Ole Etzel reveals the secrets of Machinima

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Have you ever wondered how to make machinima? (Yes!). Have you ever given it a go and been less that satisfied? (Yes!). Not even sure what this “machinima” thing is? Ole Etzel – aka Mr. Bones will be on-hand to answer these questions and more as he sits down to present a practical workshop on the subject which promises to cover everything from capturing things in-world through editing and post-production.

Notes for his own series of Mr. Bones videos and recently the focus of The Drax Files, Ole also promises to give more insight into In the Belly of the Whale, which he is co-running with Eupalinos Ugajin at Moving Islands [Rafts] at LEA20.

"Lights, camera ..." The workshop area
“Lights, camera …” The workshop area

Things kick-off at 12:00 noon SLT. The workshop area can be reached via the LEA20 arrival point. Look for the workshop poster (top), and the treasure chest beneath it. Click on the latter for a teleport to the workshop area (the direct TP may not work).

And here’s one of my favourite Mr. Bones music videos.

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Another small navigation update

Just a quick note to say that I’m doing a little more tweaking to the menus at the top of this blog, and likely will be on-and-off for a bit as I try to make navigation and finding topic categories and groups a little easier within the limitations of WordPress (and without ending-up with a gazillion tags…).

The main tweak for the moment is to the Pey’s Travelogues menu, where I’ve now sub-divided my SL Explorations menu item by year as a sub-menu. While this doesn’t make finding an individual destination review that much easier, it at least breaks down the number of reviews returned compared to clicking on the main link!

SL destinations now broken down by year of visit
SL destinations now broken down by year of visit

Hopefully this will prove to be of some help to people browsing through the places I’ve visited 🙂 .

RiTai Dreamland: an eclectic tropical splendour

RiTai Dreamland, January 2014
RiTai Dreamland – click for full size

Goizane Latzo over at Bitacora drew my attention to RiTai Dreamland, a full region which is jointly owned by Tai – HH (Taishatai aka Tai (taisha Lemon)) and her partner Richard (dexterity00).

I’m not sure if the region forms their private home, but Tai and Richard have generously opened it to the public, and the ground level is more than worth a visit, as it is a very picturesque place which offers more than might initially be apparent to the new arrival. Taking a tropical theme as its basis, the region is oriented towards the west – all the better to appreciate SL’s beautiful sunsets – and has all the trapping of a typical location in the tropics: golden sands, tall palms, high rock faces down which waterfalls tumble; the sound of waves breaking upon the shore, a curving, lagoon-like sweep of water cutting into the island, and more…

RiTai Dreamland, January 2014
RiTai Dreamland – click for full size

However, this is not just a tropical island. Follow the paths around it, cross the bridges over the water, and you’ll pass by a fascinating range of artwork from a number of SL artists, including Bryn Oh (who has her own place on the neighbouring RiTai East),  Sniper Seimens, Nera Ireman, Yana Inaka, Nessuno Myoo and Tai herself. Some of these sit on their own, under the shade of palms, others sit within public sun decks or out on and over the surrounding waters. But wherever they are, each of the pieces on display offers its own unique focal point as one explores the island, serving to both give pause as one wanders and to prompt one to carry on around the island to see what else might be found.

The art isn’t only down on the beach areas or on / over the water, either.  There is a tree house offering more pieces to be admired (use the teleport button at the base of the tree to make your way up to it), notably – again – from Bryn Oh. From here a wooden bridge spans the gap to the top of the waterfalls, although you may feel like you need a battered fedora and a bullwhip while crossing it! A further wood-and-rope bridge leads you to the top of the remaining cliffs, and a further view of the landscape below and the surrounding sea.

RiTai Dreamland, January 2014
RiTai Dreamland – click for full size

Alongside of art, a love of speed and flight is very much in evidence in RiTai Dreamland. In the lagoon-like centre of the region sits a gleaming white cruiser, while one of the beachfront lounge areas sports a scale model of a Formula 1 racing car and a gleaming motorcycle. Elsewhere, a number of helicopters can be found, one of which can be flown by visitors wanting to enjoy more of a bird’s-eye view of the island and which the adventurous might want to try taking up and landing on the cliff-top helipad.

