While the home video is scarcely a good substitute for a $200 million movie production, the quality gap has narrowed enormously in the last 20 years, and it isn't unreasonable to think that in another 20 years, home production of "professional" quality movies will become cheap and practical.I was off by 20 years. Take a look at the movie "Star Wreck", available as a free download. To my inexpert eye the production qualities are the same as a $200 million movie production. Since they thank six sponsors, one for "lend[ing] us a Pinnacle DV500 edting [sic] card" that retails for about $800, I think we can safely assume they didn't spend $200 million making the movie. According to their FAQ
Q: Damn, you must be very rich when you can afford a film like this...Huge sets, studios, actors and render farms!This is what their render farm looks like:
A: What sets? The bridge sets are all virtual. The on-location shoots were made at locations that didn't cost any money (schools, public places etc). The "bluescreen studio" is actually a small piece of blue linoleum in Samuli's living room...
For Samuli this is a somewhat costly hobby, but as a movie it's still very close to a zero budget. The most expensive part of the production has been keeping the computer equipment up to date.