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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Featured movies - May 2011

Every month, the standard of Moviestorm movies goes up. What’s even more surprising, many of the very best movies are debut pieces, or are coming from people who are only just starting to use Moviestorm. Several of them are experienced film-makers, and we’ve been really pleased to see the kind of work they can turn out when they combine their knowledge of movies with Moviestorm.

Our first pick this month is Transmission, written and directed by Ed Lie.  It’s an absorbing story of an astronaut travelling to Mars, alone, and is undoubtedly one of the best movies yet made with Moviestorm. Ed is a student at the University of North Texas, and the film was written and produced for the University of North Texas’ Radio, Television, and Film Program, as part of the Digital Narrative course run by Professor James Martin. The majority of the principal photography used Moviestorm, while some short live-action clips were shot on location in Denton, TX. Some final post FX work was done in Adobe Flash, and editing was completed within Adobe Premiere; voiceover recording was done in Pro Tools and recorded at the University of North Texas.

The course focused on storytelling technique, and Ed really shows how everything from lighting to camera angles, editing and subtle facial gestures all contribute to the script. Moviestorm allowed Ed to tell a story that would have been impractical in live action, and too time-consuming in a more sophisticated animation program. Transmission is Ed’s first piece with Moviestorm, and it clearly demonstrates how powerful Moviestorm can be in the hands of someone who understands the craft of film-making.

Set in the year 2340, The Chronicles of Humanity follows Katherine McDonald, journalist and the only person to survive the destruction of a mining colony. Convinced the government was behind the disaster, she embarks on a mission to uncover the conspiracy. This is the first part of a Web series that Damien Valentine started about five years ago. Originally he was using The Sims, but switched over to Moviestorm towards the end of last year. Although Damien has been making machinima for many years, he has produced almost nothing with Moviestorm until this.

The scale of The Chronicles of Humanity was hugely ambitious, but Damien has pulled it off. Not only is there a Web series, but he’s also created a feature-length version. Not only that, but he managed to attract some incredible talent: Felicia Day, who’s worked with Joss Whedon several times on everything from Dollhouse to Dr Horrible, and also created The Guild, has a major role. She was more than happy to work alongside an amateur cast, director and writer.

Go to the Chronicles of Humanity web site to see more.

Our third pick, Heat, is an adaptation of a short story by Joyce Carol Oates. Director Kera Hildebrandt did this as part of a literature course. She’s studying film-making and screenwriting, and this is a useful way to understand the differences between storytelling in prose and in film, and also to understand what’s involved in adapting a book to the screen.

It’s a dark, tragic story and very different from Kera’s usual work.

Meet John Eldritch, London’s Night Hunter; a man whose destiny is to defend the night against the Dark. This is the start of a new series by Killian. He’s been a stalwart of The Movies for some time, but this is his first movie with Moviestorm. His experience in movie-making really comes through: although the lighting is a little too low in places, it’s a well-told story that leaves you wanting to know what happens next. Fortunately, Part Two has been released already - see here.

We’ll close with a lighthearted spoof commercial from Yarmond, Crazy Bob’s Dealership. Yarmond has been making occasional short sketches with Moviestorm for just over two years, and he never fails to make us smile. His comedic timing is excellent, and the script is, as always, sharp, crazy, and just long enough to tell the story without overdoing it.

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