Second Life TV Promo Appears In Super Bowl Pre-Game Show - InformationWeek
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Second Life TV Promo Appears In Super Bowl Pre-Game Show

People watching the Super Bowl pre-game show on CBS got a look inside Second Life, in the form of a short promotion for the sitcom Two and a Half Men that was filmed inside the virtual world using a technique called "machinima."

People watching the Super Bowl pre-game show on CBS got a look inside Second Life, in the form of a short promotion for the sitcom Two and a Half Men that was filmed inside the virtual world using a technique called "machinima."

Disclaimer: I don't like the show. For all I know, Two and a Half Men fans just loved, loved, loved this promo. It made me say, "Meh." But watch it anyway, it's only 20 seconds.

On the other hand, this star Trek based video, done by the same company, is quite cute, and looks much better than the Two and a Half Men one.

Both videos, and others, were created by Electric Sheep, a 50-person company which specializes in marketing in virtual worlds, and has built areas and promotional matter in Second Life for Reuters, AOL, Starwood hotels, and MLB.com (a/k/a Major League Baseball)

The videos are created using a technique called "machinima," in which game software is used in place of purpose-built CGI software. Machinima is generally cruder than the animations built with purpose-built CGI software. On the other hand, it's faster to do and cheaper.

Also, machinima is often filmed in realtime, the same as a live-action movie. Operators, often called "puppeteers," control the realtime figures, said company founder T. Sibley Verbeck. "It's very much like directing an actual film in that there's somebody directing the acting of the puppeteers," he said.

As with actual film or TV, the company producing the video has the option of creating its own sets, locations, clothing, and props. But in the case of the Two and a Half Men video, the project was so rushed that Electric Sheep ended up using materials it had already created, or loaned by other people.

Verbeck would not specifically comment on the cost of the Two and a Half Men promo, but said that his agency generally charges anywhere from $10,000 per minute to $1,000 per second to create them.

Other examples of machinima that have made it to a mainstream audience include a clip that Electric Sheep made in Second Life for the CBS Evening News in July, and a World of Warcraft-based South Park episode.

(Thanks to the Electric Sheep-sponsored blog, 3pointD.com)

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