Learn About Making Machinima

Calling all Machinima makers!

As machinima continues to grow in popularity, the art of making machinima also continues to develope. I wanted to create a thread where machinima makers of all experience levels could share ideas, ask questions, and discuss techniques. So this here it is!

Topics for discussion in this thread include:

To help get the ball rolling, here’s my complete “How to make machinima” guide:

Of course, there is no such thing as “the correct way to make machinima”. So if you have ideas, tips, or suggestions please join in and share them! If you have questions or specific problems you’d like to solve, post here and we’ll see what we can come up with together. If you’ve created your own guides, post a link here so we can all check it out! I’ll be updating the OP to include links to helpful resorces and contributors :slight_smile:

Cool. This will really help aspiring machinima makers!

great! on a separate note I have no problem helping with peoples machinima.

> great! on a separate note I have no problem helping with peoples machinima.

Nice :slight_smile:

Anything in particular you are looking to help with? Voice acting? Body acting? etc?

I was hoping of getting into Machinima except i need a capture card anyones that are good guys?

> I was hoping of getting into Machinima except i need a capture card anyones that are good guys?

I’m in the middle of researching this myself. I haven’t used any yet, but here’s some of the advice I got from members of the community.

From NuclearTaco:

I know personally, I use the HD PVR to record all of my videos. It’s very easy to use and I think you should be able to do everything you want to with it. I also know that’s what Puppy uses to make the Highlight Frenzy, so you can definitely get high quality video out of it. That’s all I have as far as suggestions. Good luck with your search!

And from RC Master:

The most important thing is that the internals of your computer can cope with transfering the data-rates associated with HD video capture. From whatever you capture with, to a suitable storage drive. More than that is just gravy.
You DO NOT need an SSD or Raid 0 to capture some great quality 720p60 footage (the 360 format that is closest to Halo’s native rendering).
You don’t need those, because if you have any sense you won’t be capturing uncompressed video. I use the Blackmagic Intensity Pro which has an on-board facility to convert the video into a compressed MJPEG .avi format which has much more reasonable data-rates: 11MB/s compared to more like 130MB/s for uncompressed. (Motion JPEG, like the image format)
So you gotta make sure your computer can handle a fairly high, constant throughput, but it needn’t be insane.
Even if you wanted to preserve maximum quality, there are compression formats which are lossless which you should be using instead – but that’s getting more advanced, I don’t do that. Anyway, if your destination is streaming, on YouTube, by the time you’ve edited it, compressed it to a format to upload it, then it’s been mangled by the YouTube servers, you absolutely will not be able to tell the difference between an MJPEG and a lossless capture.
Even YouTube’s ‘1080p’ option looks like -Yoink- compared to the MJPEG captures (at least on my videos).
So, data-rates don’t have to be insane. Some capture devices convert it straight into an .mp4 for you (though those are more of a pain to edit/re-compress than MJPEG).
I chose the Intensity Pro and built a desktop rig that could support it (and would also be good for compressing HD videos). I liked the neatness of it being internal to the computer and I would then be able to tuck all the cables out of sight. It also captures excellent quality – it seems more or less the gold-standard at 720p capture quality by which all other cards are judged (in the world of video-game footage anyway). As well as Component in/out, it also has the nice feature of HDMI in/out – which again appealed to me on a neatness (as well as quality) aspect.
But since you’re on a laptop that rules that particular device out anyway. I’m guessing you don’t
have USB3.0 or Thunderbolt either since it’s not brand new. So that rules out the rest of the Intesnity line. :stuck_out_tongue:
So basically you’re looking at either the Hauppauge HD PVR, or the AverMedia Dark Crystal HD. The Hauppauge is quite popular from what I hear because of the external usb2.0 convenience , and they have a fairly long history in the business. Though it captures to h.264 files which as I said can be trickier to edit and more time-consuming to re-compress. I don’t know much about the AverMedia, I just know it exists.
I don’t know what kind of issues are plaguing Tyrant or why. Blackmagic’s recording program (Media Express) certainly DOES NOT take anywhere near 5GB of RAM on my machine. I just did a quick capture and it was under 175MB the whole time. It was chewing about 15-20% of my i5 Quad-core (2600k) processor during capture (not sure why) so you’ll probably need (any) dual-core to feel comfortable.
I also don’t have any time-limit issues: I’ve literally captured for 4 hours straight with no issues (apart from me screwing up the gameplay at the end of the 4 hours… infinite sadface :frowning:
If you capture in progressive, you won’t have any interlacing problems (and you shouldn’t be, nor need to, with any of the modern devices).

I’m in the process of writing a script for a multi game machinima covering Halo 3, ODST, Reach, and 4. Alot of people tell me the HD PVR would be the easiest and most efficient device to use for a new machinimer. Is this true?

> I’m in the process of writing a script for a multi game machinima covering Halo 3, ODST, Reach, and 4. Alot of people tell me the HD PVR would be the easiest and most efficient device to use for a new machinimer. Is this true?

Although the HD PVR is a very efficient and easy device to use, it can get a bit pricey. (Anywhere between $150-$200 US dollars) Although I highly recommend it for great quality films, using it if your just starting out may or may not be a good idea. If your just starting out I suggest you purchades a Dazzle. Cheap easy to use and moderate quality.

