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Will 2008 be the year of the Machinima ?

Machinima = Machine + Cinema. It’s the art/science of making films or videos in real time  virtual environments ( like games or virtual worlds like Second Life). So why exactly is this any different from taking screenshots of your mage jumping off a rock in the Outlands? Essentially, it’s not very different and very different at the same time. It’s like comparing the snapshots you took in those ugly trunks in Goa to …. I don’t know the ugly trunks of Saif in Dil Chahte hai??!! You get the point….  I would using the same capture technique but it’s what I do with it, how I do it and why I do it  that makes for a professional Machinima video.

For a great FAQ on machinima please go to http://www.machinima.org/machinima-faq.html.  HBO recently bought a series of  machinima films shot in Second Life called the adventures of Molotov Alva for a six figure sum! Again.. why is this so revolutionary and worth blogging about? So here’s why. Surprisingly, in our endeavours to bring India into the virtual domain we find increasingly that although the average Indian internet user may not be broadband ready to access content on Virtual Worlds like Second Life , there is a good demand for dervative products/services coming out of these virtual worlds. The Machinima is the biggest and most sort after derivative. Why so?

Although Machinima.org does a good job of explaining the benefits. Let us briefly recount them here :

a) No rendering time required.

b) Significantly faster ( about 20 – 30 times at some places) than traditional CG animation.

c) About 40- 70 % cheaper than traditional CG animation – hence huge cost savings.

d) It fits in really well in the great gulf between essential 2D flash films and 3d animated films.

e) Great for Corporate communication videos and Out of Home Advertising ( both of which require faster delivery times, quick content refreshing times and cheaper costs)

A lot of our corporate clients like Satyam are using this medium for creating videos for internal training purposes and we believe that the market of corp comms is very big in India for this medium.

Here are a few reasons why companies should be interested in Machinimas for Training, Learning and Orientation purposes:

a) It provides a big step up over their existing multimedia training platforms like power point presentations and flash films.

b) The development and deployment costs are on par with a good Flash film.

c) The development time can actually be faster than a traditional Flash film.

d) In terms of quality of content .. good machinimas can reach  levels of upto 80% of traditional animation or better at 1/10th of the cost. Watch the machinima created in the new Crysis engine to get a good idea of how far this technology has evolved!

e) It allows you to create a story/narrative around your training , learning , values programs that deliver abstract ( and let’s face it ..boring !!) content to new as well as old employees.

We have created many such machinimas for both training as well as product/solution demos which we can’t put up here for confidentiality purposes. The former being for internal stakeholders and the latter mostly for external clients.

As companies in India and elsewhere realise the cost , time and content flexibility of this medium more and more uses of this will proliferate in the industry.

In the next post we’ll explore the marketing oriented benefits of the Machinima for Out of Home, Web as well traditional broadcast media.

– Sid