Rooster Teeth is the Austin-based entertainment company responsible for popularizing the filmmaking art of machinima.
For the unitiated, machnima is the use of video game engines to render graphics in real-time and generate computer animations. Savvy filmmakers use environments from first-person shooters (games like Doom, Quake, or Halo), control characters’ actions and camera angles with the use of video game controllers, record the footage, and presto! Make wildly popular, financially viable, and incredibly entertaining web series.
Burnie Burns, Gus Sorola, Geoff Ramsey, and the rest of the team at Rooster Teeth Productions have created a number of machinima entertainment properties since the launch of the original Red vs. Blue in 2003. The shows are successful, sustainable and bring in enough income to support Rooster Teeth’s production staff because they’re relatively cheap to make and comprised of compelling storylines. Burns and company have a knack for infusing relatable, human attributes – character, emotion, quirky comedy – into otherwise empty, homogenous video game characters. Combine that with beautiful video game environments, and you have some great content.
But after seven years of introducing real life into video games, Rooster Teeth is now introducing video games into real life.
Immersion is a live-action series that transports common video game conventions from their normal station on consoles and inside animated worlds into the meat space. It’s a kind of Mythbusters meets Mario, hosted by Rooster Teeth’s own Burnie Burns and Griffon Ramsey, starring Rooster Teeth’s own stuntmen Gus Sorola and Geoff Ramsey.
In the pilot episode, Griffon outfitted Burns’ busted pickup truck with a monitor, black out shades, and a live feed from a Canon DS strung up on a makeshift crane, all in order to simulate the vantage point from wich one drives around in Grand Theft Auto. The next installment pitted a Special Ops veteran with a rifle against a group of annoying gamers (played all too well by the guys from Mega64).
Immersion debuted earlier this year, but Rooster Teeth re-released the program in late November, promising more installments throughout January. It’s fun to watch. Partly because it’s great to see the men and women of Rooster Teeth in front of the camera, but mostly because it’s always sweet to see video game practices applied in reality.