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Director Dialogues: kootra

Some know him as kootra, some know him as spartacus280, but who cares? His work speaks for itself. From his Warthog Training series, to his awe inspiring "Thunderstruck" short that premiered at the first Halo Community Live event, kootra has touched many different styles and genres. Read on.

Tell us a bit about the real you.

Well, Many may know me by the online alias of kootra, or my former alias spartacus280, but My real name is Jordan and I am 18 years old. I live in Massachusetts USA and just graduated from high school. As many people know, I am a Machinima Director and Producer that works for Machinima.com. As for a part time job, I work as a greenskeeper at a golf course. Not many interesting things about me though, I can speak German. Thats about it.

How did you get into the Halo machinima scene?

There are a couple factors that made me want to make halo machinimas. The first Halo Machinima I saw was Matchmaking by Darkspire films, and that made me want to start making my own machinimas. When I first saw it, I thought "I want to do that", so I got a capture card and began. Another thing was the theater mode, I have made machinimas in other game engines, and halo 3 is by far the easiest one. Halo was made for machinima, and thats what makes it so easy for machinimas, and what makes it so appealing to people who want to make machinimas.

Theatre mode is pretty sweet. Which one of your videos are you most proud of?

Probabaly the Halo Machinima I am most proud of, was a short called "Annihilation". The reason I liked it so much was because It just went so smoothly and turned out really well in my eyes. Just all around my favorite project.

What software/hardware do you use?

Hardware:
Dazzle DVC 170 Platinum
Logitech USB mic
Toshiba Laptop
AOC 21" Monitor
Distribution Amplifier

Software:
Pinnacle Studio 12(capturing)
Sony Vegas Pro 8(Editing)
Adobe After Effects(Special Effects)
Sony Sound Forge
Adobe Photoshop 6 Elements

That's about it, there are a couple things I probably missed, but they are non-essential.

Thanks for the detailed list! So how long does it take to create one of your productions?

It all depends on the complexity of the shots, and how lazy I feel at the time. I could usually capture and edit a simple short in a few days. The more complex, and more special effects there are, the longer it will take. Capturing is the easy quick part, everything in post production takes the most time, especially when it involves any shots that require intensive keyframe animation. I would say the average production time is about a week or so. (Rotoscoping sucks)

Any tips for aspiring machinima makers?

Accept constructive criticism, because that's the only way you're going to improve. There is also some general advice I can give though, the first being: take your time. Nothing ruins a machinima worse than it being rushed. If you take your time, stuff turns out better, you start spotting errors you didn't see before and sometimes make parts even better.

Another would be, watch alot of machinimas, really good machinimas, and really bad ones. The reason for this is, you can pick up little things from the good machinimas and see things in the bad machinimas that you want to avoid.

The Last thing would be, get used to your software you are using, It is alot easier to use when you know what you are doing. Thats about it though, maybe watch some tip videos too.

What features would you like to see included in future games to aid machinima makers?

More character and map customization. Plus, the theater mode would do good in alot of other engines. It's been available on computer games, but It would be nice to see it in console games.

Can you tell us a bit about what you have planned for the future?

I am currently in production of a very unique Halo 3 Machinima. It is a collab with myself and The Ro4ch from ProjectRooster. We have been doing some pretty incredible things so far, and have recruited some very talented voice actors as well as a 3d model creator. Thats about all I can say about that project though, we plan to finish it by the end of June. As for everything else, I don't have much planned, most likely I'll make some more dramatic halo shorts. So be on the look out for stuff.

Thanks kootra!

You can see all of kootra's videos on his youtube channel, and check out his blog.

See you next week!

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