Like a lot of people I love a machinima that provides laughs, and in recent months one of the highlights in that regard has been the work done by GnomeAir. His weekly updates on forays in Second Life pack a lot of experiences into each one, and there’s no shortage of cutting commentary on a range of Second Life aspects.
I fired off some question to the somewhat elusive GnomeAir to find out a little more about his approach:
Lowell: How long have you been involved in Second Life?
GnomeAir: Just started a month ago. I had watched friends play some, so I did know a few things before I started.
Lowell: What about SL inspired you to make machinima?
GnomeAir: I’ve been fooling around making YouTube movies for awhile. I’ve deleted a bunch because they came out scary. It seems to be a current thing. A fun way to express yourself. Something like 15 hours of YouTubes are uploaded every minute? Something like that. I just had an idea one day to make a Second Life account and film it. No idea what would come out of that idea or what I would film or say.
Lowell: Has the reaction to your work surprised you, and if so, why?
GnomeAir: I’ll just delete the comments that tell me I suck!
Lowell: Can you shed some light on how you go about making one of your episodes?
GnomeAir: The first ones I just entered game and played and filmed what I did. Nothing much really happens in those! Then later after I had played a few weeks a bunch of stuff would have happened to me so I just condensed it all down to highlights or lowlights or however you want to see it. Some videos I went on opinionated rants like the one about guys playing girls. So they were all different. Some came out better than others.
As far as the technical stuff, well theres two basic ways I can do them. Record the audio in advance and then film it, or film it first and then record audio. I use Pro Tools to do the audio. Its amazing program for making music or doing anything you want with sound on your computer.
I think for these Second Life episodes, filming it first works best. Put together a basic film sequence and story in Windows Movie Maker, after capturing the video with some other program. Then, turn on voice recorder (Pro Tools for me) and ad lib into mic as you watch the movie film playing back. Then you edit the audio taking out boring bits and pauses etc and load the sound into Movie Maker and tweak the film a little bit to match the audio. Ive done it other way around, make audio first based on what I did in game and then make the film part and it’s not as spontaneous, the comments etc, reactions to what is happening in video.
For example in video #6, there is a long sequence where I’m just talking about SL girlfriend and nothing is happening in video. That is a result of making the audio first and so I think the movie suffers. You are looking at dead screen and just having the sound tell the story. One thing about making machinima is you do learn movie making. You see what works and what doesn’t. For example, I’ve learned to go instantly from far away shots to close up and not to use zoom! But then, I’ve only started to think about these things recently. Most of the video is pretty messed up in these, but dont really matter with what I did.
Lowell: Do you have a longer term plan with your work or is it just a bit of fun.?
GnomeAir: Nothing long term planned just winging it. I have some other projects coming up soon like Comic Con, so I will be busy with those. I will say using Second Life to make machinima is unlimited. You can make the sets and the characters – no limits there.
UPDATE (25th July 2010) – GnomeAir has pulled all his videos from YouTube. An incredible shame – GnomeAIr if you’d like to contact us, we’d love to host them or somehow archive what was some great satire.
You can view all GnomeAir’s work here, or see the Second Life pieces below: