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Thursday, December 09, 2010

More visual effects

Our third Filters Pack contains a collection of dynamic effects to really bring your films to life. Distort your footage with the Glassy Distortion or Frosted Glass effects, or increase the sense of depth with the Fish-eye and Radial Blur filters. In addition, four lens vignettes allow you to really close in on your action (binoculars and sniper sights with day and night filters) and you can stylise your shots with the Psychedelia and Emboss presets. For less extreme effects, you can overexpose your clips or add a subtle gradient tint. Lastly there’s a ‘Toon filter that you can drop straight into the timeline. This means that you can now apply cel shading to a part of a movie instead of having to use it throughout.

Watch the video tutorial on cel shading.

If you want a little more detail, see how programmer Julian Gold described the new filters in the developers’ blog earlier this week. (Warning: not suitable for Justin Bieber fans.)

Combined with our existing filter packs, this builds up to quite a sizeable selection of visual post-production effects that you can use to enhance your Moviestorm films without any need for external video editing software.

Available in the Moviestorm Marketplace now for 500 MSP, or rent for a month for 50MSP. If you prefer, just click Get More Content when you start Moviestorm and you can download it right from there.

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Buy someone a movie studio this Christmas

imageWe’ve recently started selling Moviestorm on disk as well as download. The box option is available for purchases of any of the six theme bundles (Situation Drama, Action Movies, Fantasy Films, Factual TV, Music Video and Kids Shows) and Moviestorm Complete 2010, (not annual or monthly licenses). The box includes both Windows and Mac versions.

When you make a purchase, click the box option. When you go through the checkout, you’ll be asked to pick a delivery option, ranging from standard to express.

By choosing the box option, you won’t need to worry if you’ve got a slow or unreliable Net connection. And, of course, you can use the disk if you ever need a backup or you want to put Moviestorm onto another computer. You’ll still have access to the download and all product updates, so you can get Moviestorm from the Internet at any time.

To make a purchase:

  1. Go to the Moviestorm Web site and log on
  2. Go to My account
  3. Go to Subscription plan
  4. Select your purchase

If you want, you can send Moviestorm as a gift to someone. Choose the boxed option on the purchase page, and then check the gift option on the delivery details screen.


They’ll get the box with an activation code, and will be able to start making movies right away,  (Remember to put your own email in for the invoice details if you don’t want to spoil the surprise for the recipient!)

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Shirley Martin - making mods for fun and profit

Shirley Martin, aka squirrelygirl, is one of the most prolific modders on the machinima scene. She started making movies with iClone and Moviestorm about a year ago, as a way to film her self-published novel Nuove Terra’s Ring of Time. (See Matt’s blog post about this.)  She’s still working on that, and has assembled a team including some of the best known names in machinima. Her plans are now even more ambitious - she’s aiming to release a 15-minute episode every month for the next three years.

The scale of Shirley’s ambition was what led her into modding. She couldn’t get everything she wanted for Ring of Time out of Moviestorm, so she decided to build what she needed herself. She started by making the boarding school, where most of the action takes place. She used Google Sketchup and imported it with the modder’s workshop that’s included with Moviestorm. “I didn’t think I could do it,” she said, “but when you have no choice, you have to learn.”

She then started enjoying making the mods for their own sake. “I wanted to give people some variety. I looked on TMU, and saw that people liked making Westerns, so I decided to have a go at some Western buildings.”  She’s also created several other series, including mediaeval buildings, Victorian buildings, and some contemporary buildings.  Her next new project is the 1950s, as well as more for the Victorian and mediaeval series, then she’ll be starting on some hand-held props. “I’ve stuck with Sketchup,” she adds. “I tried Max, but it was hard.”


