Watch A Music Video "Filmed" Entirely On The Virtual Streets Of Grand Theft Auto V

Above by Dead End Thrills

The makers of Grand Theft Auto V have created such an expansive virtual world that gamers are going beyond the actual, well, gaming, to use its fictional setting as inspiration for various art projects. Though videogame-based machinima is no new format (ahem, Red vs. Blue), GTA's unmistakable game-iverse lends itself for some next-level creativity.

Take Christopher Murrie, a filmmaker who has worked on animated movies like Coraline and ParaNorman, who plays photojournalist within GTA, chasing fire fights and capturing images of urban warfare. He started a crew called “Media Lens,” whose mission is to gather “firsthand images of the war zone that is San Andreas.” A subreddit, /r/GTAVMEDIA, tracks the embedded crew's footage, yielding some amazing virtual freeze frames. A favorite of ours is Duncan Harris, also known as Dead End Thrills (see lead image).

Another player even created a black-and-white photo montage with captions that speak to the surreal nature of GTA. The setting may resemble modern-day LA, but in this world, a photographer can capture his own (fictional) murder as the gun fires at point-blank range, or witness fighter jets doing leisurely loop-de-loops:

Most recently, GTA’s gritty streets served as the setting for LA-band NO’s latest music video, directed and edited by Johnny Agnew. After the band’s bearded lead singer is game-ified, he strolls through Los Santos as cars and helicopters collide behind him. There's even a narrative arc, ending with the protagonist getting mugged. Considering the ground the video covers, its massive explosions, and the stunt people involved; this is a cheap way to produce an action-packed spectacle. 

Finally, Digital Foundry’s in-game video is a more tranquil approach to Los Santos. The palm tree-filled time-lapse depicts GTA’s urban bustle during night and day. Watch a comparable time-lapse of LA, and the accurate, expansive nature of the game's virtual setting becomes clear. Grand Theft Auto’s violent environment may be the perfect background for a music video or close-up war photography, but thankfully there are more living, peaceful people on Santa Monica Boulevard IRL.