Machinima Films Grow Up
Machinima used to be a realm only for hardcore gamers, but today, filmmakers are taking the video-game-inspired style by storm with new exciting films.What is machinima? Most commonly considered video game fan films, machinima today encompasses any type of film or video that uses video-game inspired computer generated virtual environments in their production. Sounds complicated? It doesn't have to. In machinima, filmmakers manipulate video game characters, called puppets, and direct them to perform certain actions. Unlike traditional animation, machinimators, or machinima animators, do not need to create each production frame-by-frame. Instead they record the puppets complete actions in the same way that a camera records actors on a live film set. Traditional machinima films, and those usually promoted by
YouTube's most popular channel for Machinima Inc., are created within popular video games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto and essentially are fun fan films often synced to popular music.
Sabrina Pena Young discusses Machinima at TEDxBuffalo 2014 (cued 1:28)
Such a video game heavy filmmaking style naturally falls within the realms of gamers who until quite recently were disproportionately male. With the advent of smartphone games, systems like the Nintendo Wii, and an increase in family-friendly games the gamer demographic has radically changed. Machinima films are no longer limited to hardcore gamers. Instead a wide array of machinima filmmakers from all over the world, from multiple generations, and from both genders, have created new animated films that stretch the genre beyond cheesy Mario music videos and into the realm of the sublime. Software like
Moviestorm, Second Life, and iClone5 as well as traditional game engines help animators create compelling works like The Journey from Unreal Tournament 2003, the popular series Red vs. Blue, or Cafe Insomniac by Callous Productions.
What is the future of machinima? While the Machinima Inc. channel continues to create compelling content of the more fan-based type, thousands of new filmmakers are learning how to take simple tools and make incredible works of art. With venues like the Machinima Expo and the Machinima Inc. You Tube Channel, there is an incredible instant market available for struggling indie filmmakers that often find the traditional indie film market limiting. In the end, machinima may be no more than an incredible niche market for a handful of talented entrepreneurs and millions of video game fans. On the other hand, with traditional studio shows like NCIS and South Park featuring the genre and its unbelievable popularity online, machinima may be the way of the future for aspiring animation auteurs.
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