Shirley is one of the few modders who makes costumes for Moviestorm.  She’s limited to texture mods, as there’s no way to change the meshes in Moviestorm yet, but she’s finding she can do a lot with what there is. “There’s enough to work with, and the base textures are really good,” she comments. She hand edits the textures in Photoshop, layering on cloth swatches and adding shadow for extra detail. It’s a time-consuming process, involving a lot of trial and error. “You start off with costume_a, and hope you get it right before you get to costume_z,” she laughs.


Shirley gives away some mods, and sells others, typically for $2 a pack. “I want to keep the costs down,” she notes. “Other programs charge you $80 for a single prop, and that’s too much for most people.” She likes to make the costumes completely free. “Everyone needs costumes,” she says. “And to use the costumes you have to buy official Moviestorm packs, so these are just textures.” She also gives away the mods she’s using for her own movies. Shirley also takes on commissions. Recently, for example, she was asked for a film projector. A local minister wanted to use Moviestorm in his classes, and wanted a scene where he could show people watching a movie, so Shirley created the prop for him in half an hour. “It was easy for me,” she smiles, “but it made all the difference to him.”

It’s a time-consuming activity. Shirley estimates she typically spends 20 hours a week on Moviestorm, mostly modding, although she also has various other film projects in the works. It’s slowly turning into a small business for her too. She’s opened up her online mod store to other people, and takes 25% commission on any sales. “I’m not making a lot of money,” she points out. “But it’s nice to get something back, and it helps to pay for what I do.”

Shirley acknowledges the part the community has played in her achievements. “Everyone’s been so supportive, especially KV and Reacher. We all help each other, and that’s a great feeling.” We’re looking forward to seeing what’s next.


More info
Squirrelygirl’s Moviestorm channel
Shirley’s Mod shop
Shirley’s Facebook page
Shirley’s YouTube channel

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Revealing secrets

One of the most important film techniques for both scriptwriters and directors to master is the reveal. This is basically just a fancy way of saying “telling the audience something they didn’t expect”, or, more simply, a twist. Reveals keep your story interesting. They’re those moments of surprise which make your film more than just a linear sequence of events: “this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened…” That gets dull quite fast. You have to make your audience go “oooh” once in a while.

Much like a good magic trick, the basic technique doesn’t have to be sophisticated. You just have to misdirect the audience for a while, lead them to expect one thing, and then give them something else. Alternatively, you tell them half of something, and then wait a while before you tell them the rest. At the very least, they’ll smile as they realise what you’ve done. On the other hand, when done properly, it can completely change the course of a movie - think of the ending to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. (No, I’m not going to spoil it if you haven’t seen it.)

Of course, you have to be wary of over-using reveals or going for the obvious cliches, or your audience will simply shrug and say they figured it all out. Some of them will do that anyway - but don’t worry about it. How many people claim to have worked out what was going on in Sixth Sense right at the start? Sure, a lot of people guessed before the actual reveal, but that’s part of the fun. Gradually it dawns on you what’s happening, and then when the reveal happens, you can triumphantly say “I knew it!”

Usually your reveals will be written right into the script. If, for example, someone turns out to be not who the audience thinks they are - like you get in every murder mystery - that’s a pretty standard reveal. However, you can often make your movies much more interesting to watch by adding in reveals that are purely visual. They’re not necessarily major plot events, but can be quite small. They need not even be twists - the idea is that you don’t show the audience everything at once, and keep them guessing for a few minutes. For example, you might have someone open the door and hold a conversation with a visitor. You could, obviously, show the two people talking, and cut back and forth between their faces in a conventional sequence. Alternatively, you could just show the main character by the door, and have the other person off-screen. Keep the camera fixed on their reaction shot, and leave the audience guessing who’s actually at the door.

