Source Filmmaker (SFM for short) is a tool used to create most of the videos running the Source Engine. Source Filmmaker is a video capture and editing application that works from inside the Source engine. It allows users to record themselves many times over in the same scene, creating the illusion of many participants, as well as supporting a wide range of cinematographic effects and techniques such as motion blur, Tyndall effects, Dynamic Lighting, and depth of field. (Motion blur has now been added to the games themselves, though only when the view is moving at high speeds – not per-object as in the filmmaker. Per-object motion blur is in the replay system of Team Fortress 2 Beta.
The tool was leaked in the original Team Fortress 2 Beta release. Following the discovery of the program's files inside Team Fortress 2 Beta, the community succeeded in creating a (mostly) stable version. Since then, many fan videos have been created with the tool. Valve officially released a closed beta version of the program on June 27, 2012, following the release of Meet the Pyro. On July 11th, the Source Filmmaker beta became public.
SFM allows you to:
- Record footage into:
- Uncompressed AVI files.
- TGA files.
- Frames of footage, user defined.
- Single frame, or a "poster", similar to a Screenshot.
- WAV files of sounds.
- (All can be done simultaneously).
- Record yourself performing one part, then rewinding and record yourself performing another.
- Publish videos directly to Steam (option is available in-game, but nothing happens when selected).
- This option was most likely used by Valve, does not work for current, unofficial version.
- Publish videos to YouTube.
- Control camera placement and movement.
- Add per-object motion blur and depth of field.
- Import choreography scenes.
- Modify bone placement and facial expressions of characters.
Recording with other games
By importing files from other Source Engine games, it is possible to use Source Filmmaker with games beyond Team Fortress 2. However, due to the complicated nature of the program, many problems may be experienced by users attempting to film with other games.
Source Filmmaker's public release was officially announced on June 27, 2012 as part of Day 3 of the Pyromania update. A closed beta began on the same day, allowing select users who completed a survey access to the program. The initial release features an updated UI in comparison to the version of Source Filmmaker leaked years prior, and also allows users editing access to Meet the Heavy's assets. An open beta began on July 11, with Meet the Engineer assets added.
Official Valve productions
Valve has used Source Filmmaker for their own game trailers and short films, most significantly the Meet the Team series of videos, and the intro videos for Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. It is mostly used when the film contains something outside of the game's capabilities, like new facial expressions and cinematic animations. Besides Team Fortress 2 videos, Valve has used Source Filmmaker with Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, Day of Defeat: Source, Portal 2 as well as Half-Life 2 for announcing the game's arrival on the Macintosh.
Filmmaker interface after Meet the Pyro
- Source Filmmaker - Official Source Filmmaker Website.
- Source Filmmaker Wiki - Unofficial wiki dedicated to Source Filmmaker.
- Source Filmmaker Machinima - A site dedicated to archiving development and tutorials.
- Source Filmmaker is LIVE! - An official blog post saying that Source Filmmaker is now in open beta, which means you can get it right now.