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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Machinima Tips from the Learning in 3D Class

Last week we had a class with special guest Ariella Furman, who is a Machinimatographer at FramedIn3D.

Here are some tips she provided:

1) Plan your storyboards. Just like a "real" video shot, you need to plan ahead to get the best results.

2) Practice. Set up some shots and do some run throughs to ensure you know what you are doing before you start "shooting"

3) Use the ability to change lighting in the environment to create some great effects.

4) Try to use natural movements

5) Use the right equipment. They even have a mouse that acts like a camera "dolly" a great investment.

6) Use your imagination to free yourself from the limits of traditional filming.

Here is a sample of some of the results from Ariella.

Youniverse World from Ariella Furman on Vimeo.

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Teressa said...

Honestly, at this point I am exhausted with the creation of our Machinima. Last night, Lauren, Pat and I attempted to create our video which ended up recording a good seven minutes but took about four hours to actually create. I could not, for the life of me, walk straight, walk backwards, look up, look down, turn around, fly anywhere or basically make my avatar do ANYTHING I was thinking I wanted her to do in my head. I was so beyond frustrated. I definitely believe that with this, PRACTICE is key and I should have been practicing months before I had this class!
But with the help of Lauren being able to walk like a normal person and Pat showing off his video-taping abilities, we pulled it off and now are in the editing stage.
Just saying right now, the class as a whole may end enjoying the outtakes more than anything!

Karl Kapp said...

It can be frustrating to get it all to work. Looking forward to the "out takes"

Stephanie said...

The tips that Ariella had for us on creating a machinima were great. Like Teressa, Pat, and Lauren, it also took Craig, Josh and myself awhile to get everything recorded because we were having some issues with one of our mics. The creative process of this machinima was easy. We actually spent the majority of our time just trying to resolve technical difficulties. By the end I know that we were all mentally drained and happy to be closer to the editing stages.

I was witness to Lauren, Pat, and Teressa's recording experience and I agree that the class would probably enjoy the outtakes :)

Melissa said...

So I was a little hesitant at first about the whole Machinima project because I had toiled around with video capturing in games before and found it to be less than relaxing. Even though we had little experience with making a Machinima I really enjoyed working with my group because it was a really fun learning experience.

Before starting our Machinima we scripted it out including the speech, position of avatars and camera angles. We improvised on certain parts of the movie once we started acting out the script with the avatars. I think it's easier to just improvise certain parts once you start using a character to act.

At first it was hard to figure out how we could get more than one avatar in the movie and direct them all at once. Sometimes having to control so many elements at once can be frustrating and complicated but after a few scenes we sort of fell into the flow of things. The environment editor is a nice addition to Second Life which we took advantage of. It's nice being able to tape something in day or night.

The thing that I would probably be most thankful for in making our Machinima was video editing software. There were many scenes which the speak button was on or the scene was not exactly what was planned. Our group used iMovie however it was the most frustrating part of the project because every time we added a frame the iMovie jumped to a different folder and we had to click back.

Even though the project took forever I think it was probably one of the most fun and best learning experiences I have ever had and it is also nice to see the product of working on something like a Machinima.

jquinn95 said...

Digging the Machinima project, actually. It was more work than I anticipated - I had suggested to Sheila we 'bang it out in one sitting' - NO WAY! But, what a neat opportunity to play with various types of media and ultimately create a finished product of which we are actually proud. This was a good learning experience for me as an educator - I often tout the benefits of project-based learning from an academic standpoint, from a research and pedagogical point of view. This was a cool chance to 'feel' for myself why project-based learning can be so gratifying. Sheila and I estimate that we spent about 20 hours from start to finish. Twenty hours spend reading or memorizing could never have been as satisfying as having this final product as an end result of our time investment in our own learning. Also, there is a HUGE difference between being told or shown how to do something and actually doing it. We had to get it right - which meant a learning curve, but now we have that knowledge and experience. Also, Dr. N's advice never fails to be true - when you are planning for working with technology, plan on it taking 3 times longer than you think it will! But fun!

jjl207 said...

The Machinima process bears a striking similarity to the process of actual film making. About four hours of actual filming was necessary for our five minute machinima, followed by several hours of editing. The process was very informative, and gave an excellent insight into the creative process.

Patrick said...

Working on our first machinima was very intimidating. We stuck to the basics and mostly just focused on getting the project "done". As a video editor in my undergrad days, I think making another machinima in the future would be a fun task. I think with the right tools and a wonderful imagination, you can make an entertaining and informative machinima in second life. I don't plan on making professional machinima's like Ariella's one I've seen on youtube, but I think in the future, I'll try my hand at another machinima people can enjoy.

Marina Miranda said...

When Ariella Furman spoke to our class, I was very impressed with her ability in doing machinima.

She was very good at her job and she gave us very good tips for doing our own machinima.

Her tips helped me a lot when I was doing mine and made me much more confident on how to do a machinima.