Imagine this sequence in a mystery story: A woman alone in her house answers the door. We hear a police woman telling her that her husband’s been injured, and they need to take her to the hospital. As she turns away to get her coat and purse, the camera swings round and we see that it’s the bad guy’s girlfriend wearing a police uniform. (This obviously works better if we haven’t heard her speak before, or she’s using a funny accent, so the audience don’t recognise her voice.) Now we know that the woman’s in trouble, but she doesn’t know that. As she leaves, she puts on some lipstick. We then cut to a close-up shot of her purse as she puts her lipstick away, and we see a revolver tucked away in it. Now we know she’s armed, and we’re left wondering whether she’s actually anticipated the trap. None of that’s in the screenplay. It’s all in the direction and editing. That’s a fairly simplistic example, but you get the idea.

Of course, reveals don’t have to be all about mystery - they’re an invaluable comedic technique as well.

We picked up on two recent blog posts from ScreenwritingU - a great resource for writers and directors alike. Hal Croasmun explains the basic techniques involved, and shows examples from screenplays (Lost and Mission: Impossible) to show exactly how it’s done effectively.

Misleads And Reveals: Tools For Powerful Drama
Written by Hal Croasmun  

Why would an intelligent screenwriter mislead their audience? One simple and very important reason—to increase the drama the audience experiences.  Some of the most dramatic moments in movies occur when the audience is misled, then the truth is revealed.
Read more…

The Structure Of A Reveal
Written by Hal Croasmun  

When structured properly a reveal can bring add new levels of depth and emotion to your screenplay. It also brings with it the element of surprise. And if it is artfully done, readers will have more appreciation for your writing.
Read more…

And finally, here’s another post from The Film Crusade that shows you a variety of visual techniques for doing reveals, with some great examples from Brian de Palma, The X-Files, Futurama and more.

Reveling in the Reveal
by Merrel Davis | April 15, 2010

In the visual vocabulary of film, there are few techniques that both serve as both a story point as well as engaging imagery. Traditionally, the reveal shot consists of pulling back from a tightly framed shot to reveal a larger framing, exposing a greater context with often epiphanous implications to the audience – and in some cases – the on-screen characters. There is a bit of delight and excitement when you find out a story is bigger than previously thought.
Read more…

Whatever film medium you’re working in - live action, traditional animation, or machinima - the reveal is a technique you need to master.

(1) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Monday, December 06, 2010


Psychosis, by Logan Payne from South Carolina, is a superb example of what you can do on a tiny budget.

Psychologist Jennifer Logan stops off in a small Southern town to find out a little girl needs her help in which…the town thinks she is possessed by a demon.  Is paranormal activity abound or is this a young girl’s cry for attention?

It’s a creepy little story, with echoes of The Exorcist, Supernatural, and so on, and it’s well worth watching just as fifteen minutes of hugely enjoyable entertainment. However, from a film-maker’s point of view, there’s a lot more to it than that. To film something like this with real actors would be prohibitively expensive for most of us. You can do a lot of it pretty cheaply compared to what it would cost to do it on a professional TV budget, but animation makes it much easier and more affordable to do the kind of special effects shots you get throughout the movie. I’m not going to spoil it for you - you’ll see exactly what I mean when you watch it.

Where Psychosis really excels, though, is the smaller effects. Unless you’re familiar with Moviestorm, you probably won’t notice all the little touches that add extra detail and realism to the movie. That’s the side of visual effects work that usually goes unnoticed in any film. Anyone can spot the big CG shots, like the massive explosions or superheroes throwing each other through buildings, but much of the work of the FX artist is to make something so real that you never realised it was just an effect. Those effects can take days or even weeks to manufacture, and they’re often more important to the success of the movie than anyone except the director and editor realises.

Here’s a few to look out for in Psychosis: the lamp-post banging as Jennifer hits it; smoke from the tyres as cars screech round corners; detail on the signposts, lens flare on the crucifix, and, perhaps most impressively of all, the cigarette. Logan has clearly taken the time to go through every shot and ask himself “how could this be better?” And then he’s actually done it, instead of cutting corners and rushing the movie out. As well as the many trick shots and post-production effects, he’s also spent a lot of effort getting the best performances he can from his virtual actors. At one points Jennifer pats someone’s face, he gives a little half-smile. It’s a tiny detail, and probably only took a minute to put in, but it absolutely makes the scene, and says more about both the characters in a couple of seconds than several lines of dialogue would do.

