Watch This Unique ‘Desktop Documentary’ About the Next Transformers Movie
A good documentary often begins with a search. But in the case of Transformers: The Premake, that happens in a more literal way than usual.
The 25-minute video opens with screen captures of actual Web searches — “transformers 4” and “transformers 4 filming chicago,” typed into YouTube’s search box.
What follows is a fascinating collage that maker Kevin B. Lee calls a “desktop documentary” — an examination of the making of the as-yet-unreleased Transformers 4, by way of sorting and organizing photos, videos, and news reports on that subject that Lee found around the Web.
By Lee’s account, he started out intending to make a traditional documentary about the effect of a blockbuster production on the city of Chicago.
Then he noticed that, in the process, he was surrounded by fans and gawkers who were doing pretty much what he was: making videos of a spectacle-in-progress.
Thus, in Transformers: The Premake, we watch as the results of those opening searches pop up across a digital map: clip after clip made by what I guess I’ll call “citizen fans,” documenting the making of a sci-fi blockbuster as it played out on city streets and spaces.
The clips come not just from Chicago but from Monument Valley, Utah; Washington, D.C.; Hong Kong; Detroit.
They document the fake advertisements meant to serve as backdrops.