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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Moving pictures

Why film Second Life? 
I asked a bunch of people.
There's more than one reason. I'd just been to the spectacular RL Museo del Cinema,  which is why movies were on my mind, but it seems that everybody's at it, independently and via SL groups as undiverse as the Phantasmagoria and the UWA, the LEA and the SL Machinima Guild. Fuschia was at romy Nader's new build, so she's up first.
Fuschia Nightfire: I think every kind of art has its place, but machinima tells a story more than just a picture. It's also great for recording installations. Imagine if you wanted to record this build. Taking photos just wouldn't portray it.  I've only been making machinima for about a year, but I enjoy it - here's my Youtube channel if you want to look.
She's not wrong about the photo, is she? check out the spooky-cool dancing for yourself at MetaLES.
Obviously, machinima is great for porn, snarky remarks, tributes, tutorials, and
so on, but for many it's also a way to protect and remember moments in time. Aloisio Congrejo collects stills of his installs and sets them to music, mostly his beloved jazz, so as to have a permanent record of friends and creations from the past.

And then there's manic multimedia mogul Moya Patrick, sliding between realities like a lambskin locomotive. Video is central to his being. But someone sort out that waistline, please.
If you think I'm exaggerating how animé it all is, hit the Moya Museum where you will be instantly transported to a giant screen in the South of France, whether you want to or not. For more info on his schemes, check out his Cannes-and SL- based website. Patrick puts the art in party, and only video can really convey his lively-hood. It's all quite tiring.

...and  more dancing dolly than dialogue. If you want reported speech, you need to go to a story-driven site, like Karima Hoisan's. She's making her first forays into machinima, see what you think.
And then there's another plane, occupied by  Celestial Elf, SL's FreeSky Republic. To see all his machinima, click here,  there's plenty to tempt you, from virtual Romanov Russia, to the Coeur d'Aquitaine. Romantic and legendary tales told in lush surroundings and using the best props and scripts that Lindens can buy, together with his soft English voice, are only part of the picture.
His love of all things 'pagan' (Natural is maybe a better word) and the ancient myths that adorn the concept of the natural world as a place that needs to be preserved, respected, and loved have moved him to make machinima that celebrate ancient tales and modern concerns.This is his Lammas Wickerman, for example. (Disclaimer: No Welshmen were harmed during the making of this film.)

From his gypsy caravan in SL, it's a case of networking, rather than joining any particular group; machinima makes that relationship possible, constantly moving on to the next project, within the overarching theme of a better world through spiritual awareness... and more common sense. It's a moving concept - moving people to get in touch with realities other than the cold, calculating commercial world that is often our accepted reality.
It's an odd but fascinating mixture of other-worldliness, plugged into real world events, connected to real people. Competitions don't interest him at all. Collaboration is key, whether it's working with sim owners, or with musicians like The Dolmen or the wonderful Lisa Thiel, or his invaluable casting assistant, Sienna Panthar. He's been involved with The Venus Project and the Etopia Eco-Community, both SL groups promoting action on real world issues to do with sustainability and the environment. This is The Bee Myth, a permaculture story co-written with planetary advocate Willi Paul.

Common sense, and a desire to help others, that includes helping with machinima, and Celestial is an enthusiastic member of the SL Machinima Arts Guild, he's also one of their moderators. It's a great resource if you want to learn about making film, get inspired or involved in a group project, or find out about competitions where you can show off your oeuvre to an adoring public. Oh yes, I know you well, you little diva, you.
So machinima is about... message? memory? money? movement?
Chantal Harvey: Machinima shows SL to the world - not only what virtual worlds like SL can be, but also what young people do online. I say young people, not to exclude anyone, but I am called mama, cos most are young, and I am ancient, lol.

She's not kidding. Chantal got into machinima within about 2 months of arriving in SL some 4 years ago, when videos of SL were few and far between in Youtubeland. The desire to make video came naturally; she has a background in TV; everything from art productions to running a local TV station. Now she's all about machinima, SL is her platform, but she supports it all and wants to pass on skills and encourage emerging artists, most recently as a part of the Linden Arts thing; makes sense, as machinima is a great way to promote LL's agenda, although they let select residents do all the actual work, here at the LEA cinema, built by Werner Kurosawa.
On the screens you see a still from Copy Design, by Urban Steampunk, recently featured on SL's front page.

I asked her - is there such a thing as a bad machinima?
Chantal Harvey: hmm... to be honest? Yes: sloppy, jerky filming, bad edit, bad sound, loud music , no storyline, no eye for detail, UI in film, bad light, all the things that make RL movies bad too. A good one is made with love, is fresh.  It can be jerky filming by the way, and still be good.
What about the perfect machinima?
Chantal Harvey: If I knew the concept... I'd be living off machinima! but I am getting there, hehe, keep an eye out for Scissores!
The cinema explodes on request, I'm not sure why, maybe just because in SL, you can. Or wait, maybe so it can be filmed. *notices self missing boat*
Chantal Harvey: I was in Miami in March, at a short film festival. and among the 78 RL shorts there was one machinima. When it came on, it went silent in the cinema. I was watching the faces of the city film-makers and their crews, they had never heard of it. 
She intends to change all that, by getting the likes of Peter Greenaway and Tony Dyson involved in judging events. There's MMIF, her stellar film festival, but also her Month of Machinima and the 48 Hour Film Project - offering all the buzz of working to short deadlines, while expanding on set themes. These are drawing in new blood from all realities, and keeping alive the enthusiasm of older SL hands, and indeed, together with two other senior ladies in the field, Toxic Menges and Phaylen Fairchild, Chantal runs a help group, Machinimamondays, with drop-in meetings at Virtual Montmartre on Mondays, what were the chances, I know. Anyway it's all on the Mamachinima blog and in the inworld group info: Matinee at 2.00pm, the Main Feature at 7.
So basically, you've no excuse, there's help, inspiration and audience enough for everyone out there. So put on your FRAPS pants, pull out that animated thingamegig, and get filming!

1 comment:

Celestial Elf said...

Really enjoyed our interview and love this great blog post.
Particularly like to thank you for including my reference to
The Machinima Artists Guild.

Bright Blessings to you
By Stone and Star,
Celestial Elf ~