Feature Film Made In GTA IV

from the film-world-is-changing dept

Nearly a decade ago, we talked about how the concept of machinima was becoming more mainstream, and plenty has happened since then. People have made all sorts of cool stuff within video games. Slashdot points us to a short blog post by someone pointing out how it's becoming cheaper than ever to make movies these days, and points out a few great examples. The first one is a feature-length film made entirely in GTA IV. Stupidly, we can't embed it here, because apparently there's a Universal Music song in there, and Universal is requiring that the video only be shown on YouTube, so that it can monetize it. It seems pretty ridiculous that Universal would get the only money from YouTube on a 90-minute film.

Separately, that original blog post has a short film made for $300 that has pretty damn impressive special effects for that little money:
Of course, we've seen cheap movies made with great special effects before, but every year the quality gets better and better and better. Remember a similar story from a little over a year ago? We're going to be seeing more and more and more like this. We've talked a lot lately, wondering when the first feature film will be made with a smartphone, but it's not just the camera equipment. What's fascinating is that so many aspects of filmmaking are becoming cheaper and reaching a much larger community of people. Yes, this will mean plenty of "crappy" movies are made, but it also opens up the possibility that a fantastically great movie can come from totally unexpected places, with incredibly low budgets. Those who don't realize just how disruptive this can be aren't paying close enough attention.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Jan 28th, 2011 @ 7:53pm

    Someone

    Someone better invent a way to prolong life soon. The list of movies to see keeps getting longer and longer every day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    thestevetorres (profile), Jan 28th, 2011 @ 8:09pm

    Re: Someone

    IT TOTALLY WORKED!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    thestevetorres (profile), Jan 28th, 2011 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Someone

    Now as far as prolonging life i'm still miles on a breakthrough, but i have this time machine I'm trying out, it may help... let me see...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 8:17pm

    What I find ironic is that this is a $300 movie for a bunch of reasons, the biggest one being the very method of paying for software / movies / music that the whole piracy / give it free movement is trying to rip down.

    How else could they afford the software to do this for effectively nothing?

    Makes me wonder sometimes about the two faced nature of TD.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re: Someone

    Whoa, where am I? What the heck?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Sydney (profile), Jan 28th, 2011 @ 8:44pm

    Re:

    The cost doesn't factor in the price of the machine to edit/render the footage, the price of the software for special effects, and the camera. Lets say they had a Macbook, $2000, and they used final cut pro $800, and they used FXhome Visionlab for the special effects $500. Lastly the camera,a decent HD for $1000. That is $4300 right there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Someone

    Or maybe what's her name in that video can bend time for you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 11:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Lets say they used a PC for $1000 and open source to produce everything, plus a DSR camera that goes for about $2000, plus illumination and greenscreen from Walmart $300 that is a $3300 bucks right there still a bargain don't you think?

    That ignoring that PC's are not bought for film production exclusively and nor is the digital cameras and assuming they did go to the high end of the spectrum which is unlikely the price comes down if the camera used was a simple digital one without any great features that you can buy for around $100, I did motion tracking in cheap digital cameras is not that hard.

    Anyone with a computer and a camera any camera can do some beautiful things today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 11:23pm

    Special effects are getting cheaper to do at home here are two examples Blender 2.55 Effects Compilation #1 and Blender 2.55 Effects Compilation #2 even a Werewolf transformation can be done and it is in reach of the amateur now(Creating a Werewolf Part 1.

    Also machinima is getting better everyday the one reason for that is that the graphics are getting better and better all the time so people get an entire environment to use that is already done and they mostly need to worry just about the dialogues. If anybody has seen the latest games like Metal Gear, Silent Hill 8 or Resident Evil they would have noticed how good the graphics are today and the stories are getting compelling with John Carpenter being one of the contributors to Dead Space 2 or something like that.

    Instead of just watching a movie you can now interact with the thing, who wants to seat there and watch something for 2 hours when they can get inside and explore?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Re:

    So, that just means that people are willing to invest their money into making things freely available for others to copy. Why do we need patents and copyrights again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2011 @ 11:52pm

    By the way, special effects today that anybody can do are good enough for commercial purposes, just look at the special effects in the 80's(The Greatest American Hero) and what anybody can do today.

