Monday, November 23, 2009

Expo, deep thoughts, ect.

My brain is soup.  Not that it's a bad thing but it needs to be strained to get anything solid from it.  Busy weekend full of thoughts on the MachinimaExpo, machinima and animation in general.

The Expo was grand, full of interesting looking people, films and presentations.  IceAxe's Clockwork took home the gold which somehow further validated the jury panel in my eyes.  As I said previously it was a really strong contender but I figured on a win by the excellent Push because the Expo organizers have shown something of a  penchant for the more artsy films and an appreciation  for process.  Removing knowledge of process from the equation perhaps led to the selection of Clockwork (or perhaps not, what do I know).  Overall, it was neat to see the darkhorse (and deserving, though I could have slept easy with many of the other jury selections as well) win.

This issue of process has also been of interest to me of late, coming to a head in the great 48Hr Film faux pas  (I amplify only for comedic effect) in which the differences between MS, IClone and virtual world and video game video capture were discussed.  While it turns out the omission of Iclone in this event was simply a mistake, some very valid differences were brought up in terms of process.  In short, filming in IC or MS is very different than filming in SL.

As someone who now works with Iclone, I tend to think of myself as an amatuer animator more than a machinimator  as there is little link to the video game world (for me) and the idea of real time rendering as a dividing line is a technical one at best.  I don't think of one as better than the other but I do recognize that working in Iclone or MS knocks off a level of uncertainty and chance from the process (no bikini girls wondering into my shot...unless they are in the script) and allows me to follow a more rigid process to get my vision on film.  

So I continued in my stoic rigidity until reading these thoughts from Mike Joyce (Pineapple Chunks) which reminded me that some level of uncertainty and chance can be a good thing and organic filmmaking is something to remain open to in the future.  When we spend 3-6 months working on a film and it open and generates 20 responses in a week and then fades to relative obscurity perhaps process (those 3-6 months) indeed is as important as the end result.  Theres also an ease of collaboration and interaction that occurs in a virtual world that is much harder to attain in something like Iclone.  

And amid all these thoughts I have finished (I think) my video contest entry.  It's sugary sweet and reminds me of my childhood aspiration to be a tv adman dreaming up catchy jingles and cute catchphrases.

At the advice of Phil Rice I purchased Quick Time Pro for the h.264 video codec and am quite happy with the results.  1 minute of film uncompressed from Iclone to Magix was coming in at 2.5Gb.  Compressed in Quick time with nice looking results it 33Mb.  The conversion to flash looks solid in youtube as well as Vimeo.  And there was much rejoicing.  Thanks Phil! 

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