Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another Green Screen Attempt

ChromaKeyGreenScreenImage via Wikipedia - not me or my avatar!The only thing i could find online about the sort of xray look some of my green screen videos had was that iMOvie didn't like perfectly flat green screens, which was exactly what i had in SecondLife. So I redid the green screen, changed the surface to be kind of a rough plaster look to add a little variation to the. And I"ve been shooting me walking. I used an animation that i had so i walked in place, that way i didn't have to worry about the edges of the green screen.

Now i have to figure out the whole size far away to shoot the avatar to make them look normal size in the video. And where to put the camera.  The hard part..but at least I think with experimentation I can figure this part out.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A TIp picked up at the Machinima Monday meeting

Machinima Monday is a group in SecondLife tath meets most Mondays at 3pm SLT. Lots of folks there, all interested in making movies using platforms like SecondLife and World of Warcraft. People show off current projects and ask for help. Sometimes Chantal Harvey puts updates about the group on her blog -

My machinima buddy asked yesterday and Fraps and screen size. We learned  that some software like Fraps and Xfire (both PC products that record the screen) record the whole screen. There's a preference you can set in SecondLife to make SL run in a window and hten you can set the size and resolution. You can pick one that's a 16:9 ratio when you're recording in HD.

On the Mac I use Snapz and i can draw a box with that software and it records only what's in that box. I haven't played around with that much. Not sure what it looks like in playback if you record just a little box recorded.

Monday, March 21, 2011


As we start to edit the 2nd episode of our spy thriller we discovered we need to reshoot a scene (because we forgot to move the mouse out of the way...see the checklist I posted earlier).  The problem is I can't remember exactly what i was wearing.

In machinima, just as in RL video productions, continuity is important. There are at least three ways to deal with it. I'd say consider a combination of steps. I"m going to be doing steps one and two frm now on.

1. Take still photos. That gives you a sense of where things were in the shot, where th ecamera was. You can save them to the hard drive (costs nothing) and share them with the crew on flickr or in a google doc.
2. Save the outfit in your inventory. Give it a name like name of production, name of scene or location, maybe the date of the shoot. The new viewers just put links to the clothing into the outfit so it doens't increse the size of your inventory. Be sure to include any props or specialized HUDS you have attached to you in the shot.
3 Create a notecard and write down the names of things you were wearing and any notes about the scene. This is a good technique especilaly if you're using a viewer that doesn't use the new folder structure. This wil keep copies of clothing from cluttering up your inventory.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

FIlming Checklist

The Alt key on an Apple keyboardImage via WikipediaThis is a post that will probably be edited many times as I learn more about making machinima in SecondLife - a checklist for things to do before you start the cameras rolling. Hopefully if I follow these steps I won't have to reshoot so many takes.

CheckList as of 3/17/11

  • Check for other avatars on the radar - maybe warn them you're filming
  • Turn off HUDs - ALT-SHIFT-H
  • Turn off interface - CTRL-ALT-F1
  • Move the mouse out of the shot

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A Machinima Resource for the SecondLife Community

I found the machinima forum on the SecondLife Community page this morning. I have been around SL awhile but I admit I've never read the forums and blogs closely. So this is probably not a new-to-you resource, but it was to me.


People advertise/announce their machinima projects on the site. There are some posts about tools to use. And users have some posts looking for cast and crew for their projects in case you want to get started by helping on other people's projects or you have the acting bug. So looks like it might be useful on a couple of different levels.

Some assorted links

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Green Screen

I decided to try to do some green screen my avatar in SL before a green screen and superimpose her on some real life footage. I filmed the beach when we were in Florida...waves rolling, seagulls squawking. It's nothing exciting but thought it was plain enough i could easily put my avie in there without worrying about walking over people in the RL footage.

I built a green screen studio in SecondLife. It's a big cylinder and floor *didn't put a roof but may need to because sometimes the camera moves up sometimes as you walk and the shot of blue sky messes up. Here are a couple of shots of the studio with my avatar in it. I"m the little tiny dot since my camera is pulled way up. I used a megaprim to make the studio and colored the cylinder and the floor prim *another megaprim* just basic green.

Here's a closeup of me in the studio. You can see the seam where the cylinder meets the floor.

I played around with the windlight settings and found that one called Nam Optimal Skin1 completely wiped out that line. I took a couple of pictures with that setting. No Seam! I gotta tell ya tho - makes walking hard because there's no clue where the walls are. And sometimes you'll run into the wall and your camera will go outside. Not sure how to deal with that yet.

Here's a bit of the footage i shot in the green screen. It's not very exciting. Remember I mentioned the fact that there are no clues to where the walls are? Well that means it kind of looks like my avatar is walking in place.

Why isn't there a clip of the final product? iMovie seems to make it very very easy to do green screen..there's an option in the menu for goodness sakes. I'm doing something wrong...and yes, I can boil water and I can walk and chew gum. But. at this point i keep getting xray looking results for my avatar.  The two clips individually look just fine. I drop the avatar footage on the real life footage, pick green screen..and wham...xray. Not what I wanted at all. So hopefully I'll figure it out and add a paragraph and a clip..very soon..*fingers crossed*

Here's a clip with problems..that xray issue I mentioned and fuzzy footage. Not sure what happened.

ANd here's a clip that worked..strange content I realize but I got these great wrestling action figures from my machinima buddy and wanted to play with them. No I wouldn't play with them on the beach normally. But I haven't found any good old school wrestling footage yet.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

New focus for a bit

Since I"m not teaching this year...I haven't been doing anything in SL with students. So I haven't been posting much. However, I am starting to get into making machinima...movies in SecondLife. I always hoped the students would get into making machinima as a way to use their media making skills combined with what htey learned in SL, but no one ever took me up on it. So, now I"m going to give it a shot. A friend and I have started making an episodic spy movie. We're not filming in order *laughs*...we filmed a bit that was fun, then decided we needed some back story and we'll need some kind of ending. So we're filming around our initial bit. Kind of like writing a research paper...we'll probably need to go back and reshoot the first bit to take advantage of what we've learned along the way.

We're also talking about shooting a video for the machinima contest sponsored by the University of We
Winthrop Hall at sunset, University of Western...Image via Wikipediastern Australia, a college that is really active in SL. We're still kicking around ideas for the story for this video, but probably it will be a drama. You have to start or end your movie at the SL recreation of their famous clocktower, seen in the picture over there (somewhere...look'll find it in this post) We know we're up against very stiff competition. We'll learn a lot about moving making and have fun, both of which are our main goals for the project.

I'm going to play around with green screen so I can put my avatar into RL footage. I took some shots at the beach in florida; I think my avatar will look cool walking on the beach in some boardie shorts and shades. Look for a link to that in the near future.

Here are a couple of links:

We're playing around with some different toys - camera HUDs, fight systems, animations for holding guns. In the next few posts, I"ll talk about some of them.

Here are some links to other assorted sites and news

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