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by Christian Zane
GREETINGS STUNT ISLAND FANS!!
I have been a big fan of Stunt Island ever since it hit the shelves six months
ago and I thought I would share some of my secrets, suggestions, tricks and
tips that I have utilized making my own SI movie, "Mickey's Revenge" and
"Mickey's Revenge ][ Preview" (and the actual sequel slated for release on
May 1). These suggestions are in no particular order, and of course there
are probably tons of tricks that I don't know just waiting to be discovered
and explored. So happy filmaking and I'll see you on the set! (:
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:
1. Give objects shadows!
One of biggest mistakes I have seen while watching many Stunt Island movies
is that none of the objects, especially planes, don't have shadows. To add
a better sense of realism, turn on the SHAD button for flying objects. This
might slow down the scene a little bit (since the SI program must process that
much more information), but in the long run it will greatly enhance the look
of your film (especially those of us with fast 386 and 486 CPUs).
2. Watch those white credits against white backgrounds!
I have made this mistake many times, but there are ways to get around it.
Unfortunately the Stunt Island credits are small and white, and there is no
way to change the font size or color of the letters so anytime credits appear
against a white object, you can't see them! Always try to put credits against
a dark, stationary background.
3. Put that gear up!
This is another common mistake. How many SI movies have we all seen where the
Mig is flying at Mach 2.0 with the gear down!? This is a very simple solution.
If the plane is object #1 (which you fly) just hit the "G" button at anytime
and the wheels will retract very nicely into the plane. If the plane is
another position which you DON'T fly, just go into the GLOBAL menu and put
the gear "UP".
4. Rotate UFO's and radar installations.
Making the UFO rotate adds wonders to your movies! Just having the UFO sit
there in space looks pretty cheesy. To make UFO's rotate (or any object for
that matter), just go into the ANIM menu and change the FACING Yaw to 180.
This will rotate the UFO 180 degrees and give it a nice effect. You can also
do this to radar installations.
5. Fill up the blank space.
Stunt Island provides for 40 objects to be used at any one time, so try to
fill up all that dead space with moving objects such as cars or stationary
objects like buildings or people. The more information you provide in the
frame of the camera, the more visuals you provide for your audience which
greatly enhances the look and quality of the film.
6. Use deep focus!
The greatest tool I use in Stunt Island is the ZOOM feature for the cameras.
By zooming in on an object (expecially a moving one), you give the sense of
deep focus which adds a 3D quality and space to the frame. Just go into the
WTCH menu and toggle the zoom with the "+" and "-" keys. And just because
you are in the WATCH doesn't mean that the camera will watch something
because you changed the Zoom (an camera or object will ONLY watch if you
out watch "ON").
7. Use credits.
Always try to start and end a movie with credits. If you would like to add
credits to a black background, just prepare a set and have a camera film the
black shadow of a large object. Then save that black space as a film and add
credits to it whenever you like.
8. Use both sound channels.
Sound can make or break a movie, and not utilizing BOTH tracks in the SI
editing room is a big mistake. Always try to use both channels, perhaps one
for music and the other for sound effects and avoid having dead space where
there is NO sound at all.
9. Watch those polygons!
Unfortunately the limited technology of polygons provides for some pretty
funny and unwanted moving and shifting of objects. If you film a scene and
the mountains or certain objects disappear (or flash on and off), re-shoot
the scene from a different angle.
10. Sound Editing.
Don't edit sound to your movie until VERY LAST. I have expereinced a lot
of problems when adding sound to certain scenes and then trying to cut them
11. Keep those shots quick and exciting!
Many shots are just too long and tedious, for instance if you were to show
a paraglider circling a military installation for two minutes waiting to land.
Keep the action fast-paced and exciting and don't let your audience fall to
sleep. (Just think of the great cutting and fast editing in great Disney
movies like Tron!)
12. Keep in mind general story-telling techniques.
Just as a general rule, try to tell a story using traditional techniques.
Set up the story and main objective quickly, create a protagonist (good
forces) and antagonist (bad guy) with a beginning, middle and end. Humor
always works in movies too and credits to help propel the story work well.
13. Quick exit
Believe it or not, many of my friends who have Stunt Island STILL forget
about the quick exit feature in SI even after reading the manual two and
three times. To instantly exit to DOS anywhere in SI, hit CTRL and ESC
14. Backing up
Back up all your SETs, TKEs, and FLMs to floppy disk. I have made some
really lame mistakes while editing and ended up saving myself by backing
15. Inspect object closely.
Many objects have rooms and insides that are completely different than the
exterior like the car wash and the cirus tent. Keep those eyes open.
Well I hope these tips will help you while creating movies. If you have any
quesitons or comments, or know of any secrets or bugs that are unique, feel
free to e-mail me and drop me a line.