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Borg War (2006) (V) More at IMDbPro »

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Machinima involves the manipulation and reprogramming of computer games to create raw footage, which is then edited into the final version of the film. Borg War was created using two Trek-themed games, Starfleet Command 3 and Elite Force 2, and then editing using Pinnacle Studio 9. The sound files from the game were mixes, matched and mashed to tell an entirely new story using the freeware program Audacity.

The entire process of making Borg War, start to finish, took approximately 1620 hours or about 202 eight hour workdays. The production of the raw footage using the two computer games involved the creation of about 15 virtual sets, about 200 additional textures, modding of all character model configuration files, editing of voiceover clips (about 50 percent are combined from 2 or more clips), camera work (placement, pan, zoom, etc.) and about 35,000 lines of EF2 programming script. The resulting several dozen hours of raw footage were then edited down to create the final film and many new SFX were added using the video editor.

The EF2 game engine, which was used for all character shots, has two methods for lipsyncing. The first (which they supported in the modding environment) is relatively simplistic -- the louder the tone, the more open the mouth is. It works reasonably well, compared to, say, the original dubbing of Godzilla. The other method (which they didn't make available to modders) actually moves the lips, teeth and tongue separately. Only voice files that are used verbatim from the EF2 game have this capability, so I used these wherever I could (mostly with Picard and Tuvok). Newer game engines, like Half-Life 2, have much better facilities for lipsynching. Unfortunately, Borg War was started in 2004, so it uses the game engines that were available at the time.

Borg War is a "new game material," and is thus specifically allowed under the user license of the two games, provided that the materials are identified as such and not distributed for profit. The voiceover work of the series actors were included as part of the intellectual property of the games and have been modded in accordance with that license. Some of the actors are aware of the project. Tim Russ (who plays the role of Tuvok) characterized Borg War as "Very Cool!"

CBS is aware of the Borg War project and has approved its showing at an officially licensed Star Trek convention. However, they have requested that the following disclaimer be associated with the film: "Borg War is not endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with CBS Studios Inc. Activision or the 'Star Trek' franchise. STAR TREK and its related marks are trademarks and copyrights of CBS Studios Inc."

Borg War was entirely written, filmed and edited by one person, in his spare time. It is an example of what may be the future of cinema (or at least of some kinds of cinema) where a single person, working alone, can build an entire feature movie using inexpensive software and computers. This is the democratization of production, a similar concept to the democratization of distribution, as represented by the Internet.


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