Bayhem: When Too Much Isn't Enough

Michael Bay, the American movie director and producer, is worth millions of dollars. In fact, Forbes has Bay making $66 million in 2014 – and that’s just through the first six months of this year.

How’s he do it? Well, Tony Zhou has created a mashup of Bay’s movies for us to study. Let the Bayhem begin.

Plenty of people criticize Bay for his over-the-top blockbusters. We’ve all seen his movies. There’s camera shake. Explosions, followed by more camera shake from more explosions. Loud music. Then a horrible line from the lead character and the most EPIC hero shot you’ve ever seen. See also: dirt, dust, flames, and “acting.”

Zhou discusses this and more throughout the video. It’s a good watch if you are getting into motion production, and useful if you are photographing stills. The compositional devices and techniques apply to both disciplines, as does the discussion about Bay’s reliance on telephoto lenses to compress the environment.

If you have an upcoming assignment that needs a hero angle, make sure you pause the playback and take notes around 2:04 for the Bay version.

So when is too much, well, too much? If you are Michael Bay, the answer is never. Zhou does a great job of sequencing various movies to show how Bay relies on the same camera moves in nearly every movie he makes.  Trivial scene or not, he’s going to hit you over the head with his signature imagery. 

Aaron Ottis's picture

Aaron is a photographer living in the Midwestern United States.

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My favorite Bay's production still are the victoria secrets ads. I mean ... having 3 super hot model half naked with a fire explosion on the back ground ... what else ;)

Julien, it probably could have used a few ninja robots, but hindsight is always 20/20.

Intelligently intriguing.

The narrative is as potent as the relentless visuals about which it is commenting. If I weren't enjoying wine and pizza while watching, I would have been scribbling notes.

At first I thought you were saying Bay's films had potent narrative. Don't scare me like that. :P

"Totally visually illiterate"... Totally and most definitely true for our collective understanding of still and motion pictures. Great piece! Thank you!

Sometimes, we forget that what's important is to deliver something our clients like, not to please ourselves, and in this regard, Bay understand what he is doing.

This is amazing... I've seen a few of these now and am amazed every time...but this is just fantastic. I'll bet a TON of people didn't give this video the time it deserves....