Hello everyone! Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Robin Heyden on a live event titled, “Population Control.” The challenge was to film in Second Life, while livestreaming out to the web. There were about 20 individuals inside Second Life as avatars, and then a few dozen tuning into the Livestream channel on the web.
Hey everyone! The Pittsburgh Business Times posted an article about Second Life and machinima today, and I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by the journalist. It was really fun showing her what Second Life is all about! Here is the article:
Ariella Furman makes animated movies, but she doesn’t have a big fancy studio full of computers.
Instead, the 24-year-old is armed with her MacBook and the program Second Life.
From her Pittsburgh base, Furman uses the virtual environment to film her 3D animated short films and collaborates with teams of designers and actors, many of which she has never met in “real life.”
The technique is called Machinima, and Furman uses the tools within Second Life to build sets, set lighting and work with real actors to film short movies for her clients, which include companies such as IBM, Seimens and Eli Lilly. She gives direction to the actors, then has a program that allows her to film what she sees in the virtual world by recording what is in her browser window.
Hey everyone! It is a new year and with a new year comes new opportunities. Instead of jumping into twenty eleven, I wanted to update you on our whereabouts in 2010:
We had the opportunity to make a machinima about Gronstedt Group’s new hurricane simulation training sim for their client, CUNY:
We then teleported- to a new Virtual World! We made 6 educational videos about Congress to be shared with students in schools around the country. I can’t reveal too much about this, but I will instead be able to share the final cuts in a few weeks- coming soon! Featured videos include the Rotunda, the Capitol Building, House of Representatives, and the Senate.
I also got to work with a medical startup in the ‘burgh. I’m really interested in seeing where the medical world takes machinima, so this was a great opportunity that could extend into some training videos on products. Their “avatar” movie as they liked to call it was presented in place of a Powerpoint, which proved to be successful.
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One of things people don’t know about me: When I’m in a professional meeting in Second Life as my avatar, I’ll do anything but make eye contact with the other avatar. I’ll swing around in my chair, play with my hair, stare into space with my thoughts, flick things across my desk, sometimes even browse Facebook (shh, don’t tell)! I am a natural multi-tasker and a product of my generation: This is just how I do my best critical thinking.
4 months ago, I moved to Pittsburgh to expand my business for 3D animation (machinima). Right off the bat, my plan was to network network network. However, the process of connecting with a person in real life was physically taxing for me. I didn’t understand why– I’m only on Second Life when I work. All the other times I’m absorbed in real life with friends or family!
As a machinimatographer, the single most important element I look for in my venue platform of filming is: user-content creation AND control system. I want the ability to take a seed from an idea and let it blossom into anything I want, with few restrictions. I want to be able to have creative juices spilling as I work for the client and not have to worry about “whether it can be done.”
Many people see Machinima as a documentation of the virtual life- a bridge that allows people not in virtual worlds to see and experience them anyway (of course through the control of another’s camera.. but either way..) Machinima could also have many uses in real life- in technology, education, business, law, etc. I invite everyone to think outside the box and make a list with me of how we can give machinima a more global use:
A) LAW VIDEOS
There is a big field called “litigation animation” where traditional animation companies demonstrate what the key witness experienced during some kind of disaster. So for example, a slip and fall, a hit and run, a shooting, etc. Obviously, without stunt dummies and a special effects team, this would be not possible to recreate. Hence, they use animation.
So a few months ago, I wrote a post about a VERY influential, inspirational university class that was in production for a rap video shot in Second Life. Read about my initial reactions on what they were doing here:
So you’re making a Second Life movie and your script calls for: CRAZY WILD SPECIAL EFFECTS. A car explosion perhaps? A building collapsing? Or maybe it’s just something simple, like the progress of a tulip blooming? If you’re a typical machinimatographer like me, you probably can’t really make those things happen out of thin air. And chances are, the typical scripting shop won’t have what you need. So now you have to make an important decision: Do it in post-production or get customized scripting? Either way is correct, and I’ll try to tell you about the benefits of each.
I recently was asked to be machinimatographer on a project that was predicting what a real science laboratory might look like a couple years into the future. The script called for some complex computer programs to be re-created and basically placed into the screens. We decided to shoot green screens and insert the technology at a later time in post. Choosing this option was probably for the best since it required a lot of attention to small details such as menus and commands that would be a challenge to coordinate with prims.
Going to Second Life’s 7th Birthday Fiesta makes me feel a peculiar way.. like peeling off (ok.. going into inventory and detaching) my flip flops and sinking my feet into the grass to people watch all the cool hipsters and their artwork. Every year, Second Life celebrates its birthday by offering a free plot of land to every artist, engineer, scientist, videographer, etc.- basically if you are part of a collaborative effort, you’re in! With that land, you can anything as long as it stays mature and reasonable, but you get a limited number of prims (basically, there’s only so many “objects” you can make on this land). In fact, the prim amount is so low that it’s hard to sacrifice. Sometimes, you have to go a little more simple with your exhibit. Ironically, I see a lot of people going all out too– What is their secret sauce??
Anyways, trying to view all the exhibits is overwhelming! A popular blogger, Dusan Writer once said something along the lines of this, that Second Life is the largest collaborative, creative venture on the planet. Where else can all these different types of people come together and show off their talents? You can visit each booth, and a lot of times you get greeted by the actual artist and they try to give you a lot of free stuff. I went a little paparazzi on the thing today and tried to capture my favorite booths. I’ll share a few snaps with some select words– enjoy!!