Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Putting It Together

Part way through the pilot of Gotham, the need to write was too strong to ignore. Five minutes in and I was back in film school. Sure, there was a plot, good acting and such but I was too busy watching the staging and the cinematic choices to give those parts of the equation their due.

Back in the day -- and it was awhile ago -- all of us in "group" found that our visions of film had changed. It was all about choices -- lighting, setting, camera angles, the actions in the background -- you get the idea. Our focus was not actually on the film but on the making of the film.

I found myself returning to that mode tonight on so many levels it was quite amazing. Gotham is not really my type of show. A little too gritty, a little too harsh -- I typically prefer escapism or at least philosophical renditions of life. It is unlikely it will remain in my favorites list, but it definitely grabbed me from a cinematographer's viewpoint.

So much smarter now than back in those filming days, I would like the chance for a do-over. That won't be happening; I will have to be content with "if I would have done ..." ideas. As machinimatographers we can learn from our real world counterparts. It is all part of the same process; simply a different venue.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the set design. I felt like I was back in the forties; film noir aspects were prevalent but it was almost like being there. Later, I caught a shot with a 70s van in the background and wondered, "did they blow that?"  A few minutes further along a comment was made about a cell phone being out of juice.

OK. Got it. Took me awhile; happens some time.

I honestly haven't seen any television filmed this well since -- well Carnivale comes to mind but that might be because it is sitting in my Amazon streaming queue.

We don't have a huge number of present day works we can learn from. This is one of them. So take a look -- with a director's eye of course -- and see how the choices made effected the whole. I think you might learn something. I certainly did.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September Wrap Up

Just a few more days to find the Explorer Hunt boxes. They will be taken up as we move into October. 

The Valley has happily made its way into Fall. There is a new build in progress up in SNOW (the tree lot will be up there this holiday season) with additions as the world turns cold for many of us and we think in tones of white.

The city will be changing a bit. I am not sure just HOW at the moment, but that big expanse of flat green is not very exciting -- even to minimalist me. There are some new streetlights scattered around; very photogenic.  Fall - Winter will be coming to the city this year, most likely a little harder edged than the warm and cuddly textures down on the ground.

So stay tuned. You will be apprised as the pattern unfolds -- whatever it may turn out to be :D.


Don't forget that you only have a month now to get your University of Western Australia Challenge video in. And only a couple of days if you want to take part in the Sci Fi Challenge.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Rewards of Patience

I am happy to report that the sought after coffee delivery tricycle complete with poses is now part of the MOSP city set.  Find it in front of the brownstone!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Giving Yourself Time

New writing desk with tons of great animations in the city brownstone

I am an early to the party gal. I typically have any deadlines completed long, long before the time and date. I finish a project, call it good and move on. 

That is my temperament. Others -- especially artists -- wait until the last minute. They preform at their best under pressure.

Whichever type fits your profile, here is something to think about.

Sometimes "finished" isn't really finished. Sometimes with a bit of time and distance your work can be improved. It is very easy to become so wrapped up in a project that your discerning eyes get tired and blurry. They miss obvious areas for improvement.

Do you have fill shots that really don't fit?
Are the transitions smooth visually? Do they keep the story flowing?
Can shots or scenes be deleted to make a tighter and more interesting story?

As you know if you are a frequent reader of this blog, I have my UWA entry in the can. Well -- I thought I did. Then a couple of days ago I found a new prop that led me on a thoughtful journey to a new and better ending. For me, the beginning and the end are the most important parts of a story, be it on paper or on film. So with the new prop purchased and an idea in my mind I went back and looked at my film.

Needing to make some cuts in order to add the last scene, a review was in order. An hour or so later, the floor was littered with clips. Timing had shifted in some cases with more impressive scenes taking the lead and not so important ones shortened. Shots disappeared, credits rewritten and I had fifteen seconds for the last shot.

Now I didn't get to shoot that last scene as my graphics card couldn't handle it. Not a surprise as it has been dying for awhile. With a newly arrived much improved card and actors on standby, I will be shooting soon.

In the process of making room for a new ending, the film is greatly improved. So my suggestion -- should you be interested -- is to complete your film, move on to something new and then revisit a few weeks later.

You might be surprised at what fresh eyes can see.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall Comes to the Valley

Fall came to Peaceful Valley (LEA7) this afternoon. A new dirt road, ground textures and grasses are all in evidence. Framerates are still good for me with shadows and my machine is 3.5 years now so hopefully it will be good for you guys too.

It truly is peaceful there. A quiet spot to think and dream.

Fall is my favorite season.

Come visit!

Full sized photo at Flickr.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cutaway Shots

When I was in real life film school (OK, not a big name one but still it counts) we had various professionals give talks on areas of filmmaking. One talk involved the cutaway shot.

From Wikipedia:

In film and video, a cutaway shot is the interruption of a continuously filmed action by inserting a view of something else. It is usually, although not always, followed by a cut back to the first shot, when the cutaway avoids a jump cut. The cutaway shot does not necessarily contribute any dramatic content of its own, but is used to help the editor assemble a longer sequence. For this reason, editors choose cutaway shots related to the main action, such as another action or object in the same location.For example, if the main shot is of a man walking down an alley, possible cutaways may include a shot of a cat on a nearby dumpster or a shot of a person watching from a window overhead.

I love details. No, let's rephrase that, "I LOOOOVE DETAILS".

I have been scouring the aftersale fleamarkets in search of the best I can find for MOSP. They are scattered around of course. Check out the bar in the full sim city. ( I know a lot of you have been visiting as you did NOT bus your tables.)

Especially if you are telling a story, cutaways can add lots of interest to your visual dialogue. Cam in close, take the shot. It can easily be a photo in many cases.

Just don't forget the details.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Fall Landscape

Peaceful Valley is changing for Fall. Soon the leaves will be turning golds and oranges and the fire will be a comfort on quiet nights.

Things are always changing at MOSP and I only give you the highlights on the blog, so be sure and explore on your own.

It has taken a long while to update the Bayou Shack and find an authentic mix of eclectic mismatched items that to me at least spell "country". If you haven't peaked inside lately, but sure and pencil that in your day planner.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Revamping for Fall

The blue gardener's shed had been with MOSP since the LEA20 days and it wasn't new when I pulled it out of inventory some two years ago. I have been planning on a redo of that area for some time -- and honestly hoping to find a nice little mesh replacement house.

That didn't happen and so this week I made a new one patterned after one I saw on the web which I would love to have in real life. It is tiny and meant mostly as a backdrop. Filming and photography will NOT be easy in the cramped quarters, but it is very cute. And I recovered at least 80 prims -- a bonus.

The house moved up the hill a bit and there is now a very festive apple bobbing (and eating) area down by the --- APPLE TREE! How appropriate is that? 

Other new area seating includes some lovely willow chairs with nice animations and a fun stoop by the new birdhouse.

Come visit!  LEA7.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Little Fame

Running With Scissors by Chic Aeon (machinima)
There is a very nice article on MOSP and its use for inspiration -- for WRITERS -- here.    I never actually thought about LEA7 as a resource for those with pen or keyboard, but simply exploring could lead to the next storyline for your film. And the story is often the most important part of the project.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Cutest of Clutter

Going back in time has seldom been so full of smiles. Find some interactive (read filming possibilities) fortune teller machines in the alley by the gym in the Full Sim City. SO much fun!    And many creative possibilities.