OK. Here are the details for anyone who might be interested. I apologize up front that this is going to be boring.
First of all, I only wanted something I could do quickly and learn more about A:M and most of all, to have some fun with along the way. I honestly did not even have a story idea in mind when I first started this. I just wanted to play with the biplane and airship model that comes with A:M.
So I layed out a couple of quick sequences of those two models together over a jpeg I had of some clouds. When I rendered them I thought, "That's pretty cool. I wonder if I can create a WWI movie without putting much work into it."
I then took the two renders (about 13 seconds total) and imported them into my Sony Vegas Studio editing software. Sony has a really great, affordable!, professional quality video editing package ( http://www.sonymediasoftware.com/Products/...on=4.0&Build=42 ) which I'd purchased last fall for some online video tutorials I created for a tech website (those videos can be found here in case you are really bored out of your mind and want to see what they look like: http://www.irish-studios.com/Articles.htm#VideoTutorials ).
Within Vegas Studio there are dozens of film effects you can overlay onto your video. One of them is called Circa 1908 which basically gives you several properties you can control including dust, jitter, scratches, grain, hair, tones, etc..
I added this effect to the video and then played around with the values of those various properties. I then also added a Sepia color to it (I debated between Sepia and Aged Newspaper but Sepia won out as it wasn't quite as yellowed looking).
Vegas Studio allows you to burst video streams which makes it really easy to pick and choose which frames you want to use. In addition, there are several CHROMA-key effects you can add to your video using overlays. I decided to use myself as Captain Leo because I work for less than scale and because I didn't want to try to figure out how to model a set of goggles and hat and scarf for the Tarzan model (my second choice for Captain Leo).
I went to Wal-Mart and bought a $2.00 pair of kids swim goggles, I used the wool face mask I wear when I plow snow on my tractor, I tossed on a leather jacket I have and then grabbed a ratty old dish towel from the sink for the scarf. And that was the costume.
I then set up my Logitech web-cam on a plant stand in front of my bed, hung a blue bed sheet from the ceiling behind me with thumb tacks and set some lamps up around the bed for lighting. I then set my laptop up where I could see it while the web cam was running and I basically just started thinking about how I might want the film to go and I filmed a whole bunch of sequences with me reacting to imaginary events that might or might not ever make it into the final film.
Once I had all of that, I then went back into A:M and started creating a whole bunch of sequences, most of them about 6 to 10 seconds long. The flak was made from the EXPLOSION material which comes with A:M and which I added to a 128 patch sphere from the PRIMITIVES folder. I played with the properties of the model in the CHOR to remove some of the fire and make it look more smoky.
The reason I didn't rotate the prop was because I thought that was going to be a lot of work trying to figure out how to add bones to that model so that I could rotate it. As it turns out, I just added a couple of bones to that prop on the biplane model a few minutes ago and it was much easier than I thought. A rotating prop will make it into the new version of this film.
Most of the time spent making this film was spent rendering the A:M sequences. But I purposely kept each sequence short so that I wouldn't have to wait a long time to get some output which I could import into Vegas Studio.
So...that's about it. I edited all the live action sequences as separate Vegas projects to break each into individual scenes and I then took that output and created a chroma-key sequence of me sitting in the Biplane model. That came out much worse than I had hoped for, mostly because I did not have proper lighting on my blue-bed sheet background and I did not get an even blue color which the chroma-key could work with. Still, I played around with the chroma-key properties for a long time on each live action sequence to try to blend it as best I could with what I had to work from.
For the final film, I added a 16mm film projector wav file as a background noise and I found some nifty jazz music on the web to use as the sound track. I've actually written to the jazz musician via email asking for permission to use their music for my project, but if I don't get an affirmative from them on that, I'll be removing that music from the "final" version of this film. I may end up banging out my own theme music on the keyboard. My standards are low so I expect I'll be very pleased with whatever I come up with on that front.
And that's it. I've been reading all of these great suggestions for the new version of this film and I've begun work on incorporating them into it. I also took the suggestion about watching some other silent films for inspiration and I've got a DVD on its way with a large collection of silent films on it from the first part of the 20th century. I expect that'll give me a lot of great ideas.
Thanks again for all the nice feedback!