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Killzone Intercept Q&A: Fighting the Helghast on Film

Victor Zuylen's Avatar + Posted by Victor Zuylen on Nov 15, 2012 // Editor, Killzone Community

Killzone Intercept is a fan-made live action short set during the ISA evacuation of Helghan in Killzone 3. The 14-minute film follows a small ISA squad as they’re ordered to prevent a large contingent of Helghast troops from intercepting the retreating ISA convoy. Outnumbered, the squad takes on the task with hopes of getting everyone off the planet alive.

Since its release on the Internet last week, Killzone Intercept has been a small sensation among Killzone fans and novices alike. At the time of writing, the fan film has amassed nearly 170,000 views – and it’s not showing signs of slowing down. We got in touch with director (and longtime Killzone fan) Brian Curtin to find out how Killzone Intercept came together.

PlayStation.Blog: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started making fan films?
Brian Curtin, Director of Killzone Intercept: I consider myself an Art Director/Graphic Designer by day and Independent Filmmaker by night. I’ve always been interested in the arts. Early on in high school it was illustration and animation. Moving on to college I studied Graphic Design, but I was always making stupid little videos with friends in the dorm rooms and around school. I graduated with a Graphic Design focus, but I kept making videos on the side. They’re a great creative outlet. Plus, they kept getting better due to my growing experience and improvements in technology. The first video we uploaded to YouTube was Concrete Hustle, a humorous lightsaber duel. We technically tried to make it serious, but I think that’s what makes it funny. It took a year before it really started becoming popular. That gave us motivation to tackle bigger projects that inspired us, like the Half-Life based Beyond Black Mesa and after that, Killzone Intercept.

PSB: When did you decide you wanted to create a Killzone fan film?
BC: I’m a sucker for futuristic first-person shooters that take place in distressed environments where you battle glowing-eyed enemies. So it’s not a surprise that I would want to attempt a Killzone film. I played Killzone years ago and much like the original Half-Life, it’s one of those games you get lost in. When Killzone 2 and 3 came out, they blew my mind with their fun gameplay and, most of all, their beautiful graphics. The character and environment designs are incredible. Instantly, I started to want to see it in real life. That was the biggest motivation and the biggest challenge at the same time. How do you bring to life characters and a world that is so far out there with limited resources? Nevertheless, we knew we had to try.

PSB: What excited you the most about doing a project based on the Killzone universe?

“It’s crazy to see a squad of glowing eyes running at you.”

BC: I love the Helghast. They’re menacing, mean, and at the same time awesome-looking. It was really exciting to be able to see them and the ISA battling on set. Even though the muzzle flashes and special effects were missing during the shots, it’s still crazy to see a squad of glowing eyes running at you from behind a wall of smoke. Never gets old!

PSB: Did you communicate your plans to Guerrilla? How was the reaction?
BC: Luckily we were able to get in contact with the developers at Guerrilla. They were super supportive for the ideas we had. It’s not often you get a response from the creators of a game who care about your crazy project. They were gracious enough to let us use the Killzone soundtracks, sound effects, and a few 3D elements. Those make up a small part of a film, but they’re very crucial for accuracy. Plus, it was fun to get feedback from them during the process. I’m sure they cringed at some points, but ultimately they enjoyed seeing a fan’s interpretation.

PSB: How many people were involved with the project? Was it the same crew that worked on Beyond Black Mesa?
BC: I believe we had a crew of 15 – 20, that’s counting a few others on the post-production side. Not very big for what we were attempting, but a lot bigger than I’m used to. It was nice to have everything covered, not to mention covered by very talented people. They probably handled the workload of 50-75 people and I’m not talking about myself, they are just that good! On our past film Beyond Black Mesa, it was literally four of us at a time – if you weren’t in the shot, you were probably lighting three smoke grenades and then grabbing the camera to shoot. The core Infectious Designer crew who worked on BBM and Concrete Hustle were all a part of this film. Ultimately, they are the guys behind the camera or behind the masks that have helped make all our films possible.

