Machinima

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==OFFICIAL LINDEN LAB ADVICE ON MACHINIMA==
==OFFICIAL LINDEN LAB ADVICE ON MACHINIMA==
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* LL Official Machinima Policy: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Linden_Lab_Official:Snapshot_and_machinima_policy
* Eric Linden's Top 10 Machinima Tips: http://www.machinima.com/article/view&id=447
* Eric Linden's Top 10 Machinima Tips: http://www.machinima.com/article/view&id=447
* Second Life Wiki: Machinima: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Machinima
* Second Life Wiki: Machinima: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Machinima
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 +
==BOOKS==
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* ''The Machinima Reader'' by Henry Lowood and Michael Nitsche, Eds. (MIT, 2011) - http://www.amazon.com/Machinima-Reader-Henry-Lowood/dp/0262015331/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1299506746&sr=8-1 About: http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=12568
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==ARTICLES==
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* Lowood, Henry E. "Perfect Capture: Three Takes on Replay, Machinima and the History of Virtual Worlds." Journal of Visual Culture, forthcoming 2011.
==ARCHIVAL GUIDELINES FOR AUDIO AND VISUAL MATERIALS==
==ARCHIVAL GUIDELINES FOR AUDIO AND VISUAL MATERIALS==
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* Set Away timeout to "Never"
* Set Away timeout to "Never"
* Set your avatar to "Busy"
* Set your avatar to "Busy"
-
* Use Shift+ALT+F1 and Shift+ALT+H shortcut keys to clear the screen during filming
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* Use CTRL+ALT+F1 and Shift+ALT+H shortcut keys to clear the screen during filming
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* Check FPS in the Second Life location with CTRL+SHIFT+1
* Turn off names and groups above people's heads under the general preferences tab  
* Turn off names and groups above people's heads under the general preferences tab  
* Lower your draw distance  
* Lower your draw distance  
* Set graphics preferences to Ultra & enable all Shaders (under Advanced) if your graphics card allows this
* Set graphics preferences to Ultra & enable all Shaders (under Advanced) if your graphics card allows this
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* Under graphics preferences/Hardware, enable Anisotropic Filtering and set Anisotropic Flitering to 16x
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* Under graphics preferences/Hardware, enable Anisotropic Filtering and set Anisotropic Filtering to 16x and set Antialising to 4-16
* Be aware of your mouse location while recording
* Be aware of your mouse location while recording
* Record at the highest level possible with your video and audio capture software
* Record at the highest level possible with your video and audio capture software
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* Best lossless formats for audio:  Apple Lossless (ALE, ALAC), AIFF*, SDII, WAV at 44.1 kHz* and a sample size of 16 bits* to 24 bits*
* Best lossless formats for audio:  Apple Lossless (ALE, ALAC), AIFF*, SDII, WAV at 44.1 kHz* and a sample size of 16 bits* to 24 bits*
* Experiment with light and shadow
* Experiment with light and shadow
 +
* Try alternate viewers, like Windlight
* Search for unique and interesting angles
* Search for unique and interesting angles
* Film a complete, seamless scene, when warranted, by remembering the cues "Action!" and "Cut!" used by traditional Directors  
* Film a complete, seamless scene, when warranted, by remembering the cues "Action!" and "Cut!" used by traditional Directors  
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* FRAPS (free to try with a limit of 20 second recordings plus a watermark, or $37 to buy) - Recommended software. Fraps can capture audio and video up to 2560x1600 with custom frame rates from 10 to 120 frames per second). The recommended/standard frame rate is 29.997 - http://www.fraps.com/download.php
* FRAPS (free to try with a limit of 20 second recordings plus a watermark, or $37 to buy) - Recommended software. Fraps can capture audio and video up to 2560x1600 with custom frame rates from 10 to 120 frames per second). The recommended/standard frame rate is 29.997 - http://www.fraps.com/download.php
* Camstudio (free) - Criticisms: No control over frame rate - http://camstudio.org/
* Camstudio (free) - Criticisms: No control over frame rate - http://camstudio.org/
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* WeGame (free) Windows only http://www.wegame.com/download/ help by Torley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxAmKzyYoC4
* Snaps Pro X for MAC (free to try, $20 USD for 1.x and $69 USD for 2.x) - http://www.ambrosiasw.com/utilities/snapzprox/
* Snaps Pro X for MAC (free to try, $20 USD for 1.x and $69 USD for 2.x) - http://www.ambrosiasw.com/utilities/snapzprox/
* Pinnacle Video Creator + HD ($89.99 USD) - http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/Products/Consumer+Products/Home+Video/Studio+Family/Video+Capture+for+Mac.htmhttp://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/Products/Consumer+Products/Home+Video/Studio+Family/Video+Capture+for+Mac.htm
* Pinnacle Video Creator + HD ($89.99 USD) - http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/Products/Consumer+Products/Home+Video/Studio+Family/Video+Capture+for+Mac.htmhttp://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/Products/Consumer+Products/Home+Video/Studio+Family/Video+Capture+for+Mac.htm
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===Video Editing, FX, and Post Production===
===Video Editing, FX, and Post Production===
* Windows Movie Maker (free) - Criticisms: Poor quality output - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/moviemaker2.mspx
