65 Things to Know About Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION From Our Set Visit

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The first thing you should know about visiting the set of a Michael Bay movie, like say Transformers: Age of Extinction, is that it’s exactly how you think it would be.  It’s explosive, it’s deafening, it’s intense, all in an environment of controlled chaos, and above all, it’s fun.  So much fun.  From witnessing Bay in action as the general in charge of 200-some odd crew members, to watching star Mark Wahlberg flit between handling giant alien grenades in a scene and talking to our small group of reporters on the sideline, to the epic finale of a massive stunt sequence that ended the day with a multi-car crash, pyrotechnics, and the wave of relief that followed when the day-long preparation paid off without a hitch. If the movie is even half as fun as this set visit was, it will be a huge hit with audiences all around the world.

That first thing you should know was a bonus; I’ve got 65 more after the jump.  During our set visit, our group got to see all the points of view of the production from the director, to the producers, to the stars themselves.  We also got to chat with the VFX supervisor, stunt coordinator, and transportation coordinator in charge of all of those beautiful vehicles.  So hit the jump to check out 65 “Things to Know” about our Transformers: Age of Extinction set visit before the film opens on June 27th.

transformers-age-of-extinction-set-visit65 Things to Know:

  • Mark Wahlberg pulled from his real-life experience as a father in order to further develop his character.
  • The day of our set visit was day 43 of production, which wasn’t even half-way through their shooting schedule.
  • Spoiler:The human hero characters get ahold of an alien ship that lets them fly from the U.S. to Hong Kong is just under three minutes.
  • Reflecting on his role in Planet of the Apes, Wahlberg says he “could never really connect to it.”
  • Wahlberg isn’t shy about admitting he’s “too old to be a thrill-seeker now” and is happy to let his stunt people do their job.
  • Wahlberg joked with Bay about singing and rapping for the movie’s title track.
  • While prepping the day’s big action scene, a lot of on-lookers and paparazzi had gathered around the set. Bay specifically called out, jokingly, a rooftop full of people capturing the scene on video. He pulled out his megaphone and said, “Enjoy the show because I’m going to edit you out of my movie!”
  • According to Bay, this is the first movie to use the new 4K IMAX 3D cameras, valued at $1 million apiece.
  • Bay’s still a film fan at heart, but because the processing labs are going out of business, he says that film technology is “sadly, over.”
  • When visiting the Transformers ride at Universal Studios in Singapore, Bay saw a three-hour line full of families and kids; this was the moment that sparked his interest in returning for another movie. He wanted to do it right rather than seeing it turned over to someone else, someone less experienced, and resulting in a lower quality movie.
  • transformers-4-age-of-extinction-michael-bay-set-photoBay redesigned the robots from the ground up. Fan-favorite characters are still easily recognizable, but they have all new designs from top to bottom.
  • Along with the new redesigns, the robots in this movie “have more character.”
  • Bay seems particularly fond of Hound, a new Autobot character that’s armed with “every gun known to mankind” and fights “down to the very, very, very last round of every gun, all the way down to a little Swiss Army Knife.”
  • This is a fun but more serious take where the threat of death is very real.
  • Shia LaBeouf’s character isn’t in the script, but is referenced in some way.
  • This film takes place three years after the Battle of Chicago.
  • Car companies would literally fly their flashiest vehicle models to Bay’s office in order to secure a place in the movie.
  • Bay says that “we learn a lot more about the Transformer world in this one.”
  • He compares the Transformers redesign to Batman getting a new suit in each movie.
  • Bay is proud of shooting this film in IMAX 3D and asserts that it’s far better than any post-converted movie.
  • Stanley Tucci’s character was responsible for reverse-engineering some of the Transformers pieces that were gathered up after the Battle of Chicago.
  • The million-dollar 4K IMAX 3D camera was mounted to the top of a $50,000+ Porsche Cayenne.
  • Bay promises “a big scene in Chicago. A big scene.”
  • Bay naps during production in order to stay fresh and keep his mind calm between scenes.
  • transformers-4-age-of-extinction-bay-wahlberg-set-photoThe Hong Kong location allowed Bay to develop a vertical Parkour sequence that follows characters down the side of an apartment tenement.
  • The protective father character was specifically tailored to Wahlberg.
  • Bay would have cast Dwayne Johnson in the film, but the schedules didn’t line up.
  • Bay is considering a smaller film after this, perhaps centering on the poaching of wild African elephants.
  • Rather than re-engineer the story or shoot scenes specifically for a Chinese audience, Bay envisioned sequences of the movie taking place in Hong Kong from the outset.
  • The movie takes place in Chicago, mainland China, and Hong Kong.
  • The production shot in Washington state; Monument Valley; Austin, Texas; Chicago; Hong Kong; and mainland China.
  • The “human triangle” of Mark Wahlberg, Jack Reynor, and Nicola Peltz’s character provides the core relationship and unifying center of the film.
  • This isn’t a reboot or an origin story; it’s a continuation of the world following the Battle of Chicago.
