Pioneers in Machinima: The Grassroots of Virtual Production

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Vernon Press, Sep 7, 2021 - Photography - 271 pages

This important new work focuses on the pioneers in machinima, considered to be the grassroots and beginnings of virtual production. Machinima’s impacts are identified by the community, supplemented by Harwood and Grussi’s research and experience over a period of 25 years – from game, film and filmmaking to digital arts practice, creative technologies developments and related research and theory.

Machinima is the first digital cultural practice to have emerged from the internet into a mainstream creative genre. Its latest transformation is evident through the increasing convergence of games and film where real-time virtual production as a professional creative practice is resulting in new forms of machine-generated interactive experiences.

Using the most culturally significant machinima works (machine-cinema) as lenses to trace its history and impacts, ‘Pioneers in Machinima: The Grassroots of Virtual Production’ provides in-depth testimony by filmmakers and others involved in its emergence. The extensive reference to source materials and interviews bring the story of its impacts up to date through the critical reflections of the early pioneers.

This book will be of interest to machinima researchers and practitioners, including game culture, media theorists, students of film studies and game studies, digital artists and those interested in how creative technologies have influenced communities of practice over time.  



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About the author (2021)

Dr Tracy G. Harwood is Professor of Digital Culture at the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. She was director of the First European Machinima Festival in 2007 and has been researching the socio-cultural impacts of machinima ever since. She has keynoted and spoken at machinima and digital arts events around the world, highlighting the impacts of machinima in practice. In 2014, she was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (England) to evaluate its cultural values (see: Her research into machinima has been published in leading digital arts, visual culture and marketing journals including Leonardo, Digital Creativity, Journal of Visual Culture, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, and others.

Ben Grussi was part of the original core community whose earliest engagement with machinima began long before the term was coined. Like many that became part of the machinima community, its force pushed Ben in an entirely unplanned and unexpected direction. With a series of roles in the community over twelve years, Ben’s knowledge of all things machinima has earned him the distinction of once being described as its own Wikipedia! Most notably, Ben was the primary curator of machinima creative work from its earliest days. This text draws on his deep knowledge of and insight into the games, film, people, and events, from within the world of machinima as it emerged and evolved. 

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