RvBUK SideFest at Phoenix Square, Leicester. 2 August 2014

Cultural Values of Machinima: Trends & Practices

Preliminary findings of our research into the Cultural Values of Machinima were presented at the RvBUK panel last weekend.   Research highlights a breadth of cultural values associated with machinima by its creators and to illustrate these a selection of films accompanied the discussion.   Values highlighted were –

  • appeal to both male and female creatives in all age groups, including amateur and professional artists and filmmakers and is therefore an inclusive medium
  • unique cultural form of creative content, built upon computer games but extending their value beyond play to creative, collaborative, performance and viewing practices
  • transcends a range of arts practices, encompassing traditional and contemporary arts, particularly informing and enriching other new media arts practices
  • develops the range of creative competencies in arts (eg., digital) and filmmaking, including editing, writing, production, cinematography, set, sound and character design, music, applications of new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, and competencies related to modding, hacking and mashup
  • motivates and inspires creativity and collaboration with creative industries
  • reaches audiences beyond those targeted by games developers and publishers, festivals, museums and galleries, which may be self-sustaining in their consumption of machinima creative practices
  • contributes to technology product development including hardware and software through testing and prototyping eg., development of large scale creative works, application of new technologies

Panel selections:

  1. Machinima & Me The Future of Machinima (@machinimAHRC / machinima.dmu.ac.uk, 2014) filmed in Second Life© 2014, produced by Chantal Harvey, funded by Arts & Humanities Research Council / Institute of Creative Technologies / De Montfort University. http://vimeo.com/101735639
  2. Psymetheus (Psynaps, 2013) WOW Insider community moderator said “some of the most compelling graphics I’ve seen for a while” – film has stunning choreography Story about the Alliance kicking some tail (with maybe the help of a 50’ robot); music: Two Steps from Hell – Freedom Fighters (used in the 2009 Star Trek movie), Crusaders, Undying Love (all Thomas Bergersen) and The Hit House – Basalt (Iron Man 3 trailer) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jU_COLLmFE
  3. Scout v Witch (Nailbiter Films, 2012) Filmed in Source Filmmaker and enhanced with Maya, it combines Team Fortress 2© character (boy) with Left 4 Dead’s© witch – the machinimator, Randall Glass, has won awards for previous film and this demonstrates his versatility in creating different sorts of animated genres…. It comes with a gore warning! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf4ba72kFNQ
  4. I’ll Meet You On The Other Side (SaveMe Oh, 2014) This is new media art film shot in Second Life© – the producer’s work is mainly focussed on challenging orthodoxy, using conceptual art as an antithesis to theatre, so this uses somewhat controversial imagery to a classic soundtrack. The film uses an excerpt from the soundtrack: The Missing Voice, Case Study B, 1999, by Janet Cardiff – a binaural audio walk commissioned by Artangel for the East End of London – Whitechapel Library to Liverpool Street Station – original is 50 mins long. The Missing Voice was partly a response to living in a large city like London for a while, the experience enhanced the paranoia that Cardiff felt was common to a lot of people, especially women, as they adjust to a strange city. She was trying to relate to the listener the stream-of-consciousness scenarios. This machinima seems to capture the paranoia very well. https://vimeo.com/89850579
  5. Петро́вский флюс (a Petrovsky Flux) (Toxic Menges, 2010) The Petrovsky Flux was created by Blotto Epsilon and Cutea Benelli – a Second Life© installation built in 2010 for the Spencer Art Museum, and showcased by Kansas University. It was named after Ivan Georgievich Petrovsky, a Soviet mathematician who alleged solved the 19th and 16th problems… errrr? This machinima by Heidi Foster aka Toxic Menges captures the nature of the experience – it will grow over time only to collapse and disappear in order to grow once again. The composition in the sky is random with new and interesting shapes constantly being created. The Flux starts out as a small structure and slowly adds elements one upon another. These elements generally are taken from a wide range of rooms or hallways but you’ll see a whole host of things being added, the flashing lights indicating the birth of another component of the flux. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM4CAOyse_g
  6. Portal – Meet the Cores (Harry101UK, 2012) This was shot using Team Fortress 2©, with Portal 2 characters – fully voice acted, its a ‘meet the team’ video, filmed and produced over a period of 2 weeks! Harry Callaghan, is a British machinimator. Interestingly, the game has recently added downloadable content for use in SFM apparently based on these characters – something that our research suggests is fairly commonplace when developers find great pieces of work. This one has had well over 2M views since its release… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlFXCC4Hfa0
  7. and the one we didn’t get to show…
  8. The Future of Machinima (@machinimAHRC / machinima.dmu.ac.uk, 2014) The second of our project videos recording the comments of machinimators on their views of the future of machinima. There are 2 more videos in this series, produced as part of our Cultural Values of Machinima project, dealing with Barriers to Machinima and Machinima Community Creators – all films have been produced for us by Chantal Harvey. https://vimeo.com/user29899069

We’ll be publishing more about our findings shortly, so do come back and visit in a couple of weeks!