  • This time around, the Transformers are a little more wary about trusting humans, since they were abandoned and sent into outer space in the last film.
  • A lot of character ideas come from the production team’s meeting with Hasbro; The Fallen is a great example of characters they stumbled across while at the toy company.
  • Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura says that this film has more in common with the original Transformers than any of the other films in the series.
  • There may be a few more historical references in this film, much like the Mars and moon landings referenced in previous movies.
  • transformers-4-age-of-extinction-bay-peltz-set-photoThis movie will feature multiple threats to the Autobots and human heroes, including those posed by human villains.
  • Di Bonaventura and Bay have always listened to the fans and audiences more than movie critics; this movie will be no different.
  • Di Bonaventura shared a quintessential Michael Bay story from the first Transformers. When the crew arrived in Cairo to shoot the Pyramids, they were told their permits had been revoked. Bay covertly assembled his team and shot them anyway.
  • Di Bonaventura also says that Bay’s pace during production really pumps in the adrenaline, so much so that he finds himself bored with the pace of other movies that he works on.
  • The American military will play a much smaller role in this film.
  • The original Bumblebee was a GTO frame which had a Camaro body kit attached to it.
  • The Oshkosh military vehicle that turns into Hound is so big that a motor home cover can’t completely cover it.
  • The new Camaro and Corvette are both concept vehicles that are modified with after-market parts.
  • Galvatron will transform into a right-hand drive Freightliner.
  • Hong Kong doesn’t allow outsider military vehicles to be delivered by boat, so the Oshkosh must be flown in via the 747 Antonov, a modified Russian cargo plane that opens at the nose.
  • This film will feature more of a rural setting as a change of pace from the urban environments of the past three films.
  • transformers-4-mark-wahlberg-michael-bayMichael Bay’s department heads have a combined total experience of 850 years in the film industry.
  • The Detroit-based Hong Kong set took 16 weeks to build from start to finish.
  • Depending on the scene, there are always anywhere from four to ten cameras running during at any given time.
  • Di Bonaventura and Bryce call Bay “peerless” for his ability to shoot scenes in a way that accommodates the CG elements that will be added later, and “underestimated” for just how funny he really is.
  • One of the big action sequences involves a ferry, helicopters, cars, and other vehicles amidst heavy artillery action in a nighttime scene.
  • As great an advantage it is to be able to shoot in 2D, IMAX, and IMAX 3D, the disadvantage comes in post-production when visual effects must be added, rendered, and kept consistent across all formats.
  • There’s a sequence in Iceland that was shot on film.
  • There are about 18 new robot characters in this film.
  • It takes ILM about 15 weeks to build the geometry for the robot models, and another 15 to 20 weeks to build the skeletal rigging for it. Then come painting and texturing, followed by constant tweaks to each robot depending on the format and lens used in each scene.
  • The VFX department will employ anywhere from 50 to 350 by the end of production.
  • transformers-age-of-extinction-poster-dinobotsMost of the robot animation is done with keyframe animation, with motion capture being used only when they’re trying out new types of stunts.
  • Due to the difficulty of making a 100% digital human character believable, the shoots try to do as much practical actions between the robots and humans (being grabbed, cradled, or carried) as they can.
  • They also try to incorporate as many practical effects (smoke, fire, etc) as possible since it looks more convincing than anything added digitally in post-production.
  • A large part of the VFX work is digitally recreating cities and buildings that are then manipulated (and usually destroyed) in the final film, for example the tilting building sequence in the last film.
  • A VFX team spent a few weeks photographing every angle of buildings in Hong Kong in order to be able to digitally recreate the city.
  • The laws of physics actually prevent the VFX team from doing a lot of these scenes practically with miniatures, so digital replacement is absolutely necessary.
  • On previous films, each IMAX frame took 36 hours to fully render at the fastest rate available. Now that this movie is incorporating IMAX 3D, each will take twice as long due to the stereo nature of the format.

 

Here’s more from our Transformers: Age of Extinction Set Visit:




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  • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

    Each time I look at a Transformers poster I experience nausea.

  • Guest

    “He wanted to do it right rather than seeing it turned over to someone else, someone less experienced, and resulting in a lower quality movie.”

    Resulting in a lower quality movie? RESULTING IN A LOWER QUALITY MOVIE!!!??? ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS, MIKE!!!!???? DID YOU SEE THE FIRST THREE FILMS, ASSHOLE!!!!?????

    • axalon

      We could, you know, get him kicked out of the director’s chair by not paying to see this. But of course that won’t happen.

    • Convoy

      He did see the first three. That’s why he’s back. You see, he knows that if someone else had come in, they just might totally improve on what he did. Just like Transformers Prime improved on it. Vastly improved on it. I don’t think he would ever be able to live that down.

