Friday, October 29, 2010

SH079 - Into The Lungs Of Hell

video: Kujaku-oh
music: Gamma Ray - "Fire Below" (edit)
link: depositfiles [34.5 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: July 2003

This video was done as a test of zero-cost-of-access AMVing, the idea being to make a video that doesn't require any prior knowledge of the sources going in to appreciate. This is a giant problem in AMVs; on the one hand, people talk down mindless action and insist that story is king, and on the other they go build semantic content into their videos, often without realizing it, that requires prior knowledge of the source in order to parse out the "story." I fucking hate that shit, and ultimately, it's counterproductive.

I got into anime in substantial measure due to AMVs (the rest was an absolutely nontrivial amount of luck in which episode of Marmalade Boy Jo-chan had up on a now-certainly-extinct website in the second week of October 2000), and that would not have been possible if the videos I was watching required prior knowledge. If you haven't watched a show and sit down to watch a video from it and find yourself asking "who the fuck are these people? in what world do these transitions make sense? why should I care?", then the editor has failed, badly, by failing at ZCoA. I'm not going to pretend that my works are in any way perfect in this regard, but I at least try to make what I do independent of the source material, and this one, using a source that I'm pretty sure zero people in the modern AMV audience are remotely familiar with, was the acid test of that. It's not a complicated video, but it's functional and should be intelligible regardless of how much or how little the viewer takes into it.

Of course, I did another experiment seven years later that essentially invalidates this one -- the point of Causality is that due to narrative closure, story is an emergent property of anything cut out of a scripted source just as much as perceptual closure makes synch an emergent property of any juxtaposition of music and video. Even when the editor requires, consciously or unconsciously, that information from the source be taken in, the fact of scripted material being used will result in the naive viewer imposing their own understanding of narrative on the video they're watching. When we assume intent, we try to figure out that intent, at least to create something that seems internally consistent from our vantage point. It may be weird and incorrect, but it'll be there. All ZCoA does is attempt to reduce the error bars on that internal narrative.

Project Haibane - SH075 through SH078

This post contains four videos that are part of a larger project, the only one I've done thus far. They can be viewed in sequence (as initially intended) or separately; to make it easier for those who want to view them in series, this is being done as one post. Comments appear for each video and there are some more on the whole project at the bottom.


SH075 - worn soule

video: Haibane Renmei
music: Bill O'Brien - "Old Shoes"
link: depositfiles [38.3 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: June 2003

This was the first idea that I got, which was the germ of the project...which actually didn't get going until I got the idea for SH078 and realized that it was going to take several videos to say what I wanted to about this title. This is hence one of the few cases of anime-first editing in this catalog...but then again, Haibane is worth going into anime-first. Seriously, watch this show if you haven't, or even if you're just here for the music.

The artist isn't linked here not because Bill's politically controversial (he isn't, especially for Massachusetts, where he lives now, or Madison, WI, where this song was written and recorded), but because there is literally zero information on the guy on the internet. The CDDB entries for Cool At The Union are lifted from the comp I made of it and the Willis Reed EP off my folks' vinyl. No information, no point in linking to dead ends. The best article is probably here, but that really only gets into the title track of the record. Request it in the comments if you like the music, I'll get the package I made of those recordings up somewhere if so desired.

SH076 - ...and even this shall pass away...

video: Haibane Renmei
music: Gamma Ray - "A While In Dreamland"
link: depositfiles [45.5 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: June 2003

From another perspective, this one might be the video that made this into the Project (note capitalization) that it became; it's a pretty basic survey video on the series, but the idea came in after I already had the ideas for SH075 and SH078. It became readily apparent at that point that there were going to be more videos on this title than I'd ever done with another single source; to streamline the process, I was going to end up cutting for everything all at once, which meant all videos going in sequence, which accordingly meant, at least to my own sense, that they were going to have to hang together conceptually. Hence, Project, rather than four superficially related projects.

SH077 - Vivimus | Vivamus

video: Haibane Renmei
music: Gamma Ray - "Farewell"
link: depositfiles [51.1 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: June 2003

If there's an argument that this Project overran its endpoints, this video is it. In the hard light of day this is a third-run idea (SH075 and SH078 the first-run, and SH076 the second run), too long for the relative lack of the material it's trying to base itself on, and in some ways here because the Project needed a fourth video to justify its own Project-ness. On the other hand, it's still a decent video (it wouldn't be getting republished if it wasn't), and the .org scores have it essentially within the margin of error relative to the first two videos in this Project. Bandwidth's cheap as long as you aren't reading this on your phone or something, dl it yourself and draw your own conclusions.

