I hate to be the guy who keeps referencing one particular recent post, but I'm going to reference TED-curator Chris Anderson's CNN article one more time.  His piece is all about how online video is pushing conventional boundaries due to the audience size and the candle power of the spotlight it can shine on an individual.  These traits, says Anderson, drive innovation across all industries.

I just saw this amateur Transformers fan film on BoingBoing and simply had to share.  Check it out:

Now… why did I simply have to share this video?  Because it was made by a regular Russian amateur like you or me, with a couple of $1000 cameras and lots of editing time.  And some talent.

If you don't think online video is making extraordinary things possible for previously unknown innovators, then you're not paying attention.  The "Transformer" effects in this piece are nearly as well-executed as the ones in Michael Bay's films—and those films cost a few hundred million.  This film cost… well, a couple thousand dollars if you count the price of the cameras.  And that's it.

When in history has it ever been possible for Russian teenagers to create something comparable to a Hollywood studio on basically zero budget?  Never… until now.  It may take several more years, but I think we're on the cusp of a new age of film—one in which Hollywood shares the power and clout with independent studios, individuals, amateurs, and upstarts.  They no longer have a stranglehold on the creative talent and technical capabilities.

And this is what geeks me out about online video—it's why I love writing about this industry.  The technology has gotten so cheap and readily available that it's easy for anyone to create great-looking videos on a budget.  And the sheer volume of viewers for online video ensures that great work will get noticed and get praised… which will only drive further creativity and innovation from other unknowns.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000948365772 Tom Aikins

    Mario completely misses the point. I've been involved in mass communications for over 30 years and what the internet has done is stand the traditional media model on its ear. Now that you have unlimited access to audiences there is no limit to how de-centralized the production process can be. Instead of a small number of producers creating film (or any media -- this also applies to to the music industry and book publishing as well) there is now the potential for millions of people to create media. Why? Because they have access to the marketplace. Once you have access to a marketplace then there is an incentive to create content. Nobody wants to create content in a vacuum. But if you can create it and then have hundreds, thousands or even millions of people watching it then there is an incentive. This is what the internet has really done: create access to audiences. I knew 10 years ago that this is what would happen and the trend is only going to continue. Jeremy is absolutely right about this point. It's going to be great to see what some other teenager somewhere else comes up with next. Or maybe it will be an old guy like me.

  • Pupplesan

    There is a difference between skill and talent.

  • T1Brit

    really great - but if you were to blow it up to 70mm screen size and look at it, you would see immediately why the Transformers films cost so much money.

    Anybody can make a decent looking robot with 3ds max and V-ray it is true. But when you add the multi layer effects on top of the basic textures like reflections and advanced chromy effects etc. you will see the rendering time spent on each frame shoot up - then add the increase in screen size and watch it shoot up again.

    If you look at the transformers shots up close in full resolution they are mind blowing.

  • Mario

    Let's not forget that that price of software used is another 10 thousand dollars, add using copyrighted material (phones,sounds etc etc.) - the budget in a real production would be several times higher.

    The vfx industry (especially in the US) right now is only slowly recovering from the financial collapse we've had a few years ago, and for years big visual effects houses were barely making any profit at all from their feature film work. Often times they have to underbid to get the show at all, and the only profit from it is marketing, the real money comes from advertising work.

    There's a huge amount of talented and keen people trying to get into the vfx industry, and projects like this are exactly what gets them noticed.

    This is the case pretty much everywhere around the world (e.g. here in London), so while the presented video is really great, I don't think it signifies anything other than giving the guys involved a rather real chance of getting picked up by one of the world's top vfx houses.

    New age of film ? No. Cool to watch ? Definitely.

  • http://www.spafu.nl Arash

    I could not agree more with your last paragraph. This is what is so exciting about online video. Talent can finally be used and it potential noticed.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    Oh yeah? Let's see how they could do with "Eat Pray Love."