Machinima is the use of real-time 3-D graphic rendering engines to generate computer animation. The term also refers to works that incorporate this animation technique. Machinima-based artists, sometimes called machinimists or machinimators, are fans who often use graphics engines from video games to create their machinima. Originally, these recordings we made to record speedruns —attempts to complete a level as quickly as possible— and multiplayer matches. The more general term machinima, a misspelled portmanteau of machine and cinema, arose when the concept spread to other games and software. After this generalization, machinima appeared in mainstream media, including television series and advertisements.

Machinima has advantages and disadvantages when compared to other styles of filmmaking. While it is more simple than the traditional frame-based animation, machinima limits control and the range of expression. Since it is made of pre-rendered animation, it is fairly quick and cost saving to create. It is also less dangerous and physically restricted than live-action films. Machinima can be filmed by relying on in-game AI, or by controlling characters and cameras through digital puppetry. Technical limitations may be fixed with editing, custom software, and by the use of creative cinematography. Game companies have provided software for and have encouraged machinima, but the widespread use of digital assets from copyrighted games has resulted in complex, unresolved legal issues.

Red vs Blue is a popular example of a Machinima series, as it uses multiplayer gameplay from the following games:


  • There is an Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences (AMAS), which is a non-profit organization, that is dedicated to promoting machinima.
    • The AMAS recognizes exemplary productions through Mackie awards given at its annual Machinima Film Festival.

  • Some general film festivals accept machinima, such as the Ivy Film Festival.

  • Some game companies, such as Epic Games, Blizzard Entertainment, and Jagex, have sponsored contests involving machinima.