* Windows Movie Maker (free) - Criticisms: Poor quality output - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/moviemaker2.mspx
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* Create HD Videos  For Windows Movie Maker XP fix http://www.bauer-power.net/2009/04/create-hd-videos-in-windows-movie-maker.html
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* Windows Live Movie Maker (free) - not available for Windows XP http://download.live.com/moviemaker
* Sony Vegas (free to try; $599.95 USD to buy): Recommended software - http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegaspro
* Sony Vegas (free to try; $599.95 USD to buy): Recommended software - http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegaspro
* Magix ($39.99 USD or $69.99 USD)- http://www.magix.com/us/movie-edit-pro/
* Magix ($39.99 USD or $69.99 USD)- http://www.magix.com/us/movie-edit-pro/
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* Adobe Premiere ($79.99 USD) - http://www.adobe.com/products/premiereel/
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* Adobe Premiere Elements ($79.99 USD) - http://www.adobe.com/products/premiereel/
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* Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 ($799 USD) - http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/
* Adobe AfterEffects ($999.00 USD) - http://www.adobe.com/products/aftereffects/  
* Adobe AfterEffects ($999.00 USD) - http://www.adobe.com/products/aftereffects/  
* Pinnacle (varies; $49.99-$149.99 USD) - http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/Products/Consumer+Products/ProductsAZ.htm
* Pinnacle (varies; $49.99-$149.99 USD) - http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/Products/Consumer+Products/ProductsAZ.htm
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* Other - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_video_editing_software
* Other - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_video_editing_software
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===Audio Editing and Enhancement===
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===Audio Recording, Editing and Enhancement===
Audio is half of a machinima presentation. The choice of audio selection and the quality of the recording can make or break a machinima video. Audio is even more important when there is no storyline. More advanced videos will convey a story of some sort. It can be used to help create an impression or mood for the film. Options for voice narration including using one's own voice or employing a voice actor. A poem, story, fairy tale, folk tale, scene from a movie or play, etc. can be narrated in the video as long as it respects copyright law.
Audio is half of a machinima presentation. The choice of audio selection and the quality of the recording can make or break a machinima video. Audio is even more important when there is no storyline. More advanced videos will convey a story of some sort. It can be used to help create an impression or mood for the film. Options for voice narration including using one's own voice or employing a voice actor. A poem, story, fairy tale, folk tale, scene from a movie or play, etc. can be narrated in the video as long as it respects copyright law.
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 +
====Tips====
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* Voice actors should stand up when recording
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* Explain mindset (scenario) of the characters to the voice actor rather than telling him/her how you want them to sound
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* Practice in real time in Second Life with the voice actors prior to recording, but don't record voice in Second Life
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* Record in separate sound files and email or use Skype
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* Complete 3-4 takes per line
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* Sound rooms are used by some (price starts at $1500 USD)
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* Avoid gaming headsets because the microphones provide low quality audio recordings
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* Background noise can be removed by software, but it is better to use a good microphone and techniques
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* Distance or buffer the microphone from the computer fan
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* Determine the best microphone position/distance from the speaker's mouth before recording
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* Aim for 3-15 decibels amplitude range
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* Consider purchasing a microphone with a condenser microphone, phantom power, and a pop filter
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* Lip synch can be improved by taking many close up video shots
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* If recording voice first, the voice actor's speech and inflections can be used to select the right avatar appearance, gestures, and animations (think of Robin Williams in Disney's Aladdin)
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* Many voice actors will work for free; offer film credit, praise, and a show reel of all their voice clips
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====Hardware/Software====
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* Pro Tools - http://www.digidesign.com/
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* Crazy talk ($49.95 USD) - software to add lip synch in post production. Criticism: looks unnatural - http://www.reallusion.com/crazytalk/
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* Musician's Friend - professional audio discount website - http://www.musiciansfriend.com/rec