      • Michael Singer

        I would argue two films. I actually enjoyed the first movie, although it was definitely flawed. The sequels were complete garbage.

  • Daniel Ronczkowski

    I am strangely excited for this…

  • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

    Really wanted #1 to be “Don’t bother”

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    We all hate on his films, myself included, yet my guess is that his film will be the highest grossing opening weekend and probably highest grossing film of the year – we can’t even get a film to open $100M in a weekend or cross $300M domestically (WTF X:Men, TASM2, CA:TWS?). People really just love his flashiness when it comes to these type of films. Pearl Harbor was an absolutely terrible film but goddamnit did it look beautiful. I personally enjoyed Bad Boys 1&2, The Rock, The Island and TF1. The only Michael Bay film I truelly am waiting for is Bad Boys 3.

    • MJ

      His movies are typically a lot of disposable fun. I relax, enjoy the cutting edge special effects, tolerate his juvenile humor, enjoy the hot chick eye candy, and eat my popcorn and drink my coke…good summer action movie entertainment. Some of you people here take his movies way too seriously…they are not meant to be taken seriously, and that is part of your problem. As Bay himself has said: “I make movies for teenage boys. Oh, dear, what a crime.”

      Not a big Transformers fan, but enjoyed the 1st and 3rd one OK (the second one did stink). Armageddon, The Rock, and the Bad Boys movies are just solid summer popcorn action movies in my book…not sure what all the angst by some of you is about here???

      I mean look at yourself dude, you start off saying “we all hate his films” like’s that statement is some silly Collider poster badge of honor, but then by the end of your post you are listing all of these movies of his that you like? Huh? You completely contradicted yourself by the end of your post. LOL

      I refuse to be drawn into the childish piling on of Michael Bay here, especially given some of you are hypocrites about it who can’t help but to contradict yourself concerning him.. No, he’s not a great director, but he’s made a lot of fun action movies. What he’s been doing is no worse than all those old fun Golan-Globas movies in the 80′s…and yes, I love those B action movie classics as well despite what groupthink tries to tell me differently.

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        Not really sure how I contradicted myself? Yes I stated that his films are hated on, even by myself, but yet I still have enjoyed his “past” works. Yes, I hate on him because he’s become lazy w his story telling and has developed an ADHD type of pace in his films where his characters are literally running and telling you the story (TF2 & Pain & Gain) at the same time. I still want a competent story with my flashy robot fighting.
        Do I think Michael Bay is a technical genius when it comes to filming action scenes? Absolutely. The guy is the best in town IMO. Do his films have a nice look to them? Yes. But does he bring a lot of substance to his flashiness. No. His movies are the dumb fun type of summer blockbuster films that only he can make that actually make the studios money (Pacific Rim anyone?). Do I consider him a hack? No.

        I don’t bash on the guy as much as others do on this site but my biggest issue is that I feel like he took the easy road by coming back to TF4 and for a large paycheck.

      • MJ

        “Pacific Rim anyone?”

        Pacific Rim was one of my favorite movies last year. What was wrong with Pacific Rim?

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        Didn’t make the studio the money it needed to justify a sequel.

      • MJ

        Not true. Made over $400M worldwide, and Del Toro is writing the sequel right now.

        It sounds like you haven’t even seen it given your strange change of direction in our discussion to defend your reference to it by alluding to domestics box office?

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        Nope. Wrong on both accounts. Prior to the release of Pacific Rim the studio stated that the film needed to gross $500M in order to justify a sequel. Del Toro is writing the sequel on his own without the studio’s direction in hopes that he can change their minds regarding greenlighting a sequel. The film cost $190M to make before marketing and theaters keep around 50% of all sales. Do the math.

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        Nope. Wrong on both accounts. Prior to the release of Pacific Rim the studio stated that the film needed to gross $500M in order to justify a sequel. Del Toro is writing the sequel on his own without the studio’s direction in hopes that he can change their minds regarding greenlighting a sequel. The film cost $190M to make before marketing and theaters keep around 50% of all sales. Do the math.

      • MJ

        “Del Toro is writing the sequel on his own without the studio’s direction in hopes that he can change their minds regarding green-lighting a sequel.”

        No! That is completely false. The fracking CEO of the studio is involved now:

        “Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull confirmed that he and Guillermo Del Toro are talking about Pacific Rim 2 and they are planning all the new stuff that will appear on the movie”

        Pay better attention, dude. So much for your claim that the studio has no involvement here. LOL

  • Lucas

    It’s complete dogshit, just like the first three, but now complete with the female lead from “The Last Airbender”, because if there’s one actress out there that Bay could find to do an even shittier job of looking hot while giving brain dead line reads, it’s Nicola Peltz.

