flummery (flummery) wrote,

VVC: The Anime Vidshow (Disaster)

The next post is a whole long thing on the Anime Vidshow, or Saturday Morning Cartoons, as it was named in the program. This was my show, and Murphy's Law not only came to visit, it set up house in a lawn chair with a bowl of popcorn and a can of soda and watched the goddamn vids *with* us. To say we had a few problems is an understatement.

I'm going to reproduce much of the handout from the anime show below, along with a little more information about the vids included in the show, and why they made the cut.

The genesis of the anime show
So last year, I was pretty much blown away by Wicked Amp's "Million Miles" vid, which was shown in the Effects Vidshow, and it got me interested in anime vidding, and the different possibilities presented by it. It's a whole different universe from live action -- I mean, there's overlap, but that's mainly coincidental. They grew up on their own separate plane of existence, clearly. And they're really, really good. Some of what they do, just wouldn't *work* in live action. The number of effects, and types, could make a live action vid look really, really stupid. There's often a lot more emphasis on effects over narrative. On the other hand, they've learned more cutting techniques, and effects, and different ways of organizing a vid, than I've ever seen in live action vidding, and there's a lot of stuff that could be learned from.

When the chat took place for deciding the vidshow topics earlier this year, anime was brought up as a potential, and put on the ballot for the vote but... just didn't get the interest as some of the other suggestions. I figured that was okay, it would give me (or someone) a year to check out anime vids a bit more, and present a stronger case for it as a show in 2005.

It was getting closer to the deadline for the actual con, however, and it was becoming clear that the Hi-Def show (meant for older, remastered vids) was in trouble -- not enough vids to fill it, basically, even with some vidders submitting two or three vids each. So, at the last moment, we decided to push the Hi-Def show back a year, to give vidders more time to remaster. I ran, all in a-panic, over to the Anime Music Video Archive, to see if it was really going to be possible to put together an anime show in time.

And I found I.W.I.W.A.L.

I called Thing 1 up and said "Um. Download this, right now, would you, and tell me what you think?" and she was all "I'm supposed to be at a family dinner... 30 minutes ago," and then hung up on me. And then, she called me back 15 minutes later and basically said "Screw you, for getting that song stuck in my head before I go see my PARENTS! Also, now you have to do the show, just to show that VID."

Which was pretty much the truth of the matter, so, I ran with it. The Anime Music Archive actually made it pretty easy to pull together. It was as if you were told "Go find a dozen vids or so from media fandom to show to a bunch of people, most of whom will never have seen a single media fandom vid." You could go *wild* with that, what with all the amazing stuff out there. I found many of the vids shown in the Viewer's Choice Awards section of the AMV, and others I tracked back from the top ten choices of some of the better vidders.

Anyway, onwards, to Saturday Morning!

Saturday Morning Disasters

Okay, so the primary thing that went wrong here was... the dance floor. On Thursday, the Dance floor people came, and installed a dance floor for Club Vivid. We set up the chairs on top of it for the vidshows all Friday, cleared them out for the dance, and the dance floor folks were supposed to come back and retrieve their floor between 9 am and 10 am on Saturday morning, so that we could start the day with Saturday Morning Cartoons promptly at 10 am.

This... did not happen. Shalott called the company twice between 9 and 10, reminding them that we were supposed to be their first job of the day, and they snittily told us that the *window* was between 9 and 10, and they would be there by 10.

They were not. So, it's 10 am, and we have no chairs for people to sit on, and can't start the show, because you know the minute we do, they'll show up. Now, the way VividCon works is, we're budgeted very tightly for time, and shows are *not* supposed to run over, because everyone is supposed to get a 15 minute break to switch between Panels and Shows, and be able to take bathroom breaks and the like, in between. In fact, there are synchronized clocks in the Panel room, Vidshow Room, and Con Suite, to make sure everyone sticks to the schedule.

So, we debated this disaster for a few minutes, and then asked the crowd outside if they'd mind sitting on the floor for a while. It wasn't a very big crowd (I knew it wouldn't be, given the show subject matter, and the time of day) and they were all very amenable and good natured, and it was actually sorta cozy, and reminiscent of Saturday Mornings (although, alas, no pajamas or cereal) and we got started. We made it halfway through vid three before the Dance Floor Scum People showed up. But of course, they couldn't get their asses in gear, or even upstairs, anytime soon. We lost a huge chunk of time to the removal of the floor, and the placement of the chairs.

I gave up on vid #3 (A Thousand Miles) and we moved on to the next vid. I also cut vid #7 -- The Chibi Things (That Kill) in the interest of time.

