Machinima

S2 Ep 46: Film Review – Facing the Wolf

Tracy Harwood Podcast Episodes September 15, 2022 Leave a reply

In this episode, we focus our discussion on Facing the Wolf, a series of films by Iain Douglas and Mark Coverdale, submitted to the Milan Machinima Film Festival 2022.  The film presents a series of provocative ideas which provoke Ricky, Phil, Tracy and Damien to have a deep discussion on the role of information, ambiguity and audience investment.  What are your thoughts on the film series?



YouTube Version of this Episode

Show Notes and Links

Facing the Wolf, by Iain Douglas and Mark Coverdale, released 2021

Poem, Coverdale – https://www.artschoolmodpoet.com/facing-the-wolf-poems

A trilogy of poetic machinima –

Facing the Wolf: i, Douglas and Coverdale, released 16 July 2021

Facing the Wolf I

Facing the Wolf: ii, Douglas and Coverdale, released 16 July 2021

Facing the Wolf II

Facing the Wolf: iii, Douglas and Coverdale, released 16 July 2021

Facing the Wolf III

1:35 Interview with Matteo Bittanti, Milan Machinima Film Festival

5:00 Ricky poses an interesting question: is machinima an animation style or a form of art that ideas can dominate, as opposed to feelings?

27:56 Discussion: for idea films, do you have to have more information than the film provides to appreciate the work?  What is the role of ambiguity in filmmaking?  How much time should audience invest in understanding a film?

Useful lnks

Luis Bunuel’s An Andalusian Dog (1929)

An Andalusian Dog

Bertolt Brecht’s alienation effect

Completely Machinima S2 Ep 44 News (September 2022)

Tracy Harwood Podcast Episodes September 1, 2022 Leave a reply

In this episode, Ricky, Tracy, Phil and Damien review latest machinima and virtual production news items: contest updates, amazing new music videos made using Unreal Engine 5, how to turn MidJourney creations into 3D objects ready for animation, bringing in3D avatars from your phone into Reallusion’s Character Creator 4, Dreamwork’s Moonray becoming open source, Nvidia Omniverse 2022.1 update, Adobe Premiere Pro’s filmmakers guide, Lynchland in Second Life and more! 



YouTube Version of this Episode

Show Notes and Links

0:27 Nvidia Omniverse Machinima Contest #madeinmachinima results, entries showreel, announcement of winners at SIGGRAPH and links to winners (via 80.lv) Simon Lavit and runners up Nicklas Lotz and Ted Saguindel

2:54 Tracy’s interview with John MacInnes on his latest Unreal Challenge contest: Mood Scene – the contest begins 1 Sept

5:44 Unreal Engine’s Better Light Than Never contest results sizzle reel and 80.lv article about winners

6:19 Jackson Wang’s Cruel video, using Unreal in his virtual production process

Jackson Wang’s Cruel

7:01 Also using Unreal in a music video, Sagans on Coherence using Katherine Crowson’s software Disco Fusion

7:28 Pavel Oliva’s desert kit mod

7:48 Game Art Experiments’ tutorial on turning AI generated images from MidJourney into 3D format

8:32 Turning in3D Avatars into Reallusion’s Character Creator 4 avatars with just a quick scan using your mobile phone!

9:36 Trailer for an upcoming fan film by Unreal Cinema, made in Unreal Engine 5: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Kotor: Episode 1 – The Spire, premiered 5 August 2022

Kotor: Episode 1 – The Spire

11:31 Dreamworks announces that its Moonray platform will become open source

16:22 19-20 September, remember the Nvidia GTC event is always worth following!

17:50 Film Music.io website update

23:00 Nvidia Omniverse Audio2Face update 2022.1 – using emotions

28:19 Adobe’s Premiere Pro guide for filmmakers

32:04 Lynch-land in Second Life – for all those lovers of David Lynch films

33:09 Update: changing our news episodes format – what do you think to our plans?

Completely Machinima History with Ben Grussi – Unreal Engine

Tracy Harwood Podcast Episodes August 17, 2022 Leave a reply

In this episode, Ben goes back to the archives and digs out the earliest days of Unreal…. Long before the launch of Unreal Engine, the first machinima productions were made in Unreal 1 as early as 1998.  Ben then traces the lack lustre performance of Unreal machinima as a genre until such time as the Make Something Unreal Contest was launched in 2003 – then BANG!!!



YouTube Version of this Episode

Show Notes and Links

Unreal 1 Released – 22 May 1998

The Unreal engine added some interesting shorts to the Machinima community portfolio of things created under the engine. Unfortunately, things really did not go very well, the game’s AI and scripting systems caused some unexpected problems for machinima productions. Chief among them, the game struggled to reproduce a recorded scene since the AI would sometimes react differently and cause the movie to breakdown and crash the game or the movie would not play correctly – none of which was the fault of the film creator.

