Machinima is a form of computer animation that utilizes in-game footage from video games to create clips or full-length movies that can be uploaded to video sharing websites like YouTube. “World of Warcraft” creator, Blizzard Entertainment, supports and encourages this creativity. Users are free to make any movies they choose, but they cannot profit off of the material directly due to copyright restrictions. If you are interested in trying your hand at “World of Warcraft” machinima, there is an easy way for beginners to get acquainted with the basics of recording and editing game footage.
1. Download and install Fraps or GameCam. You can use either of these programs to record in-game footage, and you can download them from their websites. Once you download one of them, its installation file will be saved to your desktop. Click on the file and follow the on-screen instructions to install them. Agree to the terms and conditions presented at the beginning of the installation process, and then keep pressing the “Next” button; the installer will do the rest.
2. Load Fraps or GameCam by clicking its icon on your desktop. If you do not have an icon, click “Start” on your Windows menu at the bottom left corner of your screen. Select “Programs” and choose Fraps or GameCam from the list that appears.
3. Load “World of Warcraft” and log in as your preferred character.
4. Begin recording. With GameCam or Fraps running in the background, press the assigned hotkey to start recording the in-game footage. A hotkey is a button on your keyboard that will automatically perform a program’s function — in this case, recording. For Fraps, the default hotkey is “F1”; for GameCam, it is “Home.” When you are using Fraps, a set of two digit numbers will appear in the top right corner of the screen. After you press “F1,” the numbers will turn red to indicate that you are recording. GameCam will show a miniature window at the bottom right corner of your screen. It is a small-scale version of your full screen. When you wish to stop recording, press the assigned hotkey again. The footage will be saved in the “Fraps” or “GameCam” folders under your “Drive C.”
5. Load Windows Movie Maker, which comes with all Windows operating systems. For Windows Vista and Windows 7, click “Start,” select “Windows Live” and click “Windows Live Movie Maker.” For Windows XP, click “Start,” select “Programs” and click “Windows Movie Maker.”
6. Find the desired video footage. In Windows Movie Maker, you will see several icons at the top of the screen. Click on “Add Videos and Photos.” A window will appear listing several drives and folders. Click on “Drive C” and select the Fraps or GameCam folders. By default, Fraps can be found in the “Program Files” folder. Click the “Fraps” folder, and you will see all your recorded movies listed there. To find GameCam, click “Users.” You will see two folders. One will have your chosen user name — “John,” for example — and the other will be labeled “Public.” Click on the folder with your user name. Next, click on “Videos.” Within that folder, click on “GameCam Videos.”
7. Import the footage. Within the Fraps or GameCam video folders, double click on the video you wish to import. The video will now appear in Windows Movie Maker. You can add more videos to the list by repeating steps four through seven.
8. Add visual effects, if desired. Windows Movie Maker allows you to insert animated screen transitions and adjust the color and contrast of your movie. To do this, simply click on the piece of footage that you wish to edit. For transitions, click on the “Animations” tab at the top of the screen. To adjust color and contrast, click on the “Visual Effects” tab. From there, click on the effect you would like to add, and the program will automatically add it to the selected video.
9. Save the movie. Once you have loaded all your footage, click on the small icon at the top left of the Windows Movie Maker screen. A drop-down menu will appear. Click on “Save Movie.” Windows Movie Maker will automatically take all the videos and effects in your queue and link them together to create a full movie.