    The price barrier is broken, it is no more. That limiting factor to do things is gone only the imagination can stop others now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 12:50am

    Re:

    I'll bite. I do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    cc (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 3:16am

    Along the same lines, here's something I found that I thought was amazing:

    http://beyondblackmesa.com/

    Half-life inspired fan-film (10 mins) with awesome effects, made by 7 friends on a budget of $1200.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 4:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You forgot probably 300-500 hours of work that they are doing for "free" but in normal terms would add a ton of money to the project. It's a $300 project because they aren't considering their time has any value.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 4:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which just proves that people can do it with little to no budget.

    Money is not the issue, work done is.

    This is a lesson to everybody complaining that they don't have the money to do it, they don't need the money they need people willing to work for something, that is all they need.

    If we want to solve problems people need to realize now that governments won't help them and greedy people behind companies won't also, they need to start working and producing their own solutions.

    Helthcare, food, shelter and quality of living can all be done by the people, the government is indispensable for protection that is all they are good at.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    cc (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are blinded by the inflexibility of the capitalistic doctrine that permeates our lives today. Money is ONE motivator, but historically need, idleness and serendipity were the main drivers of creation.

    So, is it so inconceivable that talented/knowledgeable people are dedicating their valuable time to create something of value that they'll give away, simply because they derive pleasure from creating?

    It's the same kind of motivation that keeps Wikipedia and open source going, which appears not to be in short supply on the internet.

    I find it quite fascinating tbh: creators are connecting and self-organising online, and in many cases they are actively competing against established companies. Art is also catching up, and perhaps in the near future we'll see feature films with CGI produced entirely by a distributed team of volunteers...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 5:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Charities and volunteer organizations exist. Why do we need money, commerce, or corporations again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 6:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Corporations people could do without them. Money maybe not entirely because it has a control function that it is important and commerce to exchange goods and services.

    We don't actually need the greedy bastards, we need good people that work hard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It isn't a question of money as motivation, it's the question of being honest about the cost of time, and the cost of actually making the movie.

    "in the near future we'll see feature films with CGI produced entirely by a distributed team of volunteers"

    Really, it has already happened. But you didn't hear about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It isn't a question of money as motivation, it's the question of being honest about the cost of time, and the cost of actually making the movie.

    "in the near future we'll see feature films with CGI produced entirely by a distributed team of volunteers"

    Really, it has already happened. But you didn't hear about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My time as a volunteer would be valuable yes. But I can't put a price on it. You can't say, I worked x amount of hours on it, and my hourly rate would've been xyz, if you're doing something voluntarily.

    So how much money would you add to the tally of $300, if the people worked on the project for free, because they loved to do it?

    And I'm thinking they already had the software on their computers, either from school or such, so that doesn't count towards the cost.

    BTW, why ARE we discussing how understated the costs are on these kinds of movies.
    Bottom line is, you don't need a trillion dollar budget to make a decent movie. SFX don't need to cost that much, I mean my jaw hit the floor when they showed Mel's special ability, the only seemingly wobbly thing was the floating arrow. THAT's the disruptor in this case.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Hank, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    I think the point here is that technology has been the biggest barrier and now these tools are available to people who want to work tirelessly for free. When a $2500 costumer SLR camera is outputting footage that is virtually indistinguishable from a 35mm paniflex or arri camera that costs $1000 a day to rent, the industry dynamics shift wildly

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Why do we need money, commerce, or corporations again?"

    My response was to point out that the argument that this person probably spent more money on this video than what MM says isn't an argument for patents and copy protection laws, it's an argument against them.

    There are many other reasons why we don't need patents and copyrights and no reason why we need them, at least the way they are set up today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    aikiwolfie (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 8:20am

    That sucked!

    Of all the cheap movies made in someone's bedroom this is the worst yet. The effects were that bad. But these guys need a story. Someone people write them a movie to make and find some half decent drama students to act in it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (that is, there are many other reasons why we don't need patents and copyrights in general, in opposed to this specific case *).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    coldbrew, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't perform a time-cost analysis on the food I produce in my garden because I enjoy working in my garden; same goes for catching trout. Call it $10,000 if that makes you feel better.

