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  • Hi. My name is Tony and this is Every Frame a Painting.

  • And I know exactly what you're thinking: Why am I talking about this guy?

  • Oh my god, you're Michael Bay!

  • Oh my god, I am Michael Bay. Because I don't like his films

  • and yet I think it's crucial to study them.

  • Why?

  • — ...and Paul, I think you have started to watch WrestleMania on television...

  • Well, I...

  • Because you must not avert your eyes: this is what is coming at us.

  • this is what what television, what a collective

  • anonymous body of majority wants to see on television.

  • Like WrestleMania, like Anna Nicole Smith,

  • like Jackass, Michael Bay has created something.

  • Spectacle!

  • It's what people want. The Romans new it, Louis Quatorze knew it, Wolfowitz knows it.

  • One, two, three...

  • Boom! Bayhem!!

  • We may find it crass and vulgar, but if we're going to make better movies,

  • we have to understand the images that are coming at us.

  • Hey, hey!!

  • So let's talk about Bayhem. Is it a unique use of film form?

  • If you want to understand Michael Bay, one of the best ways is to watch his copycats.

  • Consider this shot from 'Battleship', which tries

  • to do that circular camera move he's famous for.

  • Doesn't work here. Why?

  • It's actually really simple. First, there's no background, except for blue sky.

  • Without a background, we don't get parallax, so the shot doesn't feel like it's moving.

  • See the difference?

  • On top of that, the lens is wrong. Bay frequently shoots these shots with a telephoto lens,

  • which compresses the space. This makes the background whizz by.

  • Third, the actor's just staring and turning his head,

  • but the key to the Bay version is that the actors move vertically.

  • Like here.

  • And here.

  • And last, the low angle is there to give us the scale and slow motion is there to sell it.

  • So what we have here in the Bay's shot is multiple types of movement, integrated:

  • movement of the camera, movement of the background,

  • movement of the actors, expansion of time.

  • Then they stand still and look off-screen, creating stillness.

  • Even though you're looking at a stationary point in the frame, this shot feels huge.

  • Shit just got real.

  • Breakdown any Michael Bay's shot and that is basically what you will see:

  • layers of depth, parallax, movement, character and environment

  • to give this sense of epicness.

  • None of these techniques is particularly unique.

  • In fact, most cinematographers will naturally create depth in their images

  • and parallax, whenever the camera moves.

  • And the Hero Shot is everywhere.

  • What makes Bay unique is how many layers and how complex the movement is.

  • That doesn't make his shots better, it just makes

  • them more complicated than the competition.

  • That's why his frames seem to have a lot of stuff going on.

  • Lots of dust, dirt, smoke or explosions between the layers.

  • Also, lamp-posts.

  • Lots of lamp-posts.

  • If you go back to the first Bad Boys, you can watch this from the opening credits.

  • Here, the car moves one way, the plane another,

  • the lamp-posts are in frame for scale and the camera is on a telephoto lens.

  • Later in the film, you can see the same compositional techinique.

  • And when the explosions happen...

  • Once you see this, it's much easier to deconstruct his imagery

  • and to see its limits.

  • For instance, Bay doesn't distinguish between when to do a shot

  • and when not to do it. He'll use the same camera movement,

  • whether the charachter's saying something important...

  • You have any money here in the States?

  • ... or total gibberish...

  • What did I say?! Did you hear what I said?

  • I heard what I said 'cause I was standing there when I said it.

  • Every shot is designed for maximum visual impact, regardless of whether it fits.

  • But the Bay style also leads to some fascinating visual ideas.

  • How can you make something feel big?

  • Well, you put lots of things of varying size in the same shot

  • and then you move the camera to emphasize.

  • This is something "Jurassic Park" also did very well.

  • Ah! — It's... It's a dinosaur.

  • Just as important is off-screen space.

  • Notice here, this actor isn't looking at the planes we see in the background.

  • That means there's even more planes we can't see.

  • So while the shot feels huge, it implies even more scale.

