The term Machinima is derived from the combination of the words Machine and Cinema. Machinima is an emerging film genre with production methods that include the rendering of real-time interactive video games through the use of screen capture techniques (either software or digital recording), and the subsequent editing of those materials on video-editing software. Most of the raw footage captured, or "filmed," for Machinima is created using the basic tools of interactive video games (camera angles, level editors, script editors.) Using the specific game interface, the creators of Machinima movies often control avatars on screen as if directing real-life actors. Through this creative mode of game play, the creators "shoot" raw footage and then import that data into film editing software to construct the final product.
One of the most attractive features of Machinima is that the genre allows everyone with computer access to make movies. The low costs and availability of the necessary equipment, relative to CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), allow Machinima to be unilaterally available - thereby broadening its possibilities as a creative and influential medium.
The emergence of the popular Machinima series, Red vs. Blue, coupled with the rise of Web 2.0, demonstrates the increasing prevalence of Machinima as a viable form of entertainment.
Machinima is an example of media convergence, a process of combining mediums in unexpected ways to produce a new style. 3D engines allow for more rapid assemblage of film and do not require the expensive costs of using real actors and real sets. As Machinima emerges out of the strictly gaming world and into mainstream culture, new technology to support the machinima is developing. With advanced timelines, gestures and precise camera tools, the art of machinima will become even easier to produce and its limits can reach its full potential.
There are three modes or levels of Machinima. First Level: The out-of-the-box game provides the footage. There is no modifying of the gaming world here, only using the game for the footage. Second Level: "modding." A user can change the content of the game using the structure and design of the game. Example: Second Life and Neverwinter Nights Third Level: Making new games out of the game engines. This is a highly advanced form of Machinima.