PSB: How long did the project take to complete? How much of that was pre-production, and how much was post-production?
BC: Answering this question always makes me depressed, because the ratio is so bad. Two years for 14 minutes. I have to remind myself that I do all of this between my full time job and my fiancée is patient enough to stay with a workaholic. The first year was mostly pre-production – writing the script, finding locations, figuring out how we were going to make Helghast and ISA costumes and props. The second year was eight very long days of shooting and the rest was editing and post-production. Phew, I’m tired just thinking about it.

“Two years for 14 minutes.”

PSB: Assuming you didn’t really visit Helghan to film Killzone Intercept, can you tell us about the location where it was filmed?
BC: Surprisingly, Birmingham Alabama has a good look when you’re trying to reproduce Helghan. Since steel production was huge back in the day here, it has left us some really great post-apocalyptic factories. We shot half of the film at two factories and the rest in an active rock quarry. When you add a few futuristic elements, they both look like they’re on a foreign planet.

PSB: The story unfolds very much like an actual Killzone mission, but the flashback at the beginning is unique to Killzone Intercept. Was that a deliberate decision?
BC: The flashback at the beginning with the mother and son was an element I personally wanted to include. I knew early on that some people would really appreciate it and others would find it unnecessary, but ultimately I felt the film needed it. There were a few things I wanted it to do. First of all, I wanted to infuse the concept we often overlook, that war is horrible and no one really wins. I find that soldiers fight for one reason, to keep the ones they love safe, regardless of the many actual reasons or underlying motives of the war they’re in. Second, I wanted it to give our William character a little more depth and show you what he’s fighting for. Third, I really wanted to show a glimpse of Vekta, and show the viewer William’s home town.

It was challenging to dive into serious matters so early on, but I wanted to set a theme that would leave the viewer with some type of take away message at the end. I love non-stop action, but it would have been a really shallow video if it just opened up with four guys riding into a factory shooting, blowing stuff up and then “the end.”

PSB: Which elements from the Killzone universe did you insist on having in the film? Were there any you had to leave out due to time or budgetary constraints?
BC: There are a lot of things I insisted on having in the film. The ISA had to have their glowing blue tech lights. They ended up not being as bright as we wanted in camera, so it was painful, but we amplified them in post. We had to have a Capture Trooper, visually he’s my favorite character. We were lucky enough to find Anthony Kitchens, who was talented and gracious enough to tackle it. He really brought the trooper to life. I did want to have a medic Helghast and a Hazmat Helghast, but those were extremely hard to produce, so they didn’t make it. Lastly, I wanted to shoot a few long shots using a Helicam – it’s basically a miniature helicopter with a RED Epic hanging underneath and it can pretty much fly anywhere – but we just didn’t have the resources. Maybe next time.

“Of all our films, it’s had the most positive feedback.”

PSB: What was the biggest challenge in creating Killzone Intercept?
BC: I know why there aren’t very many live action Killzone films! Everything about it is challenging to create. The characters and environments are so unique; it’s hard to bring them into the real world.

PSB: How do you feel about the response from the fans so far?
BC: I’m very pleased with the response, it seems the majority really appreciates it. I think I can say out of all our films, it’s had the most positive feedback. I’ve learned that putting anything out on the web is going to be loved and hated, but it still baffles me, there are always a few people who put a lot of time to inform me that it’s garbage and watching it was a complete waste of their time….yeah, it’s that guy. I apologize for interrupting troll time. :)

//Add Your Own

37 Comments

1

+ Gadirok on November 15th, 2012 at 10:12 am said:

Amazing. I still have yet to pick up the killzone collection but this totally convinces me that Killzone is an amazing FPS to influence such a good mini movie.


2

+ EP-Dragon on November 15th, 2012 at 10:24 am said:

Wow, loving this type of support. Can we expect you guys over at PSBlog to cover more fan related content?


3

+ Xcaligamer1 on November 15th, 2012 at 10:24 am said:

this is actually pretty cool


4

+ D-Squad3 on November 15th, 2012 at 10:26 am said:

Can’t wait to see more of Mercenary!


5

+ insano_jaco on November 15th, 2012 at 10:27 am said:

Great job, with the same quality level of the Halo 4 live-action series.

Sony should talk with this guys InfectiousDesigner to start something, Killzone need some help to be more popular, and change controls to a more popular format was not a good move in Killzone3, just made the Killzone 2 base angry.

I just made a post in Community about how Sony need to learn some lessons with Nintendo and Microsoft about IP investment.

