Thursday, December 31, 2009

Shin Hatsubai 2009 .org stats, now with pretty graphs

One of the neat things about having a stupid amount of videos on the .org, as a stats nerd, is that you get to have your own statistically significant data set to draw conclusions from without being an admin. Here are some numbers (actually, graphs, because this is MAI data and NO U CANT HAZ, make your own 83 local videos) from 2009 and some probably bogus conclusions about them.

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This is a graph showing SH downloads for the past year by volume; that is, how many actual times somebody pulled the video from the .org servers. This is a fairly normal heavy-tailed distribution, with a moderately broad shoulder. Does the .org look like this, as a whole? I'm not sure, because 83 is really not a big enough sample to talk concretely about a sample space three orders of magnitude larger, but I'm willing to bet it looks something like this.

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This here is a graph of SH downloads over the same period by weight (in MB); that is, the actual impact on the .org server of transferring the downloads graphed above. The shoulder is smaller -- if taller -- here and the tail falls away at a much faster pace. Does the .org look like this? Since I don't have the whole dataset, it's not a firm conclusion, but I'd hazard a guess that it probably does. The number of high-demand videos is very small, and the decay rate off that looked, the last time I looked over the bracketing of the star scale by week, seems to mostly match with this kind of slope.

Now here's where things get really interesting (well, at least as far as graphs based on statistics about AMVs can get, anyway).

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This shows volume as ordered by weight. The sinusoidal ebb and flow between short ("fat" videos that reach a higher (further leftwards on the graph) transfer on fewer downloads) and taller ("thin" videos that need more downloads to get where they are weight-wise) bars in the tail is interesting, and indicates that .org users, at least the ones who download SH videos, are not selecting on filesize.

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This one here is weight ordered by volume. This is the first time I've seen a sawtooth wave in an AMV-related graph, but all this is doing is pulling the information in the vol-by-weight graph out a little more dramatically. The sawteeth in the tail show transitions between roughly equivalent levels of transfer; the spike that starts is the fattest video with ~x downloads, and the last one before the next spike is the thinnest.

What does all this mean? Basically, that the motivation to compress your videos correctly is social rather than egotistical. users are not selecting on either heavy or light videos, but, dun dun dun, presumably on some function of content and popularity. You won't get more people to download your video if it is the smallest filesize in the list of their options; the only motivation to compress properly is to minimize your bandwidth footprint. This is a social motivation, not one for the individual -- if you need a kick, though, donate, and the usage of the local server then does become more directly your own issue.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

INSO15 - Re-Animaniac

video: Maniac
audio: Revocation
link: depositfiles [45.4 MB] youtube
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: November 2009

This video is without a title because music videos don't have titles other than the song out in the real world. This isn't a compositive art piece or anything like that, just a zero-budget music video for a song that the band probably isn't going to have a pro video done for (I'd think "Anthem of the Betrayed" and "Dismantle The Dictator", at least, would be ahead of it on Relapse's list).

Most of the video is cut out of Maniac, but there are bits from The Ape Man, The Gorilla, and probably most obviously White Zombie. All this stuff is public domain, so I can publish-publish it unless Dave/Anthony/Phil or their representation tell me to eff off and pull it. The music under the end card is a sample from "Alliance and Tyranny" off Revocation's first album, Empire Of The Obscene.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

buried by time and dust

INSO15 isn't done yet -- though it will appear in this space after a) getting Youtube'd; b) I PM the link to the band on myspace and get some reaction other than wtfdood this is garbage; and c) both the streaming and HQ links show up on RTTP. In the meantime, though, I happened to run across the following guide to digital video editing:

Digital Video: A Guide for the Fearless

The guides that I had access to when I started editing were about as primitive; I'll see if I've still got any of them around and may append them later. What's interesting is that not only has this guide survived for 13 years online, but large portions of it are still valid even in the age of BluRay, Blender, and After Effects. Some, though, like the stuff on Quicktime compression, are pure lulz for their datedness, and the section on doing your own embeds will probably have some saddos moaning about starry wisdom lost; way of the world.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Tube Is Good And MEPs Are Bad

As noted, I make too many AMVs. Or, more accurately, I have made too many AMVs, such that I still average over 1 VPM over the total length of my career despite being nearly retired for large parts of 2006 and nearly all of '07, '08, and '09. The normal reaction is to look at that back catalog and say, wow, there's probably a lot of crap in there. Yes. There definitely is, almost certainly more than even I'm willing to admit. But that's kind of the point.

