A view from the film world...

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by DeathsHead, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. DeathsHead

    DeathsHead Well-Known Member

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    In advance of any dispute this post may cause - I'm aware stuff like this has been discussed before, feel free to delete as you see fit.

    Frustration with the content and subject matter of many threads on this board - and indeed many others - has finally forced me to screw up 'ye olde courage' and offer you some insights I have happened upon...

    Firstly - hello. I'm Deathshead. I'm a newbie. I failed to spell my namesake correctly when I registered - don't hold the 'h' against me! My knowledge of TF began in the 1980's with the toys and the UK comic and has been limited to pretty much that since then.

    Secondly - I work in the TV and film industry in merry old England. I'm a sound recordist. And just in case anyone really misses the point I'm not working in ANY capacity on the Transformers movie.

    Now we have that out of the way - the important stuff I thought you might find interesting:

    As a jobbing soundy I occasionally have he pleasure of working with visual effects artists on set, particularily with second unit shooting (I have yet to reach the dizzy heights of being main unit recordist and getting a proper credit!). As a result I have become fairly friendly with some of these guys and decided to approach them with some of the fan-chat about the TF movie in respect of the TF designs - a visual effects department view, if you will.

    Many of you seem to have accepted at face value the concept of Transformers designed for film in what could be referred to as a 'realistic' fashion. What I personally have found difficult to accept is the idea that the 'Bayformers' are the ultimate realisation of this concept. Putting this idea to my visual effect buddies, I found that they put the kibosh on this pretty swiftly!

    Whilst there seemed to be an all round appreciation of the work as seen so far, my closest collegue (a bit of a closet TF fan) was borderline offended by the idea that it wouldn't be possible to animate the TF's in any other design format. To be blunt, he, -like me - is a bit of a hater of the current movies designs, so he was ready to fight it out on this one!

    For his part he seemed genuinly excited by the what he thinks will be fantastic transformation sequences from the footage released and considers the Blackout design to be by far and away the best concept - his words being "this is what a TF might look like if you asked a team of guys to take apart a military helicopter and build a robot out of it" but he is as unmoved as me about the stylistic direction in general. His own personal taste ran to a more complex version of the binaltech designs, removing and updating the blocky, square limbs and breaking up problematic oversized panels to achieve something that might stand somewhere halfway to what we will be seeing on 7/4/7. He's been doing this for some time and saw no object to making this look 'real'. (Take note unbelievers !) If I can persude him I'll post some sketch ideas. (Although he is a CGI guy, not a concept artist).

    His opinion about the Bay designs - thematically designed to transform with the maximum possible visual 'noise', many parts moving at once to throw the eye and avoid anything looking 'simple' or 'stupid', - "everything about them transforms, which promotes the fragmented designs".

    He particularily disliked the huge TF feet from an asthetic view. He recognised that these are supposed to represent the enormous weights that the robot modes have to balance, but he pointed out that in Movieworld (TM) animators apply numerous cheats to convince the viewer that what they are seeing is possible, and in his words "..if the director comes along and tells you that the principle characters head is going to be sixteen times the size of his body, what are you going to do - tell him that's not physically possible? No, you make it work."

    In truth he saw no reason why many of our favourite characters could not have been brought to the screen in a less "physically explosive" (his words!) manner. It's fair to say this guy isn't working for ILM, but he has been doing this kind of stuff for years, so I thought you guys might appreciate some kind of industry opinion.

    Cheers!

    And discuss...

    Now I just need to rifle through my old issues of TF for an avatar...
     
  2. mblase

    mblase Well-Known Member

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    With all due respect, your friend's opinion is a personal one, not a professional one. You yourself say so on more than one occasion.

    There is nothing about this movie's designs that were a direct cause of the film's premise. They don't look more "realistic". They look very, very different, because Bay & Co. knew that re-creating the kind of Transformers we've been looking at for twenty years would be a waste of time.

    Instead, we have Transformers that--for better or for worse--look nothing like what anyone's ever seen before. They're complicated, they're quasi-organic in structure, and they're completely impossible to accurately recreate as toys. They also look GREAT morphing on-screen or walking out of a swimming pool.

    I don't love 'em, aesthetically--I've always said so. But the part of me that hates watching Hollywood re-invent the wheel every few years hasn't stopped cheering.
     
  3. DeathsHead

    DeathsHead Well-Known Member

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    I am well aware of this. At least half of the 'Bayformers' look is purely asthetic rather than practical in it's basis.

    However, many, many people on this board have put forward an argument about the visual skew of this film being borderline the only way to realistically animate TFs outside of a cartoon format. My friends opinion is both personal AND professional in countering this assumption.

    If he didn't work in visual effects, I wouldn't have bothered posting at all.
    To that end he has an insight that all of us (including me) do not have on character animation and design.
     
