Roll Out to the Future: How Transformers Have “Transformed” Themselves and Film Technology

Imagine getting a new car. You’ve always wanted one, and finally, you got one. You have just the one you want, and you’ve brought it home. But all of a sudden, your car starts to move on its own. Gears shift, parts move, and a giant robot is now standing before you. It starts telling you that it’s an alien named Camshaft from a faraway planet known as Cybertron. He also happens to be in the middle of a war. He is just one of the Transformers. The story of these warring robots has changed in many ways over the years, and the recent movies have changed films too.

Cybertronian commencement

The Transformers have come a long way from where they started. But where did they start? Well, the original 80’s cartoon stated that the Transformers were created by the Quintessons, beings not too unlike the Transformers themselves. They were later built in the Plasma Energy Chamber and given life by a computer known as Vector Sigma after rebelling against the Quintessons. However, in the separate comic book series being released at the same time, the Transformers were created by a god-like entity known as Primus, who was later to be revealed as the home planet of the Transformers, Cybertron. The show Transformers: Animated and the recent Michael Bay movies have used the Allspark, a small object that can turn anything into a Transformer. The more recent Aligned continuity of shows and video games have mish mashed everything, using the Allspark, Vector Sigma, and Primus. However, in every continuity, the Transformers split into the 2 factions of Autobots (the good guys), and Decepticons (the bad guys). These new factions will start a war that usually destroys their planet and takes them to Earth. Now I know you didn’t get anything I just said, so just ask me what I mean if you need help. Hopefully, I can make it easier.

From left to right to bottom: The Allspark, Primus, and Vector Sigma.

Cybertronian characters

The origins of the Transformers aren’t the only thing that’s changed. The specific Cybertronians themselves have also evolved in many ways. Take Hot Rod, for example. He originally was a punky, red and yellow robot with flame decals on his chest that turned into a futuristic sport car. He would later be made into Rodimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots. In the Animated show, although he looked mostly the same, he was much more noble and a lot less punky. According to “Transformers: The Last Knight: 45 Things to Know About the Sequel,” he will be more like his original self in the fifth movie personality-wise, except he will have a French accent, even though he won’t be French. He will also be black and red, with no flames in sight. Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons, has also changed in many ways. He was originally a gray robot with a huge cannon on his arm that could turn into a gun that other Transformers could fire. He was evil, but could see reason when faced with his survival and the survival of the Decepticon cause. In the Animated cartoon, he again looked mostly the same, but turned into a helicopter. In the movies, he was a murdering, evil leader that turned into a futuristic jet/starship thing, then a tank, then a truck, then a jet. I don’t know why they kept changing it either.

From left to right: The original version of the character Hot Rod; the Hot Rod from Transformers: The Last Knight.

Alien Advancements

Here comes the techy part, and the only important part, of this article. To create his giant metal behemoths, director Michael Bay turned to Industrial Light and Magic, or ILM. ILM was created by George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, for his films and has since gone on to do special effects from anything from Terminator to The Avengers. They were the best choice. However, even they needed to up their game, as according to Transformers Vault, the computer model for Devastator, a hulking monster made of 6 individual Decepticons, fried the computers at ILM and they needed to make better ones. Michael Bay has even said that he is proud of breaking ILM computers every movie! But the computers aren’t the only thing that Bay has advanced. He uses special IMAX cameras to capture his high-tech explosions and action sequences. For example, in “Transformers: The Last Knight,” Bay is using an IMAX Alexa 65 3D rig and an IMAX Phantom 65 rig, along with another camera. This is very important because it helps Bay to get exactly the shot he wants and/or needs. He is also experimenting with new ways to set up the camera, like putting a 3D camera on a 3D rig, in order to shoot in 3D in real time. These advancements can help IMAX, ILM, and other directors as they make their movies.

Michael Bay is using the IMAX Alexa 65 camera to shoot the new movie.

Cybertronian Conclusion

As mentioned before, Transformers have evolved in many ways since it’s origins in 1984, and have touched many hearts, continuing to do so with each new “transformation.” The film industry has also been affected in many ways, and will continue to be affected by Michael Bay’s ingenuity. With each new evolution and innovation, the fanbase grows and grows, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

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