More MOSP for you to play with

I find the Machinima Open Studio Project intriguing, as past posts on the subject demonstrate.  Chic Aeon’s work to provide machinima makers and photographers with a range of facilities and sets is always evolving. As such, I tend to periodically pop back and see what is going on and look at what has changed since my last visit. I did so at the start of August, knowing that Chic has recently spent some time adding, tweaking and updating, and was curious to have a look at what’s changed / arrived, and report back on some of the updates.

Cherry Blossom Romance at MOSP
Cherry Blossom Romance at MOSP

On the Ground

At the ground level, there are some new buildings, a place to go fishing (complete with casting animations, etc.), and a new rural / farm scene complete with green house, crops and plants and beasty of a tractor. These all combine to add a range of filming  / photography options in a natural, open setting.

One of the recent ground-level additions at MOSP
One of the recent ground-level additions at MOSP

Up in the air there have been quite a few changes / updates since my last visit. The “green platform”, now called Sage, has received a number of new additions. There’s now a pond with a water wheel, a little campsite with caravan and barbecue, and a play area with a roundabout. The seats outside of the caravan are scripted, as are the places around the table set for a meal from the barbecue, which also give out utensils, etc.

Barbecue and caravab at Sage
Barbecue and caravan at MOSP Sage

Not far from it, and sitting as another outdoor set which could be used with it or those on the ground as well as suiting a period setting, is Cherry Blossom Romance, which looks particularly inviting at sunset.  While the Country Road continues the outdoor theme and features a long stretch of open prairie land road, with a water tower and a tractor out in the fields.

The Road to Nowhere at MOSP
The Country Road at MOSP

For those looking for something more urban, there is the full sim city I looked at last time I visited MOSP, and to which has been added the City of Lost Souls, a backstreet set with both an exterior street and several interiors which show the grungy side of town after dark.

Several of the sets I’ve previously visited have been given an overhaul as well, including the village, while a new set, Something Wretched, provides something for those into the horror / mystery / gothic scene, with a build incorporating materials for added depth.

Sci-fi film-makers are not left out either, as there is a ship’s interior which provides a corridor and a control room, and which has sections that are transparent from the outside to enable freer camera movement. I’ve no idea if more ship parts are planned, but would assume they can be provided were there a demand.

"Hailing frequencies open" - the ship's interior at MOSP
“Hailing frequencies open” – the ship’s interior at MOSP

The great thing about this project is that it is always being updated and new sets are always appearing. This makes listing all the changes a little hard – but if you’re into machinima and want to track what is going on and whether there are sets appearing which may interest you, then make sure you keep an eye on Chic’s own MOSP blog.

Don’t forget as well that there are always things being added around the sound stages, which offer smaller set-piece opportunities for filming, and the corporate offices, which can be used for a wide variety of roles. You can get the LMs for these from the arrival point, together with LMs to all the other sets / areas.

Whether you are a machinima maker or a photographer, if you haven’t visited MOSP before, it is worth while taking the time to do so; you never know what you might find there to help with a given project, and Chic herself can easily be reached to provide assistance and advice, if needed.

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City streets and dungeons deep …

I’ve been covering Chic Aeon’s Machinima Open Studio Project (MOSP) for a while now. Originally a part og the LEA’s Artist-in-Residence programme in 2012, where I first reviewed it, MOSP has more recently become a permanent part of the LEA environs, with a dedicated home on LEA7.

Chic herself continues to revise and enhance the facilities in the region, adding additional sets, props and vista in order to provide machinima makers with the widest choice of opportunities to meet their filming needs. Overall, the best way to keep up with the updates and changes is via the MOSP blog. The two most recent updates include a full region cityscape and a dungeon environment, both of which are well-suited to a number of uses.

"Night had fallen by the time I reached the city. The streets were deserted while all around me, lights shone from the high-rises and apartment blocks; a thousand silent eyes watching my every move..."
“Night had fallen by the time I reached the city, and I came full circle. The streets were deserted while all around me, lights shone from the high-rises and apartment blocks; a thousand silent eyes watching my every move…” – MOSP’s full region cityscape

The City build is a simple but effective set, offering a backdrop of tall buildings, streets, a row of shops and a large open area suitable for a number of uses, such as a park scene or open-air concert scene, and so on. Cars parked along the roadside add a measure of additional depth and the shops themselves are suitable for outfitting – or could even double as a row of houses.

The Dungeon is another simple but effective build, offering a series of torch-lit rooms built of stone and with stone floors which could easily be taken as the island of a castle or the cellars of a great, old house or simple a goal or cells standing out their own (there is a desert-like landscaping outside).

