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Machinima

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Definition Edit

Machinima (mah-she-ne-mah) is a film-making technique whereby artists capture images from 3-D graphics rendering engines, most commonly videogames, to tell a story. Filmmakers manipulate the characters in the game, using the movements and gestures programmed by the developers, but often in new and suggestive ways.

Overview Edit

For example, by cancelling movements after they have been partially completed or repeating the same movement over and over again, unanticipated animations can be created on the screen. Many games also allow players to change camera angles, a technique used frequently by “machinimists.”

The Machinima process began with a recording of someone playing a game played back at increased speed to demonstrate game strategy and techniques. It has developed since then to include fan-made music videos using captured images and even full-length movies with original dialogue dubbed over choreographed game play.

Machinima creators argue that their works constitute fair use, however, this theory has yet to be tested in court. Game developers are very protective of their intellectual property rights and generally argue that Machinima constitutes a derivative work protected by their copyright in the underlying game. To avoid any confusion over legal rights to machinima, many game developers include provisions concerning user-generated content in their terms of use. Linden Labs, the developer of Second Life, grants ownership rights in anything created by players but retains a license to use such content within the game and in related advertising. Microsoft and Blizzard, two of the largest game developers, grant noncommercial licenses to machinimists providing certain requirements are met. Microsoft allows the use of game content except audio effects and soundtracks and prohibits the creation of pornographic or “objectionable” material. Blizzard requires that all derivative content meet the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s “Teen” rating, the same rating given to Blizzard’s most popular game for Machinima, World of Warcraft.

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