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- Step by Step Walkthrough of Basic Machinima -
By Pฟηคšคüяüš яєж, Director/Editor/Head Honcho/Web Master Three Guys In A Basement Productions
Vocabulary:

FPS: Frames per Second, this is the number of frames (pictures) in every second of video, you will need at least 20, but over 30 is preferable for a video that doesn’t look laggy.

Screen Capture Program: This is a program that takes what is happening on your screen and records it to AVI or WMV, without this, you won’t be able to record, or ‘film’ your movies, but watch out, this takes a lot of processor power.

Game Engine: A game engine is the core software component of a computer video game or other interactive application with real-time graphics. The core functionality typically provided by a game engine includes a rendering engine (“renderer”) for 2D or 3D graphics, a physics engine or collision detection (and collision response), sound, scripting, animation, artificial intelligence, networking, streaming, memory management, threading, and a scene graph. The process of game development is frequently economized by in large part reusing the same game engine to create different games.(WIKI)

LAN: A local-area network is a computer network covering a small geographic area, like a home, office, or groups of buildings e.g. a school. The defining characteristics of LANs, in contrast to wide-area networks (WANs), include their much higher data-transfer rates, smaller geographic range, and lack of a need for leased telecommunication lines. (WIKI)

Noclip: In some video games, noclip is a PC game console cheat command that prevents the first-person player character camera from colliding with other objects and permits the camera to move in any direction, allowing it to go through such things as walls, props, and other players. (WIKI)

HUD: The HUD, short for Head-Up Display, is the method by which information is visually relayed to the player in computer and video games, and can be an important part of a game's user interface. Taking its name from the real-life version, the HUD is frequently used to simultaneously display several pieces of information including the main character's health, items, and an indication of game progression (such as score or level). (WIKI)

Hi Everyone! I have decided that since everyone here has helped me so much, I might as well give some back, so here’s a very basic tutorial that covers the basics of what you need to know to get started.

What you’ll need:
- A Game (CSS, TF2, Halo, Etc.)
- A Video Editor (Sony Vegas, Adobe Premier, Etc.)
-A Sound Editor (Audacity)
-A Screen Capture Program (FRAPS)
-Several PCs
-(Optional) A video format converter [AVI to WMV] (Windows Movie Maker)

Step 1: Find an Idea; this is probably the most important step in making any kind of movie/film is an idea, so make sure yours is good, and then write a script.

Step 2: Choose a game, now this is a very important decision, you shouldn’t choose a game that your computer can barely run, because filming requires a lot of processor power, and so if your computer can barely run the program without lag now, imagine what will happen when the FPS (frames-per-second) drops down 20-30 FPS while capturing. Another important aspect is the developer, do some checking up on who makes the game. Have they issued any announcements in regards to Machinima makers? And carefully read the “Terms of Use” and “End User Agreement” s to see if they will let you use their engines at all. If they have recently filed a lawsuit against a Machinima maker (I am not aware of any case in which this has actually happened) maybe you should find another game. Microsoft is a good one to choose (Halo) because they have made special amendments to their Agreements just for people like us! Most of all just use your common sense.

Step 3: Find a screen capture program, like FRAPS, or HyperCam. Just be aware that FRAPS is one of the only programs with a free near-fully operational demo, and that works on Vista.

Step 4: Gather up some friends and film. While experienced Machinima-Makers some-times prefer to script their whole movie, this requires tons of time, effort, and skill. And since most of us don’t want to bother doing that... A more traditional filming approach is necessary, and the easiest way to go about this is to create some kind of LAN game, and get everyone familiarised with the script. This will take a very long time. Here is an exempt of what it takes in TF2.
o 1: Create a LAN game; it’s a good idea to host the server off a different computer than the “camera”, as this will allow it to allocate more processing power to screen capturing.
o 2: Open console (~), and enter in sv_cheats 1, so that the camera can disable the HUD by opening console and typing cl_drawhud 0. This is also needed if you are intending to noclip to an area of the map not normally accessible to players.
o Have your body actors spawn as the characters you want, and begin filming. Be patient as this is an extremely difficult process. Just remember that they have no idea what it looks like they are doing, and since they have no depth perception they can only guess how far away they are from objects. Don’t be afraid to let your actors take a break and play a round or two. Expect to have to film difficult scenes ten or twenty times before everyone gets it right. This might take a very long time (8-10 hours) depending on the length of your movie. And one more thing, actors work better when fed. It’s true.
o If you are recording to AVI, the files will be huge, but this is normal.

Step 5: Start editing your movie. Now you will need even more programs for this. You will need a sound recorder/editor, such as Audacity, a video editor, such as Sony Vegas, an AVI to WMV (if you want to conserve Hard Drive space) converter, Windows Movie Maker works just fine. If you don’t know how to use these tools, either use ones you know, or begin the fun (and time consuming) process of trial and error, and tutorial reading. But obviously you aren’t very opposed to the latter.

Step 6: So after a couple weekends spent editing, you have your movie, rendered and ready to go! Now what? Well I suggest you upload your video to
www.Machinima.com, and www.YouTube.com. Try to learn as much as you can from comments, they may seem hurtful, but a “Gawwwd, taht w4s teh MOST BORINGEST MOVIE EVRRRRR” is more helpful than nothing at all.

• So, after a couple weeks watching your views crawl up, you can do two things, a) Think to yourself, 20-40 hours so some dillweed on YouTube can say it was “T3H GAYZORZ”, screw this. That is a very popular option. Or b) You can think, alright, so that movie could have been better, so let’s make another one. And trust me, it will be. It’s always better the second time around, and the third, and the fourth, and so on and so forth.

• Once you have a few videos you can even start a YouTube channel, make a google pages site, and post some ads. And rake in your 5-6$ a day.
And this has been your view into the world of Machinima. Interested? Well, get started!

This is a work in progress, if you have any questions, or things I should add just PM me.

Feel free to check out my videos, and my site at:
http://threeguysinabasement.googlepages.com/home

_________________
Well, obviously he gained superpowers and evolved from a normal t-rex into The Pwnasaurus Rex. -Anon CS:S Player
Visit the Three Guys In A Basement Productions Homepage at:
http://threeguysinabasement.googlepages.com/home

 

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