MOSP
MOSP: Dungeon set

Chic intends to keep on adding to the various sets as time goes on, and in introducing more in the way of mesh as a primary building option, which is not to stay the current prim builds will vanish any time soon.

“When I started putting the first MOSP together — and again when it was resurrected on LEA7 — I wasn’t terribly concerned with prim counts. I mean, a WHOLE sim!” she explains on the MOSP blog.

“But as more sets were added, those new land impact points became more important. So part of my self-described job description for the future will be continuously updating existing builds with the emphasis on super quality and low land impact mesh. My personal equation has something to do with visual impact in comparison to land impact costs. So some older prim buildings will certainly remain for a while. They have their own charm and are some of the most popular places at MOSP.

“But I suspect that in a year, most of LEA7 will be mesh, so much more can be fitted in.”

As it is, and especially with the ground-level vistas, she’s achieved a good balance between mesh and prim builds, presenting a range of sets and options which are suitable for both machinima filming and photography. With the arrival of the new city and dungeon sets, Chic has further added to the many opportunities MOSP offers the machinimatographer and photographer.

"I knew the SUV was Calhogie's; who else would drive something so over-the-top these days? Parking opposite, I got out of my car, feeling the comforting bulk of Mr. Redemption snuggled under my right arm inside my jacket. The SUV's headlight flashed twice, and I paused, determined to get Calhogie out into the open...."
“I knew the SUV was Calhogie’s; who else would drive something so over-the-top these days? Parking opposite, I got out of my car, feeling the comforting bulk of Mr. Redemption snuggled under my right arm inside my jacket. The SUV’s headlight flashed twice, and I paused, determined to get Calhogie out into the open….”

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“Lights, camera, action – and take 2!”

Back in October, I looked at the Machinima Open Studio Project (MOSP), a full sim environment on LEA20 created by Chic Aeon as a part of the 2012 Artist-in-Residence series and for use by machinima makers and photographer across Second Life.  As noted at the time, I thought the installation was a superb idea, and was saddened to think it would be vanishing as the new Artist-in-Residence series got underway.

However, rather than vanish, MOSP has been moved to a new location and given an update. The new location at LEA7 features a revised ground-level layout and a host of new features which are again open for use. If you have any interest at all in machinima and  / or photography, I can’t emphasise enough the value of this resource and the opportunities it presents for film-making and photographic work.

The new MOSP
The new MOSP

The most obvious updates brought to MOSP are at ground level – obvious, because that is where you arrive on teleporting. While the railway track from the original is still there, the landscape has been re-worked and Chic has added a number of buildings which can be used both independently of one another, and in combination to tell a story, film a promotional video or as sets for the photographer.

These aren’t the only changes either, so when you arrive, do spend time at the information area, where you can pick-up an introduction to MOSP and a folder of LMs to all of the facilities – you’ll need them! And if you’re concerned about the landing zone being smack in the middle of the scenery – always remember that the derender option in most TPVs can neatly hide it from the camera’s eye when filming.

The new MOSP
The new MOSP

Up in the sky, the sound stages are still available for studio-based work, as are the corporate offices, which again could be used for studio filming as well as offering other opportunities. Also in the sky are a number of new themed sets, including a desert complete with old fort and camels and a rural / farm scene. These sets are also mach larger than the sky sets from the original MOSP and provide even greater potential and flexibility of use when filming, either as standalone feature or in combination with other parts of the faculty.  There’s also a viewing theatre where MachinimUWA, LEA and MoMac machinima can be watched in a unique three-into-one environment.

Sand at MOSP
Sand at the new MOSP

MOSP offers a 20-minute rez time for those who need to use props and the like, and as the environments are open to being revised or updated, it is best to contact Chic herself regarding any projects which may require the using the MOSP’s facilities over a period of time to ensure a set isn’t updated or revised if real life means that filming has to be broken-up over a period of time.

Chic went to great lengths to ensure the best possible filming experience could be enjoyed at the original MOSP, particularly with the placement of the studios and specialised scenes places well overhead to avoid as much lag as possible and thus ensure good frame rates. The same care has been exhibited here as well, and the sky scenes positioned such that all can be used independently of one another and (providing you adjust any high draw distance downwards sufficiently) at any time of day without shadows from those above interfering with any filming.

The new MOSP
The new MOSP

For those wishing teach others about machinima or photography (or indeed start out in either), MOSP also now has a dedicated classroom area, and there is an open invitation to those wishing to run classes to contact Chic and enroll in the MOSP group, where they can be given a teaching role and announce events.

