When GTA V released on PC, it brought with it the Rockstar Editor: an astonishingly powerful video-creation tool that allows you to make films using the world of Los Santos as a set and the characters of GTA as actors. It’s Machinima at its most accessible.
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In the first weeks of being available, the Rockstar Editor was being predominantly used to make a variety of quick slapstick skits, embracing the silliness of GTA’s sandbox world in a caught-on-camera style. Months on, and the scene has radically changed. Now a collection of aspiring Nicolas Winding Refn’s are making astonishingly cool crime flicks, and the film obsessed are creating shot-for-shot remakes of Hollywood’s finest.
We’ve collected together the best GTA Rockstar Editor videos on YouTube right here for your viewing pleasure.
Back to the Future
If you’ve ever looked at Trevor and thought he was a surprising doppleganger for Doc Emmett Brown, then you’re on the same wavelength as the creator of this Back to the Future video. Recreating the exact scene, frame for frame, where Marty and the Doc test drive the DeLorean for the first time, this video shows off some “serious shit”. The flame tyre-marks are just the icing on this wonderfully authentic Zemeckis cake.
Gunship – The Mountain
Gunship are an electronic band with that 80s vibe going on. You know, like all that jazz that plays over Drive. And hey, GTA V can be a little like Drive, can’t it? Why not smash the two together for a music video. That’s exactly what’s happened here, only this isn’t a fan creation. This is actually Gunship’s official music video for The Mountain. The neon-soaked night time shots of Los Santos push the 80s feel, which is only emphasised by an assassin with Terminator-vision, and a protagonist on a motorcycle. Utterly slick, a little confusing, and very, very cool.
Rise of the Planet of the Chimps
Anyone who’s seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes knows the mayhem that can occur when primapes break out of a research facility and take over a city. Rise of the Planet of the Chimps take a slightly more gangster approach to the tale, with a monkey happily shaking a guard in a corridor and destroying a lift of researchers with C4, before taking his chimp army to the streets of Los Santos.
The film’s iconic bridge sequence is even partially recreated, although without quite the same level of bombasity. But who needs that when you’ve got harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle as the backing track to the whole disaster?
Take a ride out to Blaine County in GTA and you’ll start to notice it’s a little post apocalyptic. Squint a little and it could even be Mad Max’s wasteland. Throw some exploding cars in there and a big-rig ramming its way through the dust, and you’ve got a George Miller set-piece. That’s exactly what we have in this video, with fire, rust, and car combat aplenty.
Rockstar recently held a competition for people to create a video based on the new Ill-Gotten Gains DLC, and director zilzoza won the prize with this look into the life of a woman’s climb up the crime ladder. Not only is it filmed with shots cooler than the inside of your refrigerator, but it smartly weaves together a tale we’re all familiar with: that of GTA Online’s heist campaign. Picking highlights from the best heist missions, you’ll see the original bank raid, the assault on the yacht, and super-car sprints as the team flees from the law.
It’s a story that shows that crime certainly pays (just check out those blinged-out shooters), even if you have to spend a stretch on the inside for it.
Another entry from the Ill-Gotten Gains competition, Gotten Payback may not have been the winner, but it’s just as accomplished. Set around the events of the first heist, it sees one of the bank robbers turn on his partner. Months later, the betrayed is looking for revenge. Cue violence, blood splatter, and break-neck car chases.
James Bond Edition 2
DomesticMango’s quite the talent with the Rockstar Editor, as proven with this James Bond-inspired action video. Starting with the iconic theme tune, Bond goes on to tear through Los Santos’s urban sprawl leaving chaos in his wake. There’s plenty of quick, slick cuts reminiscent of Marc Forster’s work on Quantum of Solace’s pre-credits sequence, but the sheer excess of explosions is the Brosnan era all over. There’s also a second video, with the gun-barrel opening and Bond engaging in a river chase.
Fast and Furious Drag
If you thought the Bond video was excellent, try this Fast and Furious remake from the same creator. DomesticMango replicates shot-for-shot the drag race between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, with some astonishing camera work and truly brilliant stunt recreations.