I have an overdue reverence for Robert Rodriguez, mostly because he has a knack for making cool movies, but also because he spends his commentary tracks not talking about his artistic vision, but about production tricks and how he's made his DIY ideals into an actual production process. The commentary track to El Mariachi is a bible for anyone who thinks they don't have the resources to do what they want to creatively, and towards the end of the opening credits, Rodriguez comments that he had a great advantage by making movies on home video before going to film school, let alone actually filming anything. His quote: "I believe every filmmaker has about thirty bad movies in them, so it's better to shoot on video and get them all out of the way, so that you don't shoot them on film and waste all your money."

The point is not, oh, go make 30 crappy videos (or 30 crappy 80-minute video movies) and magically become better, but that practice is a very real part of becoming better at any craft. You get better at making movies by, surprise, making movies, and you get better at making AMVs by making AMVs. You need to have the technical basics as well, and you need to have an idea of what's worked in the past, too, but Rodriguez still went to film school despite all those video movies he made in high school; they may only take you so far, but the guides and watching previous videos shouldn't be just skipped. If you want to make better AMVs, you need to make AMVs.

This is where the Tube comes in, obviously. You can dump whatever the hell you want on it, and if THEY think it sucks, no harm, no foul, delete and learn from it. The next part should also be obvious: this is why MEPs are bad.

MEPs are bad because they take nearly as long to produce as AMVs, but are not AMVs and do not teach you how to make AMVs. What MEPs teach you is how to make 30-60 seconds of sparkly crap. If you want to know why the well is running dry on the .org, look no further than the MEP forum, and how many thoroughly needless projects are underway. If you want to know why your work sucks now, look at your prod history and see how many MEPs are up at the top. MEPs are nice for building community and making something that everyone can feel good about for 30 seconds before going on to the next one. They suck balls, though, at making better AMV editors.

Your frame of reference as an editor is not infinite. You have to train yourself to focus and concentrate on long projects, especially to see the video as a coherent whole where the end follows up logically from the middle from the beginning, and where the beginning sets up how the video flows in the middle and how it concludes. In a MEP track, everything is compressed, and it becomes more difficult to maintain the focus on building a full video -- especially when it's so easy to drop the project and say "screw it, I'll just do a track for Project Timewaster instead".

It also doesn't help that MEPs are easier to come up with than AMVs. For a MEP, usually someone else has picked the music, and maybe the anime depending on the project, and all you have to do is come up with some bare-bones editing concept. You don't need to watch anime and listen to music extensively, which is required for doing regular AMVs. Rather simply put, MEPs mess up your focus frame and let your source concept synthesis abilities atrophy. They don't make you better, and may actually make you worse. Stop joining MEPs, and stop starting new ones.

Yes, I've done them as well, but in my archives, two of the three that I've been involved with fit this pattern. I got to pick all my own tracks for all of them, but AMV Hell is the king of focus busters. The Graveyard handed out general concepts in advance and was, for reasons outside of my control, a huge waste of time in the end. Conet is the only exception: godix invited participants that he knew would meet standards, told them to select-from on a large database of tracks, and told people to come back with something cool. The only pick points might have been the shorter track length and the competitive compulsion among everyone but doki to break the video in a visually distinctive way....but then again, you look at the editors involved, and most of us have a history of that anyways, hence being asked to do this.

As I work my way back into the hobby, it's something to be aware of as much as for anyone else who wants to develop: stay away from short videos and stay away from MEPs. They're nowt helping.

Friday, October 23, 2009

math, graphs, and process crap part II

More process stuff from the re-assembling of my stats sheets that look to have been lost when Keystone went out of service.

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This is a graph showing the average number of seconds per video element (spc, seconds per clip) for the SH videos up through SH110. There isn't as much interesting about it mathematically as the one on process time above, but let's see if there's anything else that can be gotten from it. Open the graph up full size if you want to follow along; this one's more squintable, but it's still easier to look at 110 data points when the bars have more than a pixel each.

