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  #1  
Unread 11-05-2009, 01:45 AM
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Default How To Create a Machinima

by studioussamurai
version 1.0 (updated May 10, '09)

PART 1

What is a machinima?

Machinima is the use of a graphics programs to create computer animations. But for the purposes of Machinima in relation to The Sims, it is the combination of video games and storytelling.

So how does this relate to The Sims? Well, if you're reading this, then you probably have already seen videos using The Sims for storytelling, or Machinima making. Also, if you're reading this, then that means you are interested in the steps needed to make a basic Machinima using The Sims. Keep in mind, this version of "How to create a Machinima" directly connects to The Sims 2, and will be updated later to accommodate The Sims 3.

**This guide will NOT tell you how to create a successful story, but will instruct you on how to record your Machinima**


Pre-production

First, you will need additional video editing programs. Windows platforms all come with a program called "Window Movie Maker," and Apple computers carry "iMovie." But it is worth trying different video editing programs besides these two base editors. Audio is very important as well. Programs such as "Audacity" can be downloaded free, and can alter audio (songs, voices, etc.) which you can use in your Machinima.

Generally, if you want to be more organized, it is recommended that you keep all your files in one area which you can access easily without raiding your entire drive. If you create a file called "Machinima" or something else related to your project, then it serves as an easy storage, and readily accessible.

It is much easier for you as the Machinimist (person who makes Machinima) to gather all your audio files, and smaller aspects to your Machinima before you take the next step, writing and filming your Machinima.

When you open up your game, you should want to create a new neighborhood dedicated to your Machinima in order to make sure that your regular neighborhood in which you actually play The Sims won't interfere with your Machinima. Enter a lot (residential or commercial), click the Options tab (F5) and go to the Camera controls. Make sure that your settings are at its highest. It is recommended that your settings are at High, Uncompressed, but if your computer cannot handle it, try High. Remember, the highest capture settings create large file sizes, so make sure you have the space on your drive for the files. The "capture size" should be large as well in order to help keep the video quality high.

When finished with the Camera settings, go to the graphic settings, and you want to keep everything generally high. But it is recommended that you find combinations that are good for you.

**There is additional information in relation to camera settings (such as panning), but it will only be added if demanded**
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Unread 11-05-2009, 01:46 AM
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PART 2

Production

Now, for the set-up. Here are some tips that you might want to consider for the set of your shows:
  1. Keep your rooms spacious to allow your Sims to move around, and allow you to increase the variation in camera angles.
  2. Do not just focus on the jist of your set. Always look deeper and think about the smaller details of everything that you are filming.
  3. If filming at night indoors, get yourself some lights. If filming during the day indoors, get yourself some lights. Lighting is very important. It increases the visibility of your Sims, and brings out the colors of your clothing, furniture, etc.

**This guide will NOT tell you how to build your set, or how to create your cast**

Be sure to have everything planned ahead. Your Sims are your actors, not your sims. Don't treat them like sims, but treat them like actors. Unless you are afraid of a few downloads which might (rarely) cause issues with your game, it is recommended that you have downloaded hacks to direct your Sims for Machinima filming. A basic standing talk/conversation hack can be found here. Once you download it and install it correctly, it would certainly help your dialogue-rich Machinima. But if dialogue is not for you, you can find many more different hacks on Modthesims2.com.


Filming
The very basic Machinimist will use the gameplay camera to do all of their recording, and then they'll start rotating around their lot, zooming in on people, in and out, in and out. Sure, that is the basic way, but this guide recommends that you use a different camera that is supplied for you in the game for the purpose of Machinima making.

When in Live Mode (F1), or actually any mode, press "Tab" on your keyboard. This enters you into the First-person Camera. I refer to it as the "Cameraman tool." Using W-A-D-S, you can move forward, left, right, and back from a fixed position in space. Use your mouse to look around when stationary. Use Q and E to move down and up. Cool, eh?

Now in the Cameraman tool, you are able to preset different positions in your game in order to make it easy for you to move your camera to those different points. You can do this by moving the camera where you want it to be, and pressing Control+4. You can have up to 6 camera positions by pressing Control and any of the numbers from 4 to 9. If you want to move your camera to one of your preset positions, press that number (without pressing Control), and it will move you to that position.

But how do you actually film? Well, if you were one of those people who have already filmed by zooming in and out, and twirling all about, then you would already know about the filming functions of the game. But if you dont know, by pressing "V" on your keyboard, the game automatically begins recording. Press "B" to pause recording, and "B" again to begin recording. If you press "V" again, then it stops recording, and the video is stored in your documents folder at Documents and Settings > EA Games > The Sims 2 > movies.

**More details will be posted by request**

Once you are done recording with your show (this might take a few days, depending on how long your production is), open your video editor up, and start importing your videos from Documents and Settings>EA Games>The Sims 2>Movies.

**This guide does NOT tell you how to edit your video at this time**
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Unread 11-05-2009, 02:01 AM
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I scanned over this. You did a pretty good job on this!

It took a lot of work, this will really help those who want to make machinima.

Thanks! This should be a sticky, so it won't get lost in the future.
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Unread 12-05-2009, 04:41 AM
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I was thinking about posting this externally, and just post a link to it. But I guess I can always do that later. But once I get moderation privileges of this section of the forum, I'll be sure to make this a sticky.
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Unread 13-05-2009, 01:14 AM
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Thanks for the thorough description. I might actually make some when TS3 comes out, thanks to you^_^
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Unread 13-05-2009, 01:23 AM
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I'll be sure to make one for the Sims 3 as I go along and learn with the rest of you. Maybe make a few videos as a tutorial for machinima making.
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Unread 17-05-2009, 02:13 AM
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That will be really nice...tutorial videos.

A lot of the times, a visual demonstration is better than an explanation. Like I looked up how to make sims talk to themselves, and I couldn't comprehend or was too unsure of what to do with the game and my cheats.
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Unread 17-05-2009, 07:53 AM
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Alright. I am glad that someone would find tutorials helpful. I will find a program to record my screen to make the tutorial visual. And I shall narrate along the way to make it audible as well. You know, for the visual impaired.
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Unread 17-05-2009, 02:32 PM
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Yeah, that would be really nice. And it doesn't have to apply to the visually impaired (the narration part)...sometimes when people are trying to follow a video, they are too busy reading to pay really close attention...like you have to look down at the words for a second or two before you can watch, so you know what's happening, but we can watch straight through with the narration.
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Unread 24-02-2010, 03:37 PM
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thanks for the tips
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