How Shadows Will Change the Way We Make Machinima

We’re really pleased to feature a guest post from Ariella Furman (SL: Ariella Languish), who has been producing machinima for a number of years (you can view some here).

ariella_1When I used to take the train home from school everyday, I would admire how the lighting outside would seep over the windows, until they were a golden hue and it was too bright to see through them. It was like all the people, ending their active work days, would be lost in a tunnel of celestial yellow skies. You couldn’t help but smile, no matter how bad your day was.

Many real life filmmakers will argue, “Light is shadow.” Light is what makes shapes and colors have their quality. It has substance, texture, mood, etc. It has more dimensions and beauty than any other thing I know.

Light is not all grand, however. When on a film set, what always takes the longest and the most time tweaking? The lights! There are so many options. There are so many ways to tell the story. Simply by putting the main character in a sea of shadow, you can change the whole dynamic of what you’re conveying to the audience.

Second Life once had a world with limited shadows. We could change the color and tones of the light, but it was meaningless without seeing the light react with objects. Now, with two new Shadow Viewers out from KirstenLee and BoyLane, we have the world of lighting at our disposal.


We machinimatographers are luckier than the poor director of photographers in the real world, however. Our lights change with a few button clicks. However, I don’t think it will make us lazy. It just means that setting up our shots will probably be more time consuming. You now not only have to set the actors, but also wonder about how they will react with the world around them.

We’ll have to answer questions. Are they troubled? Do they see the glass half full, half empty? Even the shadow of their figure trailing behind them – if it is small and opaque, it means they have a direction and are confident. If it is long and dull, it probably means they have a whole journey ahead of them and that they are troubled about their direction.

Does the building they enter have pillars? If so, do those pillars seem to have long, never-ending shadows that paint the floor in lines of blacks, making it appear like they are entering a jail cell rather than a building?

So, in conclusion, filmmaking is 90% talking about what you’re going to shoot and setting it up but only 10% actually shooting it. Let’s face it, back in the day, machinima was a cinch! Now that we have dozens of creative options to tell the same message, most of our work flow will probably be decision making. Less machinimators will want to just “wing it” if they want a professional product.

Let’s face it, machinima just became way more similar to real life narrative filmmaking. This means the world and more to many of us.

Episode 9 of TMJ Podcast – Bernhard Drax (Draxtor Despres)

After a hiatus, the TMJ Podcast is back. Episode 9 is devoted to an interview with virtual world broadcaster / machinima creator Bernhard Drax (SL: Draxtor Despres). If you’re interested in machinima creation, virtual world journalism, politics and religion, you should enjoy Bernhard’s thoughts.


For details on how to automatically receive these podcasts, check our podcast page.

Links or resources mentioned in the podcast:

Lifefactory Writer’s machinima ‘Life on Life’:

SBS: enter the machinima

The island touted for SBS may have been shelved, but they are still steaming ahead with their work within Second Life.

A blog has launched on the SBS site with the focus being on helping people to make their own machinima. Documentary-maker Shelley Matulick (SL: Mixin Pixel) is behind the blog and will provide weekly tips.

It’s certainly a hands-on approach for SBS and if the blog delivers on what it’s promising, it’ll be a useful Australian resource on machinima.

Hosoi Ichiba Machinima Awards 2008

If you’re into machinima production and would like to win fifty thousand Linden dollars, the information I received today may interest you:

We are looking for artists that can compose the Best Machinima Impression of our Hosoi Ichiba and surroundings on Virgin Island. Hosoi Ichiba is a japanese style market enclosed by walls and watch towers, overlooking a beautiful landscape. Outside the walls you will find Hosoi Yu Ch’un, a typical japanese fishing village and the farming village, “Hosoi Lung Ch’un” The sim is packed with romantic spots for you to build your story around.

Your production must apply to the following conditions
– A good story line
– Use of Windlight
– Min. duration of 100 secs
– High quality video
– Published on Youtube
– Title should contain ‘Hosoi Ichiba’

If possible, use:
– Authentic japanese avatars
– Background sound and or music

What are the rules?

This contest will take off at 15 april 2008.
Your contribution should be published before 15 june 2008
A qualified jury will vote for the winning production
The winning video will be published on our Hosoi Ichiba blog.
The winning artist will be rewarded with 50.000 L$ in cash.
IM Amiryu Hosoi with the url to your production (youtube)

More information at:

Contributions can be viewed at:

Hosoi Ichiba, Japanese Gardens & Lifestyle:

Good luck,

Amiryu Hosoi

Hidenori Watanave’s architecture

Hidenori Watanave is a Japan-based architect undertaking “experimental demonstration and research for the possibility of the architecture and environmental design in Metaverse” according to the information he sent me. He’s created a machinima that beautifully summarises the work he and his colleagues have done in Second Life:

360-degree photoscapes are far from new in Second Life but his work takes that concept one step further.

Weekend Whimsy

1. Avatar Orchestra Metaverse

New World Notes has an excellent story on this orchestra.

2. ADABOT, now at the institute

3. The Edge Eden Project

Weekend Whimsy

1. Mask

– there’s a cameo Australian appearance in this one

2. Soccer Robots

3. Tako Cup

– sailing regatta

Weekend Whimsy

Another Friday and another dose of SL machinima:

1. Could It Happen?

Part of a musical calleed ‘The Time Travelers Convention’

2. Scott Adams in Second Life

3. alto octanaje

Weekend Whimsy

Each Friday we provide some videos from YouTube that were made in Second Life. Amusement or spectacle is the name of the game.

1. Expensive Second Life Wedding

2. Day At The Races

3. Energy Alchemy Dance – Part 3

Weekend Whimsy

Each Friday we provide a sampling of content generated by SL users and posted on services like YouTube:

1. Why don’t u get a job?

This one is from SLOz reader m0nkeycheese.

2. Wydawnictwo Znak w Second Life

3. Blowing Bubbles

Another aussie effort, this time by Wolfie Rankin.

Click here for video

Previous Posts