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* Sweetwater - professional audio discount website - http://www.sweetwater.com/
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* Behringer professional microphones - http://www.behringer.com/
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* Blue professional microphones - http://www.bluemic.com/
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* M-audio professional microphones - http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.family&ID=microphones
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* Logitech headsets - http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/webcam_communications/internet_headsets_phones/&cl=us,en
==SHARE YOUR VIDEOS==
==SHARE YOUR VIDEOS==
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===On the Internet===
===On the Internet===
====YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/====
====YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/====
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* Recommended video formats: HD is 1920x1080 (1080p) or 1280 x 720, Codec: H.264 (MP4) or MPEG-2  
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* Recommended video formats: HD is 1920x1080 (1080p) or 1280 x 720, Codec: H.264 (MP4) or MPEG-2 and FLV (Adobe Flash)
* Recommended audio formats: MP3 or Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) preferred, Sample rate: 44.1kHz, Channels: 2 (stereo)
* Recommended audio formats: MP3 or Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) preferred, Sample rate: 44.1kHz, Channels: 2 (stereo)
* Maximum file size and length: Expect up to 2 GIG, 10 mins
* Maximum file size and length: Expect up to 2 GIG, 10 mins
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===IN SECOND LIFE===
===IN SECOND LIFE===
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There are a variety of television merchants in Second Life.
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* There are a variety of television merchants in Second Life.
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* UWA's Giant 4 Island BOSL Theater - http://slurl.com/secondlife/UWA/107/241/1645. 2010 Linden Prize Finalist video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TohDEqs4DM0
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===IN MIXED REALITY===
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* Television shows and events taking place and filmed in Second Life are sometimes taking place both virtually and in a Real Life location. Others are recorded with or without a live audience, or streamed to the internet in real time.
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**BBC Film Network - (Contact Chester Orbit) - http://www.bbc.co.uk/filmnetwork/
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**Metanomics - http://www.metanomics.net/
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**TreetTv - http://treet.tv/
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***1st Question - http://treet.tv/shows/1stquestion
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***Tonight Live with Paisley Bebee - http://treet.tv/shows/tonightlive
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**Virtual World Network TV -http://www.virtualworldnetwork.tv/home.html
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***Fashion Nation - http://www.virtualworldnetwork.tv/fashionnation.html
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***Virtual Tonight - http://www.virtualworldnetwork.tv/virtualtonight.html
==CONTESTS==
==CONTESTS==
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===Enter SL Contests===
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===Enter SL Contests===            
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* AviewTV - monthly contests, due before the first day of the month. Send notecard with video URL to Sophia Yates or LaPiscean Liberty
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* 48 Hour Film Festival machinima  - http://www.48hourfilm.com/machinima
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* Imagination Island - monthly contests
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* Aniboom - http://www.aniboom.com/competition/Awards4#sort:Shuffled;page:0;filter:|
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* M.A.G. Awards - yearly contest, for more information, see: http://mag-award-2009.ning.com/                
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* Genero TV - http://genero.tv/Competitions/
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* MMIF 2010
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* M.A.G. Awards - yearly contest, for more information, see: http://mag-award-2009.ning.com/
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* MMIF 2011 -
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* University of Western Australia (UWA) Machinima Challenges - http://uwainsl.blogspot.com/
===Enter RL Contests===
===Enter RL Contests===
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===Archived Contests===
===Archived Contests===
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* Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences (AMAS) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_machinima_festivals; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_machinima_festivals
* Machinima Expo 2009 - http://machiniplex.net/expo/
* Machinima Expo 2009 - http://machiniplex.net/expo/
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* The Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences (AMAS) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_machinima_festivals; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_machinima_festivals
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* MMIF 2010 - http://about.mmif.org/
==LEARN THROUGH NETWORKING==
==LEARN THROUGH NETWORKING==
===SL Groups===
===SL Groups===
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* MaMachinima
 
