Machinima

I make movies in games worlds. These videos are sometimes called machinima. The place I choose to do it is Second Life. I produced my first machinima early in 2015, and by the end of the year, I’d completed 12.

The history is that I’d spent most of my life working only with the still image, but I felt I should really try video making. Never having done one, I offered to produce a video for work. They thought I knew what I was doing – and I knew I could, if I just had the incentive of a task! After I completed that video, I looked around for material. I live in a beautiful area, but making movies of trees and hills and woods just didn’t attract. And here was this computer with a world to film inside it. I really had no idea that machinima was a thing until I started. But I just keep trying new things. I guess I’ll stop when I run out, but I can’t imagine that happening just yet.

I find machinima an interesting area for experimentation, especially for trying to capture the dynamic nature of Second Life.

I’ve always seen myself as primarily an editor, whether paper or virtually based, and that involves the combination of ideas, words and images in a flow. There was always something a little unsatisfactory about the ‘gallery image’ for me, so this is a really interesting thought about photography:

There is the question of photography’s basic unit of account, which historians and commentators have commonly understood to be the individual photograph – as though the history of photography was the history of painting writ small. Yet not all photographers thought of their work in this way. They took pictures to go alongside texts or to be set in sequences and groups where the arranging was done be a picture-editor. Thus ‘the photographic work’ can as easily be a book or photo-essay as an individual picture1.

Is the building of still images into a video sequence a more effective way of displaying photographs and especially those taken in virtual worlds? Should anything in a virtual world be still – surely the characteristic of these spaces is dynamism and change? In which case is the machinima, the moving image, the way to capture it? I don’t think there is a definitive answer – but there are plenty of experiments and statements to be made in making responses to the questions.


1 Jeffrey, Ian. Photography: A Concise History. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1981. Print. Thames & Hudson World of Art. p.7.