    Really, it has already happened. But you didn't hear about it.

    What is your point?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re:

    Given our broken system, those who host the software or the software developers of this software will probably get sued for patent infringement or something, not that patents were needed for this software to have been developed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    cc (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It isn't a question of money as motivation, it's the question of being honest about the cost of time, and the cost of actually making the movie."

    Despite the old saying that "money is time," time only has a monetary cost if you put a price on it. I, like many others on the internet, don't mind donating some of my free time for free to improve a distributed project. If you think about it, even YOU are using up your time posting comments on a forum -- will you be sending Mike an IOU?

    "Really, it has already happened. But you didn't hear about it."

    Very probably true, however like I said I've yet to hear of such a project competing with the established players (THAT I would have heard, I think).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just think of all the lost money, not in your garden, but when you watch movies or listen to music.

    There you are, spending your time, and no one is paying you for it.

    Has anyone ever considered the cost of people watching movies? Hundreds of unpaid people in a theater. Who is going to shell out the cash to keep those people in the seats?

    /Can't someone just do something for fun?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 11:17am

    I talked to my friend at something called "Habitat for Humanity" and she said houses were now free. Talk about disruptive!

    Then I talked to my other friend who is a real-estate agent and he said they weren't! What a maroon! I told him he better start looking for another job!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 11:39am

    Re:

    And yet virtual houses cost next to nothing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Re:

    "What I find ironic is that this is a $300 movie for a bunch of reasons, the biggest one being the very method of paying for software / movies / music that the whole piracy / give it free movement is trying to rip down.

    How else could they afford the software to do this for effectively nothing?"

    I really should not feed the trolls. Or defend something that doesn't require it, but what the hell.

    Free video editting software from apple and Microsoft

    Blender is an GNU GPL project for video editting and CGI.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Wait wait wait... some guy spends the time to edit a 90 minute film, GTA is used as the base technology, people lend their voices to the project, etc, etc, etc... but there's 1 song that Universal Music holds the copyright on, so they're the only ones allowed to make money from it?

    Overvalue your content much?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    They have to start making movies from video games and $300 budgets since people think they are entitled to watch them for free by stealing them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 3:46pm

    Really liked that last scene.

    Don't know why people put so much effort into these things and then hire actors that haven't taken basic drama, or that they don't have proper sound set up.

    Overall really impressive. But really what this shows me is that nothing is worth paying money for anymore in terms of movies/film/TV. I am pretty much done with that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    misterdoug (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 6:42pm

    Takes time for paradigms to change

    Some people say free entertainment will never eliminate movie studios and record companies because the quality of the material will never measure up. That reasoning didn't save ocean liners when trans-Atlantic air travel came along. But suppose steamship lines and railroads had acquired control over travel the way entertainment companies are now trying to get control of the Internet. We could be living in a world where few people questioned the idea that they had to travel by ship or train. They would be secure in the belief that airplanes were only safe for cargo, and scientists and engineers who argued otherwise would be branded as Liberal Atheists trying to lead us to One World Government. I'm sure Fox News could muster up a stable of experts who could prove with simple diagrams and good ole common sense that moving faster than 100 mph would kill you.

    Conventional Wisdom. It's what's for dinner!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 29th, 2011 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It isn't a question of money as motivation, it's the question of being honest about the cost of time, and the cost of actually making the movie.

    Good gods, man. What was the actual cost of you posting that comment? Your computer and internet bill must make it expensive, and we haven't even gotten into the costs of raising and educating you.

    Why would you comment without hope of being properly reimbursed?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 8:32pm

    Depends on how you market, in South Korea players actaully buy videos of masters showing off their skills so they can study them.

    You could also make something like Red vs Blue that is selling well apparently to the point the guys can buy hardware to trash and film it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2011 @ 8:34pm

    Re:

    Try harder troll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    cc (profile), Jan 30th, 2011 @ 2:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    *"time is money"

    wtf

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2011 @ 4:07am

    Re: Takes time for paradigms to change

    Some people say free entertainment will never eliminate movie studios and record companies because the quality of the material will never measure up.