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* Machinimatographers Group
 
* Aview TV
* Aview TV
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* MachinimaMondays - weekly meetings to disucss machinima topics - http://slurl.com/secondlife/RastaOpen4/81/85/41
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* Machinimatographers Group
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* MaMachinima
* SL Machinima Artists Guild
* SL Machinima Artists Guild
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* Machinima.com - http://www.machinima.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=19 and http://www.machinima.com/forums/index.php?c=8
* Machinima.com - http://www.machinima.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=19 and http://www.machinima.com/forums/index.php?c=8
* Machinimag - http://machinimag.com/
* Machinimag - http://machinimag.com/
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* Pro M.A.G. - http://promag.ning.com/
* Thinking Machinima - http://blog.machinima.org/
* Thinking Machinima - http://blog.machinima.org/
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The going rate to hire a machinima company varies, but is usually between 20,000-50,000 Linden dollars (approximately $80-$200 USD).
The going rate to hire a machinima company varies, but is usually between 20,000-50,000 Linden dollars (approximately $80-$200 USD).
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* Fall Films - http://www.youtube.com/FallFilms
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* Ishelwood Studios - http://www.ishelwoodstudios.com.webbuilder03.hostbasket.com/Page143001.htm
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* Lowe Runo Productions - http://lowerunoproductions.web.officelive.com/specialEffects.html
* Pookymedia - http://www.pookymediafilms.com/
* Pookymedia - http://www.pookymediafilms.com/
* theDOgroup - http://the-do-group.com/
* theDOgroup - http://the-do-group.com/
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* Lowe Runo Productions - http://lowerunoproductions.web.officelive.com/specialEffects.html
 
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* Fall Films - http://www.youtube.com/FallFilms
 