The first look shows that there's a lot of variation in the sample space, but that spc generally tracks better with time than with video style. The second is that in that regard, there is a pretty uniform falloff in spc from about SH034 to SH054, and another, less notable, drop in average in the early 90s. The second one is easy to explain; I switched editing environments and was more able to employ shorter cuts, since I wasn't restricted to using only clips longer than 15 frames/0.5 sec, or using exactly the clip as cut, modulo any crossfading with the next one in sequence. The first drop might be attributable to re-joining the .org, around SH043, and picking up more pressure to cut closer and make internal synch secondary, but the trendline does go back a couple months even before that. The .org may have contributed to this trend and pushed it forward, but I was already doing the things that resulted in a dropping average spc even before I got my delusions of competence reset.

The video that this trend starts on may provide a clue as to why it started. SH034 sucks. It sucks hard, and I became aware of it doing so soon after the video finished. In reaction to a video that was a pretty good idea coming out like absolute garbage, I did a deep and thorough re-examination of everything about my process to determine where I went wrong, and what I'd need to do to improve and avoid this kind of situation in the future. One potential solution path was to change editing environments, but the trial for Adobe Premiere fucked up my capture board and kind of put itself permanently off-limits. I still have a Verbot against using Adobe editing products as a result of this. The other solution path -- since, as noted in the video entry, many of the problems came from a lack of source and cocommittant overuse of filler -- was to:
a) be more aggressive in gathering source, and conscientious in tracking source volume
b) be more proactive in editing long songs
c) be more willing to cancel videos in progress, especially for source availability reasons

All these things contributed to a falling average spc. Part b) probably the least, but a song that's 30 seconds shorter because a repeated chorus got cut out has 30 fewer seconds that need to be papered over with 4-second filler cuts. Part c) kind of disappears in the results, but there was a Linkin Park video after SH035 also using Yumede and a Nevermore video after SH061 also using WHR that never saw the light of day because they were burning through the few remaining good cuts at a rate too fast to be sustainable.

Part a) was really the most significant, though, and though I was still working from subtitled sources for nearly everything after SH034, the focus really became on getting all of the frames that I would need, and nothing else, in each clip taken rather than "let's just grab every continuous extent without subtitles on it that MovieStar will accept". Of course, I was still taking everything, but in that flensing process, naturally grabbing more smaller cuts that I might have neglected before. The more one-second interrupted-action cuts available, the fewer six-second pans need to end up in the final product. These changes necessarily took a while to accumulate, but over that six-month, 20-video stretch, a lot of effort and introspection was put into continuously improving the process, which paid dividends further down the line; dropping the average spc into the minimum possible range for AMV with MovieStar was pretty much a side effect, but it makes for a nice trailing indicator. Your videos won't get better if you just deliberately reduce your spc, but as you improve, your spc will trend down towards the minimum compatible with your style and your editing gear.

Stuff like this shows the reward of keeping stats on process; you never know when you're going to have a statistically-significant sample space on your hands, and at that point it becomes interesting to look at the numbers and see what you didn't notice happening while you were making all those videos. These are the only tools I have that are of real use; only total number of video elements is tracked in addition to these, and that's just (spc x however long the song is), which is a bad indicator for what kinds of projects are under survey and useless for everything else. If there's some other tool that you think would suit your process development to track, invent it and track it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

math, graphs, and process crap

This is process stuff that maybe ought to be in my .org journal, but I can use pictures here, and not there.

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This is a graph of the production time officially noted for every SH video so far. Let's see what's of interest. (open full size if you actually want to follow along, don't just squint at the preview.)

The first and most striking thing is that there is a sine wave rather clearly apparent in the results, with a period/wavelength of approximately 9 videos. This is not perfectly consistent, but it's remarkable that a pattern like this is detectable at all. Even from someone (perhaps one of the few) who keeps stats on their process, it's really weird to see an emergent mathematical pattern in the data.

The second is that most SH videos finish within 20 hours of official start of work, and nearly everything is done within 40 hours of work. This helps explain the frantic pace of completion in the fall of 2002 and winter/spring of 2003, when I was job-hunting and GRE-prepping about 25 hours a week and spending about 25 hours on AMVage. The third is that there are quite a few videos, usually bunched together, running well over 60 hours, but this behavior disappears entirely after SH053. What happened after SH052 that resulted in this sort of spike disappearing?

Looking at where the spikes are, and what videos are represented, there is a simple formula at stake: videos that spike out were produced from digisubs, largely or entirely, and were all done over at least 10 episodes. That the spikes exist, and that those on the demos aren't even higher, is an artifact of changes in the clipping process and how records were kept.

