FAQ

OMG HOW U DO DAT???1

Calm down there, cruise control. There are lots of resources out there for aspiring machinima artists that explain things like editing, compositing, and other advanced effects. I find that the major difference between good machinima and really awesome machinima is comprised of two things: attention to detail, and your production values. I'm basically talking about quality and quantity, respectively. For the former, I try to take the time to make every frame, every animation, every effect just right. For the latter, I don't skimp on the amount of footage I have to work with, and don't compress any of it until the very end.

If you want to know what software I use, it's the Adobe suite: Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop. And lots and lots of hard disk space.

O rly? How much?

There's 600 gigs on my main system, and 500 gigs on an external HDD. I also have a few hundred more on my old computer and laptop together, if it comes to that. >_>

Jeez, how many computers do you have?

My main rig is a ginormous Dell XPS 710. I configured and purchased it with machinima in mind. From my win at BlizzCon 2007, I received a nice Alienware laptop. There are also two older desktops, both of them WoW-capable. Multiple computers are quite handy when filming in-game.

But aren't your films mostly "model-viewed" outside the game in After Effects?

Yes and no.

In much of Frame of Mind, or whenever you see crazy seemingly-impossible shots, I obviously take the footage through the special effects process. Some shots are mostly in-game footage with a few effects or composited layers added, while others are fashioned essentially from scratch.

In the case of Redshift: Interlude, I was so crunched for time that I figured we would film as quickly as possible, and anything else I needed I would cobble together in After Effects. I figured that would be the fastest way to pump out a good-looking movie. I learned the hard way that this simply isn't the case (and it seems so obvious, don't you think?).

I now prefer to film in-game whenever possible. It looks authentic, saves time, and sure beats trying to get three composited characters looking natural in the same frame, for example.

Wait, wait, wait. You control all the characters in the game? Doesn't that mean you need multiple World of Warcraft accounts?

Sure does! I have two WoW accounts, and my brother has one - so there's three right there that we can control from one location. Add in a few willing <slashdance> team members, and it's a party!

Take a few scenes from the Redshift series as an example. The characters Ty'zamar, Aislynn, and Sethamter often appear together. Ty'zamar is controlled from my main account, Sethamter from my brother's, and Aislynn from Kirlune's account. The "camera" character (I prefer a warrior, for survivability, in case a mob comes along and tries to take a bite) is on my second account, controlled from my main rig - where the video capture happens.

How do you capture in-game footage?

I'm a proud advocate of FRAPS. It's well-supported and lets me capture at full resolution. That's 1920×1200, 30 frames per second. We go all the way, baby. ;D

Unless we're in a populated city or crowded area ... then it might dip as low as 20. >_>;