The Real Stars of Transformers: Age of Extinction

Like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye,” states Optimus Prime in the original Transformers and it still holds true today, several years later and millions of dollars into the franchise the Transformers have returned for another ride. And over the years with each installment the actors and story lines have changed and even the design, but one thing has remained the same — that there is no show without the Transformers, who have always been the real stars of the films and like it or not are here to stay or at least one can hope so anyway. Meanwhile Michael Bay has managed yet again to get another story out of the franchise, which from the trailers are quite impressive.

Although none of this would be possible without the alien bots who steal the scenes every time. So just in time for the release of  Transformers: Age of Extinction here’s a breakdown and behind the scenes look at the real stars — the Transformers.  Plus check out this link for more


AUTOBOTS * Disclaimer:  some character accuracy may be slightly off as collected from multiple sources.

OPTIMUS PRIME:  the bot in charge. You don’t mess with the Prime. This is a custom-built truck design from Western Star, that you can now ride in thanks to Uber for a limited time. Has 2 truck versions in the new film.

BUMBLEBEE: You already know: in case you don’t I’m the yellow vintage 1967 Camaro SS

Chevrolet Camaro 2014

DRIFT:  the new kid on the block sporting the blue; former decepticon.

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse


HOUND: Military style. From Oshkosh Defense.


RATCHET: same ole same. Medical officer; H2 Hummer.

BRAINS: he’s back! Still an Autobot.


CROSSHAIRS: new bot, the green sexy machine; paratrooper.

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray





GALVATRON: main leader and villain, reborn Megatron. 

Freight liner Argosy


STINGER: Spy and a sabotage.

Pagani Huayra


LOCKDOWN: the bounty hunter, not really a decepticon; 700 horsepower @ 8,250 rpm from the 6.5L V12. Aventador LP 700-4 




GRIMLOCK: dinobot leader and Prime’s sidekick; T-REX.

STRAFE: assault infantry

SLUG: triceratops

SCORN: demolition specialist.




Also Michael Bay has a cool link for updates on his films.   Photos copyright of Paramount via various sources.


Recreating ‘Gravity’: How innovation paved the way to Oscar

In honor of the 86th Academy Awards I am highlighting the film ‘Gravity‘, 10 time nominee and winner of 7 Oscars. As a film of technological wonder and monumental undertaking that has redefined the craft of filmmaking and probably will for years to come. One I sadly missed the opportunity to see on the big screen, but hey that’s why there’s Redbox.

Nevertheless, a glance through the images and videos online quickly drew this beautiful space story into perspective and its not surprising that it has taken the world and Hollywood by storm.

This Oscar winning film was made possible by the ingenious collaboration of director Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men, Tree of Life), and Visual Effects Supervisor Tim Webber (Framestore), who together revolutionized the process of filmmaking. A feat they managed to accomplish by inventing and combining new and old technologies. The first was a light box, which essentially was a large LED projection cube that helped to realistically recreate the environment for the actors, while helping to properly illuminate the scene. The technology was inspired by similar technology used in concerts.

In addition they created robotic rigs that enabled them to recreate the feeling of zero gravity and create the illusion of the actors moving in space; most of which was controlled by a team of puppeteers. While the sequences actually involved only the camera moving.

However, the most amazing thing about ‘Gravity‘ is the way it was created by merging live action and CG animation. Most of the film, probably unknown to audiences, was hand-animated in the computer from the beginning stages through the completion of the film. Unlike most films which are post-effects only.

This process was only made possible by pre-visualizing the whole film prior to any actual production taking place and for those unfamiliar with the process it’s basically a pre-planning, 3D storyboard tool used to plan out the shots, timing, and animation before production begins, giving one a sense of what it might look like. It’s also a great tool to see what technical problems might arise. Interestingly too ‘Gravity‘ doesn’t use a green screen at all, as it would affect the light quality and composite.

On the whole the visual effects shots were primarily handled by Framestore in London whose work is featured in such films as the Harry Potter Films, Children of Men, and Iron Man 3. While in addition effects companies Prime Focus, Third Floor, and Rising Sun also contributed to the final VFX shots.

Overall the project was a massive undertaking taking four to six years to make, but it all paid off in the end. Not only with accolades, but by advancing the art and technology of filmmaking.

For a more detailed breakdown or look at how Gravity was created check out the links below.



The Art, The Story, The Process: Behind The Scenes

I can’t really recall when I became a T.V. and film nut, probably somewhere between Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Lord of the Rings. I only know it’s stuck with me and has become more than just a hobby, but a dream to realize. For me the finished films are magical, but the real magic has always lied in the process of T.V. and film production. A process that for better or worse is truly unlike any other I’ve had the distinct pleasure to be a part of.

This blog is a celebration of film and T.V., that takes a closer look at what goes on behind the scenes. Especially, the often overlooked departments, that have really only started to be shown to the world through DVD extra’s, social media, and other outlets, who don’t always get the fame or big awards – for example the art department. Thus each week(if time allows) I’ll try to feature a different film or T.V. show that captures the great mastery and craft of creating costumes, makeup, hair, props, scene design, etc. . . In addition, I hope to highlight the true story or history behind many of these films and T.V. series.

In the end, it’s really just about sharing a love of stories and great entertainment. So be inspired! Learn! Watch! Create!

P.S. I will aim for accuracy as much as possible, but sometimes it’s just an educated guess.