ZOMG!ing - Making machinima in Second Life

Yes, I realise that I'm a little behind the times here but I'm catching up. For the last two days I've been up in Sydney at The Virtual Story - Machinima and Virtual Worlds seminar/workshop put on by LAMP(Laboratory of Advanced Media Production) at the AFTRS (Australian Film TV and Radio school).

Suffice to say it's been extraordinarily cool and my head is still swimming with the information and ideas that I've been exposed to.

In case you're wondering, machinima is the art of creating animation using computer games. It's possible to capture the action on the screen (controlled by one or more players), add your own vocals and other sounds and export it as a finished video.

Red Vs Blue, based on the Halo series of games, is one of the most well known examples.

The beauty of machinima is that it allows anyone with a basic understanding of games and movie making to create their own films, free of the restraints of budget and the limitations of reality (gravity etc).

There's way too much to cover right now but if you have an interest in a particular game, the odds are pretty good that you can toddle over to YouTube (or your video sharing site of choice) and run a quick search for machinima + that game and find something interesting. (You might find something shiteful as well but that's the chance you take)

We spent a fair chunk of time working in Second Life(SL), a massive online virtual world community and the possibilities of this place are still rocking my world. I've had a brief look around there before but got a little overwhelmed by the controls - having a bit of face to face support made a big difference.

One of the main speakers was an amazing guy, Gary Wisniewski, who runs a Second Life tv station called Second Life Cable Network. They stream multicam shoots of events and regular programmes in the game - everything from Ice Hockey matches and Giant Snail races to concerts, movie launches (e.g Transformers and Bruce Willis launching Die Hard 4.0) and educational conferences. I had a chance to talk to this guy for a few hours at the airport on the way back (in the Qantas club lounge - thanks for that champ) and the things people are doing in this world are astounding me.

I even worked on a short SL machinima with a cool girl from Canberra - who funnily enough is friends with the woman I work next to. (This is a very Canberra thing - if you bump into someone new, the odds are fair that they'll know someone that you do)

I couldn't fit all of the shots that we did onto my 2GB thumbdrive (time for an upgrade) but here are a couple of them - featuring my avatar Figjam Tomorrow and her (and her partner's) Ford Frederiksson.

This is a rough cut of part of Episode 2 of Quest for Mokador - a machinima I'm making in Second Life with the highly talented Katie H. The guy (Figjam) is a noob who's trying to get the attention of the peacefully meditating Ford to ask her about the mythical SL land of Mokador. It isn't until he bends over and shouts that he gets her attention.
(Figjam still has a thing or two to learn about in-world manners)

There's no sound but the live voicing we did during the screening was pretty funny - stay tuned for that one.

A few lessons to learn - don't leave the cursor on the movie while you are capturing. :)

This was cut together in Windows Movie Maker in about 10 minutes.

I'll bang on a little more about this later I'm sure.