Nor is the helicopter the only activity which can be enjoyed here; those who don’t wish to walk around the island can saddle-up and ride a horse; there is also hangliding and surfing on offer as well as the infamous pirate ship Blake Pearl (not to be confused with a pirate vessel of a similar name from a certain film franchise 😉 ) to explore and even canons to fire!

RiTai Dreamland, January 2014
RiTai Dreamland – click for full size

All-in-all, RiTai Dreamland offers a wonderfully imaginative destination which has it all: beautiful  landscaping, some excellent pieces of art and sculpture to admire, things to do and places to simply sit and unwind. There’s even Bryn’s place just across the water, but I’m leaving that for another day and another visit…

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Freedom Project: first video submission premiered, still time to enter

The Freedom Project FINAL 26 Aug, 2013At the start of September, 2013, I covered the launch of the Freedom Project, a 2D/3D Art and Film Event. co-organised by the University of Western Australia,  Virtual Ability Inc., and the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible illnesses.

The project is an opportunity for artists suffering from a disability or chronic illness, or associated with those suffering from either, to demonstrate how virtual life has enabled them to engage in activities and interact with others in ways which may not be possible in the real world.

On Saturday January 11th, the UWA premiered the first Freedom Project Film Mandala Dance by Maia Kyi’Ra (Starheart Erdhein in SL), co-founder of the Spirit Dance Company and founder of the  Light Fantastic Dancers, who perform the Mandala Dance, choreographed by Maia, and which features Now We Are Free by Lisa Gerrard and Hans Zimmer, the title of which fits the theme of the project perfectly.

As well as showcasing the film the UWA blog entry for Mandala Dance includes some of Maia’s own story, and you can read more of it on her website, New Earthstar Merkabah.

Sculptures, models and 2D art for the Freedom Project can also be seen at the UWA Virtual Gallery, and as a reminder to artists and those wishing to participate, submissions remain open until February 28th, 2014. Please refer to my original report on the Project – and more particularly, the original UWA announcement of the Project – for notes on the theme, technical requirements, considerations, rules, etc., for submitting a piece to the exhibit.

In brief, submissions should be on the theme of “freedom” and represent how the virtual world has helped the artist or those around the artist. Artwork should be no more than 200 land impact and films should be around 3-5 minutes (although no hard limits on film length will be enforced). Collaborative works are welcome, so long as the submission guidelines are adhered to. Artwork will go on display immediately at the UWA Virtual Gallery, and films will be put on the UWA Second Life Blog.

While the Project is not a competition, ten pieces will be selected by a special panel to each receive a special L$10,000 award.

A part of Cyberwings by Willothewisp
A part of Cyberwings by Willothewisp

About Virtual Ability

Many disabilities in the real world can be a barrier to entry into the digital as well. People may have difficulties in dealing with the keyboard due to illness or disability; others many be reliant upon voice recognition software, and so on. Virtual Ability, Inc. helps people with these kind of challenges get into and become successful in virtual worlds like Second Life.

From an individual skills assessment undertaken during a unique intake process, Virtual Ability inc., are able to refer clients for help with assistive hardware and software as appropriate, and provide customised training and orientation. Once clients are in-world, Virtual Ability Inc., helps them integrate into the virtual society, and provides an ongoing community of support.  The community offers members information, encouragement, training, companionship, referrals to other online resources and groups, ways to contribute back to the community, and ways to have fun.

The organisation runs a number of in-world centres, which can be read about on their website.

Beauty in Darkness and Silent Night by Roman Godde
Beauty in Darkness and Silent Night by Roman Godde

About the Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses

The Centre for ME/CFS and Other Invisible Illnesses provides resources, support and guided relaxation sessions, for people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, and other invisible illnesses.  They host general and research discussions once a week on Mondays at 18:00 SLT, and guided relaxation sessions every day, twice a day, at 08:00 and 20:00 SLT, in the Centre to help people manage their illness.  This Centre is open to all, and all are welcome, including anyone with an illness, their families and carers to meet here and help each other. The Centre is located in Curtin University in Second Life.

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