Some of you may remember this rather unorthodox, though, significant event in online history :

Machinima (pronounced /məˈʃiːnəmə/ or /məˈʃɪnəmə/), a portmanteau of machine cinema, is a collection of associated production techniques whereby computer-generated imagery (CGI) is rendered using real-time, interactive 3-D engines, such as those of games, instead of professional 3D animation software. Engines from first-person shooter and role-playing simulation video games are typically used. Consequently, the rendering can be done in real-time using PCs (either using the computer of the creator or the viewer), rather than with complex 3D engines using huge render farms. Usually, machinima productions are produced using the tools (demo recording, camera angle, level editor, script editor, etc.) and resources (backgrounds, levels, characters, skins, etc.) available in a game.

Machinima is an example of emergent gameplay, a process of putting game tools to unexpected ends, and of artistic computer game modification. The real-time nature of machinima means that established techniques from traditional film-making can be reapplied in a virtual environment. As a result, production tends to be cheaper and more rapid than in keyframed CGI animation. It can also produce more professional appearing production than is possible with traditional at-home techniques of live video tape, or stop action using live actors, hand drawn animation or toy props.

As machinima begins to break out of the underground community of gamers and becomes more widely recognized by mainstream audiences, tools are being developed to allow for faster and easier creation of machinima productions. A number of upcoming machinima products are expected to provide machinimators with original assets, as well as advanced features such as a timeline, gesture and sound creation, and precise camera tools.

Although most often used to produce recordings that are later edited as in conventional film, machinima techniques have also occasionally been used for theatre. A New York improvisational comedy group called the ILL Clan voice and puppet their characters before a virtual camera to produce machinima displayed on a screen to a live audience.

[definition compliments of wikipedia]