3D Titans Talk Transformative Tech

A crowd of movie-industry folk, film students, and press assembled last night for a preview of clips from the upcoming Transformers: Dark of the Moon - the first in the series to be shot in 3D - as well as a lengthy and surprisingly technical discussion between Transformers director Michael Bay and Avatar director James Cameron.

The presentation, titled "3D: A Transforming Visual Art," took place at the Paramount Theater, on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood.

According to Bay, the decision to make the new Transformers in 3D owes much to Cameron, who introduced Bay to 3D technology during a tour of the Avatar set. "I walked in there and it was like control central," Bay explained. "There were cables running all over the place and I was thinking, 'This is not for me.' Then Jim came up and started talking about how great their new algorithm was and I just said, 'What the @#$% are you talking about?'"

Eventually, though, Cameron's belief in 3D as a new mode of visual expression helped persuade Bay to make the jump to the third dimension. In fact, Transformers: Dark of the Moon employed the Fusion 3D camera system developed for Avatar, and even used the same technical crew.

The clips from Dark of the Moon included the first five minutes of the movie; a few highlights chosen by Bay; and the 3D trailer to be shown this weekend along with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The highlight was a scene in which paratroopers wearing glide suits fly among the skyscrapers of Chicago, some of which was shot with actual 3D cameras attached to the stuntmen's helmets. (Yes, Bay actually hired a crew of BASE jumpers, who actually flew through the streets of Chicago.)