SH videos have always been assembled out of clips rather than from regions of episodes selected in the editing environment. However, the process by which these clips were created has changed several times, and until SH093 when DVD rips came in at long last, some of the stages were dependent on whether I'd capped the video or was using someone else's encode. Up until SH052, the digisub process went like this:
- render source file to MPEG2 (usually; some stuff for demo 1 was done to MPEG1 because that was what I was using at the time) with TMPEG
- clip in MovieStar, producing full-quality MPEG2 clips and low-quality MPEG1 clips for drafting (videos from SH020 to SH092 were drafted with MPEG1 clips, due to problems synching SH019, then reassembled from the appropriate MPEG2 source for the final build)
After SH052, the process went like this:
- clip in Virtual Dub, processing the .avi to 640x480
- render clips to MPEG2 with TMPEG
- produce drafting versions in MovieStar

From the journal at the time of the change:
"I'm trying out a new clip-collection process on the current video as kind of an experiment. With my current hardware, I need to put in 17-18 hours of processing time per ep before I can even start thinking about getting clips. I'm trying now to make clips in VDub, run 'em through TMPEG to make the HQs, then make the LQ draft versions in my main editor. This is all attempting to save time, on the proposition that even if I get 3 minutes of usable source from an ep, that's 19 or so minutes that I'm not able to use in the video and shouldn't waste time working with."

This held up, and the precipitous drop after SH052 is notable; only two later videos -- one involving a lot of building from manga cuts, and the other thanks solely to some encoding mistakes -- even go above 50 hours, while before this it was virtually guaranteed that a "serious" video would require more than 60 hours. The sole reason for this was the extended render time on Keystone, which has been noted here, below, as a 500MHz K6-II with less than 200MB RAM. As noted, each episode represented between 10 and 18 hours of effectively dead time running the render, which all went into the production stats, since this was effectively the same step as capturing the source, which was what the process tracking was initially built on. When this is taken out by clipping in VDub, the resulting stats are a hell of a lot closer to the actual attention time given to the video; speed was improved along with tracking accuracy.

The demos (demo 2 and 3), incidentally, are where they are, despite each using 20-30 episodes' worth of source, because common production time was reckoned proportionately on each demo for the videos included. Each video has about four hours of unique production work, something that you can also pick up by looking back at demo 1; the rest of those 70-95 hours are its share of the rendering and clipping that produced the source pool. If that production time was counted in full on each video, the demos would look like each video was the end product of 250-350 hours of work, which is even less accurate as far as effort goes.

Thankfully, all this is in the past. The limitations of drafting, NTSC-TV framerate, and cuts no shorter than 15 frames are no longer a part of how I make AMVs. A good school in many ways, but one I'm glad to be out of.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

SH008 - breakout

video: Dragon Knight 2
audio: Blind Guardian - "Don't Break The Circle"
link: depositfiles [39.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: July 2001

What's a SH video doing here? It's here because this is the infamous "lost video" that isn't connected to the normal profile. There are worse videos published, and there's nothing illegal in it, so there's no point in continuing to hold it back. Hence, here it is. Old notes below, from the last time this was publicly available.

Yes I own this anime, and yes I kind of dig it. This was mostly a really fun vid, and Takeru's fight with Shade over the guitar solo is probably as close as I'll ever come to a pure action AMV. It was really tough to manage all the clips that went into the final fight with the bishop/Lord Leonard, but I pulled it off. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of my first attempt at lip-synch with Jodis at the end, which was worse before a reapplied audio track fixed most of the problems.

About the music: "Don't Break The Circle" is originally by Demon, a forgotten band among many lesser lights of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, whose luminaries included Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard, Angel Witch, Motorhead, and Diamond Head. The version in this video is a cover version by German power/thrash metal band Blind Guardian, released as a CD-only bonus track on their 1989 album Follow The Blind.

About the anime: Dragon Knight 2 is a loose sequel to the original Dragon Knight OAV, based on the popular hentai RPG by elf. The third installment of the Dragon Knight franchise was adapted for American release in the mid-1990s. Both the first and the second Dragon Knight OAVs are licensed for North America by A.D. Vision; all source for this video is from their subtitled VHS release. There are also four OAVs based on the fourth game in the series, but these had not been licensed, or even competently fansubbed, back when I originally wrote this for the CD release, and I'm too lazy to check and see if they've indeed come out commercially (I think I've seen them reviewed somewhere....).