SH078 - on black canvas blacker stars...

video: Haibane Renmei
music: Borknagar - "The View of Everlast"
link: depositfiles [45.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: June 2003

Like SH075, this was one of the founding ideas of this Project, and like that video, I really feel that it did hit its marks as intended, more than maybe the middle two videos did. There may be a correlation -- I definitely couldn't live with myself if I put out a Borknagar video that was underrealized or otherwise broken.


Putting this project together took most of two months. There was a lot of other stuff going on in my life at the time, but I recall being frustrated that I was already cutting before AniBo in April, and I wasn't editing until well into June. Of course, because the prework was all done, all the videos finished before the end of the month, but managing the huge source volume I was generating by cutting for four videos, while having said life stuff spinning furiously alongside, was extremely burdensome; it's likely a major factor why I haven't done something similar since.

More of a reason, likely, though, is that there hasn't been a source I've run across as solid as to allow four videos to be cut out of it. This project is a historical anomaly; since, as before, it's mostly been one video per video source, occasionally two, and recently I've been doing a better job of cutting second ideas that don't work as well off at the roots, in order to be sure that I'm spending my scarce edit time exclusively on good projects I want to finish. That was and is the rule -- four videos good enough to finish is and will remain the exception.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SH074 - kiitos (- o wa ri -)

video: Rurouni Kenshin Seisouhen
music: Sentenced - "Aika Multaa Muistot (Everything Is Nothing)"
link: depositfiles [45.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: April 2003

With this video, I completed three Sentenced videos with the three major artstyles of animated Rurouni Kenshin (first OVA style on SH029, TV/movie style on SH065, and then second OVA style here). I came pretty close to covering every property as well; I was kicking around an idea using the movie and "New Age Messiah", but that would have meant buying said movie and postponing other projects mostly in order to be able to make a weird and relatively meaningless claim, so that ended up falling by the wayside, and I remain "stuck" on 3/4.


video: Maryuu Senki
music: Possessed - "Death Metal"
link: depositfiles [52.8 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: April 2003

The above picture is from a cut in the video that I'd named, in the production process, as 'goretex'. For fairly obvious reasons -- as shown, the dominant feature of the animation cut is a swirling vortex of gore, hence the portmanteau. And when you get something as ridiculously over-the-top, Dan-Seagrave-cover death metal as this, it tends to stick in your mind even seven and eight years later.

As alluded to on SH071, this is the culmination of a very bizarre sequence of videos. All three, at the time I entered them on the .org, represented the first use of both the anime and the musical artist in the video in the catalog. I don't know of anyone else who has a similar "triple-double"; even to pull this one off, I had to be fast with Colorful, find something interesting to do with the first couple eps of the skullcrushingly boring Piano, actually own a copy of this show, and then use racist music, a politically controversial band from the Ukraine, and then the last relatively-big thrash metal band that any otaku might be expected to pick up. I wasn't striving for it at the time, and it's not worth trying to do going forward; empty as well as nearly impossible, this is sort of an AMV anti-achievement.

SH072 - Darkness of Christ

video: Piano
music: Nokturnal Mortum - "Barbarian Dreams"
link: depositfiles [29 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: March 2003

This was done partly as a demo for Anime Boston '03 (I was, for the first and last time, on a panel, despite having very little to contribute) to show what could be done with some relatively simple effects design, but mostly because it could be turned around very quickly from weird idea into weird final video. The title is a Slayer reference that has absolutely nothing to do with the video beyond the source being colorized to dark purple on the pre end.

What I really should have done, for demo purposes, was to make the video, tracking the cuts, then go back and recut the source without the colorization, lay the same cuts in in the same order, and side-by-side the video streams to show how badly this would have come out without the effects in pre. Of course, I didn't, because I wasn't thinking as deeply about production processes at that point as I do now -- but that's not an excuse, because I had the example of SH020 right in my fucking catalog even at the time. I should have used that video if I wanted to say something about making edit decisions based on the color palette, but I didn't think of it, and the dislocation of doing something in a non-natural film color (SH023 and SH045 are grayscaled, and SH060 is sepiatoned, which are at least approximations of film behavior) was too strong a hook to ignore at the time. So it goes.

SH071 - say oi!

video: Colorful
music: Skrewdriver - "Voice of Britain"
link: depositfiles [26.5 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: March 2003

No link for the band here; I was uncertain even to publish it again at all. However, this video does exist, the music isn't even all that racist, the videography is done almost exclusively to blow that up, and if this one isn't included, the sequence from here to SH073 kind of breaks down. Just say O.K.

SH070 - ~

video: Patlabor 2
music: KAWASHIMA Mirai - "Untitled 3"
link: depositfiles [45.7 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: March 2003

This video is strongly a product of its time, originally idea-generated in early 2002 and finally assembled in early 2003. Anyone who doesn't get what this video is about, or is trying to get at (and amazingly, there have been several), either was not paying attention to current events in that time period, or just wasn't thinking critically about them.

