Theatron 3 – Integrating film technologies into Second Life

Dramatic arts, E-Learning

Project summary

The project will explore the possibilities of integrating film technologies (blue screen/ motion capture etc) into and out of secondlife. I will be working with technicians and students to produce a piece that happens simultaneously both in a real space and virtual space.

Context

I will be working with students across the university; I have a mixed group who are exploring secondlife from an educational standpoint and groups looking at contemporary performance. I will also be working closely with technicians who run the motion capture suite and studios here in Coventry.

Aims and Objectives

It is hoped that this work will feed into both streams of student study At present there is limited utilisation of the motion capture suite by performing arts students and my hope is that this work will open the student’s eyes to the possibilities integrating it into their performances. Also I wish to broaden the views of my performance students more generally with regards to technological integration in live performance.

Methodology

I will be working with technicians here at Coventry University to explore the technologies and with staff in the computing department to look at ways of integrating the data into secondlife. I will be looking at machinima with my mixed group and then get together a group of my theatre students to explore from a performance angle. The performance group (about 6) will be recruited from the current first and second years and work with me throughout the project outside their normal studies. To enable me to devote more time to the project and to work with others outside the UK I have applied for further funding, this will initially be from within the University but at a later point I hope to apply for collaborative grants.

Evaluation

I would like the evaluation to form the basis of a framework for future work of this kind.
I wish to work with Mark on the best ways to document the process so that lessons learnt can be useful to others who wish to explore this field of work.

Outcomes

There will be at least one live/virtual performance. Recorded on video.
This will be made available via the Coventry University web site.

There will be at least one machinima made in SL on Theatron Island (venue TBC)
Hopefully there should be a selection of animations (single and group) for future use in world.

Benefits

By highlighting the use of Secondlife in this project it will support the university’s presence in world and there are a number of areas that may benefit, for example we currently have a number of projects looking at Health and Life sciences and it may be that we can use some of the lessons learnt to create virtual patients and scenarios.

In particular this work will be of use to those in the performing arts looking at cross discipline work, those looking at mixed media work and the interaction between live and recorded work. The final machinema will be available via the university web site with, perhaps more importantly, documentation outlining the technical creation of the work.
There are a number of universities that have performing arts and media departments but it can sometimes be hard for students working in one area to feel confidant in exploring the other. It is hoped that by doing this work the students will be able to find links and explore more for themselves.

Expertise

I have 1 years experience of living in Secondlife.

I have a professional background in masks and puppets which have a lot of similarities to working with avatars.

Project lead

Joff Chafer
Performing Arts Department
School of Art & Design,
Coventry University

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