‘Life in a Day,’ the Ridley Scott-Produced YouTube Movie, is in Post-Production with 80,000 Submitted Clips
Posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
Remember the news about Life in a Day, the YouTube movie that Ridley Scott is producing with director Kevin Macdonald? (Not to be confused with Bruce McDonald, who also crowd-sourced footage for his Broken Social Scene project This Film is Broken.)
Well, the movie is already into post-production, but that’s just because all the normal production work was done by people who submitted clips from footage shot on July 24, the day the film is designed to encapsulate. How many clips? Eighty thousand, in 45 languages from 197 different countries. How do you assemble that?
Variety says that Macdonald has a team of twenty people that will comb through all the footage and cut it down to about 100 hours, from which a feature film will be crafted.
Some of those 80,000 clips were created on 500 cameras distributed to “remote areas of the world” and from the East Africa Theatre Lab in Kenya that is run by the Sundance Institute. Right now I don’t have data that breaks down the total number of hours submitted, and there was no time limit on clips so there isn’t any way to reasonably calculate how much was submitted. (Assuming clips average one minute, that would be over 1300 hours. But I’d expect the average clip is longer than that.)
UPDATE: The NY Times reports that “about 4,600 hours of footage” were submitted. The paper says Scott expected about 300 hours. An average documentary might shoot at a ratio of about somewhere between 30:1 and 80:1 — that is, 30 to 80 minutes shot for every minute that ends up on screen. This crew is starting with a base footage ratio of about 2400:1. (Assuming a two-hour final cut; this is Ridley Scott, after all.) Can you even imagine culling through all that?
Producers are calling the movie a “historic global experiment to create the world’s largest user-generated feature film: a documentary, shot in a single day, by you.” Everyone who has footage included in the finished film will earn a credit as co-directors, and 20 of the co-directors will be flown and put up in Park City for the grand premiere at Sundance.
Macdonald says the project “a time capsule that will tell future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010. It is a unique experiment in social filmmaking, and what better way to gather a limitless array of footage than to engage the world’s online community.”