I'm not going to ref Zeitgeist here, because that movie is dryer fluff for your brain. Watch The Power of Nightmares instead.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SH069 - i brought you fires

video: SaiKano
music: Dark Tranquillity - "Hours Passed In Exile"
link: depositfiles [48.1 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: February 2003

Almost everything in this video that can reasonably be described as "synch" is the result of accident and closure. A side effect of doing effects in post in the TMPEG->AVS/VDub->TMPEG chain that the source had to pass through for this is that frames occasionally got lost; there are a lot of effects in this video, and the resulting output got fucked up something fierce between effect and correction for such. I really didn't like it when I saw the first final builds, but I like it more now, mainly due to forgetting what the original edit decisions were supposed to look like. This isn't a great video, but it was important, at least for me, in pulling back the veil on what AMV really is.

The natural point of comparison for this video is SH054; similar vintage anime, songs off the same record. I like that one better, the .org prefers this one.

It would have been an easy source of lulz to keep the lid on and pretend this finished before SH068 in order to flip the catalog numbers, but that's not the way the actual production queue worked out. Honesty before all, even when it doesn't count, and is seen by exactly nobody.

SH068 - no taste at all

video: Jungle de Ikou!
music: Ludacris - "Ho"
link: depositfiles [29.4 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: February 2003

This is Youtube's favorite SH video. Seriously, people steal the fuck out of it over there. I wonder why.

SH067 - kiitos (stufe 1)

video: Noir
music: Sentenced - "Kaamos"
link: depositfiles [18.1 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: January 2003

This one is pretty ota-kusai; ginned up as a pretend trailer using stuff I got in a free disc in frickin Newtype. (Did not subscribe, just bought off the newsstand, but still.) It's also somewhat amateurish, as I found out about 30 seconds after the video finished that if you dropped a single fucking 0x20 space after the line of text you were placing in SSA, the top parts of the last letter on an italicized line wouldn't get mutilated like they are in the titles here. What the fuck, though, it's got Sentenced in it, and it's a nice little video.

SH066 - leave me cold

video: Black Jack
music: Danzig - "Five Finger Crawl"
link: depositfiles [37.1 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: January 2003

This video got into the inaugural Anime Boston contest. SH064 got into the overflow. That video is still better than this one, but hell, I'll take exposing people to Danzig and medical gore if I can't get Death and sheer brutality. There is a similar story involving SH112 and SH114 seven years later, though, which makes this one just that more odd.

SH065 - alone

video: Rurouni Kenshin
music: Sentenced - "No One There"
link: depositfiles [40.3 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: January 2003

The reason this looks clunky is a persistent problem that shows up in a lot of SH videos where stuff got sent through TMPEG at some point, which for some reason really stands out here. I'm guessing it's that MPEG is not an all-keyframes codec, so some information went missing at the clip junctions. The reason it looks weird, though, is that this is all cut out of the last episode of the TV series, which isn't related to any of the rest of the show in any especially direct fashion, and which the production company apparently decided to save money on by filling it with things other than animation.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SH064 - mardraum

video: Jin-Roh
music: Death - "1000 Eyes"
link: depositfiles [46.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: January 2003

This one isn't quite as strong as I thought it was going in, probably because the color balance is kind of fucked up, but I still believe really strongly in it. I had this idea for a while and had to keep pushing it off, mostly because my capture card was dead, so when I got it fixed up in December '02, it naturally came off the queue first, and it was important to me to get it done well. This is one of a very few videos/ideas where this is the case; fortunately, I executed this one pretty much to intended spec.

Not much I can say about this one; if it doesn't speak for itself, I'm not sure that I can ever really explain it.

SH063 - F. S. U.

video: Super Gals
music: My Pet Demon - "Self Destruct"
link: depositfiles [37.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: December 2002

This video wound up a chronological year in which I finished a total of 40 videos (SH024 through SH063, inclusive), and was NEET for a nontrivial portion of time. The twitch reaction is pretty simple: got nothing else to do, got nothing to do but make videos. The problem with this analysis is that the pace is pretty consistent regardless. From January through May, I was finishing up my last semester of undergrad, including writing a thesis in one subject and doing a substantial independent study in another. Despite that, SH024 through SH038 -- 15 videos, 5 months, 3 vpm. I was working from June through September -- 14 videos, 3.5 months, 4 vpm. The NEET stand from September through December resulted in SH053 through SH063; 11 videos in 3.5 months for about 3.15 vpm.

