Machinima (muh-sheen-eh-mah) is the use of real-time 3D computer graphics rendering engines to create a cinematic production.
The Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences defines machinima as "filmmaking within a real-time, 3D virtual environment, often using 3D video-game technologies". Machinima, short for "machine cinema" or "machine animation", is a cost-effective alternative to pricey video production.
Machinima creators leave many rendering details to, and are thus limited by, their host 3-D environments. Many machinima characters have difficulty crying, hugging, and sitting.
As in live action, machinima is recorded in real-time, and real people are involved in performing parts and controlling the camera. In contrast, machinima involves less expensive, digital sets and special effects. Science-fiction and historical settings are feasible. Explosions and stunts can be tried and repeated without monetary cost and risk of injury, and physical constraints of the host environment may differ from those of reality.
How is Machinima produced Edit
Machinima can be produced in a couple of ways:
- It can be script-driven, whereas the cameras, characters, effects etc. are scripted for playback in real-time. While similar to animation, the scripting is driven by events rather than keyframes.
- It can also be recorded in real-time within the virtual environment, much like filmmaking (the majority of game-specific Machinima pieces are produced in this fashion).
While both of these approaches have their pros and cons, they are both Machinima-making techniques.
Advantages of Machinima Edit
- the real-time recording of human/scripted performances and events - akin to shooting film; eliminates the rendering process.
- the creative flexibility of artistic assets moved over time – akin to animation; allows total control over visual representation of characters, events, etc.
- an interactive environment – provides a space where characters can interact and real-world physics can be reproduced.
- Hardware driven playback is resolution independent.
Because Machinima can be shot live or scripted in real-time, it's much faster to produce than traditional CGI animation. A live action director should feel right at home and an animation director will be able to direct without having to rely on key frames. Multiple takes can be made in real-time or just a few takes while the rest is adjusted in post, dependent on the director's style.
Additionally, instead of rendering frames of animation or video streams, some Machinima is recorded at the data level – only capturing positions, orientation and other pertinent pieces of information for the 3D assets to be drawn and animated during playback. Data-recorded Machinima also allows for editing at the data level – where you can add characters, adjust camera angles, create camera moves, fine-tune animation, etc. It's much like doing a reshoot without having to call back the cast and crew –further blurring the lines between production and post-production.
Machinima in Second Life Edit
Machinima has a rich tradition in SecondLife, where creators use the 3D modding tools to make dramas, music videos and historical simulations. Second_Life is considered an ideal environment for creating machinima films, due to user's ability to create their own content.
For the many residents of Second Life, Machinima is an opportunity to add more dimension to their backgrounds beyond traditional writing. However, learning the technical aspects of developing a Machinima can be a daunting endeavor in SL, as it not only requires traditional scripting and cinematographic skills, but also a mastery of Second Life interface controls.