==FEATURED VIDEOS AND AWARD-WINNING MACHINIMA==  
==FEATURED VIDEOS AND AWARD-WINNING MACHINIMA==  
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* Cannes International Film Festival (Paris, France) '''''R U THERE''''' by David Verbeek (LilyRukai Camino or Cameraman Haiku in Second Life), 2010 - Cannes Web Site http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/11020032/year/2010.html; Teaser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwXg4v1XG8I
* Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah) '''''Life 2.0''''' by Jason Spingarn-Koff (Jay Spire in Second Life), 2010 - Official Website http://life2movie.com/; Teaser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xe6uVLOy2g
* Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah) '''''Life 2.0''''' by Jason Spingarn-Koff (Jay Spire in Second Life), 2010 - Official Website http://life2movie.com/; Teaser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xe6uVLOy2g
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* Nobel Museum (Stockholm, Sweden) '''''Can results from Planck prove inflation paradigm?''''' by Shannon Bohle (Archivist Llewellyn in Second Life), 2009 - Photo: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3095934&id=81239734102;
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* Nobel Museum (Stockholm, Sweden) '''''Can results from Planck prove inflation paradigm?''''' by Shannon Bohle (Archivist Llewellyn in Second Life), 2009 - Photo: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3095934&id=81239734102; Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN9uaAEXnbY
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Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN9uaAEXnbY
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* Nobel Foundation (Stockholm, Sweden) '''''Are Zeolite Crystals Grown in Space Viable for Nanotechnology?''''' by Shannon Bohle (Archivist Llewellyn in Second Life), 2010 – http://www.youtube.com/user/thenobelprize#p/p/DD105B9580DCF671/0/c1tULNeUHHQ
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* Music video '''''Every Day''''' in Second Life by Grammy Award winner Alissa Moreno (film by Pookymedia), 2009 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTt1YsH2r-I
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* Music video '''''Every Day''''' in Second Life by Grammy Award winner Alissa Moreno (film by PookyMedia), 2009 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTt1YsH2r-I
* U2 in Second Life singing '''''Beautiful Day''''' posted by stampshady, 2006 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYRABde3jB4
* U2 in Second Life singing '''''Beautiful Day''''' posted by stampshady, 2006 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYRABde3jB4
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* U2 in Second Life '''''Where the Streets Have No Name''''' by FallFilms
* UWA Challenge Winner, Cisko Vandeverre, for '''''Seek''''', 2010 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6zbFx3Dxws
* UWA Challenge Winner, Cisko Vandeverre, for '''''Seek''''', 2010 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6zbFx3Dxws
 +
* Winner of SL London Festival of The Arts '''''The Spy Who Lives Here''''' (film by PookyMedia), 2009 -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdVwkUcuxmk
* Wireframe view, '''''Wireframe Dancing''''' by ZonjaCapalini, 2008 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyWqakkfrio
* Wireframe view, '''''Wireframe Dancing''''' by ZonjaCapalini, 2008 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyWqakkfrio
* '''''Avatar''''' Blockbuster (Trailer), 2010 - http://www.avatarmovie.com/index.html
* '''''Avatar''''' Blockbuster (Trailer), 2010 - http://www.avatarmovie.com/index.html
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==ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS==
==ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS==
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I would like to thank Cisko Vandeverre, winner of the [http://www.flickr.com/photos/35047286@N02/4341633029/ UWA Challenge 2010 Machinima Award] and computer animator with over 30 years of experience, who generously spent two hours talking with me on Skype from Berlin, Germany reviewing my original Second Life note card and offering his comments toward the improvement of these Best Practices guidelines.  
+
I would like to thank Cisko Vandeverre, winner of the [http://www.flickr.com/photos/35047286@N02/4341633029/ UWA Challenge 2010 Machinima Award] and computer animator with over 30 years of experience, who generously spent two hours talking with me on Skype from Berlin, Germany reviewing my original Second Life note card and offering his comments toward the improvement of these Best Practices guidelines. I would also like to thank Jason Spingarn-Koff (Jay Spire in Second Life), whose machinima video was recently shown at Sundance Film Festival, for reviewing these materials. Additionally, I would like to thank Fall Films (Rysan Fall in Second Life), who produces environmentally-conscious music videos used by Real Life performing artists like U2 and Craig Lyons.
©2010 Shannon Bohle (Archivist Llewellyn in Second Life)
©2010 Shannon Bohle (Archivist Llewellyn in Second Life)

Current revision as of 19:10, 16 March 2011

Contents

MACHINIMA BEST PRACTICES: PRESERVING VIRTUAL WORLDS THROUGH VIDEO

Machinima offers the ability to create films which implement the best of traditional film making and animation as well as take advantage of this new media format.

ADVANTAGES & BENEFITS

Machinima can be used to:

  • Educate through video tutorials using 3-D animation
  • Memorialize concerts, lectures, conferences, and special events held in Second LIfe
  • Creatively direct, film, and produce animated movies, short films, television shows/series, commercials, and music videos

SHORT FALLS & LIMITATIONS

In Second Life:

  • Animations must be created outside Second Life
  • Limited number of facial expressions that are purchased as part of an animation override (AO) worn as a HUD
  • The best lip synch currently possible is to try to match open and closed mouth positions with the audio
  • A "puppeteer" tool is under development by Linden Lab, which could allow animations to be created inworld
  • Cost; expect to spend $600-$2,000 USD on hardware and between $39.00-$2,300.00 USD for software, or hire a professional company for $80.00-$200.00 USD per movie

to create your own quality videos

OFFICIAL LINDEN LAB ADVICE ON MACHINIMA

BOOKS

ARTICLES

  • Lowood, Henry E. "Perfect Capture: Three Takes on Replay, Machinima and the History of Virtual Worlds." Journal of Visual Culture, forthcoming 2011.

