Once again it’s time to write something about machinima. I wrote last year about a few of my favorites here. I love this inventive and accessible new medium! Maybe it’s the weather turning colder and the knowing that I will have several months when I can easily stay indoors and look for something to stimulate my mind. Maybe it’s that I now have a window of time unexpectedly when I can catch up with things that appeal to me. That’s probably why I went surfing tonight to see if there are any new machinima trends (or really awesome films!) that I should know about. Here, in no special order, are some things I discovered (and this is in no way a comprehensive list of things machinima!):
1. Some new, serious bloggers about machinima, with a serious fan base who understand the art form and love it — like 3D Filmmaker, Frank Dellario’s blog (check out his templates for a Machinima Script Breakdown Sheet), and ILLClan. See the new additions to my blogroll near the bottom.
2. A new machinima association: Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences or AMAS
3. The number of Machinima Festivals has mushroomed in the past two years! If you want a quick introduction to the genre or want to see the best of the best, check out these locations. Gamasutra is always a good place to look for the latest happenings.
Machinima Festival Europe 2007
Bitfilm Festival 2007
Ed Wood Machinima Festival 2007 (exclusively for Second Life)
MPrem’s Online Machinima Film Festival 2007
ACMI’s Machinima Film Festival 2007
DragonCon Independent Film Festival 2007
Several academic institutions are also offering machinima basics and local machinima festivals.
4. There are digital film scouts!
5. Machinima Premiere’s Gallery. Neatly organized by game/type, and even some recommendations.
6. Machinima Archive for academic investigation and historical preservation of the art
7. An online magazine: Machinimag (soon to be changed to Guerilla Animation)
Keep in mind that most of these are efforts of love, and not for compensation. That means they are subject to change and discontinuance. It’s a new medium, and the long-term players are still gaining their footholds (or as cynics might say, looking for their profit model).
I love machinima and have dabbled a bit with making some myself, in both WoW and Second Life. It’s almost harder to find where your computer is saving the video clips you shoot than it is to make a movie. Microsoft’s Movie Maker software is extremely easy to use, and not only can you do the usual fades and crops to make the film smooth, you can also add voice overs, music scores and title screens practically intuitively. Anyone who already plays World of Warcraft, Everquest, Second Life or EVE Online or any of the truly immersive 3D online games can download freeware like Fraps, and be shooting video clips just as easily as family vacation movies.
With a passing nod to making this fun stuff practical, is machinima something that has value for learning or business? You betcha! There are now so many machinima videos on YouTube that it’s hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. I’ll start searching for some of the better ones and do a follow up article here in a few weeks. If you have personal favorites, let me know!