The figures are a little distorted because of the demos in the first two blocks, but each block is close enough to the full-year 3 1/3 vpm average for the deviation no not really make a difference. I obviously wasn't dumping all my time into AMV at the end of the year -- of course, since I was looking for work, prepping for and taking the GRE, then sending applications out -- at least not any more than I was while in school or working. The constant pace led me to think this sort of pace could run out indefinitely; grad school obviously was a lot more work, and then full-time field work was more challenging still. Now that I have a commute, the chance of getting back on this pace is pretty much nil.

SH062 - Now You're Gone

video: One: True Stories
music: HammerFall - "Glory To The Brave" (video edit)
link: depositfiles [57.9 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: December 2002

This video was done for a contest, otherwise I never would have picked it up. The video source is crap and the band is actively disliked. The cumulative effect is to hit the audience in the face, repeatedly, with a bat marked SRSLY, FUCK POWER BALLADS...or at least that was the intended effect. Actual results are mixed; some people seriously like this, though I have trouble seeing why.

This was not a cut-for-cut remake like SH108, but I was still guided by the band's official music video in the selection of shot types here. Some sections match up better than others, and some are painfully forced or just skipped, but I tried, with at least a moderate degree of success, to match in on most of the most hilariously cheesy bits.

SH061 - ormgard II: eng

video: Witch Hunter Robin
music: Skyclad - "Land Of The Rising Slum"
link: depositfiles [59.7 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: December 2002

Even in the remastered version, this song doesn't really sound that good; part of this is thematic -- you want a damaged, restricted, weak song for something like this -- and part of it is that this song as presented doesn't really exist.

I ordered Old Rope to try and get a better version of the song than the one I had off the antediluvian Skyclad site, which was already outdated-looking in 2000 and 2001, mostly because Prince of the Poverty Line was out of print, but unfortunately for purposes of this video, the electrified (normal) version is a lot more aggressive and pumping, which is about the opposite of what this video needs to be. Instead of a decent CD copy, I was left trying to hand-restore the crappy-bitrate mp3 that someone had capped off the Outrageous Fourtunes vinyl EP. I didn't have a turntable at that time, but that scarcely fucking mattered, since Skyclad only put out like 400 copies of the record in question, and in all likelihood around zero of them made it across the Atlantic.

A normal AMVer, one who is looking to say something about the video source by recomposing it to music, would cancel the video or at least look for a different soundtrack. As far as I was looking at it, this wasn't an option; changing out the song would result in a fundamentally different video, likely fundamentally opposed to the one I actually wanted to make, so it was go ahead with the marginally de-braindamaged version or nothing.

As noted back a ways, there was a Nevermore video (using "Next In Line") plotted as a followup to this that burned through the straw too fast and ended up getting cancelled. As not noted yet, I occasionally want to go back to this well with an Atoll Nerat song, but picking up DVD source keeps getting deprioritized relative to other stuff.

SH060 - The Man From Gomu-Gomu

video: One Piece
music: Gamma Ray - "Lonesome Stranger"
link: depositfiles [50.1 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar, SSMM
production date: November 2002

All the compositing in this video -- the lipsynch in the intro, and the flickering titles at the start -- was done manually with something called Slide Show Movie Maker, which accomplished with a difficult third-party utility what Adobe does natively with the Filmstrip thingy (at least as I've heard). The point was not to deliberately do things the hard way, just to demonstrate that even with the toolbox that I was restricted to in this environment, I wasn't absolutely precluded from doing stuff like this. It was probably more difficult than it needed to be, but it's still a good experience to get in the frame of mind where you're consciously thinking "what do I need to do in order to get from source sequence X to final sequence Y" rather than just "can I do most of what I want with transform Z". The stuff I did post-SH093 makes a strong case that a lot of these alleged lessons went out the window when I finally got ahold of an environment capable of doing more sophisticated effects, but they were still valuable at the time.

Sepiatoning the entire video (exclusive of the intro) was a production-style decision, but it had some knock-on effects in terms of workload. The source I had was in large measure rainbowed all to fuck, but knocking out the chroma channel and replacing it with one that was all brown had the effect of knocking out the rainbows, so I didn't need to do any special derainbowing. Those who have attempted to clean up, say, Pioneer's Trigun DVD print in Virtual Dub using Tim's smart derainbower know how much faster clipping can be if you don't need to have that filter in the chain, especially at the run-over-the-footage-with-a-truck levels necessary to get the rainbows out at that level of damage.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SH059 - hypersonicbitch

video: Armitage III: Polymatrix
music: Pain - "Supersonic Bitch"
link: depositfiles [37.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: November 2002

I soured on this video almost as soon as it was finished, and it now belongs in that elite group of videos that I can look back on and think "seriously, what the hell did I make that for?" In similar retrospect, though, it was good for me as an editor to not have a filter at this time, as I could explore the boundaries of what was good and smart to do in AMVs by actually going out and trying to apply this stuff to videos, rather than leaving it as a thought experiment. Sometimes things you think are dumb actually work, and sometimes things that look like good ideas in theory come out like garbage, and it can be difficult to make that determination a priori without having gone out and pushed the boundaries of your edit suite. This video is not actively bad, and I probably still watch it more than stuff like SH062, which is much better assembled, but if I had more of an ego or any pretensions at fame, I might be trying to bury this.