  4. Gnaw

    Gnaw Banned

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    I say make the toys first, then the movie designs. I hate getting lame toys based on cool movie desgins. Like the newest Prime we saw from the Toyfair. It's bulky, ugly and just too....not Prime for my liking. I prefer the cool Prime :

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Prime-A-Cron

    Prime-A-Cron Well-Known Member

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    I like the movie designs, but that toy prime looks more like Prime then the movie one IMHO you can not expect the toys to be just like the movie designs unless you want them to cost a boocoo and take 2 hours to transform
     
  6. mblase

    mblase Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'm afraid I have no idea what this means.

    But if you're saying what I think you are, then I'd sooner trust the opinion of a mechanical engineer than a CGI animator as to what kind of thing looks "realistic" on a morphing two-ton robot. When you get down to the physics of it all, simply having them walk on two legs is stretching plausability to the limit, let alone running or engaging in hand-to-hand combat.

    Let me explain where I'm coming from. Did you ever see "X-Men 3"? The scene where Magneto rips up the Golden Gate Bridge and levitates it over to Alcatraz is a beautiful thing to watch. It's extraordinary in every way. I loved watching it the first time.

    The second time, of course, I couldn't help but remember that suspension bridges rely on suspension cables to stay up. After Magneto lands the bridge and stops using his powers to support it, the cables are completely screwed up. The bridge should have broken apart almost immediately.

    Completely, utterly unrealistic. It looked great, though.

    Everyone has their own ideas about what looks "realistic" based on their own background and experience. Depending on how much you're thinking about it, a lot of CGI in movies looks like utter crap.

    Animating Transformers in this movie is a balancing act between making them move like athletic humans and making them move like large, heavy pieces of machinery. From what I've seen in the trailer, they do a mighty good job.
     
  7. Prime-A-Cron

    Prime-A-Cron Well-Known Member

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    this is the most sence in this entire post
     
  8. DeathsHead

    DeathsHead Well-Known Member

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    WTF? And who is this mechanical engineer that I'm supposed to be listening to?

    Given that the current movie designs are brought to life by concept artists and computer animators not engineers I'm not sure I quite follow you...

    The Transformers are only required to look 'realistic' on screen for sequences in a two hour movie, not strolling down the street past your house - I haven't suggested otherwise.

    I'm sorry you felt let down by the effects in X-men 3 on a repeat viewing. However as you point out, when you first saw it, you thought it was great - which is the aim of any movie special effect - the willing suspension of disbelief. Again what this has to do with my post is beyond me.

    My OP was supposed to give professional credence to the oft dismissed idea that it might be possible to effectively animate - with a decent degree of 'film-realism' - the Transformer robots in a manner ( and asthetic design) different to what were seeing in the Bay movie - I just thought some of you dudes might think its cool that some industry pro thought he could do some wicked non-Bay Transformers.

    This is based on the countless posts I have read that - without any degree of filmmaking knowledge - have rubbished the concept of more putting more basic TFs on film because 'they'd look ridiculous - the bay designs are 'more realistic' etc etc'

    To simplify my post -

    I work in the industry. I went and asked an animator on his views. He said IHO and given time he'd be able to create some form of slightly more complex but binaltech-ish transformers that would look good on screen. I thought some people (especially those who aren't to keen on the Bay look) might be interested in this opinion coming from a pro guy who makes bridges fly for a living. It in no way takes away from the work ILM has done, or asks anyone not to enjoy their love of the new look.

    If you still have no idea what I'm on about I give up.

    If you guys don't give two shits about this then fine, delete away...
     
  9. DeathsHead

    DeathsHead Well-Known Member

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    Erm..?
     
  10. blueandwhite

    blueandwhite Well-Known Member

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    Does any of this matter at this point?

    We've got what we've got. I don't like it, but its not as if something better is suddenly going to come along and replace the Bay/ILM designs. If the movie does well, there will obviously be a sequel with more Bay/ILM designs. On the other hand, if the movie tanks, there will probably never be another Transformers movie. Either way, the Alt. like designs you speak of are now largely irrelevant.

    Right now, I don't like the designs, I don't like the director's previous work, I hate the script, and I'm not exactly sold on the cast either. That won't change anything. Neither will your friend's sketches.
     
  11. DeathsHead

    DeathsHead Well-Known Member

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    Charming.

    It was supposed to be something of interest to you lot, but hey. Nothing matters though.

    No point in having any more movie discussion on this board then is there? Can't change anything anyway.

    Hey - why post some nice pictures? Nope . No-one will enjoy them - makes no odds to the final film y'see.

    I GIVE UP.
     
  12. Kranix2k

    Kranix2k Spare me this mockery!! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Thats the problem with many of the posts here on this board, and all you did is add to them. There are too many posts of people trying to bring in "expert" advice and ethereally change this movie. Look, you all have GOT to start realizing that this movie was created for the average joe action movie watcher NOT entirely for fans, nor was it meant to stand up to tech-head scrutiny. The scenes werent created to mimic exact mechanical physics, so the opinions of mechanical engineers and robotics designers DONT MATTER especially now. This is whats fundamentally wrong with some of the threads on here - haters and lovers alike keep trying to prove they're right using whatever means necessary.

