As many original series start out in science fiction, L5 makes no one disappointed beautifully philosophical introduction;
“Life on Earth was beyond repair. The planet’s resources spent, it’s capacity for life diminished. Mankind was within mere generations from extinction.”
L5 is a very interesting example of crowdfunding as it was intended to be a mini-series of “hard science fiction”. It started out as a Kickstarter campaign in September, 2010 co-founded with concept artist Stanley von Medvey. The storyline of L5 is very interesting and it takes place on the huge spaceship Argo, in which the cabin has been in cryosleep for 200 years. After an unsuccessful mission trying to find an inhabitable planet, they have awaited their return to their home, planet Earth. The dilemma is that their cryosleep intentionally got prolonged and thus they should have woken up and returned much earlier. However there are some legitimate reasons to why their awakening was delayed by the ship’s computer and they are in for an interesting future.
I was stunned from the first couple of frames by the computer generated images that have been created for this project. After the great introduction which got me curious about what this was about, the story progresses about how the ship’s personnel will cope with the confusing circumstances. The animation flows very well but there are a couple of scenes in which one can distinguish this production’s quality from some commercial ones, however it can compete with many of those (even if those would be running on much more than a $12,000 budget). The CGI makes it seem viable to continue with these sorts of projects because it does so much to emphasize the work. It can be succesful and look great even if they are in the genre of sci-fi, heavily dependent on demanding CGI animation, in this example produced by Studio Hemoglobin. Watch the trailer below to get a tease of what the project managed to create.
This is one of the aspects to highlight that stands out of the crowd with this production. It is a trend that is growing more nowadays with fan-made productions which are often crowdfunded. There also seemed to be a certain openness throughout the production and it could be followed at a blog. It proves how Kickstarter-projects can be leading examples of how the money that crowdfunders invest are correctly spent. It is also interesting to see how the attitude almost automatically creates a more detailed and participatory circle of production instead of a line of production, where the results and input of funders from the crowd finances the possible sequels.
The part of L5 that I feared the most was the acting one but I must admit that the acting does not feel affected by the budget at all. It actually feels like believable performances that are carried out by the actors and one can only assume that it is due to their passion. Set and scenography also feels better than expected, much because of the works with CGI but probably a lot due to the amount of money that was spent in the budget on this, e.g. the costume designers to create space suits that look like they could work in reality.
However the big negative sides of L5 that I experienced was the sound and audio mixing. Sometimes I felt it being very difficult to hear the dialogue due to an imbalanced mixing of the background noises and music that went on as the actors were talking. Furthermore I do believe that the script could have been improved as there is not almost any introduction to the characters and development of these which seem like the main characters. The project might have been a really tough start for the production team behind L5. Things like an original score seemed to have gotten put in a bit late in production and it had to get its own funding through IndieGoGo.
I must say that one can feel it was thirty well-spent minutes watching this work. Although I believe it would have needed more development in some aspects in order to become a full-fledged competitor for the hard-core sci-fi fans out on the Web.
I decided to watch the first part of L5 even though the project has been put on hold for now. This is because I have always had an immense interest in space and science fiction since childhood years. I also think that this is a pinnacle to what crowdfunded low-budget projects can achieve in terms of product quality, especially with CGI technology.
You can download the first part of L5 from VODO where there also are torrents for low-resolutioned (SD) and high-resolutioned (HD) formats. If you like the idea and concept and want to support the project there are also ways through VODO to do exactly that with various flexible options to choose from. If you are interested in reading more about the project, head over to the official page here. It is also available for streaming on the closed source streaming service Vimeo. Edit 8/11: Here are subtitles in 5 languages for the episode compatible with the Xvid format.
Over and out,