Hey guys im looking to start a new Halo Machinima Youtube Channel i could use help directing them im doing multiple series some short ones and one main one, voice actors editors as well i dont really understand how to record and edit them but yeah would love some help Thanks

I Could sure use the help

> Hey guys im looking to start a new Halo Machinima Youtube Channel i could use help directing them im doing multiple series some short ones and one main one, voice actors editors as well i dont really understand how to record and edit them but yeah would love some help Thanks

Happy to help :slight_smile:

First of all though, we need to take a step back and figure out what you need help with.

For starters, I would begin by reading the articles I posted in the OP:

There’s a lot of detail in there.

Are there specific things you need help with? Do you know how to use the theater mode? Do you have a capture card to record the footage to your computer?

Yes to all Legacy, there are specific things i need help with one is filming them and the other is editing them i do have a capture card ones a dazzle and the other is kinda like a hd pvr that records xbox 360,ps3,wii in high definition quality but i don’t fully understand how do people record the certain angles and voices including sounds such as the shooting and etc,

> Yes to all Legacy, there are specific things i need help with one is filming them and the other is editing them i do have a capture card ones a dazzle and the other is kinda like a hd pvr that records xbox 360,ps3,wii in high definition quality but i don’t fully understand how do people record the certain angles and voices including sounds such as the shooting and etc,

Cool.

For starters, do you know how to use theater mode? It lets you load in any game you’ve played and take control of a free-floating camera. You can then record “clips” while moving the camera around. These clips are saved in your Halo Reach File Browser.

So a machinima is filmed in a few steps.

*The first thing you need to do is “act out” the scenes. This is covered in part 1 of the guide I posted above.
*You start a custom game and move the characters around in the way you want them to move during your scene.
*Then you load that match into the theater mode and use the camera to record all your different angles.
*You then use your capture card to save those clips as proper video files on your computer.
*Edit the clips together, add the voices (which you need to record seperately), and add whatever music you are going to use.

Again, I really think you should read the articles I posted… they cover all this stuff in much greater detail. Let me know if you have questions :slight_smile:

Ok Thanks i just finish your article it helped do you happen to be on xbox or email? some way i can stay in contact with you? Also Thank You once again

> Hey guys im looking to start a new Halo Machinima Youtube Channel i could use help directing them im doing multiple series some short ones and one main one, voice actors editors as well i dont really understand how to record and edit them but yeah would love some help Thanks

Its funny you said that, cuz im planning on starting a Halo Machinima, and im looking for ppl to assist me. Msg me on xbox live, gamertag: Riot Rojas.

Awesome!
I am currently making a new type of machinima. I call it a Comic Machinima here is a trailer to introduce it :slight_smile:

petetheduck asked me a little while back for some input regarding music. Specifically, where do you find background music for your videos?

Most people who make machinima, montages, or other game-related videos will want to include some music at some point in their video. However, this can be a surprisingly complicated area. There are quite a few legal and licensing issues to deal with.

THIS ARTICLE gives a great detailed breakdown of the various issues surrounding music licensing, and how video makers source music for their videos. Give it a read.

If you decide to use music that you don’t own in your machinima, you are taking a risk. If you post a machinima or montage with a sweet Katy Perry track in the background (what? Katy Perry RULES!!!), then you are at the mercy of the record label that owns the music in question. They might let your video exist as you post it. Or they might place restrictions on which countries your video can be viewed in. They might remove ALL AUDIO from your video, or even have the video completely shut down.

*** IMPORTANT ***

YouTube has recently developed a system that allows you to browse through a catalogue of music and add it to your video for free (a link to the iTunes store will appear under your video, so the artist has the chance to make some money from your vid). Be advised that using this method to place music in your vid has several down-sides. Most importantly it will remove all other audio from your vid (sound fx, dialogue, etc). Not and ideal situation for machinima :-/

For gameplay montages, it’s not such a big deal. Some video makers will just remove their video, change the music to a different track, upload it again and hope for the best. But for machinima, the music is more important. You need music that fits the tone, feel, and length of a particular scene. At the end of the day, it makes more sense to create original music for your machinima.

“But… that’s so much more work!”

Yes it is. Creating music takes a lot of work, which is why record labels are so fussy about letting their music be used for free. Now some of us are musicians with enough recording experience to create our own soundtracks (I wrote some basic info about this here). If recording your own music isn’t an option, you can always find someone who is willing to record it for you.

There are a lot of aspiring composers out there looking for projects to work on. Hit the forums (including our own recruiting thread) and look for volunteers willing to help you out.

Another option I always encourage people to explore is to find music from indie bands. Small up-and-coming bands (who do not yet have any attachement to a record label) are often in desperate need of exposure. If you find a song from an indie band that you want to use in your video, ask them! Send them an email explaining what you want to do. If they say “Yes”, they can give you the permission you need to include their music in your video.

If anyone has any more questions about adding music to your machinima, or if you have any tips/suggestions, let me know!

In one of the first articles detailing how to create machinima you said you used custom games for filming. Perhaps you already covered this but how do you remove the announcer’s voice? (Double Kill, Bomb Taken, etc.)

> In one of the first articles detailing how to create machinima you said you used custom games for filming. Perhaps you already covered this but how do you remove the announcer’s voice? (Double Kill, Bomb Taken, etc.)

This is what I do:
you play music on your hard drive, and put the music volume to “0” this will remove any dialogue in the game. But sound effects and ambient noises will remain.

I can play as any Elite Character, and can help with Covenant/Elite Formations, Ranks, etc.