    I'm sorry you decided to get all pissed when people disagreed with your post. I hope you realize that happens A LOT around here - for good and bad reasons. I also hope that you realize that you fell for the same trap that many others have fallen for on here - the "This is the way it SHOULD have been done" routine. I get the feeling that many people dont want to hear that anymore and thats why some may disagree with your ideas. If you're this miffed about it now, I strongly suggest you DONT post any of those suggestions from your friend as the criticisms might give you heart failure.
     
  13. vektsilver

    vektsilver Transorganic member

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    I wouldnt take offense to it deathshead. There are some here who fruitlessly defend the movie in every such way possible and have since the first image made everyone shreek. What ever their motive you cannot get them to understand your point.

    I agree whole heartedly that these transformers are not the only way to animate and create these machines and make them realistic.

    Here is my only engineering point to to give all you folks. Gyroscopes and accelerometers!! it is possible to make any machine balance it self on an number of legs including 1 with any amount of weight long as the appendages can support the burden. Devices placed throughout the body detect balance and shift much in the same way humans do in the inner ear or there abouts i forget the name of the organ specifically but this accounts for shifting wait and keeping balance, hell they had an example of this at the star wars exhibit people!! 2 wheels keeping a robot up right by balance alone it is also used in the new wheel chair that can do the same trick on 2 wheels.

    It is exactly possible to make these robots look any way you want and make it look realistic even G1 ish whith out the mass shiftin o course.

    The characters only look the way they do because the director and producer chose those concepts over others and I would have to assume the G1 ish versions will probably be seen on the dvd release as extras.
     
  14. Prime-A-Cron

    Prime-A-Cron Well-Known Member

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    i didnt stutter
     
  15. Weremole

    Weremole Whack-a-mole Avenger

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    Well, yeah. I think this has been clear from the start.

    It all boils down to: they could have but they didn't.

    They simply figured that "explosive" intricacy whas the way to go I guess.

    How it all comes together (as in theme, setting, tone, story, execution and design) we'll see in June. Everything has its context.
     
  16. blueandwhite

    blueandwhite Well-Known Member

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    Oh please:rolleyes2  .

    I've never been a supporter of this movie, but it is getting rather tiring listen to every supporter/detractor whine about how they know better than the rest of us poor common folk. I can't stand the supporters who insist that the powers that be can do no wrong, and that every decision Bay and co. make is flawless. At the same time, detractors who continue to whine about what the designs 'should' have looked like can be equally annoying.

    Honestly, anybody who needs to force their opinion on others is little more than a diehard fanatic. Anyone with even a shred of common sense can see that there are an infinite ways to approach designing a fictional transforming robot. I just don't need to be given some smug talking to by somebody who feels he's going to step in and start a revolution.
     
  17. turk128

    turk128 Well-Known Member

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    DeathsHead , your friend was probably darn close to the reasons why the TF movie designs are the way they are... and he gave his opinion on how he would have done it differently. Similar to many other fans (including me) have done on this board but we shouldn't kid ourselves; it's very much a game of 'what if.' Nothing wrong with it though, it's what gets us geeks and fanboys creative juices flowing.

    Here's my non-engineering opinion; I wouldn't have minded if they designed a bot with more than just a pair of legs. Centaur or even 6 legged. Heck, I would love to see them try to implement this in the future. And, no, Scorpinok doesn't count.

    Moral of this thread: everyone has their own opinions.
     
  18. redsquadron

    redsquadron Token idiot...

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    Plenty of people have given really good reasons why the movie Transformers could be more "traditional" (whatever that is), but I have yet to see one single reason why they MUST be that way.
    Not a one.

    And the designers of the movie are also professional & experienced yet have stated the 'classic' look really wouldn't have worked in their view. Totally opposite opinion from people also "in the industry". As they're the ones who ended up doing the job, we got what we got. I'm prepared to live it...
     
  19. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    Wow, so much BS flying around, I gotta go take a big shit now. BRB. :D 
     
  20. Primus

    Primus Beware, the modelers. Veteran

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    QFT.

    I agree with Weremole here. Of course ILM could have made CGI versions of Alternators that would have looked very realistic. I believe that the reason that they did what they did is because they wanted to give us something we have never seen before. Something alien.

    I may be in the minority here, but the fact that the toys look little like the movie versions really gives me hope. It tells me that Bay and company had a vision of what they wanted their TF's to look like and they stuck to it. I'm glad that they movie versions were created first and then Hasbro was given the task of turning that into toys.

    Regardless, we won't know for sure until we see the feature in its entirety. Even still there will be varying opinions, but I have a feeling that Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay, plus Hasbro, know what they are doing.
     

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