Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Hip Hop Fox

A couple of years ago, I made a video for a medley of Parry Gripp tunes. One of the 'sequences' within that video was a spoof hip-hop sequence with Shady Fox, where he played the rapper part whilst three scantily clad young women danced behind him - pretty much like 95% of hip hop videos usually are, and I always wanted to expand on that idea.

So, this past weekend, I once again roped Shady in to film, alongside two scantily clad young women and a couple of guest stars. I filmed from two static camera positions, taking just under an hour to film it all and about 4-5 hours of editing work. This is the result.

Wyze Gicasso is an unsigned artist whose tracks I found when looking for some music to use. I didn't want to use an established artist as the video might've been muted by YouTube if there was any dispute. I did send Wyze a message asking him to take a look and if he didn't like it, I'd take it down; however, he replied saying that he liked it!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

An Otter Award Ceremony

Photo: Red carpet at Tiny Film Festival 2010 © Teal Freenote

This past weekend, I announced a date for our second ever Raglan Film Festival!

Last year, we had the Festival of tiny-oriented machinima just before the Oscars; this year however, I've been bogged down with dealing with an RL move of house, so couldn't commit to anything sooner until we really knew what was going on. However, I've now set a date for Sunday 12 June 2011!

More detailed information is on the Raglan Shire forum page here, but essentially, it's a festival (rather than a contest) to celebrate the joy of being a tiny in Second Life. Last year's event had about 10-15 films in total, a list of which is here and it was great to see how different people approached using different tiny avatars.

It's really open to anyone, and of any ability level. Toxic Menges gave me the chance to share some information about the event at this weeks' MachinimaMondays meeting, so hopefully we'll see some interest from machinimatographers from outside of the Shire too; and as an added bonus, EVERYONE who enters a film into this year's event will walk away with a Golden Otter prize as a reward!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Echelon SFX

I occasionally attend meetings of the group Machinima Mondays, a group started by two of my favourite machinimatographers, Toxic Menges and Chantal Harvey. The meetings are a chance for machinima film-makers to get together and share work, advice, solutions to problems and, if a Linden is there (as there was this past week), a chance to offer suggestions for a more-dedicated machinima viewer, or what elements would be useful to have in a viewer.

This week, I actually feel like I contributed something of use! I was able to share the link for my last piece of work (my Echelon Effect video) and talk about it. Some people asked whether I was using Space Navigator (a type of mouse) and had a really steady hand; however, I did explain how I'd done the single shot zoom effect using the SL viewer's Debug menu.

It was actually a tip I found from Torley Linden's video tutorials on YouTube - and if I could find the video again, I'd be posting a link to it now! Basically, what you do is change the time it takes for your camera view to switch back from a zoomed position or point back to its default position above an avatar's head.

To change the time, first you need to activate and open the Advanced menu on the viewer, by pressing Ctrl+Alt+D and then go down to Debug Settings; this opens the Debug dialog box.

In the command bar, you'll need to type zoomtime; this should then present you with a time option. By default, the setting will read 0.400 - that's the time it takes to go from a zoomed point back to default, less than half a second. For the video I shot, I knew the soundtrack ran to just under three minutes, so to give my video a bit of breathing room before the music started and just after it finished, I set my zoom time to 180.000 seconds. However, take note: before you change the zoom time, you should have already zoomed in on something (using, for Windows users at least, Alt + Left Mouse button), as if you then try and zoom after you've changed the zoom time, your new setting will already apply.

So, you've zoomed in on something and changed your zoom time? Now, to activate the zoom, I tend to use the Esc button. First, you'll need to click away from the Debug dialog box (as long as your zoom point is fixed using Alt+Left mouse button, it shouldn't be a problem); just left click on something nearby. Turn off all windows by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1, and then hit the Esc button twice - the first hit will close your Local Chat bar, and the second will activate your zoom. If everything goes to plan, you should then have a slow zoom (depending on what time you changed the zoom to) neatly back to above your head. In the video I shot, I wanted the camera to come to a natural stop but obviously didn't want to include myself in the shot, so I triggered an animation that would hide my avatar underground, without changing my avatar position.

It was nice to hear several people had learned something new from my explaining this, and they vowed to then go and use the effect in their own projects. I use it almost all the time in mine; I think the results it creates make a really nice touch.

If you're interested in learning more about Machinima from the people who make it, join the group and come along to Machinima Mondays. The meetings are held - unsurprisingly - on a Monday at two different times to cover as many time-zones as possible. It's either a small (virtual) world, or I know a lot of talented people, because almost every week I meet another tiny at one of the meetings!