The Battle Roayle live-action and promotion in Wreck-It Ralph sessions was a brave move that should be repeated with God Of War, Uncharted, Killzone and Littlebigplanet new games.

Dont let Resistance and Starhawk chapters happen again, its a shame to see some awesome games going to limbo.


6

+ KazeEternal on November 15th, 2012 at 10:35 am said:

Things we Need from Killzone:
1) A Weekly or monthly series that can be streamed straight to the XMB that captures the essence of the current killzone game with characters we care about. Make it a seasonal thing. We already know the tester was a dumb idea, why not do something we care about.

2) A new threat.

3) Engaging emotional experience that makes you care about the characters your with and doesn’t depend on tired cliche’s of what a soldier is.

4) SPAWN GRENADES IN MULTIPLAYER

5) A Co-op Story mode of up to 8 players that combines Resistance 2′s co-op with Halo 4′s

6) Drop in Drop out remote play for the Vita (for any game really)

7) Game Play that isn’t watered down by the Move (though move support is nice, I want the hardcore Killzone we all love from KZ2).

8) A start of a true trilogy.

9) In game rewards that come with interacting with PS Home in new and meaningful ways that relate to the Killzone Universe.

10) Free Helghast and ISA body armor in the box.

Only one of those should be unreasonable. GO!


7

+ Enforcer_X on November 15th, 2012 at 10:48 am said:

This is so well done!
I LOVE Killzone!


8

+ insano_jaco on November 15th, 2012 at 10:51 am said:

@6 totally agree

Killzone was in ascension till Killzone 3.
KZ3 was a mess in storytelling and controls trying to be more COD-friendly.
KZ2 build a strong community but it was cooled down with KZ3, that just bring better graphics and variety of levels.

I like Playstation IPs more, but just release the games are not enough, Microsoft and Nintendo are the best when it comes to IP care and investment.

Halo has a huge universe presented to the followers with books, comics, movies, animations, advertsing, live-action… They make people care about characters and follow his story, wonder whats next.


9

+ Darth-Krayt on November 15th, 2012 at 11:07 am said:

Very nice short film. Didn’t seem very low-budget. I like these short films that leave you wanting more. It reminds me of that original Mortal Kombat short film that everyone originally thought was a new movie teaser. Fan reaction to that MK short film was so amazing that it led to a whole series of short films that were a cohesive story, it even got a Blu-Ray release as a collection. I hope this Killzone short film leads to the same scenario here. I’d love to see a series based in this universe. Good luck to the whole production crew. I hope this short film leads to more financial backing for you guys.


10

+ JOtheHOBO on November 15th, 2012 at 12:15 pm said:

Here is one from a year ago, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZ4FGm9Fwvg


11

+ DarkOne_PR on November 15th, 2012 at 12:21 pm said:

AWESOMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


12

+ boboMELOSHE on November 15th, 2012 at 12:39 pm said:

Loved it! makes me wanna replay KZ 3 haha, keep up the great work :D


13

+ solo013 on November 15th, 2012 at 1:34 pm said:

I thought this was really awesome. They done a great job.


14

+ JEC94 on November 15th, 2012 at 1:41 pm said:

Heil Visari!


15

+ kevster150 on November 15th, 2012 at 3:01 pm said:

Looks like the scope on his rifle was on backwards. Pretty cool video. Mom was bit dramatic. And why have a bicycle that’s electronic but you still have to pedal. Not complaining just some suggestions.


16

+ ClinToN on November 15th, 2012 at 3:44 pm said:

I hope you true KZ fans picked up on all the little visual references. ;)


17

+ Bcrazyman on November 15th, 2012 at 5:09 pm said:

hey cant wait see this movie you guys did!
any word of a KILLZONE! the series?
alsoVICTOR? ANY OF THIS COMING TO DVD OR TV?
NEE DTO KNOW THANKS!


18

+ D-Squad3 on November 15th, 2012 at 5:21 pm said:

Dat mom


19

+ first1NFANTRY on November 15th, 2012 at 7:32 pm said:

hire these people sony. i would easily pay for a weekly episode of this. There’s so much opportunity since Killzone expands through a vast universe.


