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    • CommentAuthorJiveKitty
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    I don't know if you'd consider it lo-fi sci-fi (I think it fits) but I recommend Delicattesen which is set in post-apocalyptic 1950s France. The City of Lost Children, which seems set in a similar universe, is also very good, but with its budget perhaps does not make the cut.
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    Drop City: Zero

    This is the initial playout edit from a short that myself (I starred in it and wrote the script and did some camera work) and my mate (a programmer at the BBC) did as part of a BBC aspirations project. This meant we had access to BBC cameras but pretty much no other budget. This has meant a lot of our actors (read goths) are playing zombies etc.


    There is a complete version but you may want to ask my mate for that via Youtube.
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010 edited
    This is interesting, ambitious, fairly well put together, if a bit poorly acted:

    Venus Rises: An Original Sci-Fi Series

    Quality of actors - and that likely implies poor direction as well - seems to be the one thing people can't reliably come by without a budget.
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2010
    Yeah, there's an issue with actors in that they generally don't make all that much money, so most of the ones who really can act don't want to take on unpaid work, especially when it's a full feature film which will take them away from a lot of potential income.
    Speaking as someone just starting out trying to get work as a professional actor, I can definitely see where they're coming from. A 10-20 minute student short or something is one thing, but unless the writing is really good, I probably wouldn't go for a full feature at this point.
      CommentAuthorScott B
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2010
    humbly submitted for your approval.

    Not sure if it qualifies as sci-fi, but it was certainly lo fi; made with free software on a very slow and old laptop.
    I'd welcome any comments.

  1.  (5409.86)
    Ghosts With Shit Jobs will hopefully be coming sooner-than-later from most of the same folks that brought us Infest Wisely.
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2010
    Yeah, I've been eagerly anticipating that one.
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2010 edited
    @Scott B - it looks cool, the very lo fi aesthetic you probably had no choice but to accept given the tools you used comes off as a choice, if that makes sense. It doesn't look poorly done, it looks like you were going for an early MTV Liquid Video look. I love the feel, and the audioscape.

    I found this today, which I thought was really well made:

    Leap from Dan Gaud on Vimeo.

  2.  (5409.89)
    PI, I would argue fits this lo fi sci fi perfectly. The movie cost I heard 60k to make.

    Two movies that no one has mentioned yet
    INK by Jamin Winans
    This movie, while a few flaws, is over all great. It was not pitched or made by any major movie studio or distribution. It was pitched and sold directly to art theatres, DVD mail order services like Netflix and others. It is one of the most pirated movies on torrent sites it says on IMDB, but I dont know how accurate that is.

    I have to imagine the most costly part of this movie beyond the setting was getting Kevin Spacey to do the voice of the robot. But, it is quite a good mind fuck.
    • CommentTimeAug 24th 2010 edited
    Hi @Errant Ghost! Welcome to what I think has been the slowest moving thread on Whitechapel that has yet remained alive!

    PI works, I think it got a brief mention a couple of times very early in the thread - but we have actually talked about both your films, INK here and then I actually went to see a screening of it, which I posted about here, and Moon comes up a couple of times right around those posts. It didn't get talked about in depth because there was a whole separate Moon thread at the time.

    Though both INK and Moon are lofi in their hearts, I'd have to exclude Moon, great though it was, it was just too big a budget.

    It's an interesting problem, though - if you are championing a way of telling stories from below, and you find some of the filmmakers from above doing things with real money that still sort of fit your narrative aesthetic, it seems wrong to exclude them because they started out with a real budget. For me, I think, the choice is - I want to keep pushing the stuff from below - I love that people like Darren Arronofsky and Duncan Jones and Neill Blomkamp are making fully budgeted films that are lofi in spirit, and I love their films. But I'm more interested at this point in seeking out really shoestring productions being cooked up by people I've never heard of that would not have been possible to do even 10 years ago.

    But to critique my own position here is an article on the Low Budget Halo Effect - that basically makes the point that nobody goes out of their way to praise or especially seek out low budget comedies or horror as both those genres just commonly have tons of low budget entries. It's only science fiction, and I guess action films too, that usually depend on large budgets, and get special notice when they work with small ones.

    Speaking of lofi action that is exceptional, y'all have seen Cardboard Warfare, right?:

  3.  (5409.91)
    I'm going to say that Princess Scientist and the Four Keys of Christmas easily counts. Also, it's absolutely adorable.

    Here's day 1 of the advent calendar.

    Princess Scientist is the offspring of the mighty Mur Lafferty, and as of this writing, all of Mur's sites are down. When that problem is rectified, you can catch up at Princess Scientist's Book Club.
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2010
    @bendingoutward - sorry, I wouldn't include that at all. That's just a home movie of a child in the living room awkwardly reading lines. I don't want to sound harsh as it's clearly a fun thing someone made with their daughter, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it's not lofiscifi.

    This is how you do it:

    Modern Times on Vimeo (about 3 minutes long, and worth it!) (Courtesy of our Gracious Landlord's Website.)

