Xtranormal: Makin' Movies on the Cheap.

So, looking for something to blog about and I happened on a post from boingboing that made me chuckle. 'Oh goodie' I thought 'Somebody used whatever Geico did in their commercial to mock Disney. Always good for a laugh there.' Then I read the post. Turns out the stuff Geico used is free.

Yes yes behind the curve is I. This has been covered before. So rather than bore you with details already covered let's go through my abortive first attempt at making a movie...thing.

There's already a cost list on the xtranormal support site.

1. It apparently costs 100 Xtranormal Points (xp... cute...) to do a final render on a movie on top of scene and character costs. At least as of the time of this writing, counter to the comments on the already linked post, you can preview and other stuff for free. They must've seen how big of a flame and pitchfork mob they'd made and backed off, instead choosing to up the price on things a little. (can't render that first movie without plunking money down. Props/character costs running in the 200's no matter what configuration you hit.)

2. Text to speech is... ok, but getting the facial expressions, pauses, and such look like they'll be a constant headach. Plus words that normally translate to sounds 'hm' 'sh' and so on don't. To be honest the text to speech shown on these things is nothing short of outstanding given how difficult the technology is. It's nowhere near naturalistic, but compared to JAWS fro ma decade ago it's got actual tone and accent to it. 

3. There's still no character interaction. So you'll get pointing and gestures, but no choreographed fighting. Oh well,

4. I like the selection available on some levels. On others... not so much. I think if I ever get one of these done my 'avatar' will be the cardboard robot. I wish there were more male voices to pick from. Down the list you have lots of female voice options, but very few guys. Kind of a minor gripe I guess, but still. There you go.

5. Anyone mind signing up and using me as a referral? I wanna see how that system works re their 'xp' credits system and so on. That and I guess if we had different people working on different scenes a lengthier project could be done. Actually I can only do that via direct email instead of a referral link, which makes me sad geek. I hate letter bombing people. It makes me feel like a dirty spammer. So if anyone wants me to send an invite mind letting me know? I get 25 points per referral, so... would need at least four folk to sign up before I can render for free. It's either that or dip into my paypal, which I don't wanna do because that's reserved for arts for book if I can ever get it done.

6. Don't see any options of uploading your own music/sound effects. Probably due to wanting to protect themselves from the copyright police and the lawsuit fairies. That or I just didn't see the option on my mousethrough.

Lastly. These guys need to get in the chrome web store, preferably on android market and apple store too, but first start with the chrome web store. Why? THIS IS THE CLOUD! Movie making, even if it's very limited, straight from your web browser. Dude that's... just.... dude I mean really dude it's cool.

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