When I, Josh, Melissa, and Jordan, were creating our project, it was also frustrating at times, like Teressa, to create the machinima and really what we need is practice. This was the best tip that she gave us because I really think that Practice is the key of a good machinima project. It took us many many hours to create and edit the machinima.

When you see the ending results of your machinima you get very excited, because all your work pays off. This happened to me. It was really nice to see that in the end our work paid off and you get a great result!

Kirsten said...

Making quality machinima movies definitely takes a lot of practice. I am pleased with how our video turned out in the end, but it definitely wasn't an easy process. We had to re-record scenes as well as audio many times until we got it just right. The whole experience was definitely challenging, but also quite fun!

Rachel Upadhyay said...

Ariella gave fantastic tips on creating machinima. I never realized how long and intensive a process it could be, but we were able to use what she showed us to complete the project. Especially helpful was the Environment Editor in Second Life.

Planning ahead was critical to the creation of our machinima. Kirsten and I mapped out each detail, and this made it much easier for us to make sure that we went into SL and filmed only what we needed to. We still came out with several clips that never made it into the movie, but probably a lot less than we would have if we hadn't planned it. In addition, we didn't have to go back in later to film parts that we forgot to capture the first time.

Sheila 207 said...

Jenny was funny when she thought making our machinima would take one afternoon. Took much longer.

Luckily I was able to rely on her experience and her Mac. I do not have access to any Macs - our district got rid of them, but if I did I would definitely try use these programs Jenny and I did. They were awesome and for the most part easy to use.

Unfortunately for her, I continued to have Second Life issues with my computers. I finally downloaded onto my desktop, which is older than the laptops, and it worked a little better. We did realize how important it was to write a script. We would keep saying things that would illustrate our clips, but if we didn't write them down we would forget or change them.

Definitely a worthwhile experience. Enjoyed our Second Life Island we chose and meeting the new people in there. They were all friendly and shared either "stuff" or their knowledge to help us. This was just as important as creating the machinima. Thanks for the experience Dr. Kapp.

Jordan said...

Ariella had some pretty neat things to show us. She gave some awesome advice. I never knew what Machinima was before this class. I play a lot of video games and it's cool to see how they actually capture all the special features of a game. Virtual film making is what it is! It is a very dynamic time consuming task but the rewards are very full filling. I do not think I would ever want to do this as a living but it gives you a better insight on how these virtual films are created.

Craig Geromi said...

I have to say I thought doing the Machinma was so much fun to do! When I was first given the assignment I really was skeptical on how it would turn out, but I was really wrong. What I was wrong about was the time it would take to do it. I remember Dr. Kapp expressing that we should be prepared that it would take much longer than expected, and he was so right. The first night my group member and I got together, I set aside 4 hours, but told them it would only take 2 maximum. I was dead wrong. It took 4 hours and then some! Our biggest obstacle was not figuring out what were going to do or making the content/script, but the technology part of the Machinima caused us the most headaches and took the most amount of time. My partner, Josh could not get his microphone to record audio correctly and for over an hour we tried to correct this issue to no avail. In the end though, we pumped out over 8 minutes of awesome material. Specifically we chose to give a virtual tour of Morocco. It was so much fun and I learned a lot about that area and culture.

The biggest help while putting together our Machinima was the resources that Dr. Kapp put on the blog site as well as all the different people who did presentations over the semester. These helped me figure out what I liked and didn't like when dealing with 3d virtual worlds.

Overall, I thought this was a great assignment and both my partners and I learned so much! We also had a ton of fun and didn't stop laughing. Now that we have completed this I can really see the power of doing the Machinima and using it in the real world! Maybe someday i'll start my own company, customizing different factories for virtual tours :)

Lauren said...

Going in to a project thinking it's going to be easy, is usually ALWAYS wrong. I didn't think Pat, Teressa, and I were going to spend as long on ours as we did. It was a great experience though, hilarious and frustrating at times. Luckily we had our script completed beforehand or else I think it would have taken even longer to complete.

One of our problems was going to a world that wasn't private, so anyone could teleport there. We had someone talk to us in ours for a little, which was a distraction, yet funny. It was a dog/human dressed up in a suit. Anyways, another avatar, other then the 3 of us came in for a little bit as well.

Overall, it was a great experience. There's so many things to explore, see, and do in Second Life! I never thought I would be taking a class like this, but I'm glad I did.

Anonymous said...

Ariella's tips on making machinima were very helpful. As an international student, I had to overcome many more difficulties to get the assignment done. They say the best way to inspire people is to set challenging yet achievable goals. When I was working on the machinima, I know I was challenging my limit. My laptop was not that fast (the system requirements of Second Life is much higher than I expected) , as sometimes moving in SL feel like a slide show and teleports could take like several minutes to finish. When I was trying to find a treasure hunt-themed location, I always end up with some kind of wireld stores selling crazy stuff. And since I didn't find any group members at the very beginning, I was working by myself all the way. Although times were tough, I worked hard and in the end I found myself grow up and learn much. Now that my project is done, I feel great relief and joy. It's no Shakespare but it is genuine ;) So thank you Dr. Kapp, for your help and giving me this once in a life time experience.