Breaking Bad Tribute
Set to Badfinger’s Baby Blue (as used in the show’s finale), this Breaking Bad tribute video takes us through the highlights of the show’s five seasons. With that said, keep away from that play button if you’ve yet to watch this decade’s most highly acclaimed drama.
Michael takes on the role of Walt, roaming around a San Adreas that stands in excellently for Albuquerque. Smoking winnebagos, yellow hazard suits, gas masks, exploding plastic, and car-mounted machineguns are all present and correct. If nothing else, it’ll have you reaching for your Netflix password.
Many GTA videos tend to result in comedy slapstick thanks to the sandbox nature of the game. The Debt is different. At over seven minutes long it’s an epic by Rockstar Editor standards, and tells the story of a depressed-looking killer. The sequences are long, drawn-out and somber, with just carefully selected musical accompaniments to set the mood and tone. With less than a handful of words uttered, it’s practically a silent movie. It’s even got black and white title cards punctuating the action.
Films back in the age of pianos and hand-cranked cameras didn’t tend to be so gritty though, so it’s certainly a modern reinterpretation of the silent flick.
Hi, I’m Trevor Philips. Welcome to Jackass.
If Jackass had been filmed in Los Santos, it wouldn’t be Johnny Knoxville throwing himself down stairs to that famous guitar-picked intro. No, it would certainly be Blaine County’s very own Trevor Phillips. Take it away, T.
Soaked in the pouring rain, Manhunt’s opening shots could be mistaken for pieces from the floor of Blade Runner’s cutting room. But this silent, violent short is more reminiscent of the best of the current decade’s action thrillers. Replace the lead character model with Keanu Reeves, and you’re halfway to John Wick.
Scary Redhead with a Knife
Cedaie’s Scary Redhead with a Knife is one of the best examples of direction to come out of Rockstar Editor. A collection of Hollywood-grade shots with interesting focal points tell the story of the Redhead; an invincible supervillain intent on carving up the residents of Los Santos. It’s ridiculously entertaining, but mostly a brilliant showpiece on what can be achieved in the Editor.
Not entertaining for its content but for its style, Vergessene’s Slick Picks really captures the almost lustful shooting style that Top Gear has been employing for the last decade. Longing shots of cars from artful angles, the video picks out the wonderful details of GTA’s car models as it pans across a garage of exotic automobiles. The soundtrack of Demarco’s remix of Lorde’s Royals seems the perfect pick.
When filming in first-person in GTA V, there’s not a lot you can do with the footage in the Editor other than cut it and add filters. There’s no way to adjust the camera focus, angle, or swap to another view. This fixed view does lend itself amazingly to recreating GoPro style extreme sports footage, and that’s exactly what you can see in ToxicTeyo’s Base jump. It really captures the look of those Red Bull videos.
The Amazing Chase
One of the most professionally crafted films to come out of the Editor so far, Kotilainen17’s The Amazing Chase has wonderful camerawork, a perfect score, and stitches together a thrilling chase as the forces of the LSPD chase down one man over land, air, and sea.
Trevor’s favourite superhero is Impotent Rage, but other than a broken plastic figure, he doesn’t crop up much in GTA V. Merfish’s Impotent Rage movie is exactly what the game needs, then. Watch as the man of steel hurls cars all over the city with explosive and lethal results.
Trevor vs. Police
CMDR TAVENNER’s short film is a brilliantly scripted, phenomenally well edited action set piece that wouldn’t look out of place in the best of today’s action movies. The way the camera follows the action with a series of excellently timed cuts is what makes Trevor vs. Police truly impressive.
Sins of the Past
Like Trevor vs. Police, Sins of the Past has a distinctly cinematic feel, but director Danz Newz has clearly been influenced by grimy crime drama rather than Michael Bay. The gloomy atmosphere and artistic framing is what makes it, along with the moody narration provided by Danz himself.
For The Thief, creator Houratronic finds his inspiration in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Like that film, its silent protagonist and retro musical score oozes cool, and the establishing shots are full of calm. The action is a different breed though, with great wide-angle shots from above that track the race to a robbery.
Agree with our choices? Have we missed out your favourite GTA video? Tell us about it in the comments.