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I started using SL in 2006 but have not been active for the past 4 years. I recently introduced a RL friend to SL and we are having a blast planning a Machinema project together. I set her up with the Debut video capture. I looked at the SL wiki and Torley's awesome tutorials but they seem a bit out of date. Please point me to some current tutorialsI.Are there any 3rd party viewer that would be preferrable? Is windlight still a feature? How can I get shadows? How about recommendations for camera overides or gestures?

 

Thanks

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Hi, Sylvia. Welcome back to SL. There have been a lot of changes since you have been gone. I hope you are enjoying the new developments. I have recently begun to experiment with machinima, so I am not in any way an expert. But this is what I have found out so far.

 RECENT MACHINIMA TUTORIALS

Here is an excellent series of tutorials from Erythro Asimov. They are only about 7 months old.   I found them extremely helpful and easy to follow. One thing I learned from the tutorials that made a huge difference is that you can shoot your video using a smaller window size, for example, if you have a big screen, to cut down on lag. This will make the difference between choppy pixelated footage and nice smooth video. Another is that in the Firestorm viewer, (see below) you can change settings to avoid filming interface features like toolbars, nametags and mouse, etc. so you have a nice clean video.

  1. Basic Things to Start http://vimeo.com/98659455
  2. Playing with Camera http://vimeo.com/98684394
  3. Playing with Scene http://vimeo.com/98925182
  4. Playing with Avatar http://vimeo.com/98926502

 THIRD PARTY VIEWERS

I use the Firestorm viewer, successor to the popular Phoenix viewer, which has been retired.

http://www.firestormviewer.org/downloads/

 Firestorm has some amazing photo and machinima tools, as well as windlight, and if you were fond of Phoenix, you will be happy to know that Firestorm has retained many of the features that made the Phoenix viewer so popular, as well as adding some new ones, like a built in AO and pose stand, among others.  The development team has a group Inworld, in case you need help with settings, and they also hold classes to help folks get the most out of their viewers.

 FYI: if you get the open sim version you can set up your own Sim on a Stick as long as you don't mind having an ugly avatar named Simona Stick. :D

( Newest version located here: http://simonastick.com/ )

Simonastick is handy for learning to build. You can have your own free 4 region sandbox, and upload anything you want for free.

 There are several other 3rd party viewers, among them Singularity http://www.singularityviewer.org/ and Niran (http://niranv-sl.blogspot.com/?zx=122f660764be5a17) has a new one out. I couldn't tell you much about them though, haven't had a chance to tinker with them much.

 RECORDING SOFTWARE

Another recording software is Bandicam. I have the free version with which you can capture 10 min of video as well as sound. It does have a bandicam logo across the top of the screen in the recorded video, but this can be fixed by buying the full version, which  sells for $39 http://www.bandicam.com/

 The things I like best about Bandicam are that it is light weight and easy to use, but has good customization options like which screen you record and where your files are stored. Some screen recording software can't tell if you have two screens and will record both screens. With Bandicam you just click in the the SL viewer window and it will record from that program and ignore everything else. It will also record whatever sound your computer is making, such as music, if you have a microphone and speakers. It dumps the sound in a separate .mp3 file alongside the video, so you can edit it separately.

One thing I haven't found out yet is how to record music directly from the program I am filming rather than through my crappy analog mike and speakers.  Well, that is probably more than you asked for, but I hope it is helpful. Have fun!

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