    Or, rather, this is how you do it:

    Behind the Scenes (of Modern Times) on Vimeo.

    This short is described as "no budget". Some commenters on Vimeo take issue, as they have a nice camera, and something like a soundstage. Here is some of that exchange, excerpted and arranged for better reading (filmmaker's replies are bold):

    Christiant D'alberto asks:
    How long did it take?

    Simon Mountney answers:
    A weekend for filming, you'd have to ask Ben about the post time though, as it was completed in his free time.

    All in all the idea was king. Everything we did worked toward that, by any means necessary.

    Gert Kracht asks:
    What a great job you all did there! Please, can you add the credits, website and I'm very curious which software you used for creating the 3D models and the compositing of the video materials.

    G-THREE snaps at Gert:
    Stop asking what software. It's people that make it. Not software. You don't ask singers what microphone brand they use or painters what brand of brush. It's a illusion marketing created for us make us think it's a brand that makes things. It's not, it's talented people using it in a creative way.

    (An excellent point. This happens with all art, as though software, pens, brushes, guitars and mixing suites are the key to quality. They aren't. You can kick ass with what you have. When starting, you shouldn't even think about what other people use. Just pick up what you can get easily and use it to get as close to your vision as you can. Then do it again, and again. Bring new tools into it as your experience leads you to them. If you are falling short of your vision, it is because you lack experience, not tools. You can't buy experience with 3D Studio Max. You can get experience with Bryce or Blender or Poser or Google Sketchup. Just grab whatever cheap tools are easy to get and go.

    Sweeping Epic Productions pipes up:
    I think there is more to it than that..I would be very interested to know what brush Dali used, what mic Dennis Brown preferred; it helps you glean more insight into the artist's creative world..the overall picture is to enjoy, but the details that go into making it are just as important

    (A legitimate point, but to be concerned with only if you already have some experience, and a specific technique related question. When most people ask "What software did you use" they are asking "what do I have to buy to do what you did?" - and of course the answer to that is "a clue, and some ingenuity.")

    G-THREE laments:
    Just one thing that I see that deeply bothers me is the line saying: Made with no money, lil time and a lot of passion.
    I see the passion. But you should understand that it cost money and a lot of time. And that this in fact is a not a bad thing. This was planed, had to be shot, by a team lighting, actors, putting up green scree. Processing footage, keying and rotoing it. Planing 3d design, building models. Tracking camera. Surfacing and shading models, building interface graphics. Lighting and rendering. Compositing and editing. Scoring and sound design.
    Now please stop playing this shit load of work down. It don't make you look good, it just makes you sound ridicules and it hurts visual fx artist. You will find out how bad it is when you are looking for a job in visual fx, and people say: Hay you say you did it in lil time and with no money!

    (Well - effort and craftsmanship cost time and skill, which in the professional world equals money. The fact that these filmmakers used their own time and skill to make their own thing without paying others for it should not be taken to mean that the result is obtainable cheaply.

    But his second point, that this devalues the visual effects profession, well - sort of, I guess. I mean, welcome to the 21st Century, graveyard of formerly lucrative industries. But they aren't saying you can buy this kind of skill for nothing, they are saying if you have this kind of skill you don't need expensive tools to achieve this quality. It's an important distinction. It goes back to G-THREE's first quote, it's not the tools, it's the skills. If you use your skills to make for yourself what it would cost others much to buy, and use what you've made to encourage other skilled people to do the same for themselves, I don't see the downside.)

    Ben (BC2010) explains:
    All the software used was entry level and non expensive. (I'm not a CG artist by trade, but needs must when you don't have ILM on call). All the cast and crew were friends/colleagues. No actors (They did a great job considering: " Your onboard a space station, watching a Chaplin film being projected onto the surface of the moon....and...Action!)

    Dee gripes:
    Errr, "no budget"... I guess your set was from the local 7-11? A wonderful film but what a BS opening description.

    Austin Erwin (a creature tormented by insecurities) cries:
    yeaaaaaah...this no budget thing is starting to piss me off.... someone is going to film school and paying a TON OF MONEY or someone is buying an 8000 dollars sony ex3/computer/software/renting studio space.

    ah hell, should we forgive the artist for being a douchebag since his work is so fantastic? fuck that im bitter and jealous.

    Ben BC2010 graciously responds:
    Thanks for the amazing feedback!
    Some answers:
    The studio, camera equipment, lighting equipment all belong to an very talented photographer I work with, Richard Mountney. I approached him with the film idea, and we shot it at weekends when the studio was free. That's why it cost nothing.

    Software used:
    Modeling/Animation/Render: Carrara Pro
    Matchmove: Syntheyes
    Compositing/Motion graphics: After Effects
    Edit: Final Cut Pro HD
    Sound elements by Jim Pritchard
    and Soundtrack.

    Hope this helps.

    So there, in a nutshell, is what you need. A vision, some knowledge, and friends.

    Go forth and lofi.