The fact that this is not buried and SH034 is really tells you something about how bad that former video is.

SH058 - One Way Down

video: Animation Runner Kuromi
music: Iced Earth - "Highway To Hell"
link: depositfiles [35.6 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: November 2002

This one is effectively SH037 with less blocking and more interlacing. The fact that I did this essentially twice -- rebranding/misapplying a classic metal song to the frenetic pace of Japanese media creation -- says, I think, more than anything I can rant about here about my own process. I was most productive as a coder, back when I was writing software rather than fixing it or discovering how people were fucking up using it, under deadline pressure and fueled with caffeine and speed metal. If amphetamines were legal, safer, and didn't make your teeth fall out, they probably would have been in the mix as well. So it's not surprising that when AMV production goes under the gun, I subconsciously want to crank Tales From The Twilight World and Burnt Offerings -- and since I'm jamming the song and related material continuously while cutting, to keep myself located in the feel, that projects that synergize with that concept dominate my output.

When I need to get shit done, the soundtrack is screaming guitars and double-kick pedals driven through the floor. Is it any wonder that when I make a video from source about getting shit done, the records that pop off the stack follow the same pattern? See, even Iced Earth covering AC/DC can have psychological implications.

It also needs to be mentioned on this video that the title is skelped from cool former North Shore band One Way Down, who are sadly not active any more.

SH057 - Bijected Cosmic Face

video: Cowboy Bebop - Knockin' On Heaven's Door
music: Death - "Secret Face" and "Cosmic Sea" (remixed samples)
link: depositfiles [24.5 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: October 2002

This is the kind of video that you make not just as an AMVer with a lot of disposable time, but as an AMVer with a lot of disposable time who also happens to be a musician. I wrote a lot when I was starting out about being just a "bass player with a capture card", but that musical training was not used for a whole lot outside of this video.

If I don't know what an arpeggio is, I don't have enough material to make this video. It's that simple. Without that knowledge, I can cut the cool solo sections from both of the songs listed, but I don't have enough information to realize that the composed sample can be reversed and added on at the end of itself while still sounding cool. Some progressions work one way and not another; arpeggios are inherently reversible, which is what makes the backwards-recorded section in the second half of the video work.

Even if you don't like the images or the composition in the video track, this is still one to pick up. Chuck and Steve's solo work as isolated here is fucking classic, and I ended up preserving a lot more of the original tone through the HQ build and later remaster than I (with my shitty speakers of the time) thought I had -- and that's before the largely-unexpected coolness of the reversed part comes in.

SH056 - LinkinBread K

video: Kogepan (plus other crap in the intro)
music: Linkin Park - "Cure For The Itch"
link: depositfiles [31.5 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: October 2002

This is the SH video that comes closest, even now, to what normal people might define as a mash-up or pure Video Art. As such, it's desperately out of character, but it's a reminder at least to myself that even with the incredibly blunt instruments I had at my disposal at the time, I could still do something like this. I'm pretty sure that I didn't have any illusions about editing professionally even before this one -- I was having a hard enough time finding someone to pay me for what I was actually trained and qualified to do -- but despite liking the process and the end product, this video really cemented that I wasn't going to be running about with a video potato masher in the future, looking for disparate things to smash together. The only even indirect successor of this video is SH096, and only for the extensive audio and video editing on both sides -- and that one's a hell of a lot more "in character" than this.

As noted, there are a bunch of other sources used in the intro, which are documented in the end card. End card or no end card, I can't give doki enough credit, hence the link in the actual writeup.

There is an Animax logo in the video that is not attested to in the pic above. This is because it looks like garbage, and I can remove logos in still frames, but could not in my editing environment when this video was put out. Actually, I still can't even now, and I view this as a good thing, because it keeps me motivated to buy stuff I want to work with when it comes out commercially.

SH055 - d e f y

video: Samurai Deeper Kyo
music: Dimension Zero - "Your Darkest Hour"
link: depositfiles [41.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: September 2002

Like a lot of the other videos produced in fall 2002, when I had pretty arbitrary amounts of time to work on AMVs -- GRE prep only took so much time, and as hard as I looked, nobody was hiring -- this one was more or less eat-what-you-kill: ideas could come in and get turned around into finished videos with very low latency, so the filter on what did get made wasn't super-stringent. This meant that I had the freedom to play around with stuff and produce something like SH056, the bandwidth to do a very pure and conceptually simple video like this, and unfortunately no convincing counterargument to stand in the way of making SH059. The main driver of this was the .org-driven prescription of video fidelity as an active goal, in concert with the fact that my capture card was still broken. I was limited in what sources I had available, and as I got new high-quality material in, that was rapidly bound in to new ideas and ground out. No matter what, I couldn't stand still, and even the videos I'm not super fond of from that era had their purpose.

