Machinima (real-time animation in a 3D engine) grew out of the gamer-hacking community who, back in the mid-'90s, took games like Quake and figured out how to hack the game's pod camera to create a new 3rd person perspective camera. Death matches and speed-runs were some of the early "films" using this 3rd person camera hack. Quickly, aspiring animation filmmakers realized they could create films using the new camera hack. They created real-time videos with stories and characters, using the assets of the game and some judicious scripting.
The flood of film-making since early machinima efforts like "Diary of a Camper" and "Father Frags Best" hasn't stopped. Now, game companies such as Rock Star Games and Bioware are releasing impressive machinima tools with their games and stand-alone machinima applications like iClone and Moviestorm have become very popular. In fact, there's never been a better time to create machinima (the term coined for this new art form) than the present.
Although a good deal of machinima is still filmed gaming, there is a growing international community of filmmakers who are using this real-time film-making technique to create artfully-crafted personal narratives. There is even an element of the avant-garde in current machinima as seen in some amazing visual poems created in virtual world of Second Life this year.
The 4th annual Machinima Expo is a festival devoted to screening and celebrating these well-crafted, personal machinima films and their creators. Sixty-one machinima films from around the world (out of 185 submitted) will be screened at the Expo (with 2 world premieres). And 11 films will compete for a Grand Prize and 3 Jury prizes, which will be awarded at the Machinima Expo this coming weekend.
The Expo kicks off on Monday, November 14th, with screenings of all films 24/7 at our machinima-expo.com site. Then on Friday, November 18th, at 12pm (Pacific time) the Expo will continue with special Second Life film screenings and a master class on how to create machinima using Second Life. (This opening event is Second Life only. You can attend by visiting the Expo Hub within Second Life.)
Then on Saturday, November 19th, the main Expo events will stream live through our ￼￼￼￼machinima-expo website. Starting at 10am (pacific time) there will be a screening of all 11 jury finalists and present awards along with a keynote address by machinima scholar Henry Lowood. On Sunday, November 20th, also starting at 10am (pacific time) and streaming live, the Expo will feature panels, discussions, presentations and debate on current machinima practice, plus talks on machinima in education and new media. Current machinima programs like iClone, Moviestorm and Second Life will be featured as well.
Those interested in attending this virtual film festival can visit the Main Expo website at www.machinima-expo.com for the programming schedule, list of films to be screened (and timings) along with an Expo FAQ and a link to the main Expo blog and FB page.
The Machinima Expo will screen live via the machinima-expo site and also from within the virtual world of Second Life itself. Here's the main slurp for Expo events in Second Life.