Friday, March 26, 2010

Machinima Makers wanted for Bitfilm 2010

Bitfilm festival just send out a 'Call for Ideas' to Machinima makers to contribute for their 'Money & Me' movie project:

"We are looking for ideas for the frame story of our feature film Money & Me. This full-length film about Money will be created from various short films, united by a single frame narrative, and produced by us with the help of the international Machinima community. This frame story, which takes place in the financial scenes of Singapore and London, will make up about 20% of the whole film."

For more informations please have a look at the PDF you find at this project page. It's great machinima again will play an important role at this year's Bitfilm event. As I've mentioned in a recent post, from the partly commercial concept behind 'Money & Me' this excludes all game based machinima. The machinima production doesn't allow any IP strings attached. As Aaron Koenig from Bitfilm told me they plan to shoot the film in Twinity (a German based virtual world like SL) or maybe using the Crytek game engine. I'm not sure if other machinima platforms are an option as well. Right now they are looking for interesting story ideas. In cooperation with the creators of the selected ideas they will develop a script and shoot the film.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3D or not 3D

There has been an interesting discussion following a blog post by Phil Rice: 3D is (Very Nearly) Here
It had an interesting comment by our respected anymation artist Tom Jantol who is still very sceptic about the current 3D evolution.
"But really, I don't get it. This 3D path. If someone is willing to explain, I am ready to listen. I mean, this is not new element of film grammar, new way of telling stories, even new tool of author's visualization toolbox.... "
Guess I'll have to add my 5c here now. I have to commit I'm a bit biased when it comes to (stereoscopic) 3D. Many years ago I worked a lot with 3D (mainly work on Virtual Reality, although mostly the audio part) and my first steps into 'Machinima' was indeed a S3D project (fully immersive with those uncomfortable head mounted displays). And as a reply to one of Tom's comments:
"But wait, in next scene a hero's leg is so real that I can smell it? But I can't, and it feels real because of the reason why it is in front of the camera, not because of third dimension".
In that particular project we indeed had added 'smell'. When the bed of roses was approched by the viewer he actually could smell them. That was in 2000. Guess it will need some time for me to get that 'immersive' with Machinima again.

Judging the value of S3D at it's current state is not easy, besides the hype and the technology get's pushed a lot by companies to sell new products. If I remeber right there just have been
2 movies (Coraline and Avatar) who have been produced for 3D from the beginning. I have to commit that Avatar was a huge disappointment to me, not only when it comes to 3D. I had some expectations about what Cameron was to come up with. I have learned a lot from him and his films. But the 3D in Avatar didn't catch me at all. I hadn't the chance to watch it on IMAX, that could change my view a bit, but mostly he seemed to got more wrong on 3D than I had expected. Nevertheless I believe in the added value of 3D. I was impressed by a lot of the 3D IMAX films I've seen. And some scenes in other 3D films including Coraline and Avatar give me the impression that in the right hands it could lead to some new breathtaking experiences.
I fully agree with Phil "What most interests me about 3D is what someone like YOU (Tom) or m dot Strange could do with it, because you'd not be the least bit concerned about how it's "supposed to be" used, you'd use it in some way people weren't expecting, in such a way that it WOULD serve as a powerful adjective to your film language rather that just an amusement park gimmick."
The best comparison about the switch from 2D to 3D is the switch from black and white film to colored film. Not the whole film language had to be revised and it could be debated as well on what color could add to a story and the movie itself. But now many years after that transition has made, it is clear to us that indeed color added something to the films we watch every day. And in the right hands it indeed makes a difference. More difference than just by making it look to more realistic.
I don't believe right now that in the near future we will have almost all movies in 3D with some 2D exceptions (like with b/w movies today), but for me it is an interesting area to research and explore. And I already know it will take a decent amount of time and a lot of hard work until I will release my first 3D movie.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

3D Moviestorm Machinima

As you may know I'm interested in 3D and 3D Machinima since quite a while. Maybe some of you have followed my Blog posts about that topic. As Phil Rice from z-studios postet recently '3D is (Very Nearly) Here'. It's great to see the first stereoscopic 3D machinima made with Moviestorm has been released. This is not yet a build in standard feature of Moviestorm, but we will see this in the future. This movie is a test piece for Moviestorm's new 3D feature. I hope it will not take too long until this new feature will be officially released. Moviestorm will be a great tool to help us experiment with 3D.

The Graveyard 3D

Yes, YouTube has already implemented a feature to share and view stereoscopic 3D movies. With the viewer once can choose over 10 different ways to view the film. And it's easy now to distribute your 3D movie using YouTube:

HOW TO MAKE 3D YOUTUBE VIDEOS - Yuriythebest's Don't Ask Me Again Guide

YouTube 3d feature

Hope to see your first 3D machinima movie soon. Good luck.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bitfilm 2010: No Machinima?

Bitfilm one of the few international festivals that had a seperate machinima category seems to have dropped this category this year.

From their recent press release:

"Thanks to the Internet, filmmakers from all over the world can work together on one
feature film; the Internet audience‘s votes will determine the film‘s content. The Bitfilm Festival 2010 will be more than a festival - it will be a worldwide „crowd production“. Its result will be a full-length feature film on one topic: Money & Me. Filmmakers are asked to share their personal views on financial affairs."

"Via an online vote, the audience will decide which short films will be chosen for the final film in the following categories: documentary, fiction and animation. The most popular film in every category will receive prize money donated by the Cultural Authority of the Federal State of Hamburg. All selected films will receive a share in the film’s profits."

Since this year "it's all about money", it's clear why they had to drop machinima as a seperate category. You need to own all the content rights and since it's for commercial use it's even more difficult to achieve since that excludes to use most of the creative commons content as well to make your movie. The animation category might be a place one could seak in with tools like Moviestorm, iClone and SecondLife. The content final version of the film needs to be in HD resolution (2K). I have no idea if that could be produced by those tools in the quality they expect. Good to know that for the screening copy they accept all standard video formats.

Although an interesting concept to make, finance and distribute a film, I'm very disappointed we lost Bitfilm for machinima as a festival platform. Bitfilm was very supportive and helped a lot to spread the word about machinima worldwide over the last years.
Their topic "Money & Me." is interesting especially shortly after, or maybe still in between, the financial crisis. I'm interested to see what filmmakers around the world come up with.
Looks like 'Money' did win against machinima filmmakers again. Not only it's very hard to impossible to make any money with our creative work. Now 'Money' forces us out of Bitfilm festival. Can we strike back?

If you want to participate: Submission deadline is July 31, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Movie: the Graveyard. (NIN version)

I still love the original version, but from some comments I got and from my own impression I recognized some flaws. By making the choice to use the song from the original game this imposts a much faster pace to the editing than was good for the film. And since the song is in a not widespread language (Flemish) I had to put subtitles on. At the end it's a bit an information overload. You have to watch, listen and read at the same time. This could kill the mood that could be set by the film. Although I recognized that very soon after releasing the movie it needed one of those miracles to help. By random listening to tracks on my iPod, I came across that Nine Inch Nails song. I didn't remember to have ever heard it before, but did know instantly that this is the right music for that film. It had the right pace, set the right mood and has no text on it's own that puts some kind of interpretation to the film. Since my work on abstract film, I love the idea to let the viewer be part of the story and leave enough room for his/her own interpretation. I hope you like this new version and look forward your reviews, comments, critics.
Enough words. Let the movie speak for itself.