Friday, October 8, 2010

SH054 - me[tamor]phitic

video: RahXephon
music: Dark Tranquillity - "Cathode Ray Sunshine"
link: depositfiles [42.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: September 2002

Though it involved 30+ hours of production time, this was another relatively "snap" idea, also coming out of MITAC, indirectly; I hadn't been very impressed with the show seeing it as club, but listening through the Damage Done record for the first time, this song immediately jumped out as needing to be videographed with this source. A lot of the hits in this video, especially the ones that actually work, were done mentally while listening to the CD, in the process of forming the idea. This is actually how most ideas get put together; the exceptional case, like the Polterchrist song I had kicking around in my head while watching Good Witch of the West that hasn't actually become a video yet, goes in the other direction. This is how I get at declaring myself music-first; every idea turns into a combination somewhere, but most SH videos take the form of presenting X music using Y anime, rather than using music Y to say something about anime X.

SH053 - tomaranai

video: Sugar, A Little Snow Fairy
music: Doushin - "Take On Your Will" (OP)
link: depositfiles [26.5 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: September 2002

This was the first video I cut source in VDub for, acting as a test-bed, fortuitously, for the more serious SH054 which was coming up. I had the first disc of Sugar out from MITAC for some reason, I got ahold of the OP off distribution or something, and hey presto, synthesis. It wasn't intentionally a shakedown project, but it somewhat turned out as one, and if you have zero expectations, it's a decent little video.

As appears to be usual, this makeweight shakedown video is about 1/3 stars better, on average, according to the .org, than SH054. Lulz.

SH052 - Another Fine Reason

video: Onegai Teacher
music: Gamma Ray - "Heaven Can Wait" (Blast From The Past re-recording)
link: depositfiles [45.1 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: September 2002

I entered into the brave new world of NEET around the time I was making this video. This does not in itself explain why I thought the bit with the car was a good idea. This is a decent video all told, and it marks the end of one micro-era and the start of another with regard to production style, but it still carries the problems of SH046 with regard to the fact that I was trying to do effects work with a video Hole Hawg. Doing effects, as opposed to general production design, would have to wait until I got an editing environment in which they weren't such a blunt damn instrument.

For illustration purposes, this is "the bit with the car", an unnecessarily complex MEIMI effect that almost works in the context of the video.

This effect would show up again in SH082/83, but in that context it's being intentionally excessive.

This was also the video that got the quick-comment that launched the remasters project.

SH051 - dead worlds

video: Hoshi no Koe
music: Nevermore - "Dead Heart In A Dead World" (intro)
link: depositfiles [16.7 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: September 2002

One depressive Nevermore video follows another due to fast action; I saw the anime for this at MITAC a week or so earlier, borrowed the disc in question from the club library, and set the process up ASAP. With a short musical selection (being, mostly, the riff that Jim wrote on his four-track at some point to set up the song, which ended up being constructed in as an intro), I could make this work by hiding the MPEG2 render behind the wall of sleep (i.e., run it overnight and pick up clipping when I got home from work the next day), but it was still suboptimal as a process.

Despite the fact that a lot of SH videos have a life cycle of months to years, going into the production queue, getting vetted, and going into production after the videos ahead of them finish or get cancelled, I like normal AMVers do work on a scratch-the-itch basis, and if a good idea comes in, it should be turned around into a video as soon as practical. This was the impetus behind this video, and it's also the impetus behind a lot of what I do to speed up my process and reduce time committed. If the latency between start of work and finished idea is reduced, projects get done faster, and spur-of-the-moment projects can get picked up and finished without overly delaying long-scheduled stuff.

If the images on this one and SH050 suck less than the older posts, this means the remaster worked. Older images were done for the antediluvian SH website in like 2005, based on the old versions; these are screencaps from the current versions of the videos in question scaled at 60%.

SH050 - drowning pool

video: Ai Yori Aoshi
music: Nevermore - "Dreaming Neon Black"
link: depositfiles [54.1 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: August 2002

This video was made from a really limited source pool, which shows in the way it's composed; if I recall correctly, four episodes, of which one was unsubbed. Add in to the fact that it's cutting against the grain of the show, and it's not surprising that this one had to get edited down.

Looking back, the constraints that I've been mentioning for the last few posts look clearer and clearer in retrospect: SH048, 049, and 051 are one-episode cuts, effectively, and this one was a minimal 4-ep. Despite this, I was still dumping a lot of time into TMPEG, time that I had less and less of as I cycled up into jobsearch mode. It was no coincidence that doing a deep 13-episode cut for SH052 on top of the effectively wasted render time broke the camel's back.

