Last Tuesday, Mark (director and DoP on Alex’s short) came over to talk about a project we’d like to get off the ground – yes, an airplane picture. He is meeting a producer Friday and we thought that creating a little video would help express the emotion and excitement of the thing.
We would create mechanima – meaning we’d use a game, WarBirds, to generate the footage – but this wasn’t going to be a run of the mill YouTube quickie. I wrote a script with some meaning to it. The game limits dialogue to voiceover, but I was able to build quite a bit of character in the few lines I allowed myself.
Mark had left town Friday, and I’m leaving town tomorrow, which limited the window in which to accomplish this.
I decided to run a test Friday night with human pilots. I don’t have a digital camcorder, so doing it myself with AI wouldn’t work. I had a player set to record the video for me on his camcorder, but he lost his DSL connection and could not.
I had to settle for ACMcam files, which record flights for later playback in the game. It sounds like a good idea, and lets you view the same flights from a variety of (camera) angles, but it’s just too jerky to use in a pro pitch.
Our session, helpfully set up by IEN (the company that owns WarBirds) went for nought – other than lessons learned. I can program the game to fly our choreographed fights by itself and record those, but I can’t figure out how to get it to operate properly within the game. I can run the results in the Mission Builder, but there’s no sound there.
The near future also holds airplanes for me. I fly down to Anaheim tomorrow morning to attend the IPMS USA 2007 convention (plastic scale models) and my book launch there.
Come by and say hi. (Directions and map here.) I should be at our booth most of the day Thursday through Saturday. Look for the Israelis in the red caps with winged-skull logo. Or just look for the short guy who looks exactly like the South Parkian image to the right.