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03 June 2009

An interesting post about SL machinima-making can be found on The Invisible Moose blog here. He says, "Why are we settling for a system of capturing the pixels cranked out by a video card working overtime, only to recieve footage of so-so quality when we could be capturing event data from this stream and saving it to a file for later rendering and yes, even editing." I've never thought about the idea of collecting metadata - I have no clue if it's feasible or even possible, or what it would look like if we could do it, but it's fun to think about. It would change machinima by separating rendering from scene set-up - hard even to think about it as our usual mode is like filming with a movie camera that has to expose and develop at one time.

What's wrong with most machinima isn't just limitations in the platforms as much as it's limitations in the the filmmaker, of course; I think a game changer like this idea would probably make certain very good filmmakers even better, but for most, if they tried it at all, it would likely just be more time spent for middling results. I'm such an "alla prima" artist that I'd probably not use it to get alternate angles and things, but being able to render after the fact would make for high quality and no pesky dropped frames.

Limitations can prompt creative solutions, and serve as an artistic spur, so they aren't all bad, however we'd have to go a long way to free ourselves to the merely-bound-hand-and-foot level. The difficulty in getting a little life into our avatars is a knotty problem requiring much work - careful shot angle and length, and custom animations are how I approach it, and it requires thinking in a particular way all the time (which is easy once one has been in SL for a while but isn't obvious to new resident machinimatographers). We are at the beginning of the craft's development, and improvements are likely to come in all directions at once - some more suddenly than expected (such as the 3D controllers), wiping out the erstwhile limit completely.


posted by - 1:54 PM

Cheers for linking this Os, it’s a fascinating post and in the comments to it I found my way to the Orange Island blog (I’ve never visited it, didn’t know about it) and in there read some great stuff about machinima (SL films is soooo much easier to type, damn it! - and a *seriously* good post about Lordfly’s talk on Shadow Viewers (

I’ve still, a year on, have only made the one film. I’m still really proud of it as I think it stands up as a small, 3-minute story that flows well and holds the tale throughout but all the plans I’ve had since then have come to nothing. There are two reasons for that – time in-world and limitations of working alone.

Time in-world is simple enough – as you know I can only get in for a few limited hours a week and most of those are taken up with TSMGO matters and taking photos for the various tales and things on my blog. Neither of which I want to give up :)

The other matter, the limitations of working alone, is the real killer for me. Look at the flea circus – without Enjah building it, you scripting it and the troupe working it up there is no way I’d have ever got past an idea stage, let alone script. I just don’t have the talents needed. And it’s the same with machinima – I can’t make the sets or avs or props and I’m limited to one av with one camera (maybe two if I fire up the laptop at the same time, but I can’t control both).

I don’t know, at the end of the day it seems to make a film, a story I mean, you need more bodies on the ground. That’s the first limitation I find and it’s felled me.
my daddy used to say it's a poor workman who blames his tools.
I'd like to see him use one of these on his own...
I made this one by myself:

It's easier in some ways, harder in others - and of course, doesn't work too well for crowd scenes ;-D

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