In-Depth Interview: Creator of Halo Warfare 3 Talks Machinima- Part 1By Ajané Celestin-Greer | July 19, 2011 | Interviews | No comments | Share
Just what is machinima (machine-ee-mah) exactly?
The dictionary definition says “machinima is a method of making animated film using software similar to that designed for making video and computer games and the genre of films created in this way” while Wikipedia says “machinima is the use of real-time 3D computer graphics rendering engines to create a cinematic production. Most often, video games are used to generate the computer animation.”
And what do we know it as?
Long time Machinima creator Jimbothy of McCallahan Industries was kind enough to give DeltaGamer an in-depth look into the making of his popular Halo Warfare 3 video, into the world of machinima and what it takes to be a machinimist. (And interspersed throughout the articles are sneak peaks of McCallahan Industries’ next project)
Care to introduce yourself to our readers?
My name’s Jimbothy, I’m a 22 year old college student and machinima director. I direct content under my production group, McCallahan Industries. My specialty in the machinima scene is directing trailer remakes and visual effects.
What do you do for a living? Would you like to make a job out of this?
Well right now I’m a student, so making machinima is a nice little way to earn a bit of spending money and a relatively cheap hobby to get into. I’d like to make a job out of it, if I could, but as of right now the pay isn’t quite at the right level. Plus I’d need to start focusing on channel building and getting videos on two fronts (the Machinima.com one and my own channel). That’s not to say it’s not doable. It just takes some time.
When did you start and what got you into creating machinima?
I’ve been in-and-out of making Machinima since 2004. I got started in the winter of that year when my buddy, Mittens, was directing a machinima called “The Adventures of Ron” in the Halo 2 engine. That was my real introduction to machinima. When the time came for a sequel I came onboard a voice actor playing the part of Larry. The sequel didn’t do as well as the original part and at this point of time in the machinima community there wasn’t really a platform like YouTube to launch from.
The next year we decided to make a third installment of AOR, and I went from voice actor to co-writer. Unfortunately the production plans slowly fell apart as everyone was heading to college and university. We tried a few times to do a third part however each time it fell apart for similar reasons. The closest thing we’ve gotten to making relating to the AOR series was a Plinkett-esque review of “The Adventures of Ron II” in 2010.
I joined the Machinima.com community in 2008, signing up to pick up voice actors during our second attempt at filming AOR 3. When this failed I backed out of the Machinima world for awhile. This has been a universal truth to my machinima career (leaving and returning).
...that was when it really hit me that I was actually skilled at doing this. Not a lot of people had the technical and creative knowledge to pull this off, especially considering the limitations of the Reach engine.
Flash-forward to September 2009. I got back into making machinima, resuming my account at the now defunct Machinima.com forums. Later that year I purchased an XBOX 360, the first time I’d bought a new console since 2002 and the original XBOX. Shortly after that it was a minor deposit on getting a capture card; the then moderately priced Dazzle DVC 100. Then it was only a matter of trying to get the right scripts and creating content.
I commissioned a “writer” from the forums to write me up a script and by May 2010 I had my first machinima under the belt. The first one was definitely the hardest considering it took awhile to learn basic effects, learn the workings of the engine, editing, capturing and such. I didn’t get really started on my next project until the Fall when Halo: Reach was released. As this effectively nixed the Halo 3 engine, I jumped in, first week and decided to master it. A week later, inspired by the helicopter landing shot of the “Terminator Salvation” trailer (which was better than the movie), I had finished “Terminator Salvation in Halo Reach” – my first trailer remake.
A few days later I was approached by James Murgatroyd in a Skype call with Nabsuh. He had suggested a few trailers that we collectively could work on. We both had one brewing in our minds – I wanted one that would be challenging effects wise and could push my limit. The only film that had me scratching my shiny head was Inception. Murgatroyd was on the same page. This trailer took much longer as we were both busy and I was away from my system for awhile. A month after my first trailer remake, I premiered the “Inception Trailer remade in Halo Reach”. Upon completion that was when it really hit me that I was actually skilled at doing this. Not a lot of people had the technical and creative knowledge to pull this off, especially considering the limitations of the Reach engine.
From then on it was creating trailer remakes until 2011 began and I got contracted with Machinima.com. At this point I began focusing on different projects.
Would you consider yourself an expert?
Yes. When I was just getting back into the machinima scene in late 2009/early 2010 the game was changing, actual machinima was being pushed aside in favour of gameplay and commentaries. That was discouraging for a lot of people who created machinima, many people who were in the beginning phase (like I was) were closing up shop and not making anything. I was presented with two options, walking out on machinima or pushing forward. I chose the latter.
As time advanced I soon discovered that a lot of the actual big named “production groups”, or at least groups that claimed this title, weren’t actually producing a lot of content, nor producing on a consistent basis. I decided for myself at least, I’d produce fairly consistent, no three month stretches of nothing being released and claiming to be a “big production company”. That being said, there’s always lots to learn in the realm of filmmaking, new story-telling tricks, techniques, and such. On the trailer remake front, I’ve got that down to a science.
What kinds of video games do you play? Do you prefer Battlefield or Call of Duty?
Currently I’m playing Call of Duty: Black Ops. I’ll be honest, I originally bought it just for its machinima potential, but I took a liking to it pretty quickly. I also played Battlefield 1943 and enjoyed it.
My taste is really weird, I like all sorts of games. When I was a kid I was really into the Super Mario series and Sonic trilogy. And to be honest, I still am into those old school games, my Sega Genesis still works and I still play my games on it. My Nintendo functions if we hold it in the right spot and try to avoid getting shocked – my brother and I play Super Mario Bros. on it. Then I went to first person shooters and RPGs.
For a while I was into WoW but got out of it after half a year. Morrowind was played a lot. Goldeneye, back in the day, was played non-stop. Currently I’m playing Call of Duty: Black Ops. I’ll be honest, I originally bought it just for its machinima potential, but I took a liking to it pretty quickly. I also played Battlefield 1943 and enjoyed it.
I find I like games more on their fun/action and Machinima potential than on single player/story and graphical fronts. I’ve never understood the mindset of constantly upgrading for maximum graphics. I mean for me I am initially impressed by superb graphics, but that sheen wears off fairly quickly. An example of a free game I’m really fond of is “n way of the ninja” a fairly simplistic game of a ninja bouncing around, avoiding enemies and obstacles, and reaching a goal.