Even though there are many ways to capture game video, an in-game editor can offer more options for custom videos. Grand Theft Auto V includes a PC-exclusive video editor called Rockstar Editor. It lets you record gameplay clips while playing and can help you edit the captured footage to create movies.
Rockstar Editor also includes Director Mode, allowing you to customize options to record and create unique videos within the GTA V engine. You still use Rockstar Editor to edit these clips, but now you are no longer limited to editing footage captured during story mode gameplay.
Clips for days
When you record in Grand Theft Auto V, the game collects clips. The game doesn’t record long, unedited video making it much easier to edit. The action is centered around the character you’re using, but the entire area is recorded so NPCs and traffic can be used in your films.
Depending on how long you record, you’re going to have a lot of small clips you have to browse through to find the exact section. When you enter the Rockstar Editor menu, you have the choice to “Create New Project” or “Load Project.” If you’re planning on starting Director Mode, you have to be in story mode to access this option.
After you start a project, you have to add a clip using the “Add Clip.” This lets you import recorded videos from the game. You choose the clips you want to use and arrange them in a rough timeline. When you want to start editing a clip, you press Enter to begin editing.
A lot of editing options
After Rockstar Editor loads the selected clip, here are options for manipulating the camera, adding depth of field, effects, audio, and speed. You’ll spend a lot of time in the camera menu to change the camera, focus on different subjects, and moving the camera to get the perfect shot. You can even add camera shakes to add more impact.
I created a couple of short videos using the “Free Camera.” This lets you move the camera around the area. You can’t move the camera anywhere you want though; you are limited to a small area but it was never a problem to get a good angle. If you’re worried about cuts between scenes, you can set a “Blend” option to make cuts more seamless. It’s really up to you as the editor on what style you’re going for.
Under “Effects” you can add different filters and adjust the intensity, contrast, saturation, and brightness. The variety of filters is impressive but customizing the levels can take some time. In the “Audio” section, you can adjust the levels of the sound effects, music, or dialog.
Rockstar Editor also lets you play with the speed of the clip to add slow motion or speed up the action. Once you’re done editing a specific section, you place a marker which separates that specific edit from the rest of the clip. Then you repeat with a new section. You don’t have to use an entire clip and can adjust the clip length by using the sliders in the time bar.
You repeat the process until you’ve finalized your entire video and then add music. Rockstar Editor lets you use some of the music from radio stations in the game but you can also add more thematic scores, though those options are more limited. Text can be added if you want and they act as an overlays on the video. It’s great for creating title sequences.
After you’ve completed the entire project, you can either save it to use later or export it. Exports are the complete video files are shown in Rockstar Social Club. YouTube uploads are the only other option. There’s no way to get local files of your Rockstar Editor videos.
Director Mode is accessed through story mode. The purpose of Director Mode is to give you control of the game to create your own short movies. When you start Director Mode you choose a character to film. As you play the single player campaign, you unlock more characters to use. But if you jump right into Director Mode, you’ll see a wide cast of NPC characters already unlocked.
Once you choose a character, you’re dropped into the map. From there you can bring up options and control things like time of day or weather. You also have access to some cheats like invincibility, explosive bullets, super jump, and wanted level. It’s a good set of options to let you stage your scene. You can reload options in-game, but any time you reset, you have to restart your video recording.
You record clips the same way, but now you can really work on getting a specific shot without worrying about the police coming after you when you create a massive explosion. Director Mode is the first step in creating your movies and Rockstar Editor is how you edit your story.
Expect impressive machinima
Rockstar Editor is a great tool on its own, but the creation tools in Director Mode gives Grand Theft Auto V a whole new set of features. It helps to have some knowledge of video editing before you go into Rockstar Editor, but there are tutorials available in the menu.
You should save often because during my time editing, the game froze and crashed on me after a lot of edits. If you’ve ever wanted to try making a digital short movie, it’s possible with Rockstar Editor. Rockstar Games released a very compelling filmmaking tool with an excellent game engine. The rest is up to your imagination.
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