Machinima unfortunately didn’t make a big mark on this game, even with the release of the Unreal Movie Studio suite from UnFramed Productions.  However, it was partly responsible for the creation of Unframed Productions after co-founder James ‘eVOLVE’ Hammer-Morton (years later, a professional voice actor) worked on Unreal films under the banner of Team Evolve. James teamed up with co-founder Hugh McDonald (Solo) to create UnFramed Productions which tried to salvage the Unreal machinima movement with Arcadia.  The project was shelved, however, due to lack of staff.

Unreal Tournament 1 – 23 May 1999

Unreal Tournament was developed as a multiplayer heavy focused game, as was Quake 3 Arena. The game was very popular due to its highly fresh and fun gameplay but machinima development really didn’t happen with any great speed. In fact not many films were produced until a free movie-making tool developed by Internet Team Reactor4 came along, dubbed Real-Time Movie Studio or RTMS for short.  RTMS enabled players to have better control in producing movies that were mostly geared to the action genre (why not, its action game isn’t it 😉 ).  Unfortunately, there are no notable movies attached to this engine but there is one movie still under development which could change that.

Unreal Tournament 2003/2004 

Date: 22 September 2003

Date: 16 March 2004

Unreal Tournament 2003 comes prepared for machinima enthusiasts, being prepacked with a new cut-scene producer and editor dubbed Matinee.  Not much was produced with this new tool.  Eric ‘Starfury’ Baktius was the first machinima film maker (outside of Epic Games) with his test film called Sucker.  In a effort to stimulate the creation of new content using these tools, Unreal Tournament’s developer Epic Games launched a huge contest – the Make Something Unreal Contest aka MSUC -which was intended to promote development of user made content ranging from new models and levels to new gameplay genres. Epic also included a category for machinima productions under the title of Non-interactive Movie in the later years. The contest was originally launched for the 2003 edition of the game, since later years required mods/movies to be made in UT2004. 

Friedrich Kirshner’s aka Feizi’s The Tournament, a runner-up in the contest, was also featured at the 2nd Annual Machinima Film Festival. UnFramed Productions created Lucky Man was also a runner-up.  Other films that won were from previously unheard of creators such as EG_Intro from Hongman Leung and The Showdown by Accelerated Pictures.

screencap: The Journey

Key dates and Events

5 March 2000 

Unreal Movie Studio also known as UMS is released by UnFramed Productions

20 July 2001 

It is discovered that Steven Spielberg has used Unreal Tournament (Epic Games) for the set design of his movie AI (Artificial Intelligence)

20 July 2001

Epic releases details about its new Machinima tool for the upcoming Unreal Engine games called Matinee

7 October 2002 

Starfury makes the First Unreal Tournament 2003 movie with Matinee called Sucker

3 February 2003

Unreal II: The Awakening released 

4 March 2003

Ken ‘3dfilmmaker’ Thain reports that Epic is planning a contest that will include slots for machinima productions made in Unreal Tournament 2003

7 July 2003 

Epic and NVIDA formally announce the $1,000,000 Make it Unreal Competition.  One of the categories is Best Non-Interactive Movie with $50,000 prize for the winner. The Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences also co-coordinated the machinima portion of the contest

Make Something Unreal Contest 2004

16 October 2003

Epic Games releases a FREE version of it’s Unreal Engine for use with education ional and/or non-commercial projects – a massive opportunity for machinima creators and others

Blade Runner and Gate to Mordor Clip

https://archive.org/details/br_game_trailerhttps://archive.org/details/Gate_To_Mordor

4 May 2004

Winners of the Phase 2 – Real Time Movie- Category of the ‘Make Something Unreal Contest’ were announced

  • 1st Place – Infection
  • 2nd Place – EG_Intro Movie
  • 3rd Place – The Showdown
  • 4th Place – Unreal Films: Eternal Combat

Runners Up

  • WrongGame Matinee
  • Hollow Moon
  • The Tournament [Version 2]
  • LuckyMan
  • FlaTClaN_TheMovie

4 July 2004

The GameOn Video project is seeking Unreal 2004 Level Editors for a Machinima project to be nationally distributed by Volvo (The Automaker) https://archive.org/details/Game_On_Short_Film

14 September 2004 

Atari and Epic Games’s Make Something Unreal Contest Phase 4 Submission window closes – it received the biggest Machinima submission to date with 14 entries!