Shin Hats/KK/Inso hardware and software information

This was formerly on my .org profile, but got moved off to here in the update process, because it was getting seriously ridiculously long.

Old editing setup "Keystone":
Disk: 20GB Maxtor
RAM: 160MB
Capture board: Dazzle DVC II
OS: Win98 original (and they said it couldn't be done...)
Editor: Dazzle MovieStar 4.22
Utils: TMPEG, Virtual Dub, Sub Station Alpha, Nero Wave, CDex, MEIMI, SnagIt, AviSynth, DVD2AVI, Acid
Videos produced: SH001 to SH092, INSO01 to INSO03, BAS01 to BAS17
In service since: March 2001
Effectively retired: December 2004
Notes: Keystone is entirely retired for AMV production at this point, and is no longer operable.

Next-generation editing rig "Battlefreak":
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 3000+
Disk: 1x 40GB Maxtor, 1x160GB Maxtor, 1x300GB Western Digital
Capture: 16x Rosewill DVD-ROM/DVD Decrypter
OS: Win2K Professional
Editor: Magix 2.0+ Deluxe
Utils: TMPEG, Virtual Dub, SSA, AviSynth, DVD2AVI, CDEx
Videos produced: SH093 to SH098, INSO04 to INSO07, SH106 to SH118, INSO09 to INSO10, INSO12 through INSO14
In service since: October 2004
Notes: Battlefreak was effectively out of service between April 2005 and April 2006, and has since gotten a forced upgrade to Vista. This is the current editing station.

Provisional stopgap editing rig "Steelplank":
CPU: Intel Pentium M 1.5 GHz
Disk: 30GB internal, 120GB Fantom external
Capture: 16x AOpen external DVD-ROM/DVD Decrypter
OS: WinXP Professional
Editor: Magix 2.0+ Deluxe
Utils: Virtual Dub, DGIndex, BeSweet, AviSynth, DVD Decrypter, CDEx
Videos produced: SH099 to SH101, INSO08 [80%]
In service since: May 2005
Retired: July 2005

New generation portable editing rig "Onslaught":
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+
Disk: 55GB internal, 120GB Fantom external
RAM: 1GB SDRAM [Hypertransport]
Capture: DVD-RW internal
OS: WinXP Professional
Editor: Magix 2.0+ Deluxe
Utils: Virtual Dub, DGIndex, BeSweet, AviSynth, DVD Decrypter, CDEx
Videos produced: INSO08 [20%], SH102 to SH105, INSO11
In service since: June 2005
Retired: April 2006
Unretired for limited service: May 2006
Retired for reals: October 2006

INSO14 - Conet track

video: Pretty Cure
audio: The Conet Project
link: mediafire [19 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: March 2007

This is the actual track that went into Conet, and is somewhat improved on INSO13. It's here more for contrast; it's decent on its own, but really needs to be seen in context with everything else as a part of that project.

That's it for now; there may be some other junk in the future, but this is all that's applicable under this caption at present.

INSO13 - condition 33

video: Pretty Cure
audio: The Conet Project
link: mediafire [20.1 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe, Virtual Dub
production date: February 2007

The original version of what I would end up contributing to the Conet project, this one still gets published, even though from that perspective it's more of a beta, because this is the pure and unvarnished version of what I wanted to do with the effect. If you've seen Conet, this is pretty much what's in there (appearing later here as INSO14), but a little more difficult to make out. There's only one colorized clip in this one, and it looks so bad that I radically redid it in the final version; this though, I was prepared to let out the door as it is, so here it goes.

This should also help those who want to reverse-engineer the effect in this; you can do this almost completely with Virtual Dub's built-in filters, but you'll also have to have Lags' difference filter, which should be in the toolbox of everyone who wants to destroy video. You can see a better example of just using this to remove animation paint and restore something like the original line in SH088.

INSO12 - gorehog

video: Spirited Away
audio: Obituary - "Redneck Stomp" (sample)
link: depositfiles [7.8 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: June 2006

I was in production on SH107, and the Graveyard was still going on, which led naturally to this one on clip reuse. It also got audio-stripped in the final compilation, which makes it a lot less funny. On the other hand, it may be a little more noticeable; Obituary's riffs tend to be a little thunking and repetitive, which made it easy to put this together conceptually and may mean that it actually works as a video, which kind of wasn't the point of that project.