20

+ tusunami on November 15th, 2012 at 7:40 pm said:

I must say this was a superb fan made mini movie.


21

+ Zezzler on November 15th, 2012 at 8:02 pm said:

That is a fantastic film, that really captured the essence of Killzone! Major Kudos to the many people involved in this fantastic production. It was simply outstanding. There is no other way to say it.


22

+ destruction1983 on November 15th, 2012 at 9:19 pm said:

WHEN IS KILLZONE 4 COMING OUT PLEAS ME AND MY FRIENDS ARE ASKING FOR IT!!!!!


23

+ Dah-Rainmaker on November 15th, 2012 at 10:43 pm said:

That was a Great Movie Short! The graphics were great, the story was Awesome! If this were made into a feature length film, I’d go see this and take a lot of people. Very Enjoyable! ~Rainmaker


24

+ Dah-Rainmaker on November 15th, 2012 at 10:47 pm said:

On Killzone 4, Can we please have online be more than 1 player per system? Sometimes my company wants to play online with me but can’t and it’s weird playing while they watch. So let’s Upgrade and make it more than 1. Thank You. I Love Killzone!!! ~Rainmaker


25

+ PICK34 on November 16th, 2012 at 1:15 am said:

Wow, that was really awesome. I really wish Sony would take a page out of microsoft’s book and start doing live action commercials and series’ for their games. I had more fun watching this than I had watching the entire five part halo 4 forward unto dawn series and I’m sure it didn’t cost you 10 million to produce. Great job guys, hope more is incoming. Now to Sony and guerilla games. Hire these people to make a series. Imagine what they could do with money and resources.


26

+ JayD-1K on November 16th, 2012 at 1:47 am said:

AWESOME JOB GUYS!! can’t wait to see more!


27

+ BossmanCCrowder1 on November 16th, 2012 at 10:47 am said:

Great work on the film. Very good attention to detail!


28

+ fatray117 on November 16th, 2012 at 1:18 pm said:

I assum its on youtube then


29

+ TomatoDragon on November 16th, 2012 at 6:16 pm said:

This was very well done.


30

+ Freshh23 on November 16th, 2012 at 6:20 pm said:

That Killzone 3 theme :52-1:20 amazing/epic!

Killzone needs more interesting and memorable characters especially the main characters and Helghast too. As well as environment and story. I find the Halo story and environment to be way more interesting and memorable.

Add offline multiplayer for the next Killzones!

On the short fan film, it was amazing in the effect but the acting wasn’t great and wasn’t that interesting but still amazing effects!


31

+ ClinToN on November 16th, 2012 at 9:04 pm said:

Sev, Rico, Narville, Radic & Visari aren’t memorable? Maybe you weren’t trying to follow the storyline. You should check out the videos of the cutscenes of all of the Killzone games including Liberation on the PSP to get a good idea of the story if you’ve missed anything.


32

+ kirafung on November 17th, 2012 at 1:36 am said:

Glad that SONY recognize the efforts People put into the Killzone Universe.


33

+ guitarded77 on November 17th, 2012 at 6:46 am said:

M.I.L.F.


34

+ Carlos23 on November 17th, 2012 at 9:54 am said:

AMAZING FILM!!!!! Just watch it and got in the PS BLOG just to Post the Link to Sony about You guys….. Until i found out here, that they already made it Public…. Well at least is the intention that counts Right??? Hehehehe….

Very GOOD JOB!!!! Blessings for all of you and maybe with more experience you will need only 2 years to make a 2 Hour Film :)

CONGRATS TO YOU ALL!!!


35

+ Souledge94 on November 17th, 2012 at 11:06 am said:

@6
Hellllll no to spawning grenades. It made most gun fights a complete mess and cluster F. GG was very smart to remove them and I sure dont want them in KZ4. While I high enjoyed KZ2 and 3 MP I found 3 better. Just get rid of matchmaking and go back to lobbies.


36

+ lowkee33 on November 18th, 2012 at 11:09 am said:

I have to say that they did great. I am a long time fan of the games. I have been there since day one,and have loved every minute of every game. This mini movie pays great homage to the series,great work and I look forward to your future projects.


37

+ EXQUISITEEMPRESS on December 14th, 2012 at 7:27 pm said:

Brilliant!!!


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