Look At This Pretty Sweet Halo Machinima

Somebody sent me some cool Halo 3 machinima today called Halo: Eye of the Storm. It’s like 20 minutes long, but that’s OK. It’s worth nothing that this is campaign machinima, which means that have to rely on the AI a lot, which is kind of ridiculous if you ink about it. Here’s the video, should you choose to watch it, followed by some making-of info if you’re interested in finding out what kind of hell they had to go through to make it.

Now, making-of stuff. Here’s the info they sent me:

The painstaking creation of “HALO: EOTS” consisted of three stages, similar to the making of a live action film: pre-production, production, and post-production. In pre-production, the amazing assets of Halo 3′s campaign, “The Storm,” were analyzed and used as the basis for writing a story which helped give the action dramatic structure and context. This story was then broken down into an elaborate shot list which would serve as the blueprint for the next step.

Production consisted of two separate parts. First, most of the story’s events had to be staged within Halo 3′s expansive sandbox environment. Since the hero, Master Chief, was the only character being directly controlled, over a hundred playthroughs were required to coax the game’s AI into performing the necessary actions, not including over ten times as many failed attempts. Then, using Halo 3′s Saved Films feature, the recorded data was played back in realtime while an unscripted virtual camera was positioned and actively manipulated to capture each planned shot. Due to the absence of keyframes, coordinates, and, in almost all cases, parenting and targeting options, precisely framed and choreographed shots were incredibly tricky to capture. Not counting literally thousands of failed or unused takes, almost eight hundred unique shots were captured for use in the final machinima.

In post-production the picture was edited together then layered with music and sound effects. A slight VFX pass included the addition of rain and the compositing of the video monitors on the Scarab’s bridge. A color treatment simulating a film-like bleach bypass was also added. Finally the dialogue was recorded and edited in. This step oddly came last because it wasn’t possible to specifically control any of the AI character animation, making it preferable to tailor the dialogue to the needs of the picture edit. After the sound was mixed to balance all of the audio elements, the picture was finalized with the addition of titles.

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