INSO17: Convoy da ze

video: Great Teacher Onizuka
music: C.W. McCall - "Convoy" (sample)
link: depositfiles [1.8 MB]
editor: Magix 2.0+ deLuxe
production date: October 2010

I'm currently working on a punk rock GTO video, but in the process of cutting the VOBs for the first disc last night, I ran across the main sequence in this video, which is pretty much presented in order except for the typically-SH/INSO negative-space drop and the pseudo-lipsynch drop-in, and seriously, whenever you get 18-wheelers flying through the air, you need to either pick up "Convoy" or rummage through your Jerry Reed collection. Crashing through the tollbooths, though, is "Convoy" all the way......and anyone who hasn't dreamed of doing this IRL has obviously never driven in New Jersey.

If I'd done this two months earlier, it might have gotten into Hell 5, but I'm not going to sit on this thing for months and months waiting for Hell 6 to maybe drop, maybe never drop. Hence like INSO09 it gets published here rather than depending on someone else's package.

Friday, October 1, 2010

SH049 - Prelude to Apocalypse

video: Blood: The Last Vampire
music: Iced Earth - "Damien" (intro)
link: depositfiles [15.2 MB]
editor: VirtualDub
production date: September 2002

This is still the only video that I've done in VirtualDub. The 9 hours spent in the editor to do a minute and a half of video is probably the most significant contributing factor to this. It's important to learn that just because you can do something doesn't mean you necessarily should; while this was a good proof-of-concept, the adaptive course for doing AMV is not to stick it out in Virtual Dub, but rather to do what I ended up doing two years later and buy a copy of a very good (if fatally flawed, there's a lot of Magix bitching in the versions of these entries out past SH093) non-linear editing environment for $12. This (well, and warez) is how AMV really comes to the masses: not Free tools but good-enough-cheap-enough proprietary tools with lower cost of access. Life is a clay urn on the mantle.

When I got around to doing the remaster, however, I had to remaster it like anything else -- from the TMPEG-built MPEG2. At the time this was done, I didn't have a DVD burner (very few people did, so I wasn't as far behind the curve on this as on many other aspects of AMV technology), so I wasn't really able to archive the original AVI version out of VDub. (Which I think was in HuffYUV, but maybe not, maybe just uncompressed; no way to tell now.) This at least was forced; the idiot decision to render a lot of the stuff between SH093 and SH106 or so as MPEG2 out of Magix was just pure boneheadedness from working in a boneheaded, MPEG2-dependent environment for so long.

SH048 - You Tonight

video: Moonlight Lady
music: The Dreamside - "Mirror Moon"
link: depositfiles [45.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: August 2002

This was the third (and so far, last) SH video built exclusively out of H source -- not the fourth, I had the original North American release of Kite for SH012 -- and the only one that bare tits ended up in. So yes, caution and this is FSK16, but if you haven't seen much more than this by age 16 in this depraved modern world, you a) don't have the internet and b) aren't trying too hard.

More relevant is that this is the first video I was able to use MEIMI effects in; similar bizarre video transforms would show up most notably in SH052, SH066, and SH083. I'm not even sure that this program can run under my current system.

This was also, I think, the trigger to start cutting stuff in VDub, since I was doing cleanup there before feeding the video out anyway. That led immediately to SH049, which got things a little more concrete.

SH047 - show us your grace

video: Kanon (original, not the 2006 remake produced due to epic amounts of nerdrage)
music: Old Man's Child - "The Millennium King" (sample)
link: depositfiles [22.6 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: August 2002

Selective sample size theater: of the six videos in the extent SH046 - SH051, four are built on samples rather than entire songs. SH046 is a bunch of repeated riff sections, this is one of the best black metal solos ever written followed by one of the genre's best lock-in breaks, SH049 is an intro with some minor manipulation, and SH051 is another intro that more or less stands on its own, independent of the rest of the song. This may be a subconscious side effect of the dissatisfaction with the process that was developing and working itself out at the time; if I was wasting X nights and days prepping video source, I might have wanted to get the actual editing out of the way quicklike.

This video includes an unmodified four-cut sequence originally used in SH042, which was the seed of the video. It was also the first SH video publicly hosted, on a FTP that was up for like five minutes in August or September 2002.

