The Michael Bay Ambulance: Worthy of an IMAX? – YM Cinema


On April 8, the party begins, as the Michael Bay Ambulance is pushed to the theaters. However, the question remains: which theater to choose? Should we see it on IMAX? Although we are IMAX lovers, we advise you to choose the best cinema where you can go, but not IMAX. It’s our two cents.

Michael Bay Ambulance: The IMAX Poster

For those who live in a cave and don’t know what Bayhem cameras are, we can tell you that these cameras were custom made for Michael Bay by RED Digital Cinema. As far as we know, there are two BayHem cameras: RED Helium 8K (with the Helium sensor) and RED Komodo 6K. These cameras belong to Michael who has used them on his recent films, including Ambulance. In the past, Michael has filmed with his own ARRIFLEX 235 (Transformers 1-3 and many other films). However, in the later movies, he switched to RED. Basically, according to the IMDB tech specs (which are absolutely correct in this case), these are the cameras and lenses behind Ambulance:

  • RED Komodo 6K Bayhem
  • RED Helium 8K Bayhem (and “conventional” Helium) paired with Panavision T-Series and Vantage One lenses

As you can see, there’s no IMAX camera involved. The maximum resolution is 8K (IMAX equals 11K resolution). Generally speaking, these cameras can produce stunning images for the large canvas but are not perfectly suited for the huge canvas (IMAX cinema).

Michael Bay with RED Helium 8K Bayhem on set 6 Underground
Michael Bay with RED Helium 8K Bayhem on set 6 Underground

“Ambulance” tells the story of a bank robbery that gets complicated when a cop gets shot. Then the robbers steal an ambulance to use as an escape vehicle when the heist gets worse. Many scenes were shot inside the ambulance while in an ultra epic and intense pursuit, made by the master. Additionally, we have reported that the main star of the film, Jake Gyllenhaal, shot some action scenes by himself. He just picked up the camera and started filming. RED cameras can be fitted into a compact form factor that makes them very easy and fun to shoot. So expect high octane adrenaline rushes and plenty of camera shake like Michael likes (just like us). “Ambulance” should be like a combination of Heat, Training Day, Bad Boys, Speed, and 13 Hours. Cool, oversaturated, fast-paced movie.

Abandoned Michael Bay Ambulance Trailer: FPV Cinema Rules.  Photo: Michael Bay's Instagram
Abandoned Michael Bay Ambulance Trailer: FPV Cinema Rules. Photo: Michael Bay’s Instagram

As the trailer suggests, along with a number of BTS footage (for example, watch the footage below posted by Jarred Land – CEO of RED Digital Cinema), show the new methodology of Cinema FPV (First Person View ) which was used extensively in Ambulance. Therefore, expect a huge dose of FPV aerial shots straight into the action. For this, the RED Komodo was used. The RED Komodo is one of the most effective cinema cameras that can be used for aerial FPV. This camera was invented for that purpose, as RED CEO Jarred Land said: “The little army of BAYHEM Komodos on the set of Michael Bays ‘Ambulance’ exactly a year ago was preparing to be thrown into danger. … just what they were designed for”. However, when shooting aerial FPV, a simple lens is attached, as a big and heavy cine lens is not an option for this case. For example, you simply cannot launch the Panavision T-Series on an FPV drone. Explore the image below to reveal the very simple and inexpensive prime lens associated with the Komodo. The lens won’t look sharp on an IMAX screen, and if the shot takes longer than a few seconds, audiences will notice the difference.

Ambulance BTS: The RED Komodo Bayhem
Ambulance BTS: The RED Komodo Bayhem

A small army of BAYHEM Komodos on the set of Michael Bays’ “Ambulance” exactly one year ago preparing to be thrown into danger…exactly what they were designed to do.

Jarred Land – CEO of RED Digital Cinema

Michael Bay loves IMAX cameras and IMAX loves Michael. In 2014 it was reported that IMAX has developed the first fully integrated dual 65mm 4K large format digital 3D camera (two Phantom 65 cameras glued together). This system was used in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction. The production team was able to capture chase scenes and helicopter shots in high-resolution 3D for projection on an IMAX 3D theater. Consequently, this film became one of the first to look solid in IMAX 3D. Since then, and we may be wrong about this, Bay hasn’t filmed on IMAX, including the planned Ambulance.

The cameras behind Ambulance
The cameras behind Ambulance

To sum up, Ambulance is going to be shaky,… very shaky (in a good way) regrading the camera work. Many scenes were shot in 6K with fixed lenses (for FPV footage), and without any IMAX cameras being used. If so, there’s no need to watch Ambulance in an IMAX theater. However, watch it in the best theater you can find. The great 13 Hours film suffered from limited screening and distribution even though it was a blast. 6 Underground was limited to streaming only, which is a lower viewing platform than a movie theater. Therefore, now there is a great opportunity to watch a Michael Bay movie on the big web. So go watch it. Not on IMAX, but in the best theater you can find. BTW: A new (and final) trailer was released yesterday. Check it out:

Are you excited about Ambulance? We know we are!

Product list

Here are the products mentioned in the article and the links to buy them from authorized retailers.

  • RED Komodo 6K Digital Cinema


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