A GUIDE TO VINEWOOD & MEDIA PRODUCTION
During my two and a half years on the server I noticed that a lot of people want more of a celebrity presence in LS, and while this (sortof) exists in the form of long-lasting characters, or funny niche characters, or characters who are known for being a bartender at every club, it isn’t really formed in the right way. These are more so OOC celebrities passed through word of mouth on discord or by seeing a character’s name tag a lot, not because your character sees them as a celebrity in their world.
Of course, someone can’t just create a character and start their story as an A-List movie star when no one has ever heard of them before. It just wouldn’t work in a GTA:W setting where characters constantly change, many characters being changed every couple of months. So really, the only way to generate some kind of celebrity status is to start small and build up the fame status organically. That’s where this guide comes in. I graduated university with a degree in Media Production and have explored various avenues of this on GTA:W before, but that doesn’t mean I know everything, so if there’s anything you would like added to this guide just comment on the thread or drop me a Forum PM and i’ll update it. I just want to see more of an authentic LS (LA) atmosphere full of the creative hipsters the GTA 5 story mode does such a good job of emulating.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Vinewood is Rockstar’s interpretation of Hollywood, an area of Los Angeles bursting with wannabe actors, directors, editors, models, musicians, blah blah, you name it. Not only that, but it is often home to more affluent neighbourhoods and businesses, such as high-end fashion stores, luxury hotels and busy nightclubs. Like mentioned previously, it’s a hipster’s wet dream. If you wish to RP someone wanting to make it big in the entertainment industry, I suggest roleplaying them by being obsessed with this enclosed “culture” of creativity and fame. A lot of people are desperate to just get their foot in the door, while doing menial and dead-end jobs in the meantime to sustain them as they set out to achieve their dreams. This is naturally going to be a different story depending on the character you’re aiming to portray.
Unfortunately, Vinewood doesn’t have the same influence in GTA:W as Hollywood does IRL, obviously. That goes without saying and it will remain that way even if multiple people start to RP it. However, Vinewood within the GTA lore is an influential area and would likely make up a large amount of San Andreas’ economy and tourism if it was functioning properly. Bare this in mind if you plan on RPing this concept - your character would have to be very, very, very lucky to get into a high-end production straight off the bat. Or if they are a director, they won’t be producing the next blockbuster, and a musician won’t be instantly playing at the biggest club/concert in town. It’s very much a rags to riches story that only a handful of people actually succeed in. With that in mind, don’t be scared to start small. When I made the Paleto Boys (a jackass inspired film) on the server, it was just me and two other dudes.
So you have a character, an entertainment industry related goal and a few ideas up your sleeve. This is when things go from IC to OOC. Unfortunately, just roleplaying the production of something usually isn’t enough to grab the rest of the server’s attention. Not only do people want to see an actual finished product, but it’s better RP all around when the collaboration leads to something you can share. However, a lot of people get intimidated at this stage because they haven’t tried filming game footage before, or they haven’t used editing software or have no idea how to use Menyoo. This is what stops people from getting involved in a lot of cases, so hopefully this guide can provide some insight on what to do and how to do it so more people can get involved with the scene.
A lot of people think that you have to use menyoo to get any footage that looks remotely good. This takes a lot of time and takes away from the collaboration of doing it on the server. Menyoo is a great tool if you wish to use it, but this guide will be more focused on how to film things within the server itself, as there’s already plenty of menyoo tutorials out there. Not only that, but filming within the server can be beneficial RP for everyone and not just those involved in the production. The production company could hire people to block the roads where a specific scene is being filmed and on-lookers can see this while they walk through the street and watch it happen. This is something that happens IRL especially in places like LA, and will add even more of an authenticity to the state we’re trying to base our world off of.
This goes without saying but any screen recording software is capable of doing this. The one I personally use is the geforce experience overlay, it’s easy to use and most people have a Nvidia graphics card. To bring up the overlay, just press Alt + Z. All recording and screenshot settings can be found in there as well as keybindings for recording (default: Alt + F9 to start recording, then again to stop recording). The footage automatically saves to your PC’s videos folder, or any other file destination if you change the settings to suit yourself.