But even with this... we ran over. And not just over. We went about 5 minutes into the next hour, which means I sort of screwed Sisabet's Unexpected Levels Vidshow over. Plus it confused people in the hallway, who came in too soon, expecting the Unexpected Levels show to start on time, and interrupted yet again the poor Anime Vidshow Audience.

And you know, because all of that wasn't enough -- there was something wrong with the disk. Every single vid seemed to glitch several times, and I know it wasn't the vids fault. It was clearly an incompatibility between my disk, and the player it was being played in. My show was the only show not burned by astolat or tzikeh. I burned it myself, and sent it in. Although it was tested briefly in the JVC player, to make sure they would work together, clearly, a longer test should have been performed. I winced through the whole thing, and hope the glitchiness didn't distract people too much. That is, you know. More than the whole being thrown out of the room more than once thing, and having people walk in in the middle, and...

Argh. On to the vids themselves.

The Anime Vids

As I mentioned at the beginning of the show, I'm more a fan of anime vids than anime. The vids had to stand on their own merits, as I knew very little about the fandoms, and brought no context with me. I tried to fill categories here, to show how anime vids follow the same categories as live action -- humor, narrative, literal, dance, meta, experimental, constructed reality, etc. Plus, of course, there are categories in Anime represented here that we just don't have in Live Action, like that of lip synching.

1. I.W.I.W.A.L.
Artist: Loudon Wainwright III
Fandom: multi
Vidder: Zettai Unmei Anime
Website: http://www.absolutedestiny.org
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_myprofile.php?user_id=8760
email: ian@absolutedestiny.org

Why this made the show: It was screamingly, insanely funny. As an example of lip synching. And because Vividcon is full of grammar freaks. It fell in under the Humor category, and Lip synching.

2. This is Your Life
Artist: Switchfoot
Fandom: Rurouni Kenshin
Vidder: Joshua Potter
Website: http://www.unforgivensaiyan.animedd.com/
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_myprofile.php?user_id=11640
email: goku1446@yahoo.com

Why this made the show: It was a beautifully edited vid, with a fairly clear, if sad story, and some amazingly fast cuts. I put it in as an example of Narrative.

3. A Thousand Miles
Artist: Vanessa Carlton
Fandom: Whisper of the Heart
Vidder: More Than Toast Productions
Website: http://www.morethantoast.com/
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_myprofile.php?user_id=18
email: Kwasek@morethantoast.com

Why this made the show: This was a very sweet, straight-forward vid, with an unusual use of effects that was not overpowering (as often, effects in anime vids can be). The vidder managed to use the clips exactly right, in my opinion, building, and saving the money shots until the end. It went in as an example of Effects, Narrative, and Literal.

4. Elvis vs. Anime
Artist: Elvis Presley vs. JXL A Little Less Conversation (Remix Radio Edit)
Fandom: multi
Vidder: Premonition Studios
Website: http://members.shaw.ca/premonitionstudios
email: sierra_lorna@yahoo.ca

I gave this vid a special introduction at the show, so that the audience could get an idea of just *how much* work went into it. This is a tribute, or parody, dance vid. The original was an MTV music video to the Radio Remix Version of "A Little Less Conversation." What the vidder did here, was to take the original, and take every single frame into Photoshop in order to alter the images to replace the live action dancers with their anime equivalents. It took her a year to finish. I tracked down her profile, and she would appear to have been only 16 when she began this project, and 17 by the time she completed it. The amount of work involved makes me *ill*. Plus, having viewed both vids -- hers is better than the original.

The original, "Elvis vs. JXL" can be found at: http://www.mtv.com/bands/az/presley_elvis/artist.jhtml
Watch them both! Compare!

This went in under "Dance."

5. Engel
Artist: Ramstein
Fandom: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Vidder: Kevin Caldwell
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?vid_id=230

Why this made the show: The song choice here made the vid. A deep German voice from a very small, and very very angry girl. And it was the perfect choice for the character. The vidder totally pulled it off. This is a girl who *enjoys* her work. This went in as a Character Study, and Lip Synching. Plus, we had to have at least one giant mecha vid in an anime show...

6. Possession
Artist: Sarah McLachlan
Fandom: (Descendants of Darkness)
Vidder: WTF Productions
Website: http://www.wingboys.com/
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_myprofile.php?user_id=47123
email: starherd@wingboys.com

Why this made the show: I was tremendously relieved when boniblithe suggested this vid for the show, since we needed something along these lines. Both slower, and more haunted and hey -- with adults, and men. I felt like the show was a little heavy on the young girl anime fandoms. Possession has been vid in many, many fanomds, of course, but the vidder here chose a good version of the song, and the song choice actually suited the scenes of violence and forced intimacy. This fell under the category of Slash.

