Michael Bay – What is Bayhem ? Cinematography Study

Posted By yonghow on July 12th, 2014

Michael Bay - What is Bayhem ? Cinematography Study

A scholarly look behind “Bayhem” – the term given to Transformers director Michael Bay’s visual style. There’s a thing or two to be learned about cinematography and composition for film in this video by Tony Zhou :

You don’t have to like Michael Bay’s films but the truth is that not many directors can shoot and visually orchestrate such massive and impactful action sequences as he does. In the interest of expanding one’s cinematic lexicon of visual vocabulary, it is important (and fun !) to watch and study his films.

Posted in Cinematography, Film

5 Responses to “Michael Bay – What is Bayhem ? Cinematography Study”


Bay’s cinematography is stunning, the problem is that he is complete style and no substance. Fight scenes, for example, are a complete mess. There is no coherent or thought-out choreography, it’s just a ton of shrapnel and debris flying in every direction. Which is a shame because the special effects are incredible and always a head above the competition.

I saw Age of Extinction last Monday, and I probably say it’s the least bad Transformers film. I think that outside of replacing the awful cast of the first three films with relatively watchable performers, Bay hasn’t really learned anything about writing a meaningful script. At least the spectacular camera work and effects will make for some great gifs.


Extinction is a visually spectacular film alright, with lots going on screen the whole length of the film. The story takes a supporting role. 😛

I personally like the first film the most because the transformations are so cool. That said I had fun working on the this one and the last film. :]


I absolutely hate Michael Bay’s films.

This video was fantastic because it articulates WHY better than i ever could. But i also like that it did so without any strong bias pro or con toward Bay’s style. I appreciate that this video takes a breath, sets emotion aside, and really tries to figure out what Bay is doing.

The most interesting point is that what Bay does can make for some really gorgeous shots. He just has no sense for when to use a complex shot and when NOT to.

Thank you for posting this! Fascinating.


Scott – Much agreed; his camera moves are very dynamic and when used at the right moment/context it really gets your adrenaline rushing.

It’ll be interesting to see other filmmakers utilize his techniques for their own movies. :]


@Hina Bay isn’t the writer of the film Ehren Kruger did the writing.