Making a Machinima movie with Unity

Can Unity be used to make what is called a "machinima"? I want to use Unity to actually make animated movies. Similar to what normal 3D programs like Lightwave, Maya, 3DS Max do. Is there a function in Unity that will export the Unity animation/game play to movie formats like QuickTime?

You can use the ScreenShotMovie script on the wiki, which uses Time.captureFramerate and Application.CaptureScreenshot to save a series of frames to disk, which can then be loaded into some apps (like Quicktime) and saved out as a movie file. This allows for a perfect 30fps (or whatever) framerate for the movie as well as perfect quality for the source files. Using Time.captureFramerate can be a little difficult for actual gameplay, since the game no longer runs in realtime, but it's great for pre-scripted or -animated sequences.

There is no built-in function to export the scene as a movie, no. Unity is a game creation tool, not a movie scene builder. In fact, it's actually somewhat complex to script an entire sequence of events for a cutscene in Unity, as there's really no built-in "timeline" editor to do something like that.

If you've really got your heart set on Unity, your best bet is to create the scene, run it, and just record it with Fraps or something similar. Fraps uses a lossless uncompressed codec when recording, so if your computer is powerful enough you'll still produce fairly high quality raw video you can use.