As we try to pass the time before the release of Playtime Season 2, I decided it would be fun to do a little Question and Answer session. I get dozens of messages every day, filled with questions about Playtime. This is your chance to get those questions answered!
Submit your questions in the comment field below. I’ll be going through all the submissions and adding them into this page along with my responses. Don’t be shy!
Q: What editing software do you use? Which one is the best? – Matt
A: I actually use Window’s Movie Maker. There are certainly more flexible and powerful programs available, but Windows Movie Maker does everything I need it to do, and it is super easy to use.
Q: Did u use a capture card to get the video angles? – SiLEntNinjACHik
A: I did not use a capture card. I record all my clips using Halo Reach’s Theater mode, then upload them to my fileshare and render them using Bungie Pro Video Rendering. I then download the rendered clips and put them into Window’s Movie Maker.
Q: How often during production did you wish you had another set of hands willing to help you out?I know for me that’s about every day of filming something. My sister will help, but she’s not really “willing”. Lol. – Nuclear Taco 42
A: Every single second of filming I actually get asked a lot “why didn’t you get someone to help with the body-acting?”. There are a few reasons. The first is purely practical. It is only possible to execute the “weapon lowering” animation in Halo Reach when playing offline. This means I would need to have someone come to my house to help me film. The other reason is that I often get work done at random times. I might find myself at home with a 12 minute window to get some work done, so I’ll fire up the Xbox and get filming. I don’t always have time to co-ordinate working with a partner.
Q: What is your favorite part about making machinima? – Nuclear Taco 42
A: Editing. Both the video and audio editing are a huge amount of fun for me. I love the process of taking all the bits and pieces I’ve created and stitching them together, moving them around, tweaking everything until the balance is just right. I tend to do this fairly quickly as well. My favorite moment of producing a new video is when I can press “play” and watch a complete cut from start to finish, when only a few hours earlier I had nothing but a pile of random video clips and un-mixed audio takes. It’s an amazing feeling.
Q: What was your direct inspiration to make playtime. -doombringer
A: Red vs Blue is the obvious one. They were my first exposure to machinima, and my main insperation to make a series of my own. However, I don’t think Playtime and Red vs Blue are very similar shows. They are based on very different styles of writing and humor.
Q: What made you decide to make another season of playtime? -sch1smarch
A: I didn’t actually intend to do a second season when I first released Playtime. The show is so time consuming for me to produce, I wanted to just to a short 4-episode mini series and leave it at that. By the end of episode 4 (Armor Locked), I felt satisfied to end it, having done everything I wanted to do with the show.
Then, one day, I had an idea.
Season 1 was 100% complete before I had released the first episode. This meant that as the first season was being released, I had little to do other than manage the site and watch people’s reactions to the series. A few days after the release of Episode 2, I was walking home from band practice. A storyline burst into my brain, and my imagination just exploded with all these scenes and scenarios. By the time I reached my front door, I had the groundwork for 4 more episodes completely laid out in my brain. I remember thinking to myself “Well, it looks like I need to make Season 2″.
Q: What do you use to record audio? – ukg x buzz
A: I use a digital stereo recorder called the Edirol R-09. It has built-in stereo microphones, and records 24-bit WAV files onto flash memory. From there, I import the files into a recording program called Sonar. I use Sonar for all the processing and panning. I create a stereo mix of all the dialogue and add it into the episode in Window’s movie maker. I then take the total audio and run it through another recording program called Audacity. I use Audacity to produce a final master audio track, which I then place back into the video.
Q: What would you recomend to someone new to machinima? – doombringer
A: Stick with it, and plan ahead. Making machinima is a very complex, time consuming process. It is very important to set realistic goals for yourself, so that you don’t end up overwhelmed and discouraged. You need to think carefully about how you are going to approach your machinima. In my case, I decided to do simple 4-episode seasons. It may not seem like much, but 4 episodes is a lot of work for 1 person to produce in a short period of time. If you have a larger team, you might be able to handle more. Either way, plan accordingly.
And practice. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in Halo’s theater mode over the last few years, practicing camera control. I’ve made over 100 videos and montages in the past year. It is very tempting to be a perfectionist when making something you care about, but I think you learn more from just getting your work out there. When I look back at Playtime season 1, I see dozens of things I want to fix. I could still be working on those 4 episodes. But instead, there out there in the real world with thousands of views and a loyal fan-base. Meanwhile I’m deep into production on Season 2.
In short, nothing you do will ever be perfect, so learn when to let go of your creation and release it.