Virtual Surf's Up: Spectacular Surfing Video Proves There's Still Life in Second Life Machinima

If there's one thing I've learned after 10+ years of blogging about Second Life, any general statement you plan to make about the virtual world always requires an "on the other hand". So, while it's generally true that Second Life machinima is waning, it's also true, on the other hand, that SL machinima like this pretty spectacular surfing montage by ChanAndMe are still being made. Watch:

I love the jagged montage editing that cuts to the music and the cinematography, which at its swoopiest, looks like real world surfing footage. (Am from Hawaii and surfed, can confirm.)

On the other hand (yes, this other hand has an other hand), this excellent machinima also showcases the limitations of Second Life machinima which other creators mentioned in this comment thread:

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Open Forum: Why Is Second Life Machinima Waning?

Visually, Second Life has never looked better or been more versatile than it's ever been before (assuming you have a high-end machine), but apart from an occasional gem like the airborne travelogue above (highlighted by Iris recently), I haven't seen much excellent Second Life machinima in many, many months. You go to the YouTube feed for Second Life-related videos, you get barraged by SL griefer videos, Linden Dollar scammer videos, the occasional Linden Lab-sponsored video, random SL footage videos, and other effluvia. But far as actual, formal, narrative machinima which takes full advantage of Second Life as a platform, selections are getting pretty sparse.

Don't get me wrong, there are exceptions:

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Draxtor Despres' Mixed Reality Documentary Series Returns With the Man Behind Some of SL's Best Designed Spaces

Drax Files Editorial Clarity
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There's a new episode of Draxtor Despres' mixed reality machinima documentary series The Drax Files: World Makers (which is now sponsored by Linden Lab,) and it's packed with absolutely breathtaking virtual spaces. That's because episode 21 focuses on Editorial Clarity, the aptly named avatar behind SL interior design blog Love to Decorate and its complimentary magazine. As always the opportunity to learn what's inspired, motivated, and changed some of Second Life's most talented and interesting individuals is invaluable.

Clean lines, cracked plaster, and a wealth of inspiration await. Watch the full episode for yourself after the cut:

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Midday Get Away: Whatever You Do, Don't Miss This Adorable Aeronautical SL Machinima

 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

When I went poking around on YouTube for new Second Life machinima to share, I really wasn't expecting to come across this little gem. An adorable avatar, a gleaming red plane, a long stretch of runway, an even longer stretch of water, dotted with beachy little islands and cozy-looking homes. I'll admit that I never really understood the culture or the allure that developed around piloting virtual planes in a world where characters could fly with the tap of a button... But I think now I'm starting to get it.

If you like this sweet, cinematic little music video, you may want to poke around the rest of creator ChanAndMe C's YouTube channel for a few other outstanding videos in the same vein, including a series inspired by western films and this action-packed surfing montage.

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Watching the World Cup? You Won't Want to Miss This Second Life Machinima Music Video

 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Japanese machinima maker Ume Sib has developed a following for his fun and irreverent Second Life music videos. They tend to feature casts of unique characters, vibrant colors, inspiring set designs, and some very interesting choreography and camera work.

His latest video is a celebration of the 2014 Wold Cup currently taking place in Brazil, and it's a pretty good example of why his videos are so popular. It's bright, it's funny, and it's a solid demonstratio of SL in action. That said, it's nowhere near as charming as his second most recent video, "Dance", which features a ridiculously adorable virtual couple and outfit notes for any fashion-minded viewers hoping to recreate the avatar looks shown for themselves.

Watch more of Ume Sib's Second Life music videos on his Youtube channel, or follow him over on Facebook.

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Watch it This Weekend: A Second Life Artist Who Found Real World Inspiration in the Virtual World

 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

The latest episode of The Drax Files: World Makers (now sponsored by Linden Lab) is out, and it tells the story of flockers, an artist who draws real portraits of Second Life avatars. This isn't just about her artwork, though; it's also about how SL has changed her life for the better, bringing her out of her shell and helping her achieve her dream job. It's one hell of an inspiring story, you won't want to miss it.

If you're new to Draxtor Despres' ongoing mixed-reality mini-documentary series about the faces behind some of Second Life's most iconic characters and you're not sure where to even begin catching up, you're also in luck. Draxtor recently posted a video with highlights from the series, so if you're just looking to get your toes wet it's a fabulous place to start!

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Pharrell's "Happy" in Second Life Makes Me Vaguely Glad

I'm often the last person to listen to the latest pop hotness, and consequently, Pharrell's much-loved, much video-memed "Happy" single has only recently ear wormed its way into my head -- so I'm now happy to inflict "Happy" on you too:

This is the best SL version of "Happy" I've seen so far (by Smel Auroline), with a large cast, lots of scene changes, and the all-important inclusion of pogo sticks and bouncing pigs. I'd love to see other versions with more diverse avatars beyond the club kid variety:

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Is a Virtual World Lab Better for Students Than a Physical One? Find Out in the Latest Episode of The Drax Files

 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you're interested in the role that virtual worlds can play in education, you won't want to miss the latest episode of The Drax Files: World Makers, Draxtor Despres' ongoing mixed reality documentary series about what, how, and why people are doing what they do in Second Life. 

A chemistry professor at Texas A&M University has been running a particularly interesting experiment -- on her students. By having one group work in a virtual lab while another works in a physical one, both she and her research partner have been observing some pretty powerful benefits for students given the opportunity to work in a digital environment... But I won't spoil the juicy bits. Watch it for yourself above, or head over to Draxtor's YouTube channel to catch up on any episodes of The Drax Files that you may have missed. 

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Scrape Your Jaw Off of the Floor After Watching This Second Life Brand's Latest Promo Video

The Secret Store Gooey Promo
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

The new promo video for Maylee Oh's ultra-feminine SL fashion brand The Secret Store makes me want to do three things: Buy Adobe After Effects, buy a Glass Animals album, and buy out every single item in Maylee's shop... Excluding what I own already, of course.

This entracing music video is easily one of the most flawless machinima productions I've seen in a while, and it showcases her brand's aesthetic better than any still snapshot ad ever could. It's short, it's sweet, and even if the fashion isn't enough to entice you it's still an absolute must-see for SL users and machinima fans alike.

Watch it for yourself here.

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Where The Magic Happens: Draxtor Despres Interviews an SL Entrepreneur Whose Focus May Surprise You

 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

It's been a little while since we checked in with Second Life mini doc-maker Draxtor Despres, but that isn't to say he hasn't been busy. The latest episode of his series of mixed-reality resident profiles, The Drax Fles: World Makers, went up recently, and features yet another incredibly interesting creator that many of us may never have heard of. Zach Barkley makes magic in SL. Literally. Scripted, particle-powered spells and mystical effects for fantasy roleplay... Or just for showing off.

All in all this episode is an interesting look at a niche that may not spring to mind when you think about Second Life content creation. Just as interesting is hearing how Zach, who is still quite young, fits virtual worlds into his life (and how friends and family react to them). For me, learning about Draxtor's subjects outside of SL is always as interesting as learning about them inside of SL, if not moreso.

You can catch up on The Drax Files: World Makers over on Youtube, and if you need an even bigger Drax fix don't forget to check out the weekly Drax Files Radio Hour podcast.

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