When you start making movies, it’s easy to get discouraged when your early work doesn’t look as good as you hoped. Nearly every time, it just comes down to hard work and perseverance. Go back and adjust the lighting. Add in lots of body language, not just for your main characters, but for all your minor characters and extras. (You do have extras, don’t you?) Put in extra set dressing to make your environment look good. Get those camera moves just right, and then edit, edit, and edit some more so that your story is as tight as you can get it and you’re not wasting a single frame. (Seriously. Trimming out less than a quarter of a second on every cut can often make a scene feel much more intense, and you’re not losing a thing in terms of the story. Losing a whole second can feel brutal, but you’ll really notice the difference.) It’s easy to get a rough cut extremely fast, but to make a real quality movie takes time.

The only jarring note in the movie was when Jennifer talks directly to the camera. It doesn’t seem to fit with the style of the rest of the movie. Breaking the fourth wall without disrupting the flow of the narrative is something that’s much harder to do than it seems, and in this case, it doesn’t quite work. If this were the start of a series, I could see how this would work to draw the viewer further in bit by bit, much like some of the old 60s and 70s cop shows. That seems unlikely, though - this is probably just a one-off.

This is a film for would-be directors to watch and learn from. The skilful directing and editing show a great understanding of what can be done on-set and how to use post-production effects to transform that into something entirely different. The sound and music works extremely well throughout, and the voice acting is of a quality all budding film makers should be aiming at. We’re looking forward to seeing much more from Logan in 2011.

PSYCHOSIS from Logan Payne on Vimeo.

(For best results, go to Vimeo, load this up in HD, wait a few minutes for it to buffer, then turn the lights down and run the movie full screen.)

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The New Renaissance

Something that fascinates us is to see how many Moviestorm users like to work in many different media.

Nolos Quinn, who we featured yesterday, is both a musician and a film-maker. Sisch sings and makes movies. Shirley Martin and Erica Hughes started film-making as a way to promote their novels, and so on.

What we’re finding is that more and more people don’t want to restrict themselves to just one medium any more. They want to extend their creative talents as far as they can, and try as many different things as they can. The easy availability and affordability of modern tools are allowing people to try things that only a few years ago were only for the professionals or the serious hobbyist. Less than a generation ago, it would cost thousands to set yourself up with everything you’d need to make a movie. The only affordable option for home animation was either stop motion or frame by frame hand drawn animation. If you wanted to be a musician, a guitar or a cheap synth was easy enough, but you had to be serious to invest in effects pedals, amps, monitors, recording kit, mixers, and editing kit, let alone the cost of creating a CD. Anyone could write a novel, but you’d never get it printed unless you spent months schlepping it round publishers and got lucky, or paid thousands for vanity publishing.

Now, you can set yourself up with movie kit for next to nothing. There’s dirt cheap (or free) animation software, and we’ve all got video cameras on our phones. Every computer includes a free video editor, and it’s the work of moments to upload your video to the Net and share it with your friends. When it comes to music kit, the guitar’s now the expensive part. There are free music apps, free music editors, and you can record straight into your computer and add all the effects there, make an mp3, stick it online and you’re done. And writing? We’re all writers now. It’s not hard to get your book up on Lulu.

Just look at the explosion of amateur movies, music, art and writing. Anyone with the slightest interest can have a go at anything they like. “I can’t afford it” isn’t really an excuse any more. “I haven’t got time” is much more believable. (So get off Facebook and YouTube and do something more interesting instead!)

That’s changing the way people see themselves. They’re no longer just musicians or movie-makers or artists or comics writers or clothes designers or whatever. They’re truly exploring their full creative potential, and that means we’re going to see more influences from different media, more cultural cross-overs, and more people exchanging ideas. We’re seeing more and more creative people who are taking ideas from one media and expressing them in another, or using their wide range of skills to produce highly individualistic auteur pieces.

