How to make movies in a virtual world
See these videos and more in the Best Machinimas Collection »
What is a machinima?
Machinima is the art of making a real movie in a virtual world. The word machinima is from the term machine cinema. A machinima is a video production shot in a 3D virtual reality world, such as Second Life, and produced with real life tools and techniques.
How machinimas are made
A machinima is a video shot in real time in a virtual-reality environment using the technologies of the 3D-rendered virtual world and then edited into a finished production with ordinary editing software.
For instance, recordings of computer-generated imagery (CGI) of actions rendered in real-time by the interactive 3-D engine in the Second Life viewer are edited in the same manner as conventional film or video productions.
Second Life machinima are produced using SL resources – such as sky, land and water backdrops, buildings, vehicles, elevations, avatars, skins, hair, and clothing – and the built-in tools for recording images – movement controls, camera controls, snapshot camera, building and landscape editing controls, and script editor. Video products made in Second Life use the 3D virtual world's constructions, scripting, and avatar customizing tools.
Professional 3D animation software is not used. The rendering is done in real-time using an individual's computer, rather than more complex 3D engines in render farms.
Machinima production is faster and cheaper than keyframed CGI animation. The product is a more professional appearing production than is possible with typical amateur techniques such as live video tape, or stop action using live actors, hand drawn animation or toy props.
Let's make a machinima
Suppose you wanted to make a movie in a virtual world. Here's how you might go about producing a machinima shot in a 3D virtual reality world, such as Second Life, and editing it with real life tools and techniques.
Examples of Second Life machinimas
- Best Machinimas Collection
An anthology of 30 outstanding videos from the virtual world Second Life
- Machinima Festival 2011
A presentation of outstanding videos from the virtual world Second Life for the 12th annual UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference, April 12-14, 2011
- New Media Video Sampler
A variety of QuickTime videos and audio clips with .mov filename extensions to use for Second Life streaming media
Where to learn more
Please note that some of these sources are older and may be of less value in new productions.
- Machinima Wikipedia
- Machinima FAQ Academy of Machinima Arts & Science
- Video Tutorials Second Life Wiki
- Second Life Destination Guide Second Life
- HVX Silverstar's ISTE Machinima Flickr
- SL Machinima Librarians HVX Silverstar
- Eric Linden's Top 10 Machinima Tips machinima.com
- Machinima in Second Life PDF file
- Silver Bells and Golden Spurs Production Synopsis .doc file
- Using Machinima in business and education YouTube video 3:00
- Machinima.com machinima.com YouTube channel
- Intro to Machinima video tutorial zipped 228 mb file
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