Keep watching after the credits!
Thank you for your patience, this one took a long time. I started capturing the footage of this game right after I got my PS4 Pro in November, and just finished editing it last night. There are a few reasons for that, which I will discuss below. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to capture this game in 4K, but I did run the game in 4K mode, which is supersampled down to 1080p, resulting in much smoother edges than standard 1080p mode.
If you haven’t seen my work before, I edit the stories of video games into full length movies. Where others may just slap together cutscenes, I focus on telling the story, and that story requires some gameplay footage. I try to work hard to cut the gameplay down as much as possible, as too much gameplay obviously can detract from the cinematic experience, but the focus is on keeping as much gameplay as is necessary to understand the story without lot holes, and to try to maintain a good pacing and flow to the movie while doing that.
Another part of what I do involved removing what I call “gameplay indicators”. These are the various things that pop up on screen and remind the viewer that they’re watching video game. Things like gameplay objectives, button prompts, “saving…” icons, hints, etc. Unfortunately, this game had a TON of them. While many of these things can be removed through editing or zoom/cropping, many others require advanced VFX work to remove them. For this movie, I created 423 VFX shots. That’s where I spent the majority of my time.
However, there was another thing I chose to do with this movie, and that was format it for a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. There were a couple reasons for this. First of all, the game often features a very wise field of view, which I believe fits the wider aspect quite well, and secondly, I knew having the wiser aspect would make it easier to edit out many of the gameplay indicators I ran into.
The problem is, this requires a technique called “tilt and scan”. You may have heard of “pan and scan” which is a similar technique used to format wider movies for VHS or TV, but tilt and scan is essentially the same thing, except you’re formatting it for a wider image instead. This required me to essentially animate camera tilting up and down throughout each shot, making sure I maintain a good framing of the image, not only making sure everything was in the shot, but also that the shot looked nice, keeping a good artistic balance, etc.
So thank you for your patience, I have been very busy on this and I am glad to be done with it. I will be taking a bit of a break after all that work, as I need to catch up on some games I haven’t had much time to play during this process, and also to play the new Horizon Zero Dawn game coming out Tuesday. Can’t say whether it has movie potential yet or not, but we’ll see.
As for my next movie, I was planning to do Telltale’s Batman game series, but I ran into a few performance issues throughout the game that made me start to reconsider, as some scenes were basically unplayable. However with the new Boost Mode on the PS4 Pro, I may be able to revisit that idea. If that still doesn’t solve the problem, I may still consider checking it out on PC to see how it runs there. Aside from that, most of what I’m considering involves games I’ve already done, remaking them in either 1080p or 4K, depending on what’s possible. Unfortunately I don’t think I will be doing Watch Dogs 2 as a movie. I’m enjoying the game, but I didn’t think the story was quite strong enough to carry a movie (although I’m not finished so I can’t say 100%). Like I said, Horizon Zero Dawn could hold some potential, so I’ll be looking at that, and for the future I will definitely be doing Uncharted The Lost Legacy, the next Assassin’s Creed game, the next Arkham game (still unannounced), and The Last of Us Part 2. Maybes include the new Spider-man and God of War games. Detroit: Become Human also looks like it has a lot of potential as well.
Feel free to suggest others if you think they would work well as a movie.