INSO11 - nonviolence

video: Elfen Lied
audio: Berserkr - "Southern Vision" (sample)
link: depositfiles [11.1 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: May 2006

Another Graveyard video (which did not get in, if I recall correctly), this one involves a lot of actual editor work....well, on the program's end, not mine. The subject was transition overuse, and this one is just a bunch of nonviolent selections from Elfen Lied episode 1 jammed together using every transition available in Magix, probably not in order like that Berserk vid SSGWNBTD did way back when. The point of the title is probably absent from a naive viewing of the video, not knowing that this is an anime where people's appendages randomly fall off and a right-wing death metal band (again, not linked).

This one was edited in China during the brief time I was posted there, in work downtime not associated with the option to go out and do stuff that requires being in China.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

INSO10 - Fucking Tight

video: Maria-sama ga Miteru ~ Haru
audio: Municipal Waste - "Guilty of Being Tight" (edit)
link: tinyupload [14.5 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: April 2006

The shitty Graveyard version of what eventually turned into SH106, this is if nothing else proof positive that I can break footage better than I can fix it. Seriously, watch this one; this looks like worse garbage than the Dragonball clips at the start of SH056, themselves upsampled from postage-stamp-sized ASF and kind of fucked up.

All the cuts I did for the Graveyard project are being put up here, despite being compiled in that video, because they got their audio stripped, and I'm still kind of steamed about that. The idea behind the project was good, but it turned into nearly as much fail as some of the ideas parodied. If there's no audio on this track, as on the others, there's no point. This one got in; INSO11 didn't and INSO12 did. All of them show up here.

INSO09 - Cthulhu Gokkun

video: Naruto
audio: The Vision Bleak - "The Curse of Arabia" (sample)
link: depositfiles [690 KB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: October 2005

As the trailer card indicates, this is a AMV-Hell-style joke that doesn't have a video to go into that was put together in a total of about 35 seconds, including rendering and final export. You may have to listen to it a couple times to get it; the piece is three frickin seconds long.

INSO07 - Die Katze Hoch

video: Azumanga Daioh
audio: Intimidation One - "Frederick The Great" (not really)
link: mediafire [6.8 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: April 2005

Done as a piss-take track at the end of SH095, which also took a lot of time and effort, this video combines a one-clip sequence from somewhere in the middle of AzuDai with the march that appears on the end of Intimidation One's cover of this Landser tune, which has nothing to do with either band, but is probably coming from the same place politically. (Note how none of these bands are linked; there's a reason.) Appropriately, this was omaked onto the end of INSO08, but now you can get it in remastered fidelity without having to sit through all the offensive and disgusting crap in that video first.

INSO06 - ...entferne ich mich mit dir

video: Der Krieger und die Kaiserin/The Princess and the Warrior (same movie, prefer the original title, but not everyone can read German)
audio: Mary Black - "Columbus"
link: depositfiles [53.3 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: February 2005

This video was done for the "Live In '05" contest advertised on the forums in early 2005, and was kicked together in blithe disregard of the expectations of the contest. I had been into this movie for a while, and it meshed very well with the song, saving me from having to buy Last Exile to do a video with this. Among very slow romance videos based on sources where the protagonists show extremely little physical intimacy, I think it came out pretty well.

About the music: Mary Black is an Irish pop singer; I found this track scouring the net from some blog that also turned me on to Bamboo Soul and Les fatales Picards.

About the movie: Tom Twyker made German cinema history with Lola rennt (Run Lola Run in English): for the first time since the arrival of New German Cinema in the 1970s, a German film was fast, experimentally composed, and quick-cut. It was heralded as a fresh start for German movies. Then Twyker turned around and made this film, which is a classic NGC piece clocking in at a smooth and weighty 150 minutes. It still has many of Twyker's stylistic quirks, including carefully plotted and symbolic color schemes and highly dynamic camera motions, but its captivating power is slow and deep rather than the gripping speedfreak edge of Lola rennt.