SH046 - Try Again

video: Azumanga Daioh
music: Sinergy - "Gallowmere" (remix)
link: depositfiles [29.5 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: August 2002

I had done audio manipulation previously, most recently in BAS17, but this was the first video where I was actively chopping and cutting, stretching and pulling, in order to develop as much a sound as a visual collage. It was around this time that I was recording the only Coelem material that's actually been released, which was my first experience with actual production and post-production, audio-wise; the earlier Coelem demos (Vexilla regis prodeunt infernii (2000), and Tendrils of Burnt Flesh Ensnare the Feeble-Willed (recorded 2001, never actually released)) were just recorded, the technology not really allowing me to do anything except make sure that the take was good, then dump that one to tape from the master. For Tenebral Presence, I was recording not only digitally, but in a digital context that I could do something useful with in post....which I did, resulting in the B side to the single and in the audio setup for this video.

I may still have the interstitials that were supposed to go between the "takes", but I'm not sure if I kept them or not. Either way, I didn't decide to put them together when I did the remaster, and this video is thus going to probably remain non-fully-reassembled-as desired -- the version that it's been existing in for the last 8+ years is good enough.

SH045 - Dawn of the Dead

video: Hellsing, Bible Black
music: Death - "Zombie Ritual"
link: depositfiles [44.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: July 2002

Due to the production chain of grayscaling, then TMPEG-rendering full episodes, this was the video that really broke the camel's back and led to the investigation that produced the change in production management that was documented here. SH047 was another one that was bad in this regard, but this is where I started getting sick of the 13-hour renders.

This was the first Death video that I did, but that's not the reason that this video got a ridiculous number of .org hits in its first, say, five years available. The reason for that is that for a lot of that time, this was the "other" video in the .org database using Bible Black. (The video, of course, being this one.) If getting bycaught exposes people to early Death who'd never hear Chuck's music otherwise, throw me in the fucking gillnet.

SH044 - The Long Uphill

video: Hajime no Ippo
music: Game Over - "Little Mac's Confession"
link: depositfiles [44.2 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: July 2002

If this looks older than it is, it's because the video fidelity is such crap, and there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it in the remastering process. This came at a particularly bad time for such; I was getting acculturated to the .org at this time and really learning to hate logos where I gritted my teeth and put up with them before. This is the last video where this is a real problem; on SH045 I was cutting around logos just as with subs, and in SH051 and SH056 the logo isn't especially obtrusive.

Nevertheless, this video has logo problems, and it has problems with macroblocking because the sources were poorly encoded and the DVD release didn't start for like a year after I did the video. However, I still watch it occasionally, because there's a lot of footage in this one that doesn't have those problems, and it's still a pretty decent video underneath.

SH043 - D I S A R M

video: Full Metal Panic
music: In Flames - "Goliaths Disarm Their Davids"
link: zippyshare [49.1 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: July 2002

This is the only SH video ever to officially win at anything but being bad. (Obviously, INSO10, 11, and 12 won at being bad and got into the Graveyard for it, but that's not the same as trying to be good in a judged contest.) The caption in question was Best Action at the 2002 iteration of CNAnime, probably due to a weak field at a young con and a new source in equal parts, but a win is a win, particularly when it punches your ticket for certain contests that at the time (and maybe even still) require you to have won a recognized award in order to compete.

Not that any award ever arrived, but hey, it's a different country and it's a good thing to keep from being/becoming award-focused. My trophies are of different kinds, and mostly can be sewn into a jacket.

SH007 - blood to sand

video: Perfect Blue
music: Nevermore - "Narcosynthesis"
link: depositfiles [49.8 MB]
editor: Dazzle MovieStar
production date: June 2001

I held this back when I initially got to it (should have gone in between SH006 and SH009) because at that time I still thought I was going to remake the video. However, that turned out not to be possible for several reasons, some technical and some artistic.

The technical reasons are actually more difficult to explain for once. As it turns out, I for whatever excessively stupid reason ended up deleting the clips that were used in the video before saving the source archive. This meant that while I had a cutlist of mark-in points that corresponded to clips in the source pool, it was the markpoints that didn't correspond to existing cuts in the archive that I had that I had to pay attention to. This made source-gathering a ridiculous chore, since I had not only to translate from the VHS-cap-section timing to the ripped-VOB timing, but grout through the source for stuff that I knew should be there but wasn't, but this may have been a blessing in disguise, because it made the artistic issue all the clearer.

This is a decent video for what it is, the seventh SH video, cut out of a bad print and around subs, and assembled linearly. The problem is that its shortcomings are such and in such dimensions that if I were to remake it, the changes needed to accommodate the new cuts would be enough to change the conceptual thrust of the video. SH007/116 would have come out closer to 116, and I had very little desire to do this song/source combo again, nine years later, under the same retarded cutting constraints as the original. This is why the remake didn't get done: under the constraints of the project, it went from something I wanted to do to something I didn't want to do, and if you want a bright line in AMVing, that's as good as any. Nobody is paying you to do this. Do exclusively the things you want to do, and categorically refuse to work on projects you don't actually want to work on.