Art of Machinima – Part 2 – Getting Started

So in my last post I covered the basics of some starter software to give the foundation you need to film machinima.   Now that you have your software it is time to start filming!   Obviously you will want to play around with some different shots before you take on a big budget epic production.   The easiest thing to film and make look romantic is a scripted couples dance.   Basically you find one good angle, some nice lighting, and then just let the camera roll.   Slap an audio track in during editing, and voila you just scored you first machinima and some brownie points with your significant other.

But before you begin there are a few commands that you need to know to hide the UI and your huds from showing in the shot.   The first command is to hold down Ctrl-alt-F1 at the same time which will hide the UI (user interface).  This way you will not see any chat, or the menu bars at the top and bottom of the screen.   The second useful command is Shift-alt-H which will hide any huds you are wearing.   For both of these commands you simply press them again to reverse it and turn them back on.   Everything still operates the same way, but now you see a full screen view of SL without any things in the way which will detract from the film.   Along with the basic camera controls you will want to perfect the art of holding down Ctrl-alt-shift while moving the mouse to be able to pan the camera in either a vertical or horizontal direction.   Just those three simple tips, will move your machinima from noob to intermediate level.

There are some definite pros and cons to filming machinima in SL.   The big pros are that you have access to the most fantastic settings for your backdrops.   There are amazing new sims and builds out there every day, with any type of setting you can think of.  The biggest con is trying to get your avatar to do what you want it to do.   Unless you are a grade-A animator, know a grade-A animator, or else are willing to pay lots of L’s for custom animations it is very difficult to get the avatars to “act” in the way you need them to for a scene.   Even basic facial emotions can make or break a scene, and you are limited to the strength of your mood hud.   I also recommend you find a partner in crime for filming.   It is almost impossible to film yourself walking, driving, or doing just about anything and make it look worth a crap.   One option is to log in an alt to film yourself doing basic actions, but unless you are on two computers you are going to severely impact your FPS rates.   The best option is to go into it like Jell and I do where you take turns filming scenes, or angles to try to get the right footage to work with.  Just make sure you are using the same windlight settings!   🙂

I think that with this much info you are ready to go give it a go.   The main thing is to just keep it fun.   I try to balance making a really good machinima with keeping it light and fun and not agonizing over every shot or the editing process too much.   If we can bang something out in two days, that is usually just about right which allows for one day of setting up and filming.   One day to edit, and reshoot anything that we need to.

With that I am going to debut for you our latest machinima project – Want.   I came across the audio track first which is Want  by Recoil, and it inspired me to throw this together.   I hope you enjoy it.

I was just made aware of another great resource from the Rev’s very own Luth Brodie which can be found here.

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3 Responses to “Art of Machinima – Part 2 – Getting Started”

  1. Having a filming partner is great, but not necessary. A moderate gaming rig is more than enough to ensure 30fps while filming and having 2 clients running.

    I usually go with a mix between the mid-range “hot rod” and the “god box” from the Ars Technica System guide:
    http://arstechnica.com/hardware/guides/2009/04/ars-technica-system-guide-april-2009-edition.ars

    They have a new type out specifically for gaming this year:
    http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2009/07/gaming-guide.ars

  2. Great guide. I am suppose to write one as well and wanted to talk about some AF and premiere features. But my strong part Is mac users 😀 windows for my it’s just too weird. Adding to your, on turning UI for MAC users press Fn+cmd+alt+f1.

    Ps: like the machinima, great fx’s.

  3. […] Art of Machinima – Part 2 – Getting Started « The SL Revolution […]

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