I'm working with a young woman who wants to direct, who admitted that when she plays GRAND THEFT AUTO, she spends a lot more time framing shots than mowing down pedestrians. Drive to the Hollywood sign! Do a 360 degree pan! Do a crane shot!
I wonder how many young directors are practicing their imaginations on their Xbox 360?
A lot of games encourage this now.
NHL 10, for instance, has a feature where you can go into instant replay, pick your coverage and post it online.
That cinematic visualizing during game play was what inspired the Rangers (not the team, the clan) to create one of the first machinima shorts, "Diary of a Camper" about 15 years ago.
Damn but time flies. There was a time that I was a young punk on the cutting edge for knowing that... now I'm an old fart telling the kids to get off my MegaTextured, bump mapped, HDR rendered lawn.
While there is a lot of dross in the machinima community (low barrier to entry will do that) it will allow for the passionate-but-poor to learn, experiment and create with the latest Quake, Doom, Halo - or the movie making specific programs built on game engines; iClone and Moviestorm.
Big bad Microsoft has even stated that you can use their games for machinima so long as you don't try to make commercial use of their intellectual property. The licenses they have for the sound effects and music doesn't allow them to extend those rights so you'll have to supply that yourself.
So they aren't just "practising their imaginations" inside the games, they are originating content there.
While the graphics are far superior in Unreal Engine 3, id Tech 4 and the Halo Engine... if you really want to own what you create and maybe even monetize it, then iClone and Moviestorm are probably your best bets.
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