    I would ask those people why. Photography is no longer the realm of professionals, millions of amateurs know are able not only to take good shots, but to use tools effectively to create things, the Gimp can not only retouch photographs it can create a whole bunch of effects and can be used extensively in professional work(e.g. The 300 movie is one example of that). Thousands of sound engineers and musicians have access to open source easy tools that can do almost anything you can imagine, so sound and music can also be done by amateurs today on the pro level, now is happening to video, the quality may be poor today, but probably won't stay that way forever, on the technical level people can do almost anything any big production can already with budgets that would be laughed at by the big boys, but they shouldn't this means they will soon have to compete not with piracy but with free open good enough products that may hit the market in a decade or so as more and more people realize they don't need others to tell stories they can tell those stories themselves and have the means today to do it on the cheap end of the scale to a level that rivals professional productions. The only thing that amateurs don't have yet is an idea of what it is needed to accomplice good story telling and they are learning fast. The internet enables people to learn things in a fraction of the time it took the movie and TV industries to realize their protocols. 5 years ago amateur film making was a hobby thing, that only your parents could be proud of, today you get people saying "Wow! that is amazing dude!" and it is opening a market to smaller competitors to get a foot in, but that is not the only factor, a lot of people are angry with those people for doing what they are doing to the population and are scrambling to find alternatives, the fight on piracy actually may create a market that could destroy the very people that believe in enforcement to sell anything. Crazy I know, but once you look at how the software industry reacted and what came out of that you would respect more that kind of reasoning, open source didn't came about because it was not needed it came about because of a very deep frustration with the players and what they were doing and what that was teaching others to do. some may believe, it can't happen to them, well push other harder enough and tell will go for the alternatives illegal initially, and legal right after.

    On a completely different note, I found this video on Youtube about the Science of Watchmen, this little video shows a physics professor that uses super heroes to explain physical phenomenon and bypass one of the number one problems in teaching today, transferring the sense of utility of that knowledge to the group, thus creating the necessary drive for it to happen in a fluid, productive way.

    Hope he does not get sued for infringement or have to pay royalties to all the studios and publishers out there so he can teach something, after all he is stealing the work of others to incorporate in his on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 30th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    What I find ironic is that this is a $300 movie for a bunch of reasons, the biggest one being the very method of paying for software / movies / music that the whole piracy / give it free movement is trying to rip down.

    How else could they afford the software to do this for effectively nothing?


    Wrong wrong wrong again.

    There is plenty of open source software around for doing this stuff.

    Without the existence of copyrighted software there would be even more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 30th, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Takes time for paradigms to change

    5 years ago amateur film making was a hobby thing, that only your parents could be proud of,

    Actually amateur film making has always been better than this - many well known names in the cinema started as amateurs. Two that spent a long time as amateurs before becoming part of the professional cinema are Ken Russell and Warwick Davis.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    Jon Lawrence (profile), Jan 30th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No different than the thousands of people who work "deferred" each year on a indie films hoping to get paid on the "next" gig or to have this one make money later.

    Myself included. And I've actually made AND sold two independent feature films, spending cumulatively about 6 years of my life on them, and while they did return the investors $$$, I never made a cent off them - including never recouping my own deferred salary as a producer.

    Worth it? Not really.

    I would have far rather have made a $3-5K feature than $100k - at least the odds (if all my clearances are in order) on making an actual profit are far better at that cost level.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    This isn't anything new. Take El Mariachi for example...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Takes time for paradigms to change

    Fair enough, how about "...that mostly only the parents could be proud about it".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 31st, 2011 @ 1:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Takes time for paradigms to change

    Mostly harmless...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2011 @ 4:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's too bad for you that you weren't able to execute a profitable business model. However, society benefited quite a bit from you putting in all those long hours for free, so this is a good thing we should celebrate. The fact that you were willing to put in so much for so little in return bodes very well for the future of moviemaking, which will be largely predicated on this large untapped pool of people who will work hard for only the thinnest promise of a tangible reward.

    Besides which, everyone knows that all artists who are paid for their work do shitty work anyway. Name one paid artist who is better at his or her job than any random amateur doing it from the heart. Can't do it, can you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    vfx animation, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 6:35pm

    The way you thought us about things is awesome. A lot of thanks for sharing this post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This