Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sintel - see where machinima is headed

There have been trailers... teaser clips... artwork... stills for the last 18 months.

Now, see the 15-minute short film on YouTube; watch it in HD if you can.

No Hollywood studio was involved in the making of this film. It was realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute by an international team of artists working collaboratively using Blender and a suite of completely free and open source software.

The Blender Foundation's budget for this was about 30,000 Euro a minute. A typical Hollywood film has a budget of a million euro a minute or more. A lot of the later parts of the film were pre-financed by advance dvd sales and donations from the general public.

[ This is a proof-of-concept and tools/process demonstration. Before you let that put you off... consider what Pixar was able to do with basically the same thing 10 years ago ]

They're going to be distributing not just the movie, but everything you need to re-create the movie (or a derivative work).

Yes, they will need writers. They will need directors. They will need musicians and seiyuu (voice actors) (although having watched plenty of animation and anime, I have to hand big kudos to the voice actors in this film- excellent emoting) and sound people.

... but they won't need megacorp cartels anymore or their stranglehold on the entertainment industry to produce Hollywood-quality films.

Van Gogh had to make his own paint because he was so poor he couldn't afford to buy it. Blender is Van Gogh's paint.

Find out about this amazing film and project:


Anonymous said...

Fantastic, thanks for the link :)

Dividni Shostakovich said...

Cool movie. But I had to dig around in the website to get clarification on how the characters Sintel and the Shaman were created. They are credited to two specific people, but *not* as providing voices: they are credited the way actors usually are. (Yep, there are loonies who actually read credits.) So I was wondering if these characters were created through CGI imaging based on live actors, the way Gollum was acted by Andy Serkis in the "Lord of the Rings" movies. I finally found the answer in one of their press releases: yes, voice only. Sheesh, guys, you did all this great work, now get the credits right!

If I may quibble for a minute with your headline, "Sintel" is an animated movie, not machinima in the strict sense, no? It's created out of whole cloth frame by frame, rather than being made in real time within a preexisting 3D environment like a game or virtual world. Of course, the line may be getting blurry!

That minutium aside, the possibility of open source animated filmmaking is an exciting one. Granted, even at €400K "Sintel" wasn't cheap. Still, I'm reminded of how Spike Lee financed his first movie by maxing out all of his credit cards....