Close To The Edit

Whew, finally got that finished! I've been kind of busy lately, and while I've had the Final Cut Studio update since shortly after its release the discs were just sitting on the corner of the desk. But I was determined to try my hand at filming in SL with this event (previously, BlakOpal had done all the in-world filming), and so last week spent many hours on a clean install.

To record the video from SL, BlakOpal has been using iShowU HD Pro with great success. I found the app a little frustrating, but functional. I've been toying around lately with a program called ScreenFlow, which not only feels better to work with, but seems to have a better frame rate (the process of capturing and recording your screen adds some overhead, which in turn bogs down your SL performance a bit). While you can also do screen recording with Quicktime in Snow Leopard, I've found that to be really basic stuff, it's much more suited to creating a software demo or application tutorial than it is for virtual movie-making.

The Sunday event went really well, I managed to get some great shots along with lots and lots of bad footage (due to my own inexperience), and all-in-all I came away extremely excited for Tuesday. Both shows were special and had great outfits in them, but Tuesday was the main event as far as I was concerned.

Sadly, the show had some hiccups that were really heartbreaking as a designer. But a number of the outfits came together extremely well, and armed with what I'd learned on Sunday I managed to get a few really good shots. After giving myself a little time to get over what hadn't worked out about the show, I was in the right space to focus on the things that did go well. Incredible outfits. Better shots. Higher resolution (I was actually able to shoot in HD). Great music (I"ve been a fan of The Prodigy for years, and Future Funk Squad's not only an incredible producer but a friend as well).

The edit came together really quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I spent a fair amount of time contemplating playing around with some fancy effects and titling in Motion. I've been dying to get into using that program, but in the end opted against making the project over-complicated. As a rule of thumb, you want to get close to the edit (so that you know the material you're working with and can deliver a great cut), but not too close. I could see myself easily getting caught up in working out some clever effect or transition, only to find that months later I'm still not finished.

Fortunately I had the good sense to know when to leave well enough alone, and I'll save my experiments with Motion for another project. Meanwhile, you can check out the VLFW Sunday video here, and the Tuesday show highlights here.

Holy Crap!

I can think of no more appropriate title. Really. It's been that kind of day. But I mean Holy Crap in a good way, if not the best possible way.

As I mentioned earlier, I was lamenting the loss of so many great photos from Miss Breezy's amazing event and the combination of stress and excitement regarding our runway show at the Virtual London Fashion Week event. Alright, well if I didn't mention the stress part it was an oversight. It's been a point of vast quantities of stress for me. Even though the event was being produced by a capable team, I was stressing about all the ridiculous things - whether the models got everything and they were able (or even cared) to make adjustments for fit, whether they would look good on the runway, whether the folks in attendance (in person or on the other end of the streaming video) would appreciate it, and of course the music.

While there are some great DJ's providing music for the event, and they offered to handle everything or even handle any special requests, I decided to take a stab at providing a soundtrack for each of the shows. I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to pull it off, as I hadn't been spending much time in the studio or playing lately (not since early July, really), but hearing it today I'm really pleased with the performance and the music seemed to set the perfect atmosphere for the show. Afterwards we received some very wonderful compliments and stayed a bit for drinks and hello's before I made my way back to the studio.

It was around that time that I found my lost pictures from last night's ball. Woohoo! Long story short, they'd been saved to another location on the network entirely, and hooray they're all there. I've scrubbed through them all and gotten the gallery put together, you can check them out here. And speaking of galleries, BlakOpal grabbed a few high quality snaps from today's runway show, you can check those out here. Where are my pictures? I didn't take any, as I was attempting to shoot video. I've got plenty of footage to edit, and will hopefully have something put together from that in the near future. Whew - it's been a long day!

Soot-Filled Brain

Last night was one of the best nights yet at Piermont Landing, with the Engineers Ball. Wonderful hot air balloons, impeccably dressed folks, wonderful conversations, and with the recently upgraded SL seemed to be performing quite well (sim crossings and teleports are greatly improved, and lag seemed way down). I was even able to snap a few dozen stunning pictures. Or so I thought.

Due to some form of technical glitch (read as: user error), I had apparently been saving my snapshots to the aether instead of to my local drive. D'oh! How very disappointing, as I was convinced I had gotten some real gems and was excited to be writing a post about having just uploaded them. Now I feel a bit like a fisherman telling people about the one that got away. Members of the New Babbage community can, of course, check out the New Babbage Ning to see many wonderful pics taken by others who were there (and quite honestly, have better skills than I do), and of course if you're interested in the greater New Babbage community, then I suggest you head on over there and join (membership is free).

Waking up with my morning medicinal, my thoughts now turn towards London. Rather, towards Virtual London and Fashion Week. The last week or so has been a whirlwind of preparation for BlakOpal and I - our work is in two runway shows this week (the first is today at 2PM SLT, the second is on Tuesday). Oddly enough, many others are working even harder. The event organizers have been putting months of preparation into the event, and the other designers have all really been outdoing themselves - each booth I've glanced at has been filled with wonderful things. Go check it out here.

Disco Inferno

Looking at the picture above, I had initially thought to give this post the title "Burn Baby Burn" but then thought better of it. It's a go-to phrase that people who've been to the Burning Man Arts Festival tend to use, and after going to our campsite for this year's Burning Life in-world it just seemed like it fit. Then I remembered that a) this post will cover more than just me yammering on about Burning Life, and b) a friend of mine made a film about the festival called "Burn Baby Burn" so a slightly different title seemed more appropriate.

BlakOpal and I are both extremely excited about our theme camp being accepted for this year's Burning Life. We had one last year as well, it was our first real event in Second Life. It seemed strangely fitting for us, since we've both been to the RL event several times. It also helped us with our 'playa withdrawals' since we were taking the year off from Burning Man. While we were both 'fresh off the boat' new to SL, we still managed to build a fun space on the virtual playa and had a great time. This year we've learned quite a bit, and I've got a computer that can actually handle walking around without crashing once the event kicks off.

Last night was our first opportunity to visit the space. We're further back from the Esplanade this year, but I kind of like that idea. We've been tossing around ideas for the build for a few weeks, and soon enough we'll start playing with prims in the virtual dust. Stay tuned for more information on Eridu Society at Burning Life!

This morning I had a great meeting in Virtual London, in preparation for Fashion Week, which kicks off on Saturday. We've had the pleasure of participating in a few different fashion events and festivals, and while things can get a little hectic at times, it's a good kind of hectic. The organizers have created a really amazing space for the event and we're extremely excited to not only have a booth space but be participating in two different fashion shows. The first, to a broader audience, is on Sunday at 2PM SLT. The second, on a bit more of a 'theme' night (which seems appropriate considering some of our steampunk/pirate creations) is on Tuesday at 1:30PM SLT.

While we have the opportunity to request songs for the DJ's to play, I'm considering a slightly different direction. A couple friends of mine have recently sent advances of some of their upcoming releases, and I'm considering putting something together that showcases and teases some of that material, along with a few gems I've got in my collection. We'll see how that all plays out - with Virtual London Fashion Week kicking off on Saturday, there's an awful lot to do in a very short period of time.

I've also got some amazing pictures in my in-box. Yep, more photos for our photo contest! As soon as I get a chance, I'll go through them and update the Customer Gallery, and get some gift cards out to more people. Keep 'em coming!