Bumblebee screeches down the road in Love Park on Penn’s campus during a shoot on Friday 6/13/08

Josh Landow comes through again with another set report. This time star Shia Labeouf and his bitchin’ Camaro were shooting at some frat houses at the University of Pennsylvania!
As usual, possible spoilers follow.

So last last night I went over to where they were shooting at a Frat house on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Didn’t really know just what I’d find at 9pm, but all of a sudden I caught a glimpse of yellow…it was Bumblebee! They were pretty nazi-esque about no pictures on the set, but I snuck 1 which is terrible. Also got a video which isn’t half bad of BB hauling ass down the walkway (it’s not even really a street), plus some shots of the car getting loaded into its carrier trailer after the shoot (which ended close to 2am!).

I can describe what I wasn’t able to take pictures of. The frat house is known as The Castle because it looks like a castle. Bumblebee was parked out front and they made it look like he was parked in the bushes. There was a huge lighting screen over the car, and 2 giant light balloons (not sure how else to describe them) floating above the set. There was a fairly large crowd present, and we were all behind a police barricade (no pun intended). Security made us all move around several times depending on which direction they were shooting.

The first shot was a bunch of well dressed good looking college coeds walking around to and fro with some of them seemingly converging on the BB Camaro, saying things like “Wow! Cool car.” They did several takes on this. Between takes Michael Bay admonished many of the young extras who were not walking in the right direction or doing the right thing. I imagine that it’s difficult to deal with so many untrained college kids.

Next shot was the most involved and took about 3 hours to shoot from every which way, with different lighting, and with slightly different lines even. Shia and a few of the bit players were definitely ad-libbing or at least taking some liberties with the script. This shot consisted of Shia running out of the party because BB’s alarm was going off (the sound of which will be added in post). Like I said BB was parked in the bushes which gets Sam into some trouble with the frat boys who came running after him asking “Hey Freshman, is that your car parked in our bushes?” Sam replies “uh uh no, it’s a friend’s car – he went to get a new shirt” (or something dumb like that – they kept changing that line). Fratboy responds “How about I park my foot up your ass?” Sam says “I’ll move the car now.” He gets in and has (fake) trouble closing the door because of all the shrubbery. It was hard to hear, but when he got inside the car, I think he said something about Decepticons. And yes it took 3 hours to shoot this.

After this, there was a little down time and Shia came over to the crowd and shook everyone’s hand, signed some autographs, and gave a few teenage girls something to fantasize about. He seemed like a nice guy, so I didn’t tell him how much he annoys me and that I was far more interested in the car.

Then they moved the crowd back a good ways to shoot some more extras walking about before finally getting to the scene that I knew had to be coming. Bumblebee backs up and drives away (as seen in my video). This was shot using Bay’s camera rigged Porsche Cayenne. I think they shot this like 4 or 5 times with the cars backing up to reset after each take.

Now comes the best part of the whole night, making it worth missing my train home and being stuck in town all night. They drive Bumblebee right down to the barricade where everybody’s standing to get it ready to go. I was like 5 feet from fucking Bumblebee! Still couldn’t take any pictures though. We were told so by Bay himself who was standing right there. So I just basked in the glow. Then they covered the car with a specially fitted tarp that had an open area over the windshield so they could drive it out with the tarp on. The rest of the crowd seemed to be more concerned with hanging around to see them pack up the gear, but I followed BB off the campus ground out to Walnut Street where it was loaded into a trailer.


See the photos on Josh’s Flikr page, and be sure to listen to him on air: Y-Rock On WXPN. Many thanks to him for his continued reports!

Transformers Live has reports also from the set, and more photos:
Party Scene, Shia and Bumblebee In Motion
Isabel Lucas Filming Street Scene