Friday, June 29, 2007

Watching Movies

Written 27 June, 2007

Watching Movies

The video controls in Second Life are crude, consisting of on and off buttons and a volume slider. No pause, no fast forward, no rewind.

For this reason, I never thought seriously about trying to watch a movie in Second Life. The viewer seems satisfactory for music videos and other short clips, but not something two hours long. The odds of seeing a feature film all the way to the end seemed small. Surely the movie would burble and restart, or I would crash, or the phone would ring, and all would be lost. Who could possibly watch a movie in Second Life?

Sweetie was particularly skeptical, since her former BF was a hyperkinetic bastard with a gnat’s attention span. She was sure I would fidget throughout and spoil the experience.

And yet we had seen movie theaters in Second Life, and I had even been in a video rental store, so we knew it was possible, if not exactly practical.

To make a long story short, a couple of weeks ago Sweetie and I did a tour of video stores and came home with the newly-released-to-theaters Shrek the Third. The cost was $250L, less than a buck, more than an order of magnitude less expensive than seeing it at ultamegagoogleplex.

The rental was supposedly for a week, but Shrek was still working ten days later. I copied the URL from the Media tab in About land to make sure I had the URL, in case the movie’s box was on a timer, but it has to date shown no sign of expiring. Hmmm… if the company was smart, they would move the URL every few days so the box won’t be able to take you to the stream... Yeah, that’s how my mind works, beat the system—and come to think of it, all of this couldn’t possibly be legal, since it’s highly unlikely Dreamworks is making Shrek the Third available as a stream this early in its history.

Anyway, back to the viewing experience.

I pulled out the box, clicked it, and, after a hesitation of about 30 seconds, the movie started.

Woo hoo!

Sweetie and I hit pause, counted to three, and restarted the movie (more or less)

And watched Shrek the Third all the way through on House of 1000 Pleasures’ five-meter-wide movie screen.

The sound quality was good and the picture okay, although fast action made the image blur a bit. Still, it was fun to watch.

Last weekend I rented another animated film, Cars, and we screened it on a video cabinet I had just completed. Again we made it all the way through. And we were talking on Skype throughout.

Woo hoo again!

It’s a great pleasure to watch a film with someone you love while chatting in RL and eating virtual popcorn.

Do you suppose Casablanca is available?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this review. I was able to watch a selfowned film by someone with two Pcs and came to the same end. it is a great experience!