7. The Chibi Things (That Kill)
Artist: Bush (Little Things)
Fandom: multi
Vidder: Indifferent Productions
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_myprofile.php?user_id=35761
email: chibimofo@yahoo.com

Why this made the show: Well, *I* thought it was darn funny. Also, hell, but the anime vidders are good at sewing characters who never appeared on screen into the same shots. This fell under Constructed Reality, and it really is a pity it had to be cut from the show for time, but we had two constructed reality vids lined up, and I was more determined to show Tainted Donuts (#9).

8. Outsider
Artist: Chumbawumba
Fandom: Serial Experiments Lain
Vidder: Cosmic Mule Studio
Website: http://www.geocities.com/unclemilo/Drockfarm.html
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_myprofile.php?user_id=13904
email: unclemilo@yahoo.com

Why this made the show: Um. Well. I couldn't come up with a blurb for this one, either. But I also found it fascinating, and couldn't stop watching the vid. Extremely unusual visuals, some of which are fairly disturbing, if you watch closely (hint. At least one uplifting image is actually a suicide). I'm putting this under Experimental, I guess.

9. Tainted Donuts
Artist: Shakkazombie - Song: Siroi Yami No Naka (Kimidori Break Version)
Fandoms: Cowboy Bebop & Trigun
Vidder: Manic Expressions
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_myprofile.php?user_id=21
email: e-ko@juno.com

Why this made the show: Wow! freaking good god! Okay, to recap my intro from the show, for those of you who aren't familiar with the fandoms: This is a Cowboy Bebop/Trigun constructed reality-crossover. Never did these two shows actually meet on film. What's important to keep in mind while watching is that the three bounty hunters are from the show Cowboy Bebop. The criminal they are chasing (Vash) and the women and men they question, annoy, harass, and get shot at by, along the way, are all from Trigun. Category of Constructed Reality.

10. Right Now Someone is Reading This Title
Artist: Van Halen (Right Now)
Fandom: multi
Vidder: Doki Doki Productions
Website: http://www.doki.ca/
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_myprofile.php?user_id=8
email: doki@doki.ca

Why this made the show: And a meta vid to finish the show off with. Although some of the jokes in this were missed due to context, many of them were easily understandable, and some of them reached across the borders, and over to Live Action Vidding. I did not realize when I chose this vid that the subtitles would be such an issue -- I actually wish we'd all still be seated on the floor they would have been much easier for the audience to see! Anyway, this vid seemed like a suitable way to wrap up the show. (That, and sisabet had laid claim to Failed Experiments. I shake my fist at you, Sisabet!!

The vids that *almost* made the cut

So, along the way, I found a lot of other really good vids. Some, I cut for specific reason. Others, just for lack of time. These are also worth a look.

11. At The End of the Day
Fandom: Cowboy Bebop
Vidder: Big Big Truck Productions
Website: http://www.big-big-truck.com/
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?v=2446

Why you might like this vid: A well-done ensemble piece, and tribute to the show. This was cut *only* because of time constraints. I wanted it in.

12. Believe
Fandom: Battle Athletes
Vidder: Kevin Caldwell
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?v=218

Why you might like this vid: Great song choice, great opening; a little long, but it carries the story through. And there *is* a story -- watch for it. Every clip beautifully chosen. This was cut because I already had another vid by Kevin Caldwell that I wanted more -- Engel. Okay, also cut because the idea of an anime series called "Battle Athletes" is just a little odd.

13. Die Another Day
Fandom: Noir
Vidder: VicBond
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?vid_id=21795

Why you might like this vid: A good example of how effects that would just look stupid in live action vids can be used effectively in anime vidding. This was cut because, in the end -- it really was just mainly effects.

14. Eternal Damnation
Fandom: Hellsing, Vidder: NHMK
Website: http://www.nhmk.com/
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?vid_id=15045
Why you might like this vid: Another good example of how effects are more common to find, and frequently used in anime vids, and how they can be used effectively. This one goes on too long, but is still a great piece of work. This was cut because I didn't actually want to give the audience seizures. I find it very difficult to continue watching after the first minute of two of strobing -- which does not END.

15. Failed Experiments in Video Editing
Fandom: Meta, Cowboy Bebop
Vidder: Big Big Truck Productions
Website: http://www.big-big-truck.com/
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?v=2665

Why you might like this vid: A wonderful, fantastically funny meta vid. This wasn't cut, it was shown in the Unexpected Levels vidshow.