Miscellaneous: The title of this video is a convoluted word-play that will only make sense to those with a fair degree of fluency in the German language. It roughly means "I will distance myself with you/I am distancing myself with you", and the case which is meant is unclear, dependent on the omitted first word or phrase, which would be something like "Jetzt" [Now] or "Zuletzt" [At last]. If this sentence element is not there, the title isn't grammatically legal. Beyond that, "entfernen", to distance, doesn't take a "mit" (with) prepositional phrase. It requires a "von" (from) phrase, which only makes sense: nothing can distance itself if it has nothing to distance itself from. Both prepositions are in the same grammatical group, keeping the sounds and sentence flow consistent, but the inversion of the relationship (uniting instead of dividing) and the reduction to not specifically moving away from anything, but simply distancing oneself in general really address themselves to the central themes of the video.

A potentially interesting but of course ultimately fruitless thought exercise might be to speculate whether, if the title is intended as a spoken line, Sissi or Bodo is the speaker.

Is this pretentious tripe? Of course. But a pretentious title is better than an unoriginal crap title, and almost as good as no title at all.

INSO05 - Fate of the Family

video: Death Collector/Family Enforcer (same movie, two names)
audio: Halford - "Slow Down"
link: depositfiles [47.1 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: February 2005

After the intense production work on SH094 wrapped, I really didn't want to look anime in the face, editing-wise, for a while, and there was also a "Live In '05" contest running around the same time. Thus this one and the followup, which is probably better. This is still decent, but probably the worst of the live-action videos in my catalog.

About the video: this is kind of a drama piece focusing on Mafia small-timers. Joe Cortese stars, but if you look carefully, you may be able to catch Joe Pesci in a godawful least I hope it is. I mean, if that was his real hair, going bald was the best thing that could have happened to his career.

INSO04 - nice video with a nice song

video: Night of the Living Dead
audio: Ben Jelen - "Christine"
link: depositfiles [45.2 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: January 2005

This was done partly to work out my new editing environment and get more used to ripping and processing DVDs, and partly as a practical joke on the .org forums, because I like messing with people. Putting the picture and the standard source block in gives it away, but the video holds up on its own beyond that, which is useful.

And now, a blast from the past, as promised in the end titles:


I found this CD early in 2004 while at U-M working on my MSCS (since abandoned for industry). I was in one of the Media Union labs, and I had to upload some stuff I had written -- I forget whether it was some code for an assignment, or just some doc I had to print -- from CD onto the workstation there. Well, there was already a CD in the machine. I took it out, moved my stuff off the ferry disc, and then threw it back in to listen to while I worked on other stuff. It looked like it would suck, but I have eclectic tastes in music and am willing to give nearly anything a fair shot.

Yes, it sucked. But it wasn't earbreakingly bad like, say, Maniac Mattox. So I let it play and eventually it got to track 4, "Christine". As soon as I heard "taste of Christine" come up the first time, I immediately thought of Night of the Living Dead, partly because I had just watched it recently and partly because I hated the song and like to make fun of shit. The image of this song playing while some girl is ripped apart and devoured by zombies still cracks me up, but maybe that's just because I worship the devil.

So, I did what I had to. I took the CD home, ripped the track, and brought it back the next day. It was gone later, so maybe the person who left it there got it back, or maybe someone else stole it for real. And the music sat and sat on my harddrive until I got spare time and a working DVD drive. When I finally got one, I decided to do this as a tuneup for my editing suite, and really realized just how MUCH of the movie can be applied literally to this song -- ofcourse for completely comic effect.

The idea of this video just continues to crack me up. I'm glad I was able to make it and give a purpose to the TRL idiot who wrote the music in the first place.

INSO03 - Hall of Feline Entombment

video: The Cat Returns
audio: Nile - "Unas, Slayer of the Gods"
link: depositfiles [7.8 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: March 2004

Put together shortly after SH086/ANM1 ("demo 4") wrapped, this is based on the general idea of INSO02, another -- better, and also much longer -- one-clip video that qualified to go in the .org catalog on a whim and thus did not appear here between INSO01 and this video. This is less good, especially the shaky ending, but otherwise sticks together ok.

INSO01 - homebound

video: Boondock Saints
audio: Ignite - "A Place Called Home" (Hungarian version)
link: depositfiles [35.4 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: January 2003

Done between SH063 and SH064, this was the first real excursion I did into non-anime editing; it's been shown before, but here it is remastered, in a position that is probably going to stick around for a while. The later videos are probably better, but I still like this one.

