Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where the hell is Socks?

The making of... Exclusive to SurfWatch.

Senior Furry Correspondent Socks Clawtooth walks us through the making of his new video documentary on Second Life surfing ''Where the Hell is Socks?' For the record, Socks did all of his own stunts in this video, none of the stunts in the video were faked and, you'll be pleased to hear, no furries were harmed in its filming.

27 sims, less than 5 minutes. Well, 28 if you count the sim hop I did at Rasta (the white line you see me cross is a border). Having watched surf movies like 'Step into Liquid'' and Endless Summer', not to mention being a fanatical Warren Miller fan, I took things to a logical extension when I filmed this. Also add 'Where the Hell is Matt?' Matt is a guy who's traveled the globe, stood in front of the sights, and danced. Matt's YouTube video is incredible to see where he's been. So, being a Second Life citizen, I did it my way. The opening music is what he used in his video, if you've never seen it.

Filming 'machinma' like this is pretty easy: if you have the right equipment. If you've got a decent computer, FRAPPS is a good option. Unfortunately, my computer is behind held together with spit, bailing wire and faith, so I used what I had. S-video output to a camcorder, and you've got Second Life on a tiny screen!

Next was the camera. Second Life camera follow modes, well, are bad for film making. If you're doing an 'I've been there' video, it's fine. But if you're moving, the camera wants to snap to the back of your head, or thereabouts. So enter my buddy. He's the fox you see at Neart drinking the beer. We set up that account as a camera account, and run two computers on the same router on Second Life. Wireless. Yeah, it amazed us too.

I took the slow one to surf on, he took the fast one to film on, and started sim-hopping. For a week before hand I put together the travel plan, how the video could be done the most efficiently. We did a test shoot on Manjini Island and it worked out well. So we went full tour-de-force. It took a couple of nights, a couple dozen crashes, and wading through awful lag to get 'the shot', but in the end, I'm happy with the result.

The other thing about
the documentary is that it's also a time capsule. Sunset Strip is gone now, the sim owner kicked 'em out from what I understand. The JSA beach may go back to Epics sooner or later. And who knows when beaches will change the layouts, the speed, or even the existence of the waves? My 'privateer' rides may not exist next month, let alone tomorrow! Second Life is always in motion, always changing. So this is a snapshot of 28 Second Life beaches from May 2008.

However, one of the main reasons I wanted to do this video was to encourage people to sim hop. See what the scene is like all over the grid. I've already heard from a few people who said "Wow, I didn't know there was that many places to go!" In all reality, we left a lot out, and some of the bigger sims too. Plus in the last few weeks, a lot of new beaches have opened up. So yes, part two is being planned.

Monday, June 2, 2008

SURF REPORT -- Costa Rica: in harmony with nature

The Epic wave on Playa Del Rey

Costa Rica is an estate of more than 20 tropical sims showcasing a variety of Costa Rican natural environments from miles of golden sandy beaches to dense tropical rain forest. In fact, one of the objectives of the estate is to highlight the importance of living in harmony with nature. The estate is home to the three most famous beaches of the Manuel Antonio National Park in real life Costa Rica: Playa Espadilla Sur, Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Escondido.

Costa Rica has several interesting surf breaks and there are plans to further develop the Costa Rica estate as a surfing destination. The main surf breaks today are Playa Del Rey on Pacifico Central 1, Playa Escondido on Pacifico Central 4 and Playa Santa Teresa on Pacifico Norte 1.

Playa Del Rey is the home of the Costa Rica estate's only Epic wave. This is a short 100 yard Epic break starting in the middle of the sim and breaking into the beach. Pacifico Central 1 is also home to the Playa del Rey Surf Shack, which sells a variety of surfboards including Analog Surf, Jac Mornington's Realistic, Namiko, Poid Mahovlich's glow at night surfboards and also Heather Goodliffe windsurfers. You can just about see the pod of humpback whales in the neighbouring Pacifico Central sim to the north, although they tend to stay away from the waves.

Playa Escondida's pipeline wave breaks into a secluded bay

Three sims south of Playa Del Rey is Playa Escondida, where a three section wide pipeline wave breaks into an otherwise calm bay fringed with tropical vegetation. Whilst, the newest addition to the Costa Rica surf scene is a long four-wave pipeline break at Playa Santa Teresa, with phosphorescent waves that run in for just about 255 yards onto an island just in front of the Peninsula Nicoya Sur mainland. Playa Santa Teresa also has a vendor for Poid's luminous surfboards. There are two or three sets of fluffies that break along the shores of Golfo de Nicoya and Isla Venado, which are both north of Pacifico Central, but these all run for just a few yards each and so of limited interest to surfers.

Playa Santa Teresa's phosphorescent pipeline wave break

There are many other activities for visitors in Costa Rica include boating, canoeing, fishing, hang gliding, scuba diving, whale watching and white water rafting. Costa Rica has clearly developed the estate aiming to provide visitors and residents with the best experience and the attention to detail really shows.

Most of Costa Rica is residential with privately owned land, but the convenant for the land ensures free passage to allow non-residents to explore the estate, although the homes themselves are out-of-bounds. There's a lot to explore. The estate provides a hovercraft tour for new arrivals in Costa Rica, accessible via hovercraft stations on different sims throughout the estate.

URL: Costa Rica Sims
SLURL: Playa Del Rey
SLURL: Playa Escondida
SLURL: Playa Santa Teresa