ARCHIVAL GUIDELINES FOR AUDIO AND VISUAL MATERIALS

  • The National Archives and Records Administration of the United States of America (NARA)

NARA has published its digital audio recommendations. These include using an "uncompressed lossless codec" and the following acceptable formats: AIFF, WAV, AU, BWF, FLAC, and MPEG4-ALS. NARA's preferred audio is 24 bps and the minimum acceptable is 16 bps. NARA recommends that "all audio should be recorded at a minimum sample rate of 44.1 KHz, although sampling at 96 KHz is encouraged." NARA recommends the following formats for visual materials: AVI, MXF, and MOV and "lossless open codecs such as Motion JPEG 2000 or HuffyUV." When lossless codecs can't be used, NARA recommends MPEG2, MPEG4, DV, and MJPEG2000. "NARA recommends a minimum 720x486 pixels at 30 frames per second." It recommends "8 bits per channel with 10 bits per channel preferred" at 48KHz.

Published guidelines for analog and/or digital audiovisual materials

GENERAL TIPS

  • Set Away timeout to "Never"
  • Set your avatar to "Busy"
  • Use CTRL+ALT+F1 and Shift+ALT+H shortcut keys to clear the screen during filming
  • Check FPS in the Second Life location with CTRL+SHIFT+1
  • Turn off names and groups above people's heads under the general preferences tab
  • Lower your draw distance
  • Set graphics preferences to Ultra & enable all Shaders (under Advanced) if your graphics card allows this
  • Under graphics preferences/Hardware, enable Anisotropic Filtering and set Anisotropic Filtering to 16x and set Antialising to 4-16
  • Be aware of your mouse location while recording
  • Record at the highest level possible with your video and audio capture software
  • Best recording formats for original video footage: DV-AVI* and MOV* (expect 1-2 GIG files)
  • Standard recording sizes for the internet: 1024x576 and 1900x1200
  • Best lossless formats for audio: Apple Lossless (ALE, ALAC), AIFF*, SDII, WAV at 44.1 kHz* and a sample size of 16 bits* to 24 bits*
  • Experiment with light and shadow
  • Try alternate viewers, like Windlight
  • Search for unique and interesting angles
  • Film a complete, seamless scene, when warranted, by remembering the cues "Action!" and "Cut!" used by traditional Directors
  • Aim for smooth shots using inworld camera tools, recording at the right frame rate, and filming in low lag sims
  • For experienced machinima artists, plan ahead: storyboard, build sets, get actors, provide costumes
  • Get to know the many talented music performers in Second Life
  • Capture audio and video separately, then combine during post production
  • Experiment with new features in Second Life, for example, by clicking CTRL+ALT+Q you display the Develop Menu. In it, under Rendering, check the wireframe view or the Render Metadata features
  • In the Develop Menu, enable HTTP textures, as well as Render Animation and Full Rez Textures
  • Create alternate avatars (Alts) if your computer can run more than one version of Second Life at a time; it is possible to log in with multiple avatars and use them instead of hiring actors
  • Make or purchase different skins/shapes to create different "characters" featured in the films
  • For documentaries, a good rule of thumb is for every 1 hour of footage captured, 1 minute will result in final footage
  • Creative pieces may require in-depth editing, re-shoots, and post processing, adding to the time needed to make a quality film
  • Re-filming scenes may be required during the editing stages
  • Blend in photos, create mini-animations with gradual frames like old-fashioned animated cartoons using a free tool like GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/downloads/)
  • Always request permission of a sim owner before filming in their sim
  • Always respect copyright by using material that are either in the public domain, fall under a Creative Commons license, are materials you create yourself, or that you have written permission to use.
  • Always credit people who:
    • Own the sim
    • Create content appearing in the video
    • Appear in the video as avatars
    • Play music or created audio heard in the video

RECOMMENDED HARDWARE

  • Pentium 3 or above CPU
  • DirectX 9.0c or DirectX 10
  • NVIDIA GeForce or ATI Radeon graphics card
  • 512 MB RAM video card

