Film High-Quality Videos and Machinima





Film High-Quality Videos and Machinima

Use the Machinima Companion to remove the HUD and increase texture quality.

The practice of filming movies using video game engines is known as machinima. The most impressive—and popular—Halo machinima can be found at http://www.redvsblue.com. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend that you take a look. If you like these creative videos, you should look around the Net and you'll find many more sites to enjoy. For example, http://www.xboxottawa.ca/movies.htm has a number of videos.

Watch the Red Vs Blue videos closely; you'll notice that the first episodes contain the reticle for the camera operator's weapon. However, the new episodes don't contain an on-screen weapon or any HUD indicators at all.

There are a few tricks that you can use to remove the HUD and increase the quality of the video. These hacks will allow you to film your own highquality Halo 2 game videos—or even create your own machinima films. For example, you can remove your weapon and reticle by using the Oddball glitch [Hack #46] or you can remove the entire HUD by using the Blind skull [Hack #8]. However, if you're serious about getting the best quality, you should consider using Iron_Forge's Machinima Companion. The Machinima Companion was actually created for the guys at http://www.xboxottawa.ca.

The Machinima Companion provides a simple means to remove all HUD and radar indicators. In addition, the mod removes low-level detail and gives you quick access to five levels of zoom.

The first step is to install the mod. While it's true that most mods don't come with an installer, this one is an exception (see Figure).

The installer for the Machinima Companion


If you're wondering what it says on the Dokey Okey install message, it reads: "The Camera Man can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good."


For a video preview of the Machinima Companion mod, refer to http://files.halomods.com/viewtopic.php?t=26185. To download the mod, visit http://files.halomods.com/viewtopic.php?t=25038&highlight=machinima+companion.

Iron_Forge created this mod by applying changes such as removing the HUD. He did this by editing the metadata of roughly a dozen objects. The original textures for these objects were replaced with transparent bitmaps. To achieve even better quality, the Machinima Companion also removes the low-level version of Halo 2 models.

After you apply the mod to a map, sign the map [Hack #53], and transfer it to your Xbox [Hack #54], simply pick up the Battle Rifle and the Machinima Companion will be activated. Now you are free to create your own Halo 2 cinematic masterpiece (see Figure).

Lights! Camera! Action!


During the production of this book, I captured various screenshots from video. To ensure that the videos were of high quality, I connected the Xbox to a capture card using the original style Xbox High Definition adapter. This adapter allows you to connect the High Definition out ports to the component video inputs of your capture card (see Figure). In this case, a SweetSpot capture card (http://www.pluggedin.tv/sweetspot/) was used. The new style adapter will work for capturing video, but it will not allow you to split the sound outputs to the PC sound card.

The Xbox connected via component video


The software used to capture the video was iuVCR (http://www.iulabs.com) (see Figure). However, you could also use the open source DScaler (http://deinterlace.sourceforge.net/) application (see Figure).

Using iuVCR to capture from the Xbox


Capturing with DScaler


Once the videos were captured, I used Adobe Premiere (http://www.adobe.com/motion/main.html) to walk through each frame and decided which would be best for the desired figure (see Figure).

Using Adobe Premiere to capture stills from video



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