First 40 seconds of my first AMV

A while back, I mentioned planning to start work on an anime music video (AMV), as a means of improving my Final Cut skills, and thereby getting my developer head more in line with what’s needed by actual users of media software. I also blogged a couple times (1, 2, 3) about how the process of ripping, de-interlacing, and re-encoding the video from DVD was going.

So, update. Earlier in the month, at the Java Posse Roundup, I did a five-minute lightning talk on AMVs (hey, the topics were wide open, and this has genuine geek culture relevance), so I wanted to get mine started before then, to show it as a work in progress. Joe Nuxoll of the Posse and Dianne Marsh of the Ann Arbor JUG and CodeMash recorded the talks by hand with a digital camera, so you can see my AMV mini-talk on YouTube.

Also, I’ve exported what I’ve got done as an MP4:

Note: the above video uses the HTML5 <video> tag, falling back on the QuickTime plugin if that’s not available. Works in Safari, WebKit nightly, and Firefox… haven’t tried anything else

A couple thoughts so far:

  • I think I spent 5-10 hours just logging, creating subclips for use later.
  • The Bella Final Cut Keyboard is a massive time saver for editing. I did the last three edits with mouse and keyboard while travelling and it was burdensome compared with the ease of just jogging to the needed frame and clicking the in- or out-point button.
  • Some of the source video is a little jumpy (the second edit might merit a redo, because I cut into it right on a jump). Going frame by frame through the source material, there also seems to be a little bit of frame damage at the bottom of every frame preceding an edit… presumably evidence of its being hand-edited film, from the time before anime production techniques went all-digital
  • After tightly timing the first few edits to the guitar “ping”s, I allowed them to get looser during the guitar intro. It’s probably too loose, too vague, for some of the “Miyazawa vanity montage” (losing the source video’s dissolve to the flower background shot, and finding a different way into the “towering above the crowd” shot, might help)
  • Probably want to lip synch Miyazawa in the doorway on that first line of lyrics.

Update: Ah, I’m my own worst critic. Looking at it again, I should at least chalk up credits for the parts I think work:

  • The establishing shots on the guitar “pings” work, and gradually establish the location by getting closer each shot.
  • Continuity holds up, as the sequence gradually moves down the hallway and into the classroom. Most of those shots are from the same sequence in the first episode, but I remember one (Arima’s reaction maybe?) was actually borrowed from much later. There are lots of great shots I didn’t use here because of continuity (location and costume, mostly). I imagine each sequence will largely use video from a narrow period of time, so shots match.
  • The idea for this first sequence is to establish Miazawa, and I think it’s going in the right direction. Her crazy moments in the first few episodes should work with the lyrics, up through and including the chorus “I’m bad news, baby I’m bad news/ I’m just bad news, bad news, bad news”, cutting to another outrage (like her punching Arima) on each “bad news”. General road map after that:
    • Break and second verse: establish Miyazawa/Arima romance
    • Bridge (“I’m just damage control…”, etc.): inner monologue sequence (His and Her Circumstances has lots of these).
    • Instrumental break (“‘cuz we’ll all need/ portions for foxes”): Maybe super Miyazawa into the solarized effects shots of the classrooms, hallways (there’s a spinning shot from like episode 20 that could cap such a sequence), then back into the establishing locations for the reprise of the opening pings that gets us into the…
    • Third verse: Switch to Arima’s POV (“there’s a pretty young thing in front of you/ and she’s real pretty and she’s real into you”)
    • Third chorus: Back to Miyazawa’s POV (“you’re bad news/ my friends tell me to leave you”)
    • Final chorus: Joyous romantic shots (“you’re bad news/ that’s OK, I like you”) get us to big conclusion and out

Still, it’s good to have it started. Of course, now I’ve committed a massive amount of time to iPhone projects, so I don’t expect to look at this again until sometime after June. I’d originally planned to do this AMV — Rilo Kiley’s “Portions for Foxes” audio with His and Her Circumstances video — as my “learning experience”, then move onto a second video for which I have distinctly more concrete plans. But Anime Weekend Atlanta‘s cut-off for the AMV expo is usually in mid-August, so I’ll be lucky if I can even get this first one done in time to enter it in the expo.

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