INSO00 - Kirika no H

video: Noir
audio: Noir
link: tinyupload [715 KB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar (not really)
production date: September 2001

This isn't really an AMV, or any kind of video that requires actual editorial or compositive input. It's mostly a random joke, and the picture basically gives it away. If I remember correctly, I picked this out of episode.....11? while clipping on SH017. It's one of those things that you see while clipping, something that may get overlooked watching it live, but in clipping you go "wait, what the FUCK?" and shift the slider back to make sure that your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. I saw it. Now you can see it, and also not look at Kirika the same way ever again.

BAS17 - Demo 3 outro

video: too many leftovers of Demo 3 to list properly
audio: Evergrey - "Rulers of the Mind" (remix sample)
link: depositfiles [13.8 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar, Virtual Dub, Nero Wave
production date: June 2002

The last video done for BAS, and the last video in this demo, this one includes the most editing that I did on this kind of credits video. Not so much the video track, which is pretty much the same long series of long fades that came up in the prior two, but in the audio, definitely, which led on to stuff like SH046, SH085, and way down the line, SH096.

BAS12 - Demo 3 intro

video: Run=Dim, titles
audio: Soilwork - "As We Speak" (sample)
link: depositfiles [4 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: June 2002

For the last BAS demo, done up after I graduated, a different song sample with a linkable band and something more approaching production values. This was done up over that summer and, I think, mailed back, because good bandwidth was scarcer back then. I have no idea if this actually screened, or if this is the first time it's been out in front of general audiences.

BAS11 - Demo 2 outro

video: too many leftovers of Demo 2 to conveniently list
audio: Borknagar - "Embers"
link: depositfiles [14.7 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar and Virtual Dub
production date: January 2002

With a bunch of levels work on the pre end and some fancy Sub Station Alpha titles in post, this is a definite step up from the previous outro, if only in the "knowing how to use Virtual Dub" department. The levels of "editing" here are not generally high, but there isn't absolutely no synch.

BAS06 - Demo 2 intro

video: The Boy Who Saw The Wind, titles
audio: Bound For Glory - "46 Years In Hell" (sample)
link: depositfiles [3.9 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: January 2002

This video uncoincidentally uses the same audio as BAS01; it was lying around, I didn't have to worry about finding another upbeat riff-section, and it connected this demo with the last one. This one, though, was made at a good resolution, and "remastered"; this is actually the first time that this has been mixed down for distro as opposed to strung together with other MPEG2 files, but it was mixed down in the SH Remasters Project, so, "remastered". Doesn't matter; what does is that this preserves the "polar bear" clip that was used as the interstitial on this demo.

BAS05 - Demo 1 outro

video: Ranma 1/2 movie 1, Bounty Hunter: The Hard, Cowboy Bebop, Berserk, Mystery of the Necronomicon, Rurouni Kenshin OVA, Rounin
music: Linkin Park - "Cure For The Itch" (edit)
link: mediafire [15.5 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: August 2001

Using, like all the outros, scraps left over from the main videos of the demo, this one set the tone for the rest to follow. Even though I mismatched aspect ratios and did horrible titles and produced this thing in MPEG1, it did successfully set the tone for the outros to follow, which improved steadily. And yes, Lord Rae has a credit in there; I used his 8 Stops 7/Eva vid in the screener reel, which is the reason why it is not going to get distroed here, even though I do have a copy of the whole 30-minute thing. On later demos I used playlists; here, old-school all the damn devastating way.

BAS01 - Demo 1 intro

video: original; titles
audio: Bound For Glory - "46 Years In Hell" (sample)
link: depositfiles [3.8 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: August 2001

This is pretty much a nothing video; titles done in MovieStar's horridly bad internal titling app and an audio track just cut down to the opening riffs. This is straight out of the editor; like everything else before SH017 (except SH011, of course), there wasn't any remastering to be done because better versions don't exist.

An Introduction

As Kai K. Stromler, I make too many AMVs. I also, in eight and a half years of chopping up other people's video and merging it with other people's audio, have made or, occasionally noticed, a bunch of other stuff that is not AMVs. That is what this record is for. Posts to follow; stuff that isn't on the .org, but that I have some kind of ridiculous compulsion to publish regardless.