Machinima, how about adding some life to your blog!

Yes. I am going to talk about machinima, or: short online videos you can produce when in Second Life. Social Media as a whole is a very visual world. Pictures win from text, videos win from pictures. This does not, by all means, imply you need to stop writing on your blog, not at all! Blogs still need written text, if you want them to be found in search engines and picked up by the Google bots, as fellow contributor Becky has pointed out in this excellent post on this subject.

But have you ever considered making short – lets say 1 minute – videos to show off what you are blogging about as an extra in a post?
Not only will this look awesome on your blog, but also : when published on YouTube and tagged the right, smart way it will help you getting audience and traffic  because YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet (after Google).
If you are still in doubt about the power of Social Media, here is a good video on the Social Media Revolution (bonus is the awesome music!)

Now, before you zone out, or run away screaming,  thinking : zOMG I cannot make videos! Do not panic. You can. You really can.
I have been playing around all weekend, with free software and I am sure I will make Second Life videos in the future, to enhance the content of my blog-posts. How cool is it,  to not only show awesome images, but also a short video?

What do you need? Well here is what I have used, all free!:

* Recording software: FRAPS (free)
* In case you want to record your own voice, for voice overs, I used a free online recorder here
* Editting software, in my case as I am on a Windows machine: Windows Movie Maker (it is free, and comes with the Windows package or download it at the link). For Mac-users I can recommend iMovie, which is almost identical to Windows Movie Maker
* A YouTube account, free and comes with a gMail account.
* Optional music, from the (free!) YouTube Audio library
* Lots of time to play with it and learn. Really. Patience, trial and error and take your time
* Fun!

This post is not a tutorial on the technical aspects, but I can recommend these two online tutorials to help you getting started:
* Windows Movie Maker tutorial
* FRAPS tutorial

Oh..OK, one techy tip: in order to record without the UI (you know, the sidebars, your LS balance, location, IM’s and whatnot….), before you start recording press: control + alt+F1 (in some viewers it is control+shift+F1, and to get it back simply use the same keys) and make sure you detach your HUDS, or at least move them out of your screen.
Edit: or better, as Colleen Criss commented: Use Shift+Alt+H to hide your HUDs!

Once you have all this, which is easy….you are good to go!

I am aware this post is short and has lots of links, but I am sure if you take some time, have fun and patience, you will be able to make nice short videos to add to your blog. Not every day, not all the time..and keep in mind: don’t make them longer than 1.30 minutes. Why this limit? Think how YOU watch clips….how often do you watch longer than a minute? Online attention spans are short, a minute is what most people accept to click and watch. A 30 minute documentary on how you walk around in your new shoes….will likely lose viewers after a minute.

The reason why I recommend music from the free library is simple, but perhaps not well known. Of course you can use your favourite song from iTunes or other files, but often those have a copy-right. That in itself is nothing to panic about!

What happens when you use, lets say Justin Bieber in your video: it will most probably be copyrighted and monetized by the legal copyright holder. In those cases, YouTube will allow the use, but they will put advertisements over your video (the ones every one clicks away..ahem), and the money for those ads goes to Justin Bieber and never to you.
This isn’t a big deal, but what I do find a big deal when it comes to videos I want people to see is: a video with these (forced) advertisement – because of those legal copyright holders- , cannot be viewed on mobile devices as smart-phones and tablets. Also, in some countries the video will be completely ‘unavailable’ (Germany and The Netherlands are big blockers of videos with copyrighted music, no matter what YouTube has arranged for compensation with advertisement).
So, no…you will not get into trouble using Justin Bieber, but you will limit your audience.

Almost last, but certainly not least, this is a link to Linden Lab’s policy concerning Photography and Machinima, you may want to read it and be an educated photographer/filmer and avoid drama and so on.

And now a short clip I made this afternoon, using all of the above!

The Kayak I used in this video is by Aarcher Zenovka and here on MP (it is a wearable, so perfect to use allover the place!)

Happy filming!


25 Comments on “Machinima, how about adding some life to your blog!

  1. I am with you there, been trying my hands at making machinima in the past few weeks. I use an xbox controller for navigation and have great fun when trying to cut the pieces to match the music. For now they are more like a random series shots, which is cool for a photography blog, such as mine, but sooner or later I would like to go for brief stories too.

    • Those are wonderful videos Apollo, thank you for sharing! And yes, I get it..I am a destination/travel blogger so I see endless possibilities but I also think this can be used for other topics! I fiddled with smoothing of camera and zooming, as I do not have a space navigator, but who knows…one day :P!

      • Thanks, Caitlin! Looking forward to seeing more from you too! A perfect addition for a travel blog indeed.

  2. Great post Caitlin! I know I have wanted to try my hand at Machinima for a long time and only just finally tried. I have used for tutorials for my students and finally used it to make a one take no major editing SL machinima of me being silly ( I have more plans for some machinima, including the “What SL means to me project.” I love your idea about adding lil bits of machinima to the end of my blog posts and I am going to give that a try! I know posts with lil bits of machinima at the end would capture my interest. Thank you for the idea and the resources. 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment and sharing your (‘unlisted’, so out of sight of search engines….did you know?) video! I love seeing avatars dance and having a good time, it really adds to the feeling!

      • LOL! Yes I know it is unlisted, I did that for fear it would be taken down if public, due to the music I used. I have had videos taken down in the past (years ago) because of music copyrights. Thank you for watching it! I have been made to be really paranoid about copyright issues, not because of SL issues but as an eduactor. I really wanted to use the song and I am not trying to make any money off it, just enjoy it and share it with others. 🙂

    • Oh that is a cool tip Colleen, I will edit my post and mention it! The things I learned this weekend….it does not stop! ❤

  3. Hey Caity, great suggestions! This is just the kind of thing that helps a blog stand out from the rest. Video is still rare enough to attract attention, beyond images and text. I can completely see the advantages of doing this for any kind of online tutorial, locations and fashion posts as well.

    • Hey Becky! Thank you for the comment and yes..I think a short video every now and then adds to a blog, I know I like them – if short enough – and the topics are endless! No need to think it should only be art, sport or can be anything!

  4. Cait I enjoyed this so much, the music, the scenery everything, so much fun! Machinima used to be a seemingly unattainable dream, but with the right tools, and a sprinkle of courage, bloggers have a huge opportunity to expand their reach. Our reach. And not just for our own blogs, but for the community as well.

    • Hi Wendz! Happy to hear you enjoyed it 🙂 It was fun making it and I am still learning…the best way for me: learning by just doing it! Thank you for the nice comment!

  5. Pingback: How Linden Lab uses web marketing and how What Second Life Means To You can help drive traffic to your blog | SL Blogger Support

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  8. I hadn’t even thought about using machinima in this way, really need post/

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