Avatars Go to Mars in This Excellent SL Machinima

Here's some visually impressive Second Life machinima seamlessly combining virtual footage and in-world effects with clips from various movies and TV footage:

Created by Erythro Asimov (who also shot this great one last year), it's inspired by NASA's call to register your name on the first flight to Mars, which he and fellow SLer Shannon Cardalines jumped on:

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Second Life Machinima: Mr. Bones Meets a Mermaid

The latest hilarious and lovingly produced installment in the Second Life adventures of Ole "Mr. Bones" Etzel is full of disaster and danger and maybe some hotly hot hotness with a mermaid in the deep blue sea:

"Mr. Bones" is Ole Etzel, a German SLer with a knack for American folk music and machinima, who told me this about the latest adventures of his avatar:

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Start Your Monday Right With 36 Seconds of Absolutely Absurd Second Life Machinima

Nanri Ying Pumpkin Split
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

A fluffy white cat with uncannily dark features stands poolside in the midst of a vast, autumnal forest. There is quiet and the soft lapping of water before the cat seizes up, lifts into the air and drops mechanically down onto one of many pumpkins sitting nearby. In a burst of juice and pulp, the pumpkin collapses into sections like a freshly-whacked chocolate orange. The scene repeats itself several times over the span of 36 seconds, and comprises one of the most absurd things I've seen in a while.

Nanri Ying's "かぼちゃ割" (or "Pumpkin Split") is exactly 36 seconds of a cat smashing pumpkins in the most awkward and somehow perfect manner possible, and there really is no more to it than that. I've already spoiled the entire thing, but I bet it's still not enough. Not until you've seen it. If you don't, the curiousity may very well gnaw at you forever...

So go ahead, watch it for yourself:

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YouTube Gaming Stars Re-Discovers Second Life

Here's a fun, no frills walkthrough of Second Life shot in an inconspicuous shopping mall with nothing particularly dramatic happening -- but it's actually the latest example in the most prominent coverage SL is getting right now:

Why? Because it's shot and narrated by KPopp, a top YouTube gaming personality who has nearly half a million subscribers.* As Janine wrote last month, YouTube gaming personalities have become incredibly popular, with millions every day regularly watching other people play games on YouTube. (The very biggest of them is also the largest on YouTube overall: A dude named PewDiePie, whose YouTube channel has over 30,000,000 subscribers.) KPopp is just one of many YouTube personalities to shoot "Let's Play" videos in Second Life over recent months, though nearly all of them are basically extended (and not very funny) griefer montages. (Then, of course, there's Argyle Alligator.) All told, these videos have probably generated millions of views just this year.

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Watch This Weekend: A Gorgeous SL Machinima on Love Transcending Space & Time

This weekend, put aside eight minutes to watch this lovely Second Life machinima from Tutsy Navarantha, whose works we've often blogged before:

Purportedly based on a true (if virtual!) story, it's about a romance that's built by two people across different time zones within an online world. Tutsy has a clever affectation which conveys the mixed reality nature of real relationships that begin in a virtual context:

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Budding Machinima-Makers, Please Stop Wasting Your Time With Watermarks!

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

One of my biggest pet peeves when I'm browsing new Second Life machinima on YouTube (or any gaming footage in general) is just how many potentially interesting videos have been ruined with watermarks from free or trial versions of recording software. I get it, if you're just getting your beak wet with something like machinima you may not want to commit to buying a piece of software to do so. But it doesn't have to be this way, it really doesn't. You don't need to settle for watermarks all over your recordings.

There is a free alternative, one that works on both Mac and Windows, that allows you to combine game sound and mic input, that gives you an easy way to position multiple windows and overlays, and that most importantly doesn't leave your finished videos with any big glaring watermarks. I should know, because I've been using this particular program every week for just about a year now.

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Watch This Dreamy Japanese Machinima Shot in Second Life


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

I absolutely love this intensely soothing machinima, filmed by Yana Kawanishi at the Intro sim. If you're already familiar with Yana's blog or Youtube channel then you already know about her well-dressed trips around some of Second Life's most beautiful and unique sims. Sometimes she focusses on taking snapshots of the digital landscapes laid out before her, and sometimes she takes some machinima along the way, too. Yana likes to hone in on the little details of the builds, making her machinima in particular feel very sentimental.

In her exploration of Intro, a surreal white dreamscape, you can see her pirhouetting about as a luminous jellyfish girl... Would you call it a jellymaid? I'm not at all sure. Either way, you'll find her corresponding blog post and snapshots of Intro here, but be sure not to miss out on the rest of her blog, including these gorgeous farm pics she shared just today.

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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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