Saturday, August 05, 2006

Technical Matters

As part of my plan to ramp up production at Thinkerer Studios, I have been investigating video editing software. I am presently testing this shareware version:
AVS Video editor
It costs $40US. (Windows only, I think.) It goes beyond Windows Movie Maker (free in Windows). It works with most common formats, including. mov, so we can exchange edited and compressed vids across the Mac-Win barrier. It also offers some additional features effects not available in WMM.

I have also tried Pinnacle ($100). It would not show vid on my new machine and noted that my graphics card was too new to be qualified. It explained how I could degrade the performance of my system so that Pinnacle might work. This puts it in my “YOU KNOW YOU’RE STILL IN GEEKSVILLE WHEN…” box. I don’t open that box till I have to.

I am also testing Streamload, a place that offers off-site storage. So far, it seems cheap and workable. Slow on upload, But 25 G for 10/per month is a good price. You can get 5G free, with a limitation that you can only download 100MB in any month.

If I put stuff on Streamload, I can give someone else access to it. Thus, I could, for example, put a draft version online and let someone else do the final edit. The .avi files for a 6 min. vid could easily run 10 G. Not very practical to transfer A draft file in compressed form would probably be about 100 Megs. Practical for BBand.

Putting these things together means that we have wide range of collaborative options.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Publicity for the SL players.

With Thinkerer Studios on the ground (next to Hobo Village), we are ready to start using it. The casting office asks that SL players contact Thinkerer Melville to get stills for their casting and publicity posters. TM already has stills of Zed Drebin and Absinthe. The stills will be set up as posters around the Thinkerer lot. In addition to stills, we would like to have a publicity blurb about the pictured avatar. For some suggestions or examples, visit the studio’s roof-top office and click on any posters you see there.

Who are the SL players? Tautology. Whoever has a poster up.

Note that I said avatars. I need to distinguish between an avatar and the person who operates it. A person can have multiple avatars and an avatar can be operated by more than one person. I have Sam the Sham, for example. I will put up a poster of Sam. I will probably not put up a poster of Thinkerer, because Thinkerer has other jobs. Similarly, Xenon has an avatar named Catherine of Argon. We will put up a poster of Catherine. Xenon is also working on Marta Stewpot. We will probably have a poster of Marta.

Sam the Sham is fully transferable. Thus, Sam may be operated by different people at different times. I working on other character AVs that will also be transferable.

At a later time I will be arranging for ways to present (market) skills of the people who contribute to the productions of Thinkerer Studios. Examples of contributions include operating avatars, camera work, vid editing, directing (audio and vid), audio editing, voice acting, and story development.

At present, these things will be used in story conferences. As we consider stories, we will have our resources (the AVs) in front of us. Later, some people may visit to look for talent. Eventually, people may even be willing to pay for such services. Of course, I usually underestimate the amount of time it will take for the Muggles to catch on. So don’t quit your day job.

At any rate, that is my main objective with Thinkerer Studios. Identify, develop, present, and market creative talent.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shooting starts on VIEW!

Kronos and I have started shooting on the “The View from Then.” We have an assistant who is interested in getting into this racket. He helped us keep track of things and (this time) got a bit part standing by the side of the road chatting with Thinkerer. (Thinkerer has no role in the story, but needs to appear in a shot from time to time to accommodate tagging. Well, it worked for Alfred Hitchcock.)

Since I have started to do scripted vids, I should make some distinctions. The vids I have been making are reasonably called ad hoc. Since I didn’t have actors or stories, I got vids of opportunity and did what I could to make them a little interesting. I expect to do more of these. I will probably call them Thinkerer’s Travels when I write my complete autobiography.

In praise of Ad Hoc vidding. The advantage of ad hoc vids is that you can do them with few resources and little skill. (You noticed!) Other people can look at them and say “I can do that.” Or even, “I can do better than that.” I hope that people not only say it, but do it.

That said, I don’t intend be limited to the ad hoc genre. I am most interested in using SL as a medium for telling stories (including educational and/or humorous stories). That leads to scripted vids, as illustrated by VIEW and the shot list in:
How to succeed in vidding when you don’t know what you’re doing.

As the link title suggests, I also intend to give people some guidance (mainly examples) in how to develop a story and turn it into a story vid. But I won’t talk about that. (If talking were waking, people would get farther.)