It’s exciting. Perhaps there’s a little bit of Leonardo da Vinci in all of us. Or perhaps we’re spawning a generation of John Carpenters. But hey, what’s wrong with Big Trouble in Little China?

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Crime Costs (Fall of Casal)

Crime Costs (Fall of Casal), by Nolos Quinn, is much more than just a music video. It’s also a movie trailer and a pitch.

Nolos is currently working on a full length animated action movie, and to raise the funds for it, he wrote and produced a single. He then made this video for the single, which tells the story of one of the characters in the film.


The single is released by indie label Ruff Messages, and is available on CD-baby for $1.29.  As Nolos says, “Buying the single helps support indie music and indie film.” We love seeing Moviestorm used in this way. It’s an innovative approach to low budget film funding, and it’s something we expect more people to do. It only takes a few thousand people to buy a single to generate enough budget to make a real difference on a production like this. An extra terabyte of hard disk, some useful video conversion software, a little bit of extra custom content, a nice font for the credits - none of it’s particularly expensive, but it all adds up, and for the hobbyist it can push their project just out of reach. So, you may not think your dollar means much, but it does.

(2) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Friday, December 03, 2010

From Santa to spaceships - new Moviestorm mods

One of the things we’re really proud about is that with Moviestorm, you’re not limited to what you can get from us. The range of movies you could want to make is pretty much infinite, and there’s no way we can supply everything you might need. However, there’s a growing community of modders who are making new sets, props, and costumes to really expand what you can do, and they’re coming out with some amazing stuff. Here’s a look at a few of the recent mods on offer.

(Please note that we don’t support mods. That’s entirely between you and the modder.)

Shawn’s Sci Fi Props

Creator: Shawn Gee
Cost: $2.00
Contents: 19 Static Sci-Fi Props: 8 Bridge Station Variations, Bulkhead Blast Door, Centre Command Table, 2 Consoles, Docking Tube, Long Meeting Table, Room Door, Star Box, Starship Runway, Tactical Station, View Screen.
Get it from: Mods’n'More

This is a really useful set if you’re making a movie set on a starship or space station. They’re very different in style to the bright, clean consoles in the Moviestorm sci-fi pack: they’re much darker and have the harsh look of equipment that gets heavy use every day. They could also be used in, say, the control room of a modern nuclear facility or as part of an underground military installation, so they’re not just restricted to futuristic environments. They would also combine well with D.L.Watson’s superb industrial sci-fi corridor, available on TurboSquid for $2.99.

Victorian Bedroom

Creator: Shirley Martin (squirrelygirl)
Cost: $1.99
Contents: Victorian Bedroom Addon contains: Victorian Bedroom (walls, bedframe, curtains, fireplace, and rug) with 6 Custom options, 2 Fireplace Tools (poker and shovel) with 5 Custom options, 1 Side Table with 3 Custom options, and 1 Trinket Box with 7 Custom options. Bonus Material included: 4 Custom blanket/quilt options for the Tintable Kingsize Bed in Moviestorm’s Domestic Drama Bedrooms pack. (You will need Domestic Drama Bedrooms to use the Bonus Material.)  Also included: 1 Victorian Bedroom Stock Set.
Get it from: Mods’n'More

Shirley Martin is one of the most prolific Moviestorm modders. This latest addition to her rapidly growing Victorian collection will be great for period dramas of all sorts, from Sherlock Holmes to Jack the Ripper or, with a little bit of creative license, Jane Austen. And, of course, Victorian style can be used in modern settings too. As always with her work, most of the items have customization options, and are also tintable, so you have quite a lot of flexibility. The bonus material in the pack is useful even if you’re not making Victorian movies - the extra quilt textures add some much needed variety to the beds in the existing Moviestorm bedrooms pack.