16. Hard Knock Anime
Fandom: multi
Vidder: WestWare
Website: http://westware.8m.com/
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?vid_id=14910
Why you might like this vid: It's sick and wrong and very funny. Probably falls under the category of "Breaking the Rules." I'm just not sure which rules. It was cut because... it was a little too weird.

17. Melatonin
Fandom: SaiKano (She, The Ultimate Weapon)
Vidder: Kusoyaro Productions
Website: http://www.kusoyaro.com
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?vid_id=21831
Why you might like this vid: I swear to you, I looked this show up, and supposedly, the two characters are the same age. The vidder manages to pull off a lovely story, and interesting use of effects, despite the extreme repetitiveness of the song. Yes, let's face it, this was cut for the potential underage issues. Thing 1 was shouting at me "It's chan! CHAN! FACE THE FACTS! THAT GIRL IS EIGHT!"

18. Memories Dance
Fandom: Multi, Miyazaki Movies, Vidder: Vlad Pohnert
Website: http://www.celestravideo.com/Celestial-Realm.html
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?vid_id=1838

Why you might like this vid: A beautifully done tribute to Miyazaki movies. But it's insanely long. It was cut because I could have it, or two other vids in it's place.

19. Sappy Self-Indulgence
Fandom: Multi, Vidder: Kusoyaro Productions
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?vid_id=11203
Website: http://kusoyaro.com

Why you might like this vid: It's exactly as sappy as both the title, and the song choice would imply, and they still manage to pull it off. It was cut to prevent an outbreak of diabetes in the audience.

20. Telephone Love
Fandom: multi
Vidder: Metro Productions
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?vid_id=30751

Why you might like this vid: Quick, funny, somewhat meta-level vid. It was cut because... there were funnier vids to include.

21. World She Knows
Fandom: Love Hina
Vidder: Destination Skyline Studios
Website: http://www.destinationskyline.com/
AMV: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?v=24353

Why you might like this vid: both narrative and literal, with an easy to follow story and lovely style. It was cut because it was too close in nature to "A Thousand Miles" which I wanted in the show just a little bit more.

Things you need to know about the AMV -- Anime Music Video Archive

So, along the way, the main place I found vids was the anime Music Video Archive. This was actually a fairly tricky archive to get the hang of, so I've included this section to help you navigate it, in case you decide to go in search of more vids.

The AMV can be found at http://www.animemusicvideos.org . This is an extremely centralized archive for anime fandom, and even those anime vidders with websites and their own domains will often host their vids solely at the AMV, for bandwidth reasons. The AMV is run entirely off donations, so they'll make you jump through a few hoops before you can download vids, but they do allow free downloads.

Two Week Registration Period: You must be a registered member for two weeks before you can download vids from the website. You don't have to pay to be a registered member, just sign up with a username and password, and wait the two weeks.

Local, Direct, and Indirect Links: You'll find most vids are hosted "locally"on the AMV servers. However, there will be links at the bottom of each vid page specifying local, direct, or indirect. If they are direct or indirect, the vid is also hosted off site, and you may be able to download it without being a registered member of the AMV.

Donations: You do not need to donate to be a member, but donating will help get rid of (some) of the pledge drive screens you'll find on your way through the website. Donating will get you immediate access, rather than the two week wait.

Feedback: The AMV is a highly feedback-oriented website. You'll find that after 10 downloads, you won't be able to download further vids until you've given ratings (in the form of stars) to the vids you've already downloaded. In addition, they encourage you to leave written comments for the author, and you will find you will be unable to view comments left by other members until you have done so, as they don't want you to be influenced when leaving your own feedback.

The Viewer's Choice Awards: This is a great place to start on the website, if you're looking for some of the best. They've been running for three years now, and break down into a number of categories, such as Best Humor, Action Video, Character Profile, Dance Video, Drama Video, Horror, Parody, etc.

Filesize: The filesize of the vids on the AMV website tend to be substantial, averaging 50 MBs. Just something to be prepared for, this really isn't a website that's all that useful if you're on a dial-up connection. Anime vidders value video quality.

Very Short Glossary of Anime Terms
(thanks to: http://www.ryouko.demon.co.uk/anigloss.htm, http://www.yaoishrine.com/whatisyaoi.htm & http://www.angelfire.com/anime3/chibiland/home.html )

I included this section because some of this was new too me, and I figured the basics might be useful for those who are new to anime.