Now the software is out of the way, the fun itself begins. The main technique is the GTA 5 first-person view, then pressing F7 to remove the GTA:W chatbox and name tags. Now you are viewing the server through what would be the camera’s lens. However, the first person view is very limited on it’s own, so this is why we use the server provided animations. The ones I have frequently used are /anim liedown1 and /anim crouched1, as they give the first person perspective a lower angle, for example:
Another option is to climb up onto in-game structures and buildings, giving you a higher up perspective. Just make sure to RP this - potentially falling off the structure while filming can be a funny situation to change things up a bit.
If the shot still isn’t working for you, you can go into the game’s settings and adjust the first person camera field of view. This is easily done. While it doesn’t change much, it’s enough to make a difference and could transform a shot into something better.
To film moving shots, you can use the /walk anim while in first person and it will create a smooth movement similar to that used in films when they pan a camera. It can be a bit glitchy at times but that’s just the nature of it and the number one thing you will need OOC is a little bit of patience.
IC INFORMATION AROUND FILMING
This is the most important part as obviously we are all on the server for the IC aspect, otherwise we would just be filming on another server or on GTA:O. A lot of people are unaware of the processes that go into filming and just how much time and organization is behind it.
In blockbuster films/bigger productions:
Producer: In charge of keeping everything organised. The paperwork person. Responsible for organizing filming dates, time, making sure equipment is available/booked, actors are looked after, etc.
Director: More often than not the director will also be the writer. In very big productions they might be separate roles but in a RP setting this is unlikely. They have a clear vision of how they want the film to look in their head and will work directly with the Director of Photography to bring this to life. Writes shot lists, holds auditions for actors, etc. Works directly with the actors on filming days.
Director of Photography: Might be a separate person or just the director depending on the size of production. Works alongside the director to decide on how they’re going to film a specific scene, what camera they will use, whether to use close ups, mid-shots, etc.
Camera operator: Is responsible for the actual shooting of the film.
Script Supervisor/Set team: Responsible for how the set looks and ensuring it matches up with the script and the writer's vision. Will make sure everything looks good between shots, including the actor's hair, make up, etc.
Actor: Self-explanatory. Plays a character in the film. Often encouraged to put their own unique spin on things.
Video editor: Takes the footage and puts it all together at the end. Adds any vfx or colour grading.
Sound designer: Works on the soundtrack, sound effects, etc. Works alongside a video editor to turn the footage into an enjoyable film.
In independent companies and short film productions, usually one person will take on several roles. For example, the director, producer, and editor may be all one person. Bigger companies, especially those on a Vinewood level, would aim to have a separate person for each role and even assistant sub-roles.
Directors will often create a clear dialogue with the actors. It won’t be entirely just shooting scenes and working with them directly that way. There will be communications on the side too, such as having small meetings to discuss what’s going well, any challenges faced, any ideas the actors may have, etc. This is just another avenue of RP that could be very interesting but often overlooked and not thought about.
These are heavily structured in a professional Vinewood setting and even in Indie settings. The crew usually agrees on a time and date and everything they wish to achieve in that time will be already planned out by the producer. Usually all would go in one vehicle to the filming location, most likely a company van that can accommodate everyone and the equipment. For films shot on a set, the actors just show up to work and may have their own trailers to relax in when they’re not needed. There is usually a risk assessment carried out before filming days to consider all the potential risks that come with filming and to ensure employee safety. Contracts would be signed with the actors too prior to this. One last thing to bare in mind is that filming days are getting longer and longer in the industry, perhaps not in an independent company but in Vinewood, people can be working 13-15 hours a day close to the deadlines. This can be an interesting avenue of RP, perhaps roleplaying a corporate production company CEO who cares more about getting the film released than the work rights of the actors and film crew, or someone who is a victim of this. There’s more to it than showing up and standing in front or behind a camera for a few hours then heading home.
