Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Skyping the rails

I am looking for a few good Skypers who can help me make videos about SL railroads. And I need a project manager to organize the scenes. Here is the general plan:

We identify a site that will make a good video story. The toy train sold by Kitto Flora is an example. There are several around so we would choose a site. Project manager contacts relevant people to get background info. Here that would be Kitto and the site owner. Project manager and I visit the site (with Skype conference), talk over the content, and plan the scenes.

Project manager gets about 3 people to participate in the video. (Could include the project manager as one of the participants.) Participants need appropriate avs and costumes. For example, I will want children to ride on the toy train. Project manager arranges to have the selected content voiced by somebody. The content would be information relevant to the build. In the toy train: it is available for purchase, how many copies have been sold. The info may be Voice Over (VO) by project manager or done by another paticipant.

Project manager works with the site owner, participants, and me, to set a time for the shoot. (I am Chicago time, SL time + 2. Available day and evenings.) The participants need to be able to Skype and to speak understandable English. I would like to get world-wide accent variation. (Special voices and imitation would also be appropriate if you can be consistent and understandable.)

We shoot by scenes. Scene length: 20 to 60 seconds. We talk over each scene and probably rehearse it. (I may capture video on rehearsal but we probably go thru the same scene 2 or three times.) Time for the whole collection: 60-90 minutes.

During a scene I capture both audio and video at the same time. Participants are on a Skype conference with me. Planning and rehearsal will treat both actions and speech. We will not write dialog, but will have in mind what the participant will talk about. In general the talk will be about interesting things visible in the scene or about future possibilites. We are not doing a news story, so we won't talk about the dangers and potential disasters this stuff portends. (Ok, I may bring in Senator Phogbog or Famous News Anchor Ben Bother. But we will leave disasters to the experts.)

I have tested this method of collection and demonstrated that it works. See this video

There are occasional audio problems. That may force us to shoot a scene over.

Up to now, I have been doing the project manager job on most of my videos. But if I can get someone else to do it for the railroad series, I can shoot more railroad videos. Project manager gets screen credit and a published portfolio of experience at organizing videos in SL. Everybody gets the satisfaction of promoting railroads in SL. That is good for SL, and also a service to the many railroad fans who do not (YET) know about SL.

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