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Grand Theft Auto 5 PC's built-in video editor lets you make your own movies

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Grand Theft Auto 5's Windows PC version includes a robust video editor, the Rockstar Editor, and you can see its potential for producing interesting short films in a trailer released today by publisher Rockstar Games.

The Rockstar Editor lets GTA 5 players record gameplay footage from story mode and Grand Theft Auto Online in manual start-and-stop fashion, or pick up the previous 30 to 90 seconds of action. Unlike third-party capture software, the Rockstar Editor functions like a replay editor in a sports game. It allows you to roam around with a free-look camera — although only "within a defined area where the action is taking place," according to Rockstar — and edit together footage from a number of angles. (A notable exception: Any footage recorded in first-person mode is locked to that perspective.)

Rockstar Editor users can tweak the visual appearance of the footage and apply a variety of filters, including depth of field, and can speed up or slow down clips as well. The tool also allows for adjusting the audio mix, so it's possible to gradually ramp up the intensity of the GTA 5 original score in the background. If that's not to your liking, you can use a song from the game's radio stations as a backing track.

For the more creative types, Rockstar has included a "director mode" in the Rockstar Editor. This seems designed to produce something more like machinima. You can select characters (like Lamar and Jimmy) and creatures (like birds) you've unlocked in the story mode, and set certain actions and dialogue phrases to trigger at particular points.

The Rockstar Editor will be available exclusively in the Windows PC version of GTA 5, which launches tomorrow, April 14. For more details, watch the trailer above and check out the guide on the Rockstar Games Social Club. You can also see a trailer below for the PC version running at 60 frames per second.

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