A subject often overlooked when roleplaying media production on GTA:W, since there’s no requirement to buy anything scriptly to record things and all the lighting is done for you by the game engine. But to RP this authentically, there are several things to consider, especially if you want to realistically RP a budget for the film production. Equipment can either be owned by a company or individual, or rented (usually in indie productions it is rented).
A camera, obviously. These can vary from simple DSLR or mirrorless cameras all the way to the big production cameras you see on traditional film sets. Doing research about this is a must to create immersion for everyone you are RPing with. Lens often come separately to the cameras and are attached as of when they’re needed.
Lighting equipment. These are usually LED lights with plastic gel sheets that go over the light to change the colouring of it. Can also be tungsten lights, which are warm light and often used to replicate the sun. Obviously you won’t have to do anything with this IC but it’s good to RP setting them up as though they were having an effect, or if using an indoor set, you can use furniture items to make the room brighter or have a specific colour to it.
Generator. If you’re shooting outside with no power sockets in sight, a generator may be needed to provide power to the lighting equipment or charge up equipment. This is usually in extreme cases where the shooting location is in the middle of nowhere.
Microphones. The most commonly used microphone in a film setting is the boom mic, the ones on a long pole with the furry covering. The furry covering is there to block out wind noises so the microphone only picks up what we want it to. Another type of microphone you might use is the Lavalier mic. These are essentially the clip on microphones with their own battery pack. Which you use depends on budget and context.
POST-PRODUCTION AND EDITING
Not going to touch much on this as for most, if not all, editing software has plenty of tutorials available on Youtube already, however I will recommend using Davinci Resolve, or if you can afford it/get a cracked version, Premiere Pro. Davinci Resolve is free and very beginner friendly. The editing is most likely the biggest part of the production as this is the section where you take it from everyday game footage and turn it into something cinematic or funny or thought-provoking or all of the above. Don’t be afraid to experiment with it and to mostly have fun with it since it is still just a game. It doesn’t have to be the perfect edit theoretically or even practically, just something substantial enough for the rest of the server to see it and think “hold on a minute, that’s pretty cool, i’ll support this.”
Probably the hardest part of the whole production as it’s near impossible to get people willing to act in game as well as to do voice acting OOC for the sake of the production. If you can get some like-minded people who aren’t afraid to voice act then perfect, but unfortunately this is rare, so I recommend taking audio from pre-existing videos on youtube and adding it to your content to bring a bit more life to it, if the context works. For example, when I do BMX edits, I will find audio from IRL BMX edits and place this in the edit to give the video more authenticity and life.
Music/soundtrack is something to consider before you even start editing. The music should dictate the pace of the editing, not the other way around, only in rare circumstances should you edit without the music in that moment already decided.
FINISHED PRODUCT - NOW WHAT?
So now you have a video to share. You’ve worked on it for OOC months and maybe even IC years, you’ve had some good RP from it and now you want to do something with it. The first step is to find a pre-existing company that specializes in showing film, most notably is the Doppler Cinema or any variety of that. Working out a deal with them to showcase your film and getting a cut is usually the way that companies wanting to get big in the industry go. Smaller, independent companies may just share their work on YouTube and other social media sites (in this case, Facebrowser). They may submit their work to short film festivals or competitions, assuming the IC government or other IC businesses starts to facilitate those who wish to RP the entertainment industry. Hell, maybe you could start your own short film festivals where you can share your own work and other people’s work. At the end of the day, this is the part where media production and fame meets, and the only way to increase that fame is to continue putting your projects out there. Happy to write in more detail about anything mentioned here if anyone is wanting to get into the scene and not sure where to start, forum PMs are always open. Have fun with it and really don’t be intimidated to at least give it a go. Here’s some examples of what has been created entirely in-game through the methods mentioned above:
https://streamable.com/696qsx Check out Torwald Pictures as well for a few menyoo examples.