Posted on Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 by Peter Sciretta
Tony Zhou analyzes director Michael Bay‘s filmmaking style in great video essay titled “What is Bayhem?”. Zhou introduces his video as follows:
There are filmmakers we love and then there’s Michael Bay. Even if you dislike him (as I do), Bay has something valuable to teach us about visual perception. This is an exploration of “Bayhem” — his style of camera movement, composition and editing that creates something overblown, dynamic and distinct.
Many of you may easily discount Michael Bay’s filmmaking as blockbuster popcorn cinema, but Bay has an unmistakable style that others have not been able to easily replicate. Bay’s films are unmistakable. Show me a scene from a Brett Ratner film I’ve never seen and I wouldn’t be able to tell you the director, but show me a scene from a Michael Bay film and his style is instantly recognizable. James Cameron has famously stated that he “studied [Bay’s] films and reverse-engineered his shooting style.” Zhou takes an in-depth look at the vocabulary of Bay’s filmmaking style. Watch the “What is Bayhem?” video essay embedded after the jump.
What is Bayhem?
Side note: “Bayhem” isn’t in any of the major printed dictionaries, but the slang word has been recognized by the urban dictionary since 2007. Here is their definition of Bayhem:
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Bayhem The cinematic conceit of blowing shit up on a large scale, in slow motion and (usually) at sunset. A portmanteau word employing the concept of the inevitable incendiary mayhem employed by uberhack Michael Bay in lieu of characters, a script or a a pube’s-weight of reality. Example: A: Dude! Did you dig the plot in Transformers? B: Hell, no! I was only there to watch the Bayhem! or A: I can’t believe The Knight lays waste to Los Angeles at the end of Bruckheimer’s remake of “The Seventh Seal.” B: Yeah, who needs Kierkegaardian themes on death and meaning when you can unleash total Bayhem?