YouTube viewers flock to 8-bit movie remakes

Spirited Away Image copyright cinefix
Image caption Japanese anime Spirited Away imagined as an 8-bit video game

A team which recreates popular movies as 8-bit video games is attracting millions of views on YouTube.

David Dutton from California makes the "old school" arcade-style films for film collective Cinefix.

His four minute version of 2001 Japanese anime movie Spirited Away has attracted nearly 1m views since it was uploaded last month.

Other films to get an "old school" makeover include Titanic, The Avengers and Frozen.

Mr Dutton uses off-the-shelf software Adobe Photoshop and editing software After FX to create the films.

His brother Henry writes the distinctive music and the sound is edited in Adobe Premiere.

"We grew up playing video games in the 80s," said Mr Dutton, who used to direct music videos.

"But we had no background in animation."

Image copyright cinefix
Image caption Cinefix's take on the 1997 film Titanic, which starred Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet and was awarded 11 Oscars.

Two years and 45 films later, Mr Dutton's 8-bit cinema efforts are getting a good response from Hollywood itself.

James Gunn, who directed the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, said on Facebook that Mr Dutton's version, released in January, "makes my heart sing", and the producers also claim to have worked with some of the studios directly on remakes.

Image copyright facebook
Image caption Some Hollywood directors have voiced support on social media.

The Cinefix channel says copyright is not an issue because the creations fall under the umbrella of "parody" which is included in the "fair use" clause of US copyright law.

The short video game clips appeal because of a combination of nostalgia and artistic merit, Cinefix lead programmer Michael Cruz told the BBC.

"If I look at Spirited Away - the episode is just gorgeous. In and of itself the artistry is one of the reasons people come back," he said.

In addition to films which readily lend themselves to video game format, such as The Avengers, the team tries to focus on less obvious choices.

"Our favourites tend to be the ones where you don't expect them to be 8-bit video games," said Mr Cruz.

Image copyright cinefix
Image caption The team prefer making 8-bit versions of movies that do not obviously lend themselves to the genre

"The Avengers was great but it makes a really easy video game. Whereas Silence of the Lambs is a bit more difficult to do, more fascinating."

Cinefix is owned by digital production firm Whale Rock Industries.

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