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Cameron and Bay stand up for audiences

MichaelBay.jpgI have a lot of time and respect for James Cameron, for Michael Bay not so much, however that just took a huge leap in the opposite direction today as I read what he had to say about the 3D conversion processes and his comments match similar things that Cameron has been saying.

Between them they are fighting this fast, last minute 3D conversion process for 2D films, either retro-fitted onto films already released, or causing film release dates to be pushed back in order to rush through a quick 3D conversion on a film before the audience see it.

Both directors are shouting foul, and they have some harsh words to say about the whole process.

Let me leap to the last comment that James Cameron makes in the article at Deadline Hollywood Daily, it sums things up pretty well:

”This is another example of Hollywood getting it wrong...Sony says, we’re doing Spider-Man in 3D.’ The director doesn’t say, `Hey, I want to make the movie in 3D.’ The studio says, `You want to direct this movie? You’re doing it in 3D, [expletive removed - Richard]!' That’s not how it should be. I’ve tried for the last seven years to get filmmakers excited, and they all hung back while Pixar and DreamWorks did animation and me and a couple others did live action. We prove the point, and now filmmakers are being told to make their movies in 3D.”

Passionate, outspoken, and perfectly spot on. This is what studios are doing right now and it seems that film-makers don't have a choice, do it or lose it. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if some film-makers don't have any choice.

It's like years after the original release of a film we hear about how the studio re-cut a film without the consent of the director and we see the director's cut for the first time, here we could well be seeing studios taking the finished film from a director and then just converting it, tough luck.

Michael Bay says something similar in the same article, but he's a lot harsher and his comments reflect something that's happening in businesses everywhere, outsourcing and off-shoring for quick and cheap work.

”I’m used to having the A-team working on my films, and I’m going to hand it over to the D-team, have it shipped to India and hope for the best? This conversion process is always going to be inferior to shooting in real 3D. Studios might be willing to sacrifice the look and use the gimmick to make $3 more a ticket, but I’m not. Avatar took four years. You can’t just [expletive removed - Richard] out a 3D movie. I’m saying, the jury is still out.”

My estimation of Bay just shot through the roof. He's keeping an open mind though, and you can imagine why, Transformers converted to 3D and sold on the latest home 3D cinema equipment would be an exciting prospect for Transformer fans. However he's still sceptical and holding back until the process is right.

”I am trying to be sold, and some companies are still working on the shots I gave them...Right now, it looks like fake 3D, with layers that are very apparent. You go to the screening room, you are hoping to be thrilled, and you’re thinking, huh, this kind of sucks. People can say whatever they want about my movies, but they are technically precise, and if this isn’t going to be excellent, I don’t want to do it. And it is my choice.”

Very true. How can you not have respect for this director now? He's talking the truth and really being damned honest. I never thought I would compare Bay and Cameron in the same statement, but I am.

Apparently Michael Bay is still set to film Transformers 3 in 2D, he tested some 3D cameras for the film and realised they were just too bulky and impractical for the fast paced action filming, but it will come.

What's more worrying is that the studio will take his completed film and convert it anyway. Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, these are all going to get the conversion, especially when the home 3D equipment arrives en mass, and that has to bring into question what happens with the new instalments in these franchises, Hobbits, Pirates, Harry Potter and Transformers, will they be converted after the fact or filmed in true 3D?

I think it has to be true 3D. I hate the cheap conversion process and I hate the idea of making a film for the 3D environment. Like James Cameron did, it has to be treated as another layer in the film-making process, like lighting and framing, you cannot tack it on the end and you cannot make every frame and script turn leap to the 3D. That path leads you to the cheap 3D I loathe.

Avatar (Filmstalker review) was the first film that made me think 3D could really work over and above a gimmick, but any other implementation just seems cheap and rubbish in comparison.

Michael Bay and James Cameron seem to see that too, and they are being vocal and fighting for their films, something that gains them respect galore from me.



Hollywood is currently a mess, and it's ashame that directors and filmmakers in general can't take the risk they want, tell a story they want and make a movie the way they desire because those who hire them restrict them. Sure, it's an industry, a business but when imagination and money are held up in both hands I would choose the palm containing imagination. After all, we see films that come from the imagination and all you got to do is look at the top grossing films to prove that.

If studios continue to rush the process of converting movies into 3D then the experience will fade away like it has in the past, until improved upon.

I too agree with both Cameron and (dare I say it) Bay, and out of protest I shall see films such Clash of the Titans in standard 2D form.

The only good thing about the state of Hollywood and it's means to snatch more of our money is that none of this gets in the way of the British Film Industry, which has seen the rise in improvements in the films it makes.

Well said Billy.

I remember someone telling me all the time "it's a business", and yes it is. However remember that the commodity that they are selling is the capturing of and the playing with people's imagination and emotion, for that to work they need the creatives to do what they do best, not to be suffocated by business rules.

It's a difficult balance because the two worlds are not entirely compatible.

I do what you do, I go to the 2D versions of the films and I'll continue to do so until 3D is dead, or 3D is all built as Cameron built it.


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