18 05/09

Star Wars fan videos

one part of my recent thesis discusses fan and amateur video productions in the context of machinima and DIY media. Star Wars holds a large fan community all around the word, only comparable to trekkies, that has made it to achieve its status as cult film. These are very active communities whose members usually get involved in organising festivals and conventions, and in publishing fanzines and other forms of DIY media.

Fans, independent of the cult media, appropriate the original media content to extend its diegetic world. These activities can be read as either participatory or resistant towards the media. The story lines, characters, and aesthetics of the media cult are unfolded in order to fill gaps, or to accommodate them to personal, political, and social issues. In all cases, fan’s productions are deviations of the cult media (film, TV series, video game, and pop bands) that the producers do not support officially, but that in many cases they encourage as long as these productions increase the popularity of their cultural text.

The access to nearly inexpensive tools for media production has brought a proliferation of these fan’s (di,-sub-, and per-) versions with a decent and even high quality. Fanzines, fanart, music videos, mash-ups, disguises, parallel narrations, mods, machinimas, and online forums are part of a huge realm in media production that currently is garnering as much attention as the original productions in the Internet.

Recently, I found via Wired the following videos by Mike Horn, an enthusiast of Star Wars. His DIY productions combine the amateurish style of camcorder video with CG animations. He places the universe of Star Wars in contact with San Francisco and in one of the videos in narrative collision with Star Trek.

05 05/09

Machinima Fictions: Colloquium

Hi, next week I will present and defend my master’s thesis in Bremen. The colloquium is public and everyone interested on is hearty welcome, for details click on the image below.


Machinima Fictions. A do-it-yourself practice to produce narrative movies from video games.

This thesis investigates the growing phenomenon of the moving image form of machinima, which has been defined as a technique that utilizes 3D video game environments to produce narrative animated movies. The main argument centers on the hybridization of media languages that machinima exhibits, allowing a cultural appreciation of this phenomenon. Two productions that promote machinima qualities such real-time and film language are examined in order to observe how these features mold the expressive potentialities machinima as a hybrid moving image medium. The metaphor of a rhizomatic, tangled surface (maraña) streams throughout the document and fosters a multifaceted view of this moving image medium.

Through my research, which encompasses the critical view of terms, the development of concepts, and a review of relevant literature, I argue that machinima is more than a technique that imperfectly imitates the conventions and codes of mainstream film and television. Instead, machinima is considered a cultural phenomenon that stems from a persistent contact with machinic entertainment media and subscribes to the current widespread do-it-yourself (DIY) mentality in media production that emphasizes production over consumption.

Chapter I. The phenomenon: machinima
A. Describing machinima
B. A hybrid form
C. Machinima’s tangled history
Chapter II. Fiction making: real-time
A. Machinima techniques
B. Real-time
C. Marionettes: A Puppet Play
D. Conclusion
Chapter III. Fiction making: The Monad
A. Hammer and Faceposer: the means
B. Virtual worlds: the context
C. Narrative form in The Monad
D. Film Style in The Monad
E. Conclusion
Chapter IV. Context: DIY mentality
A. Video games and popular culture
C. Aesthetics of DIY
D. Conclusion

Soon to be available online.
Ricardo Cedeño Montaña.

03 05/09

Machinima movie: Anna (2003)

HI, in the short history of machinima some people have already made a name because of a remarkable piece. It is the case of Katherine Anna Kang, below an excerpt from my thesis in which one of her productions is mentioned.

The founders of AMAS are active machinima producers with commercial interests. Katherine Anna Kang founded Fountainhead Entertainment in Mesquite, Texas in 2000 and maintains a close relationship with id software, which eventually helped her to develop and produce Machinimation™, the first commercially-available functional tool for machinima based on Quake III Arena™ [1, p.92]. In 2003, she produced Anna (2003) using Machinimation™.

Filmographic information. Ref: a.MAC 2003-02
Original title: Anna Length: 7:48
Country of origin: USA Director(s): Katherine Anna Kang
Year of release: 2003 Game engine Machinimation™
Genre Fantasy Game engine Machinimation™

  1. Kelland, Matt, Dave Morris and Dave Lloyd. Machinima: Making Animated Movies in 3D VirtualEnvironments. East Sussex, UK: Ilex Press Limited, 2005.