It seems that Transformers 3 went from a movie that wouldn't be in 3D to a movie that would be converted to 3D to shooting in native (real) 3D, at least according to The MarketSaw blog. The news that Transformers 3 is making use of the 3D cameras comes from Vince Pace, the director of photography on Avatar, who told the website "Transformers has ...signed on to shoot 3D throughout the film."
The idea isn't that far-fetched as Transformers 3 Director Michael Bay said back in March, “I shoot complicated stuff, I put real elements into action scenes and honestly, I am not sold right now on the conversion process. 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. ...This conversion process is always going to be inferior to shooting in real 3D."
Recent experiences watching Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender show the 3D conversion process has a long way to go before it can come close to replacing the native use of 3D cameras during film production. Right now the studios have the impression that a film will not do as well at the box office without using the 3D gimmick on practically every release. Even Final Destination 5 will be in 3D.
So we know that Michael Bay is not happy with the conversion process, but what about shooting a film with 3D cameras? Back in February he talked about that too, "The way I shoot is too aggressive for 3D cameras. It’s a time consuming thing. Who knows… It might be a fad. I’m kinda old school. I’m old school because I like to shoot on film. I like anamorphic lenses, and that is old school."
The film is going to be released in 3D. I doubt Michael Bay could have stopped that. If this information is true, I guess he figured if the movie was going to be in 3D, should at least do it right. I also suspect something changed his mind other then studio pressure. A plus of the sudden popularity of a format is that often the supporting tech gets an infusion of funds which leads to leaps in innovation.
Pace mentioned that "We took delivery of the first Alexa cameras for Hugo and have 23 more on the way." This refers to a new camera developed by ARRI that Vince Pace's company PACE is using as the foundation to create "...the new age of stereo cinematography. Our commitment to the industry is centered around the fact that the new trend in 3D has to be built on a strong 2D legacy. ARRI has done just that, delivering a camera with both technical and creative performance that raises the bar for digital cinematography. For a DP, the camera delivers on increased dynamic range and sensitivity to help make the transition to 3D seamless." Below is a video example of a 3D rig with the Alexa that was developed by PACE for Martin Scorsese's 3D film "The Invention of Hugo Cabret."
What does all of this mean if true? That Transformers 3 in 3D might actually be worth the extra money to watch.
(MarketSaw link via Bleeding Cool)