Machinima is a method of making animated film using software similar to that designed for making video and computer games. One of the earliest examples of machinima is Red vs. Blue, a set of related comic science-fiction video series created by Rooster Teeth Productions using the game series Halo. Red vs. Blue tells the story of two groups of soldiers fighting a civil war in a desolate box canyon.
The videos were primarily produced using traditional machinima techniques of synchronizing video footage from a game to pre-recorded dialogue and other audio. Within a multiplayer game session, the people controls their characters like puppets, moving them around, firing weapons, and performing other actions as dictated by the script, and in synchronization with the episode’s dialogue, which is recorded ahead of time. The “camera” is simply another player, whose first-person perspective is recorded raw to a computer. In late 2009, animator Monty Oum was hired to work on pre-rendered character animations to achieve action scenes or character movements in Red vs. Blue that are unable to be done using just the Halo engine. Season eight of Red vs. Blue is the first season of the series to make extensive use of animation, and soon became the process of creating the complete animated series with no machinima elements.
The series quickly achieved significant popularity following its internet premiere on April 1, 2003 receiving 20,000 downloads in a single day. Red vs. Blue has been well-received within the machinima community as well as among film critics. Praised for its originality, the series has won four awards at film festivals held by the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences. It has been credited with bringing new popularity to machinima, helping it to gain more mainstream exposure and attracting more people to the art form. Red vs. Blue has been mentioned as the most successful example of the trend toward serial distribution, a format that allows for gradual improvement as a result of viewer feedback, giving viewers a reason to return for future videos. The model played a huge part in the series’ success. People knew Monday nights as Red vs. Blue night when a new episode is released.