. 3D isn't a visual manipulation, either. Things are shot in 3D via dual cameras. You are aware that the reality around you is - in fact - in 3D? And just the action sequences? wtf are you talking about? Maybe you're not thinking of the right 3D here. What they're talking about isn't CGI special effect 3D. They're talking about stereoscopic 3D... like... depth perception. A 3D film is 3D all the way through. And it's not "in your face" unless the people making the film make it so. As I already stated, THAT is a gimmicky way to use the technology, but it's not the ONLY way to use it. It's only done like that because it's only just been re-popularized, and thus the people making films are exploiting and exaggerating the effect. Your strange theories on marketing conspiracies are hilarious, tho. "oh heavens, you mean there might be a billboard in the background somewhere, and it'll be in 3D?!?!??!?!" I fail to see how product placement will change much at all in a 3D environment. Unless you're talking about the super secret "subliminal advertising", which a lot of ignorant people seem to think is embedded in the frequencies of static or something. That's not at all what the word "subliminal" actually means. No, splicing a single frame into a movie that says "kill everyone" will not make anyone watching that movie go out and kill people. the 3D spectrum? Do you even know what fucking 3D is or how it works? It's not a spectrum. It's your brain's way of taking the two 2D images it receives from your eyes and comparing them so you can judge distances and spacial relationships. Reading a lot of the replies on some of these articles, I'm beginning to wonder if anyone who comes here has more than a basic elementary education. Here's a tip for all of you: When you're typing something in the box, and a little line shows up under it, that indicates that you've spelled the word wrong. Please fix it. Also, please read what you wrote a couple of times BEFORE you submit it, just to make sure it's not fucking nonsensical rambling and bullshit. If you don't know something - the definition of the words "subliminal" or "spectrum" for instance - then it's probably best to avoid trying to take a position on those subjects.

Squiggly on Apr 6, 2009


The people that say 3D is a gimmick need to go back to their silent films. After all, sound, and then later, color were just gimmicks too right? Fucking dinosaurs, look forward instead of backwards for once.

9mm on Apr 6, 2009


@ ah Squiggly you sound so smart, I have to look up spectrum and subliminal for ye. Enjoy your 3-D pal, its just like life,,,, Lol,,, I'm done trying to explain reality to ppl that are living in their own bubble. Take what you want from my comments, I couldn't care less if it doesn't make sense to you.

790 on Apr 6, 2009


Squiggly, Of course its gibberish. 790 has no idea what he/she/it's talking about. I read 790 and it reads like Dale Gribble: A person of unfocused life who wants to seem important by knowing "Mysteries and Secrets" that somehow make them better than everyone else without any effort. 790 doesn't even know the meaning of some of the words he/she/it's using. 3D spectrum? Real facts (and without any evidence or reference - you just have to accept the anonymous 790's word) No use arguing with a fool, Squiggly, unless you suffer fools gladly.

Feo Amante on Apr 6, 2009


Ok Feo Amante, (boy/girl/lifeform) would you like me to define the words subliminal or spectrum for you. Would that chub your ego. Let me know I'll explain it in terms that a 5 year old can understand. Something tells me that wouldn't matter. 3-D, isn't just a visual medium, its a marketing tool. If you don't get that, or that's way above your comprehension, suck down your soda and enjoy Monsters vs Aliens. if you think that Disney & Dreamworks etc are investing in "Billions" in 3-D so they can charge a few bucks more to improve your visual experience, you'll never get it...

790 on Apr 6, 2009


I never thought I'd say this, but... Michael Bay is right.

BBQ Platypus on Apr 7, 2009


It is a gimmick at the moment but I have to agree with alot of you, give the tech some time to mature and some new and creative minds a chance to think up new and exciting ways to use the technology in smart and creative ways. I believe that in the near future, we can expect to have rooms lined with micro-LED's and the entire room will light up with the magic of the small screen, with depth of field we are close to realizing my child hood dream of the holodeck from Star Trek TNG

Ihuntwithmycamara on Jan 7, 2010

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