14 October 2004 

Epic Games released the $1,000,000 Make Something Unreal Contest

Phase 4 finalists

Real-Time Non-Interactive Movie Finalists:

Real-Time Non-Interactive Movie Honorable Mentions:

  • Robin Hood & The Kings Ransom (single Player Mod)
  • Neosaka: The Forgotten (?)
  • The Bank Job
  • The Unreality HAS YOU!!
  • Lawdogs (Multiplayer/SP? Mod)
  • Testimony of a Paraqeet
  • Intelligent Life
  • Blade Runner – https://archive.org/details/br_game_trailer
  • Piddly’s Chance (Single Player Mod)
  • Antechamber
  • Hollow Moon (Single Player/MP?) Mod

24 January 2005

Epic Games announced the winners of the Grand Finals of the Make Something Unreal Contest (MSUC) for the Non-Interactive Movie Category

Screencap: Sparked Memory

1 February 2005

A short tidbit from HomeLAN Fed’s interview with the Unreal developers on the Make Something Unreal contest: “HomeLAN: on another subject, why was Journey picked as the Best Movie award winner?  Steve Polge: Journey was unique and well done. It had a thoughtful story line, and unique art. It certainly didn’t look like it was running on the Unreal Engine.”

Completely Machinima S2 Ep 43 Films (August 2022)

Tracy Harwood Podcast Episodes August 11, 2022 Leave a reply

In this episode, Damien, Ricky and Tracy discuss four very different films.  Damien reviews an interesting explainer on witches in The Folklore of Phasmophobia game, Ricky presents us with another of Jae Solina’s tutorials, this time on path tracing in Omniverse, Tracy selects Tiny Elden Ring – yep, its tiny! And Phil, absent due to sickness, ironically picked a satirical Zombie fest, which mixed Walking Dead ‘live action’ with machinima!  The team then discuss that approach to creating films, highlighting some of the key challenges with some more fab examples of films that have used the techniques well. 



YouTube Version of this Episode

Show Notes and Links

0:57 The Folklore of Phasmophobia | Modern Mythology, by The Digital Dream Club (released 9 January 2021)

The Folklore of Phasmophobia

9:51 NVIDIA Omniverse Machinima Path Tracing Test, by JSFilmz (21 June 2022) and a nice little article on the difference between rasterization, ray tracing and path tracing that folks might find interesting, Nvidia says real-time path tracing is on the horizon, but what is it? By Eric Frederiksen, Gamespot.com, 1 May 2022

NVIDIA Omniverse Machinima Path Tracing Test

17:33 Tiny Elden Ring | Tilt Shift, by Flurdeh (11 April 2022) and here’s Flurdeh’s list of filmmaking tools https://github.com/Flurdeh/Youtube-Resources and a post-production tutorial on the tilt shift effect tutorial, How to create Tilt-Shift / Miniature World Time-lapses, by Science Filmmaking Tips (24 Jan 2017)

Tiny Elden Ring

27:27 What a typical project Zomboid Run looks like, by Pathoze (26 Jan 2022)

What a typical project Zomboid Run looks like

31:45 Discussion: using live action with machinima footage in films, what are the challenges?

Examples mentioned –

39:11 Damien’s The Great Bug War on Machinima Expo (8 December 2014)

Damien and Kim Genly

46:12 Ricky’s reference to a 2D/3D combo – Carson Mell’s TARANTULA A-1 : Nightmares (5 August 2012), shot in  Los Angeles

TARANTULA A-1: Nightmares

48:30 Phil Tippett’s stop mo film Mad God, including live action with animation (now available on Shudder TV)

Mad God

51:20 Tutsy Navarathna’s film, A Journey into the Metaverse and an interview we did with him on the podcast in Season 1

A Journey into the Metaverse

Real-Time Movie Challenge: Mood Scenes Announcement!

Tracy Harwood Podcast Episodes August 8, 2022 Leave a reply

Award-winning screenwriter John MacInnes talks to Tracy about his new real-time movie challenge just launched – its a contest with a very interesting difference, using Unreal Engine 5. Its all about mis-en-scene… “the skill, the challenge, is to actually reproduce a tone or a feeling and affect the audience… there’s something really challenging and valuable in that exercise in itself…” And the end result? Well, its a meta-movie of course! Oh, and did we mention the prizes…?!



YouTube Version of this Episode

Show Notes and Links

The Real Time Mood Scene Challenge website

Unreal Engine 5 download from website

Start practising being moody! John has created 6 very different scenes and prompts for you to work with in the contest… pick your favourite!

Find out more about John MacInnes and his passion for virtual production and machinima in our interview here

and if you want to find out more about Jae Solina’s aka JSFilmz movie we discuss in the interview, here’s a link to the CM Film’s ep where we reviewed the short. Go to time stamp 35:57