Nav mesh v2

Creator: D.L. Watson (Leefilm)
Cost: FREE
Contents: Nav mesh, Watson Park set
Get it from: TurboSquid

D.L.‘s nav mesh is a clever mod that allows you to raise your actors off the ground. Put them on rooftops, on top of cars, or build complex sets with different floor levels. Simply place the nav mesh on set, and your actors can walk on it. It’s invisible in camera view, so it won’t show up in your finished movie. This new version comes with 5 different sized platforms, and he’s added transparency to the texture so it’s easy to see under the platforms.  The bonus “Watson Park” set is designed with the Nav-Mesh built in. Anywhere the grid is displayed is where your actor can walk. It includes the stream and a park restroom.

Escalator - preview

Creator: Poulet Noir
Cost: n/a
Contents: n/a
Get it from: n/a

This nifty little isn’t actually available yet, but it’s another fantastic example of how modders are taking Moviestorm into all sorts of new directions. We’re looking forward to the release of this one!  (Watch to the end of the video.)

Santa’s sleigh

Creator: Lucinda McNary
Cost: FREE
Contents: Sleigh, reindeer, gifts and Santa’s sack
Get it from: CLICK HERE

It’s Christmas, so here’s a gift for you all from Lucinda, one of Moviestorm’s keenest supporters. You can get already get the Santa outfit from the Happy Holidays pack, but now he needs some transport. And here it is!

However, to get the most out of it, you’ll want to get Santa onto a roof. Here’s a short video by scripter showing you how to do just that. He’s also got some neat tricks for covering the roofs in snow - this is well worth watching if you’re planning on doing any sort of winter movie, not just a Christmas movie. And, of course, you could put a nav mesh high above the street, and you could then have Santa fly through the sky…

And that’s not all…

You can find more mods by looking in the Moviestorm forums, and we’ve collected some of the main mod sites here.  There’s also a YouTube playlist showcasing some of the best mods.

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Thursday, December 02, 2010

K-12 student blogging contest

Over at the blog Through Our Window… Room 101, they’re running a contest for K-12 student bloggers. The theme is December, and you can interpret it any way you like.

  • Post the history of your favorite Holiday this month.  You must include the historical background, personal experience, and a picture or video to accompany the post.
  • Depending on where you may be in the world, December may be a warm month or a cold one.  Create a post about your favorite thing to do during this month, whether it be in the snow or on the beach!  Don’t forget to add a video or picture that enhances your post.
  • Current event post.  Create a post that discusses an event going on in the world during this month.  Don’t forget to include your opinion on the issue you discuss.
  • Your choice!  You can choose any topic you would like to blog about as long as it relates in some way to the month of December (this could be about a sport that takes place during this month, a famous event in history, a family tradition, or anything that comes to your mind).
  • A creative piece! You can write a poem, short story, draw a picture and explain it, or anything creative as long as it relates to the month of December.

What caught our eye is that the promo for the contest is a short video made with the free trial version of Moviestorm (see below). So we got to thinking - why not make your entry in Moviestorm and submit a short video piece? You could do a simple piece talking to the camera, but you could set it somewhere unusual, or maybe bring in extra people. You could tell a story about your family Christmases or your favourite December holiday. If you’re writing a poem, you can bring it to life in so many ways - you could perhaps add in music and include Christmas carols. You can easily throw in special effects like snow or fireworks - the creative possibilities are endless!

You could even do it with the free trial version - there’s no need to spend anything to create your mini-movie. And, since you can try any of the content packs free for a week, you could also grab the new Happy Holidays pack for all those seasonal extras - Santa, snowmen, Christmas trees, presents, or even snowball fights!

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Betrayals and Chopin Quest

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen some extraordinary Moviestorm movies appearing on Vimeo. We’re compiling the best of them into a channel, and we’ve now got 74 stunning movies for you.  Here’s just two of the recent additions.

