Friday, September 7, 2012

My Foray into Machinima

This summer I had the opportunity to learn about and create my very first Machinima during 3dGameLab's Teachercamp.  Machinima is essentially a form of film making that is often in the form of 'fan art' as it tends to be a production comprised of in game video footage or video that relates to popular characters.  Generally speaking, it consists of video footage accompanied with audio, call outs, etc.  Creating machinima utilizes video capture, sound engineering, and video editing software.

As an educator, I see great value in the use of Machinima for a number of reasons.  My appreciation became very evident as I created my own as it put me in the role of the learner and I was amazed at how much I learned in terms of technology.  This is coming from a techie who is pretty adept when it comes to the use of the associated tools. 

I worked with several classmates and guildmates.  I soon realized the great collaborative possibilities inherent in creating a Machinima.  My main partner in crime was @trishcloud (Cloudesque in WoW).  We had a lot of fun, but definitely worked hard to complete our project.  Trish and I met in WoW and started talking about ideas for collaborating on a project for the Machinima strand of our TeacherCamp.  We immediately realized that we had one thing in common when it comes to WoW.  We both seem to ALWAYS get 'lost in stormwind'.  I am notorious for my bad sense of direction and perhaps Trish has the same affliction.  We quickly realized that a Machinima called "Lost in Stormwind" was definitely our calling.  As we started talking about it in the Guild Chat a number of our Cognitive Dissonance guild mates expressed interest in helping us.  We all met in our favorite in game pub (The Pig and Whistle) and on twitter #lostinstormwind to plan our approach.  The idea evolved to having many of the guildies hanging out in the Pig And Whistle and Trish and I having a difficult time finding them.  The idea is that they would be having a jolly good time and by the time we got there the party would be breaking up as it would take us so long to find the Pig and Whistle.

So, what was involved???

We needed to determine just how we would go about recording the in game footage.  People recommended FRAPS for recording.  This product would probably have worked fine, but I believe the free version is limited to 5 minutes.  We also tried Jing and Camtasia Studio.  I am a  big fan of Screencast-o-matic and wanted to use it.  My first issue was that screencast-o-matic would not record World of WarCraft if it was in full screen mode.  I didn't realize that was the issue, so I figured screencast-o-matic wouldn't work for recording in game footage.  Fortunately, my guildmates were able to explain how I could change the screen settings.  Once I did that, it worked like a charm.  In addition to our recording, we wanted to add music and Trish found a GREAT free song on Partners In Rhyme.  She added the sound to a file in Camtasia Studio and then shared the Camtasia recording with me.  We both took a stab at creating a final product with Camtasia Studio by incorporating call outs and editing the Machinima.  Camtasia Studio is a wonderful product and I would say the best tool for the final editing job.  I was only able to use the trial version as it is not in my budget at the moment. 

Oh, you'd like to see the final productions.... But, of course :)

Machinima by @mr_isaacsMachinima by @trishcloud

Special thanks to @trishcloud, @imagiraven, #3dgamelab, The Cognitive Dissonance Guild, and all the other people who supported us in one way or another during our mis-adventures.