Whether you’re looking to film you own romance, mystery or adventure story and need some additional locations or you want to have a number of ready-made sets for a photo shoot or are looking for studio-style or indoor sets to film a scene or two, the Machinima Open Studio Project more than likely has you covered. This was a superb resource when Chic first opened at on LEA20 last year; now, with the move to a new, permanent home at LEA20 MOSP stands to become a an outstanding and unique faculty for film-makers and photographers alike. Chic is to be commended for bringing it all together and working so hard to extend MOSP’s capabilities. Kudos as well to the LEA committee for ensuring MOSP has a home at the LEA following the end of the 2012 AIR series.

The new MOSP
The new MOSP

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Updates video courtesy of Chic Aeon

“Lights, cameras, action!”

Update, April 12th: The Machinima Open Studio Project has moved to a new, permanent location at LEA7 and has been extensively updated, which I’ve also reviewed.

If you ever dreamed of being a movie mogul, the time is now. The Machinima Open Studio Project (MOSP) at LEA20 offers a wide variety of locales and sets built with filming in mind.  Nine structures dot the countryside with more to come. Peaceful Valley sits in the shadow of tall mountains, should you keep the region Windlight setting, while the cottages and outdoor locations along Beach Walk are definitely a sun lover’s paradise.

So reads the promotional material for the Machinima Open Studio Project (MOSP), which formally opened on October 1st. A part of the Full Sim Art series operated by the Linden Endowment for the Arts, MOSP is curated by Artist-in-Residence Chic Aeon, and is located on and above LEA 20, where it provides a wide range of facilities and options for machinima makers and photographers alike. The facility will be open through until the end of February 2013.

Part of the MOSP Welcome Area

Visitors to the facility are advised to start at the Welcome Area. This is a simple, open-air platform with a series of information boards which provide quick and clean access to essential information about MOSP and its facilities. One of these also supplies you with a teleport HUD, and I strongly recommend you grab a copy and use it in order to see everything on offer – there is a lot to see.

Around the Welcome Area are a number of the pre-built sets. There are simple, open affairs which offer scope for the machinima maker and photographer alike, either using the established windlight presets or custom set-ups. All of the ground-level sets use the same landscaping and design, allowing several or all of them to be used in productions / photo shoots.

One of the ground-level outdoor sets

Above ground is a further range of individual themed sets – subway, New Orleans, ruins, gypsy camp, park and Shadowlands – each with its own possibilities for filming and photo-shoots, either on its own or, again, in unison with some of the other sets.

“I knew the only reason Calhogie picked the time and place was not only because he didn’t want to have anyone see him taking possession of the case, but because he wanted somewhere quiet to tie-up loose ends. So I let Mr. Redemption hitch a ride on my thigh as insurance…” – on one of the MOSP sets

There are also four sound stages available for interior shooting. The layouts are very studio like, with each containing a number of related sets, allowing scenes to be quickly and easily filmed, ready for assembly into a completed show or film.

One of the soundstages with pre-built sets

Finally, there is the Corporate Office, space that lends itself to a huge range of uses – chat show studio, teaching environment, news studio, meeting place, all presented in a professional and well laid-out environment in the heart of a “city” sky scene.

The Corporate Office space

Everything at MOSP has been put together with care and attention; the soundstages and specialised sets, together with the Corporate Office are well above ground level to get the maximum advantage from increased frame rates. One the ground, the sets are spread well apart, allowing for plenty of camera movement. Further, Chic has brought together some excellent supporting material,  including notes on getting started in machinima making, a dedicated website for the project, a Flickr group for those using MOSP for photography and promotional boards for films made in whole or in part in the region.

Standing in the sun-dried grass and looking at the stones, only one thing ran through my mind was, “We’re not in Kansas any more…” – on the “ruins” set at MOSP.

The soundstages and themed sets, together with the Corporate Office are well above ground level to get the maximum advantage from increased frame rates. One the ground, the sets are well space to allow for plenty of camera movement. Given the close proximity of the LEA regions, it is advisable to keep draw distance down. This not only (again) helps improve frame rates when filming – to also means there is less risk of accidentally capturing a pice of the neighbouring region when filming / shooting. There a lots of clear extras on the ground sets as well, which can be used to great effect with the right ambient windlight / lighting – I particularly love the train track, which can be made to look as if it is disappearing into the distance.

If you’re into machinima, want to make a start or need a number of pre-made locations for a photo shoot, MOSP is definitely worth a good look. And if you’re curious, there’s also the Explorer Hunt, with up to 50 gifts for the keen-eyed!

“Calhogie was gone and I knew the Feds would be coming after me. Rikhard’s had done a bang-up job ensuring that. But I had the case, and I figured what was inside could keep me pretty comfortable even on the run. For now, it was just a long walk back done the track, but I still had Mr. Redemption on my thigh, ready to keep me company on the way….” – making use of the rail track section at MOSP

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Video courtesy of Chic Aeon