A Second Look at Second Life Filmmaking

I had to delve into the brief post from Ewan today about Second Life Filmmaking.  I was intrigued by his first sentence:

“I found the Steampunk movie below, from Alice, as beautiful and enchanting as many of the ‘real' movies I've seen recently”

Here's the film he shared:

After defining the word steampunk, (ok, I'm sure it was back in some dusty neurons somewhere), I was totally floored that this number was indeed filmed in Second Life.

As I'm embarking upon a Second Life island of our own this fall (and honestly, have no clue as to how it will work out, just that I have some really smart friends to call upon,) I'm amazed at what these worlds let us do.

It would take days of animation which would still pretty much leave this quality of filmmaking unreachable at the K12 level and yet with some screen capture software like Camtasia, we can indeed do some amazing things.

The idea of machinima is really just now beginning to take hold in the minds of educators and yet, the more I think about it the more I think it can have great value to us in many more ways than creative writing.

After spending some cursory time looking for information on this topic, I was amazed at  Diane Carr's excellent overview of the research and activities in this topic in her Machinima in Education article on the Future Lab website.  I'm going to spend some time reading the resources and information there.

Third person is such a valuable role for students to play as it releases them from the peer pressure of “looking dumb” when they act in front of a room of people.  This is on my hot list to investigate for the fall.

What are the best practices when capturing machinima?  Maybe you have some links to share.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Mathieu Plourde July 15, 2008 - 9:19 pm

I think filmmaking is the greatest value of Second Life at this point in time. It’s a fast way to build a 3D learning object to tell a story, to show a process, etc. … unless you have to build the stage too, of course.

The technology hurdle to use Second Life is still to high for a lot of people, especially when it comes to bandwidth and video cards, but also because of the time it takes to get started (you have to learn how to move, to dress, to manipulate objects, to find places of interest, etc.).

Sue Waters July 15, 2008 - 9:50 pm

Have you checked through the resources on Second Life in Education Wiki? I assume that you might have Jokay in your twitter stream — this is her’s and Sean Fitzgerald wiki.

GreenEyedGal July 16, 2008 - 2:51 am

I think Second Life is very interesting but I the class I am in right now has taught me about having an Avitar and at that point I was wanting to learn more. So I will be checking back with you so that I can learn from your expertise. ;0

Karyn Romeis July 16, 2008 - 9:09 am

Great movie, yes, but I kept hoping something would happen. The movie was about the place, and there were no more than two people present. I felt it should be about the people and what happens there. It makes me think of the tendency for social media sometimes to be about social media rather than what they can empower users to do.

Vicki A. Davis July 16, 2008 - 12:48 pm

@mathieu – Yes, it does take quite a bit of time to get up to speed in SL. Played with Google’s Web 3D app – Lively last night — still ended up in walls there although it is not nearly as graphic intensive.

@sue – Saw those a while back, but I’ll definitely add Jokay — need to go back to those resources.

@greeneyedgal – Avatars are prevalent in many places – I have my students create them in my class. The Second Life experts that I know are Beth Ritter Guth, Kevin Jarrett, and Peggy Sheehy, they know so much more than I about Web 3D and second life. Check out their blogs!

@karyn – I agree totally, but I could just picture some awesome things happening w/ my students in there. It was more of an artistic rendering, I think.

Ms. Wojo July 16, 2008 - 5:32 pm

Thanks for your leadership in getting we Web 2.0 Newbies on track. I had to read this post a couple of times (and the links) before beginning to wrap my head around the concept of machinima. Some day I’ll get there!

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