  • How does a filmmaker come up with images like this?

  • In the case of Michael Bay, let's look at one of his favorite films.

  • "When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way

  • From your first cigarette to your last dying day"

  • There's a great New York Times interview where he watches "West Side Story"

  • and talks about how this is a great shot

  • and this is a great cut.

  • He can't articulate why they're great, other than "they're dynamic".

  • But I think that's it: when you put shots from West Side Story

  • back to back with his work, you can feel the similarities.

  • I think Bay's goal is to create what he thinks are good shots

  • and connect them with what he thinks are good cuts.

  • If Howard Hawks defined a good movie as three good scenes and no bad ones,

  • Michael Bay seems to think a good film

  • is three thousand dynamic shots and no static ones.

  • Apart from West Side Story, Bay's biggest influence is actually other blockbusters.

  • He frequently borrows the same basic vocabularies and other sequence.

  • So something like this...

  • ... becomes this.

  • You'll notice the tight shots of the character become tighter.

  • And the wide shots become wider.

  • Everything gets more layers of motion, but the basic vocabulary's the same.

  • - I got him! - Great, kid! Don't get cocky.

  • And it's not just other people he borrows from.

  • Bay cannibalizes himself just as much.

  • So this...

  • ... becomes this.

  • You'll notice every motion in the original shot.

  • For instance, the camera turning counter-clockwise,

  • while the bomb turns clockwise

  • it's just cranked up in this version.

  • Autobots, I'm in pursuit.

  • So what is Bayhem?

  • It's the use of movement, composition and fast editing

  • to create a sense of epic scale.

  • Each individual shot feels huge, but also implies bigger things outside the frame.

  • It stacks multiple layers of movement shot either on a very long lens or a very wide one.

  • It shows you a lot for just a moment and then takes it away.

  • You feel the overall motion, but no grasp of anything concrete.

  • And yet, it requires a lot of people and integration to do this.

  • But it's basically a variation on the existing vocabulary of the action scene.

  • Individual shots are a little dirtier, a little shakier, more complex, few more layers.

  • Then you cut it together faster than the brain can register,

  • but not faster than the eye can move.

  • It's not revolutionary, just the past with a bit of stank on it.

  • If you want to see a more etxreme version of similiar ideas,

  • you can look at late-era Tony Scott.

  • And if you wanna see a less cluttered version, you can look at animation.

  • Someone like Glen Keane.

  • This is way more legible than what Bay does, but the basic idea is the same:

  • character, environment, many layers, one epic sweep.

  • The world feels huge.

  • One of my favorite adaptations of the Michael Bay style is actually shrinking it down.

  • Ironically, Bayhem - which seems to have developed from a kid blowing up his train set -

  • is actually kind of charming when it's tiny.

  • Instead of blowing up the world, how about a small English town?

  • Swan!

  • But in the end, I think the popularity of this style is hugely important.

  • Whether we like it or not, the interesting thing here

  • is that we are really visually sophisticated

  • and totally visually illiterate.

  • We can process visual information at a speed that wasn't common before,

  • but thinking through what an image means...

  • This is not necessary!

  • ... not so much.

  • And as Wernor Herzog put it:

  • You do not avert your eyes. That's what's coming at us.

  • This might sound a little weird, but the person who loses the most here

  • is actually Michael Bay. He is a slave to his own eye.

  • He has a need to make every image dynamic, even

  • when it runs contrary to the theme of his movie.

  • Some people just don't know a good thing when it's staring them in the face.

  • It really is the simple things in life...

  • Yeah, the little things, like a big house,

  • a dock, a view of the water and a speed boat.

  • What happens when two great storytellers tackle this exact same theme?

  • Heck, Norm, you know, we're doing pretty good.

  • — I love you, Margie.

  • — I love you, Norm.

  • Two more months.

  • Two more months...

Hi. My name is Tony and this is Every Frame a Painting.

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マイケル-ベイ - ベイヘムとは何ですか? (Michael Bay - What is Bayhem?)

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    vincent に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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