They’re both well worth watching, but for completely different reasons. The first, Betrayal, is a contemporary thriller, while the second, Chopin Quest, is more of an art house piece.  (Click through to Vimeo, load them up in HD, sit back with drinks and snacks, and watch them full screen. It’s worth it.)

Betrayal, by Lucy Georges (France)

imageNataliya’s humdrum existence in a Russian town takes an unexpected turn one day.  The first part of the Rodina trilogy features voices by Alteregotrip, Dean P Wells, Psylentknight and Queenofhearts. 
Music from Lena Selyanina, Fading Autumn and Евгений Гузеев.  Many thanks to John Herd for the animated weather vane.

(Warning : moderate nudity)

Lucy specialises in longer pieces, which are notoriously hard to pull off. Here, she succeeds admirably. The opening is extremely entertaining: we’ve all received those emails from “Nataliya” proclaiming her desire for a Western husband, and it was neat to have her as the central character. Then, as things took a darker and more political turn, the films starts to discuss the transition from Soviet Russia to modern Russia, or the lack of it. By this time, you’re starting to wonder what sort of film you’re watching, but then it settles down into a familiar style and genre. The story moves along well, and you never get the sense that it’s dragging, which is very unusual for most machinima more than ten minutes long.

In terms of the actual filming, the use of focus and depth of field is something a lot of machinimators should try to emulate. Lucy does a great job of steering the viewer’s attention to the right point on the screen, while leaving enough going on in the background to create an interesting shot. In particular, the close-ups in the candlelight dinner scene are gorgeous, and make a great contrast to the stark Russian interiors. The skilful use of colour and light visual effects emphasises this even further.

It’s obvious she’s spent a lot of time on the body language of your characters, and it pays off well throughout. All her characters have life to them, and are much more expressive than the script alone. As a result, they’re far more interesting to watch than most machinima characters. It’s also very neat the way she suggests more than she shows, such as when Nataliya drinks from the cup. This isn’t an animation you can do with Moviestorm, but she covers this with deft editing and sound effects.

The sets are absolutely stunning, particularly the one in the square in Novgorod. This is a perfect example of the freedom you get from working in animation rather than real world filming -Lucy has shot a movie that takes place in locations all round the world, which simply wouldn’t be possible without some sort of budget. Some of the crane shots alone would have cost a fortune.

All in all, this is a superb film - we’re really looking forward to the next part of the trilogy! It’s also well worth watching a second time - there’s a lot more going on than you realise first time through.


Betrayals from Lucy Georges on Vimeo.

Chopin Quest, by Nihil Quest (Poland)

imagePoland proclaimed 2010 the Year of Fryderyk Chopin. This short movie was made to celebrate it like no one had done before. As far as we know this is the very first appearance of the greatest Polish composer in a Sci Fi / horror flick.  Chopin Quest was inspired (among other things) by classic action / adventure games but it is not a real game. I know, it’s a shame.

Music includes:
Fryderyk Chopin - Prelude in E minor, Op. 28 no. 4 - performed by Dobromiła Jaskot. Chöpinhead version (sort of) performed by Rat Salad
Dehumanizer - Past Distortion
Nihil Quest - Holy Nailhead (from „0.9” EP)

This a quite extraordinary movie. It’s surreal, it’s bizarre, and it’s completely enthralling. It’s reminiscent in many ways of the work of Tom Jantol, one of the early pioneers of machinima.

What makes this film work so well is that it’s a complete contrast to most “traditional” machinima. It’s abstract, it’s arty, and it’s unsettling. The monotone, washed-out visual style works really well, especially as a contrast to the whole “retro gaming” idea, which is usually associated with bright, garish colours. The photo-face characters are absolutely superb. They’ve been used in many different ways, but never quite like this.

This is a great example to other machinimators of what can be done once you let your imagination run riot, and a great showcase for how versatile Moviestorm can be.


Chopin Quest from Nihil Quest on Vimeo.

(3) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

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