I made this video as a test for the camera placement possibilities within Grand Theft Auto IV’s PC-based editing system. It’s a great editor with lots of control and a few frustrating limitations. But overall, this has been a very fun experience.
For those who don’t know, the game records 20-30 seconds at a time. During that time, it records everything in the game within say a 100 foot radius around your character. While recording, you have the basic 3rd person view. But when you go into the editor and review the footage, you can move the camera to anywhere within that 100 foot radius. You can set up camera moves, lock the camera off, attach it to your player or different characters so the camera moves with them, you can add different levels of hand shake, do advanced blended multi-camera-position moves, and more. In addition to that, you have control over time (slow motion and fast motion), camera visual effect filters (sepia, b&w, and many more), what audio is played (separated into speech, special effects and music). For example, there’s a lot of swearing by bystanders in this game, so the ability to turn off speech from cut to cut while keeping the overall street ambience is a plus. The editor is very fast. I’ve set up some extremely quick half and quarter second cuts in sequence, and the game is able to keep up without any errors.
If you are a filmmaker, this is a fantastic way to get some new ideas. It also shows how much work is involved in shooting a car chase scene. I had hundreds of camera setups for this overall sequence. Obviously, doing this in game is much faster than in real life, but it took me a few days to edit this. Imagine how much time was spent shooting the chase scenes from Ronin.