July 24, 2012

'Robbie': A Short Film That Proves Sometimes You Don't Need a Camera to Make a Great Film

We write a lot of posts about cameras here on No Film School in order to make our readers aware of what options are out there and what each particular camera is capable of. But as you know, the camera doesn't make your film. The story is the most crucial part of any narrative film, and you don't necessarily need a camera or a crew to make that film a reality. Sometimes, all you need is some public domain footage, the right music, and an editing program. This what Australian filmmaker Neil Harvey used to create his beautiful short film Robbie:

From Harvey's description on Vimeo:

The film-making process involved downloading about 10 hours of footage from the NASA archives and compiling a list of shots which resonated with me at some level. I did this over about 2 or 3 months when I had the spare time. From there, I put these selected shots on an editing timeline and watched them back until characters and narratives began developing in my mind. That is when I met Robbie.

Whether you use Harvey's method of having your story emerge out of compelling images or you write a script and then find the images that fit, with some effort and creativity you can make a great film. If you'd like to dive in and make your own found footage film, there are some good resources for 720p footage at The Internet Archive's 35MM Stock Footage Collection, and NASA, and if you're looking for a more extensive collection of footage --albeit SD-- check out FedFlix, and the Perlinger Archive.

Link: Short of the Week - Robbie

Via: [Film School Rejects]


Your Comment


Very nice! Really cool that it was all found footage too.

I like the idea of an all intelligent, self aware robot, still having a child-like innocence and sense of wonder about the world. Living in a fantasy, etc. I will say, a few times it felt a bit overwritten, but overall flowed nicely.

And yes, I teared up a little at the end. #hugedork

July 24, 2012 at 8:54PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


It made me tear up too, which is one reason I posted it. To me, one of the marks of a great film is its ability to affect me emotionally or inspire me. This is why I love directors like Kubrick, Lynch, and Gondry.

July 24, 2012 at 11:26PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Very beatiful, very well made. Sharing like hell :D

July 24, 2012 at 9:14PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Do I need a license to use NASA footage for my short movie? BTW, even the shots of the title robot was NASA footage?

July 25, 2012 at 8:43AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


July 25, 2012 at 1:53PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


With such an amount of detail and a beautifully executed story, I was surprised to find NASA incorrectly referred to in the dialog as the "North American Space Administration". Other than that easily fixable goof, the film is amazing. It's a true example of storytelling.

July 25, 2012 at 3:13PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


What a simple concept, executed brilliantly. Inspirational stuff.

July 26, 2012 at 6:08PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


Damned ninjas and their onion chopping. Brilliant film.

July 30, 2012 at 6:28PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM



Great job!! Great Hook! Whaaaat happened to earth?.. This looks like a great Trailer.
If that's genuine footage, what's the black UFO thing floating around from 7:56 - 8:02?
Suggestion: Look for more footage you can superimpose characters and things over to expound and enhance your story.

I think you're on to something here.
Thanks for the inspiration.

July 30, 2012 at 7:35PM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


I don't mean to be a hater but this was awful. It became obvious that this was random non personal footage thrown together with a voiceover and wall to wall music to draw out emotion that the heartless piece could not. I was bored at the 2:01 mark and felt no pathos for the robot and the painful monotone monologue. A better story and shorter piece may have worked but this was painful. The edit was also uninteresting and showed no care for timing or rhythm.

August 8, 2012 at 3:45AM, Edited September 4, 10:54AM


awesome simple and compelling at the same time and no camera lol great video

July 30, 2013 at 7:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM


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I'm sure they'll be benefited frօm thbis web site.

June 14, 2014 at 9:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM