a short check list of some nice tools for doing in-world video. no, not machinima – because the definition from wikipedia is:
Machinima is the use of real-time 3D computer graphics rendering engines to create a cinematic production.
the cinematic bit is why i’m not using the term machinima in this post. although the items on this checklist can certainly be used to make machinima
i don’t make machinima – i guess subQuark, Mo, and myself did technically attempt to make machinima back in 2008 with this video you may have already seen. this piece was actually used to advertise a product for the company subQuark works for and was online for three years (an edited version without that crass Ener Hax saying “my ass”) =D
i’m talking about making videos to show your work or events and videos that you can make by yourself. like anything, there is a wide range of dollars you can spend and i’ll list a few things in order of importance and usefulness offset by budget
the first thing is a good way to record your screen. i only know Windows products and did a short Google for Macs but have no way of telling if the ones i found were decent. oh well, the commercials say Mac is more fun than PC . . . =p
CamStudio is free and used by lots of people, but Fraps is the way to go if you have $37 USD to spend. Fraps is low overhead for your CPU and specifically made to capture games and does great for OpenSim and Second Life. one thing to note is that Fraps is a perpetual license – i bought mine 5 years ago and still get free updates, something like a dozen since i bought it
the next thing you’ll need is a way to edit your video. Macs come with iMovie which is a great tool and outputs to a YouTube friendly format. for us Windows people, MovieMaker is surprisingly good. it is very low in the amount of features but it does a good job taking the raw Fraps AVI files and making a WMV that you can upload to YouTube. for MovieMaker, always choose to output your movie to your machine, that way you”ll get higher quality than outputting for the web
if you’re ready to spend a bit for movie editing, i heartily recommend Sony’s Vegas Platinum (little sister of there $600 Pro version). when i started in Second Life that’s what Torley used and the “Platinum” version is usually available from Amazon for around $80 USD (wow, $48 right now from US Amazon). the advantage you have over MovieMaker is that you can add many audio tracks and video tracks. picture-in-picture is possible as is side-by-side and green screen. here are some old posts showing green screen and side-by-side. you can also output to any dimensions you want and fine tune your export quality settings
if you need to edit audio, as in doing a tutorial or wanting to overlay narration, there are two good and free applications out there – Audacity and WavePad (be careful to grab the limited free version, which works very well)
if you are doing external audio, you’ll need a microphone. there are many out there but a solid one is the Blue Snowball. it’s a USB mic made by a real microphone company and if you are going to do this regularly, it’s worth the extra money. Logitech has some $35 dollar ones but they are pretty crappy. The Snowball will set you back $90 but it is studio quality. you can sometimes get it for close to $75 on US Amazon
so that’s it, just a few suggestions for doing decent video of your work or in-world events!
now it just takes plenty of patience and a lot of practice, but it’s fun once you’ve done a few =)