It seems like everyone's making machinima, right? Recent riffs on BioShock, Super Mario Brothers and GTA IV might even make the act of making original narratives from pre-built video game engines look easy. You just need to capture some footage and invite some buds talk over it, no? It's a lot tougher than that. How tough, you ask?
Reader Philip Kang can answer that question. Kang sent over his 22-minute-long "Eye of the Storm" mini-movie and included some information as to just how arduous the film-making process was:
• Each shot took an average of 5 hours or more to capture. The first 2-minute scene is made up of around 55 unique shots. That means it took approximately 275 hours to capture the shots for that scene alone.
• Since Master Chief was the only controllable character, marine and enemy AI had to be painstakingly manipulated to set up most of the scenes. It required over a hundred play-throughs just to stage the action required, not including blown takes.
• The camera had to be controlled in real time, without any coordinates or keyframes, and, in almost all cases, without any parenting or targeting options. Long story short, it was really easy to mess up when trying to capture the footage. Combine this with the lack of rewind in Halo 3's campaign-based saved films and you have a recipe for rage-induced, controller-tossing disaster.
• Probably as a result of the points mentioned above, Halo: EOTS is the only Halo machinima of its scope to ever be captured entirely in Campaign mode.
Kang also knows his opus is hella long, so if you want to get to the good stuff, start watching about 12 minutes in.
Halo: Eye of the Storm [YouTube]