  • DEADP00L

    WE DON’T WANT BIG SCENES!!! How many times and in how many languages do we have to use for this guy to get it through his head?! What a complete waste of time reading his BS!

    ‘Depending on the scene, there are always anywhere from four to ten cameras running during at any given time.’

    So basically if you want a migraine watch this garbage movie.

    ‘Michael Bay’s department heads have a combined total experience of 850 years in the film industry.’

    Totally irrelevant BS. This guy is DESPERATE to get us interested and is just pulling anything he can out of his ass at this point. It’s so sad.

    • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

      “‘Michael Bay’s department heads have a combined total experience of 850 years in the film industry.’”
      Wow! they assisted to the knighting ceremony of William Marshal

      • DEADP00L

        That’s actually quite sad…

  • mattinacan

    1. it’s going to be shit
    2. it’s going to be shit
    3. it’s going to be shit
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    65. it’s going to be shit

    • MJ

      This seems to be about all you ever post about here.

      We get it now, OK?

  • AverageGamers

    “He wanted to do it right” should’ve done it from the 2nd movie… *sigh*
    “the robots in this movie have more character.” …should’ve done that from the 2nd movie… and stop butchering autobots we’re supposed to love
    “Stanley Tucci’s character was responsible for reverse-engineering” wow, dude created Captain America, now a Transformer? Type-casting much lol
    “a big scene in Chicago. A big scene.” does he have a grudge for the city? is that where Megan Fox came from?
    “would have cast Dwayne Johnson” Wahlberg is a much better choice, though he must’ve been a backup
    “Di Bonaventura and Bay have always listened to the fans and audiences” by saying STFU?
    “18 new robot characters” let’s see how many of them have more screentime compared to the less than 18 human characters this time…

  • Manuel Orozco

    I smell a pretty good movie

  • Steven Ray Morris

    “Bay naps during production in order to stay fresh and keep his mind calm between scenes.” hahaha that’s amazing. I’m surprised he can even do that because of all the coke.

  • Daniel Rodriguez

    Gotta love all the people who hate his movies flock to articles about him. I love all the Transformer films and im sure I’ll love this one. I have never once gone into an article about something I didn’t like just to say how much I didn’t like it. Yes, you don have the freedom of speech but so what, try being positive about something for a change. You can’t stand Bay and his directorial style? Then go to school and learn how to be better, instead you just really make yourselves look like a bunch of crying babies. The only reason I come to the comment section is to share in enthusiasm with others who share the same sense of joy but instead we end up with a page filled with anger and hate. Get over it, you guys have some serious anger issues and unrealistic exceptions which is never a good combo. Enjoy movies, share them, experience them and stick with the ones you like and love.

    • Guy

      When your movie is more shallow than the 30 year old cartoon it’s based on people are going to hate. I can understand your point but people are going to vent when a beloved property is turned into whatever it is Bay turns movies into. No character development whatsoever, lame attempts at humor, shit character designs, and terrible action sequences with no stakes. Oh Jazz died, he was the black one right? Primes dead, oh well we’ll come up with a stupid plot point to bring him back in the same movie. Oh Iron Hide died, did he even say more than 10 words in three movies? They should get Highmoon studios to make these movies. At least they understand and respect the source material. We hate because we care.

    • Guy

      When your movie is more shallow than the 30 year old cartoon it’s based on people are going to hate. I can understand your point but people are going to vent when a beloved property is turned into whatever it is Bay turns movies into. No character development whatsoever, lame attempts at humor, shit character designs, and terrible action sequences with no stakes. Oh Jazz died, he was the black one right? Primes dead, oh well we’ll come up with a stupid plot point to bring him back in the same movie. Oh Iron Hide died, did he even say more than 10 words in three movies? They should get Highmoon studios to make these movies. At least they understand and respect the source material. We hate because we care.

  • Chachi

    Everyone who comments here hates on all of the transformers movies. But no one ever says what should be different about them. They’re movies based on a toy line. What sort of depth can be added? What sort of plot is missing? I’m not really looking to see meaningful conversation between Optimus Prime and Ratchet. I want to see Optimus punch Megatron in the face like I made the toys do when I was a kid…and that’s basically what you get with these movies.

    • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

      Maybe good dialogue ? A smart plot ? less explosions and more drama ?

    • Guy

      People say what should be different about them all the time. I’ll give you a taste. Transformers shouldn’t hump Megan Fox’s leg, Devastator shouldn’t have robot balls, racist charicatures, Shia’s constant annoying screaming throughout, less useless human characters, especially parents who eat pot brownies, it’d be nice to see some Cybertron, and maybe a different plot. There’s something secret in Hoover Dam, there’s something secret in the pyramids, there’s something secret on the moon. Do you see the point I’m trying to make? Just because something is based on a toy doesn’t mean it has to be dumb and shallow. Imagine if the script was actually good.

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