Animé: (pronounced ah-ni-may) The Japanese word for animation. Used by Western fans to refer to animation produced in Japan.

Bishojo/Bishonen: Japanese for beautiful girl/boy.

Chibi: Japanese for "small" or "child." In various anime shows, Chibi characters are used a lot to convey humor, extreme emotion, or cuteness. These can be animal or human; the key is “small” and “cute”. Characters drawn like this often look more child like, since their proportions are closer to those of a child. Another commonly used term for these types of characters is 'Super Deformed' (SD)

Cosplay: (short for “Costume Play”) The practice of dressing up as one's favorite anime or manga character. A popular event at anime conventions.

Hentai: Japanese for 'pervert', refers to pornographic material.

</b>Manga:</b> Strictly speaking, Japanese for “cartoon,” can refer either to the print medium or animation. However, mostly used to refer to printed comics. The loanword komikksu is also used.

OAV/OVA: Original Animation Video/Original Video Animation; work made specially for release to video, rather than TV or cinema.

Yaoi: is a Japanese acronym for the phrase, "Yama nashi, imi nashi, ochi nashi," meaning "No climax, no meaning, no resolution." American fiction writers have translated this phrase to "Plot? What plot?" acronymed to PWP.

A related phrase, shonen ai, means the same thing in general and translates to "boy's love." Shonen ai is considered less graphic than yaoi.

PatrickD's Ten Commandments

When I first started visiting the AMV, these rules appeared to be tacked to the front of every vid page. Now, this is no longer the case, and I've started to wonder if I hallucinated the entire thing. Still, I found this set of rules fascinating, for where it overlaps with Live Action standards, and where... it really, really doesn't.

IV. (PatrickD’s) Ten Commandments of Anime Music Videos

Anime Fandom has its own set of rules, and it's fascinating to contrast the rules they have developed with those that exist for live action vids.

1) Thou shall not take any aspect ratio except one aspect ratio.
Don't intermix full screen video with letterboxed video. Changes between the two are distracting for the audience. You want your video to look like one complete product, but intermixing the two aspect ratios works against that.

2) Thou shall make no image with subtitles.
Subtitles are bad. Don't do it. Text distracts the audience. They'll be too busy reading to pay attention to the video. This also applies to the logos that networks stick in the bottom-right corner.

3) Thou shall not let characters talk in vain.
Avoid having characters talking in the video (unless their lips are synchronized with the lyrics.) If characters are talking while you can't hear what they're saying, the audience is left wondering what they're missing.

4) Thou shall honor thy fellow creators.
Don't take anime footage from other videos. If you actually want to make a good video, you'll need to do it right and record your own source footage. Go buy the DVDs.

5) Thou shall not steal.
Yeah, Napster might be fun, but if you're going to use a song in a video, go out and buy the CD. MP3s aren't the same quality anyway. Plus, you'll get a warm, fuzzy feeling for supporting the music artists.

6) Thou shall not let video static lie.
If you're recording from VHS, put a mask over that video static in the bottom few lines of the screen. Seeing that hop all over the place while the video plays is distracting...and it looks bad too.

7) Thou shall not kill clips haphazardly.
Don't just stick in footage wherever it fits. Plan ahead and have them fit with the music. Follow the beat of the music and plan clips around that.

8) Thou shall not use footage more than once.
Avoid using the same video clip more than once. It shows that you either have a very short memory or you didn't capture enough source footage. If it's a humor bit, keep in mind that there's a reason comedians never tell the same joke to the same audience twice.

9) Thou shall not covet thy editor's transitions.
Just because you have all these transitions doesn't mean you have to use them. Only use what's appropriate for the scene. Putting in transitions because they're "cool" isn't a good idea. Only use them if they add to the story.

10) Thou shall keep the output acceptable.
Nobody wants to download a 50 Mb video just to find out that it's been poorly compressed with garbled sound. Use compression methods such as QuickTime, MPEG, AVI/DivX, or high-quality RealMedia. Experiment until you find one that works well...then feel free to stick with it. Avoid using obscure codecs since nobody really wants to have to install a codec just to view one video.

Finally, a word about the vids in general. I put as much info into this as I did, because not one of these vidders was at the con, or, for that matter, knows their vids were used. There's really not a lot of overlap between live action and anime vidders right now, and I figured some thanks, and recognition was due for this amazing set of vids. Hopefully, this will generate some interest in the subject matter, and feedback for the vidders in question.

Also, thank you again to the audience, for being so patient and putting up with so much during the show itself.
Tags: con report, cons, vidshow notes, vividcon
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