SL EQUIPMENT

SOFTWARE

Video Capture

http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us/Products/Consumer+Products/Home+Video/Studio+Family/Video+Capture+for+Mac.htm

3D Creation

Video Editing, FX, and Post Production

Audio Recording, Editing and Enhancement

Audio is half of a machinima presentation. The choice of audio selection and the quality of the recording can make or break a machinima video. Audio is even more important when there is no storyline. More advanced videos will convey a story of some sort. It can be used to help create an impression or mood for the film. Options for voice narration including using one's own voice or employing a voice actor. A poem, story, fairy tale, folk tale, scene from a movie or play, etc. can be narrated in the video as long as it respects copyright law.

Tips

  • Voice actors should stand up when recording
  • Explain mindset (scenario) of the characters to the voice actor rather than telling him/her how you want them to sound
  • Practice in real time in Second Life with the voice actors prior to recording, but don't record voice in Second Life
  • Record in separate sound files and email or use Skype
  • Complete 3-4 takes per line
  • Sound rooms are used by some (price starts at $1500 USD)
  • Avoid gaming headsets because the microphones provide low quality audio recordings
  • Background noise can be removed by software, but it is better to use a good microphone and techniques
  • Distance or buffer the microphone from the computer fan
  • Determine the best microphone position/distance from the speaker's mouth before recording
  • Aim for 3-15 decibels amplitude range
  • Consider purchasing a microphone with a condenser microphone, phantom power, and a pop filter
  • Lip synch can be improved by taking many close up video shots
  • If recording voice first, the voice actor's speech and inflections can be used to select the right avatar appearance, gestures, and animations (think of Robin Williams in Disney's Aladdin)
  • Many voice actors will work for free; offer film credit, praise, and a show reel of all their voice clips

Hardware/Software

SHARE YOUR VIDEOS

On the Internet

YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/

  • Recommended video formats: HD is 1920x1080 (1080p) or 1280 x 720, Codec: H.264 (MP4) or MPEG-2 and FLV (Adobe Flash)
  • Recommended audio formats: MP3 or Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) preferred, Sample rate: 44.1kHz, Channels: 2 (stereo)
  • Maximum file size and length: Expect up to 2 GIG, 10 mins

iTunes - http://www.apple.com/itunes/content-providers/

AviewTV - http://www.aviewtv.com/

Vimeo - http://vimeo.com/

  • Recommended video formats: HD is 720p, Codec: H.264 (MP4) or WMV3. Their website recommends a frame rate of 25 or 30 fps and a data rate of "2000 kbits/sec for standard definition 4:3 video, 3000 kbits/sec for widescreen DV, or 5000 kbits/sec for high definition footage." Resolutions are "640x480 for standard definition 4:3 video, 853x480 for widescreen DV, or 1280x720 for high definition. It is also best to export 1920x1080 or 1440x1080 video as 1280x720 too, since we will automatically scale it down. If you have the option to control the pixel aspect ratio (not display aspect ratio) make sure it's set to "1:1" or "1.00", also sometimes called 'square pixels.'"
  • Recommended audio formats: Advanced Audio Codec (AAC), Sample rate: 44.1kHz, bit rate of 320 kbps
  • Maximum file size and length: Unknown

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The going rate to hire a machinima company varies, but is usually between 20,000-50,000 Linden dollars (approximately $80-$200 USD).

FEATURED VIDEOS AND AWARD-WINNING MACHINIMA

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Cisko Vandeverre, winner of the UWA Challenge 2010 Machinima Award and computer animator with over 30 years of experience, who generously spent two hours talking with me on Skype from Berlin, Germany reviewing my original Second Life note card and offering his comments toward the improvement of these Best Practices guidelines. I would also like to thank Jason Spingarn-Koff (Jay Spire in Second Life), whose machinima video was recently shown at Sundance Film Festival, for reviewing these materials. Additionally, I would like to thank Fall Films (Rysan Fall in Second Life), who produces environmentally-conscious music videos used by Real Life performing artists like U2 and Craig Lyons.


©2010 Shannon Bohle (Archivist Llewellyn in Second Life)

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