Recently, I went up in a small Cessna plane above the San Francisco Bay area with Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life. We were on a mission to find gorgeous Northern California landscapes to film -- eventually, our hope is to cut these real landscapes with the sumptuous hills, oceans and valleys in the virtual world of Second Life. Philip and I are also both pilots-in-training (he's an expert; I'm just starting). It intrigued me to discover his background as a pilot. It somehow made sense that the guy who dreamed up a virtual reflection of human experience would get deep satisfaction from the freedom and exhilaration of flying a plane.
Philip and I had a conversation about the difference between flying in real life and flying in the virtual world. He mused on the danger inherent in flying a real plane versus the safety and whimsy of flying virtually. Here, the division between the real and the virtual is stark. But he also mentioned a fascinating fact: some people haven't been able to jump off bridges in Second Life, because their connection to their avatar is that strong, that visceral.
Here's a little teaser of the footage from the flight; enough just to get us off the ground. Now we're working to find landscapes in Second Life to match our soaring real-world aerial shots (and, by the way, if you're active in Second Life and know of some beautiful places for us to visit and film in-world, speak up here!). We'll see how it all comes together, and we'll show you in the documentary when it airs next year.