[Above: Still from From “Dear Fairy” by Tom Jantol aka Madame Zhora. In this short film, Pinocchio wants to be a wooden toy again. See it on YouTube.]
Oh, my, it turns out that there's yet another Brave New World out there. I just found out about "machinima" (a concatenation of "Machine" and "Cinema," as you might have guessed), which is basically movies made with video game software. It's a way to get 3D animation without actually having to be able to animate. Fascinating. While machinima apparently has its roots in first-person shooter games like Doom, where gamers would record the action to show how quickly they could get through a level, people soon found they could write their own scripts and action. The comic series "Red vs. Blue," which uses characters from Halo, is a good example of such adaptation.
On the other hand, as far as I can tell, there are a couple of video games that seem almost created for machinima, the most familiar of which is Second Life. It looks like there are entire (online) film festivals dedicated to Second Life machinima, such as the Ma Machinima International Festival. Also, a quick Google search for "Second Life" Machinima reveals a number of tutorials and videos on how to get started.
But it's even easier in the simulation game The Movies, which really was created for making movies. I even got a (miniscule) book on how to do this called Machinima: How you can use The Movies to produce your own animated films by David Mark. I've installed the game on both of our MacBooks so my son Quinn can hack-and-slash at it on one while I go through my overly-methodical, start-at-the-beginning approach on the other.
Anyhow, it's a fascinating discovery for me. I can't wait to see what I can do with it. I'll let you know.
- Machinima Expands with Narrative, Live-Action Content; Claims 85 Million Monthly Uniques (beet.tv)
- Machinima hits 1 billion monthly video views (venturebeat.com)
- How To Make Halo 3 Machinima (mademan.com)
- 4th Annual Machinima Expo: Saturday & Sunday, November 19th & 20th (boingboing.net)
- Machinima, a "Third Wave Television Network," Claims One Billion Monthly Views on YouTube (beet.tv)
- Games & Films: 6 Awesome Machinima Videos [Stuff to Watch] (makeuseof.com)