Eric Call is a former "Linden" and started his own content company a while ago.
He will discuss
- platform options
- pre-production and production
- technical, content and creative considerations
- capturing video
- editing and output
- machinima's future
- creative suggestions
It is cheap, has a fast production time, there is a lot of talent (e.g. in SL) to draw from, the quality *can* be very good, it is flexible from capture to delivery
You can use
- CD ROM games
- Console games
- stand alone engines
- casual games
They have rich environments, detailed props, high framerates, great overall performance. You have little room for camera angles and customization.
- virtual worlds
Here you have more options for camera positioning, completely customized sets, high resolution sets (soon easily imported from former "normal 3d" work). Drawbacks: Production managements can be a challenge, little control over the basic system, low frame rates, lagging (created by overtexturing).
Develop characters, a concept and a script.
- Research and collect resources
- Storyboard it!
- cast and crew it
- provide lots of hard drive space
- you need a capture app (FRAPS, Camtasia Studio, Windows Media Encoder)
- do a test capture and make sure it is compatible with the editor
- learn the controls of the editor
- in SL: adjust the draw distance and optimize performance vs. graphical richness
- in SL: tweak the lighting
- chose sets and pros wisely, if you hadly see them they don't need to be detailed
- get permission for location shooting
- buy/lease land/content
- visualize the environment in its completed state and then work backwards
- keep the object complexity in check: texture vs.geometry
- manage your assets: reduce what does not need to be there (specially avatars)
- make sure you gain ownership
- what about scripts and animation (does the hair need to be animated?)
- if you capture in HD the files get huge and you almos need a RAID system to store it
- do 8-10 captures, you see the differences only later when editing
- never use your mouse to control your camera, the resolution is terrible
- use a 3D-mouse or a joystick
- some use scripted cameras (plus: ease of repetition, crew and cast see them)
Do a shotlist and a schooting schedule to make sure you get all the material you need in time. Use the experiences that TV and movie producers compiled, they often fit for machinima, too.
What will Machinima be used for?
- motion storyboarding
- viewer participation and involvement
What will come?
- Film and TV technologies will be integrated
- multi camera controlling
- mobile device use (SL on a mobile)
- broadcasting from within vrtual worlds
What is already happening?
- real puppeteering (no pre-animation)
- seamless integration of existing 3d models (think Hollywood, they have existing 3d databases)
- Newtonian physics simulation instead of game physics
- new camera controls and lens like features
So as a summary: We ain't seen nothing yet as far as machinima are concerned.