AMV: Petals of Glass

Anime – Tokyo Babylon
Song – Luca Turrili – Throne of Ice
Completed January 2009
Premiered January 30, 2009 link

The idea for this one was inspired by the call for entries to the Gothik II MEP. The list of suggested anime included Tokyo Babylon, which I’ve wanted to use for something for quite a while, so I went looking for an interesting song that might fit. I didn’t have time to make it for the MEP, but put this together about a month later.

The title was inspired by the scene of the shattered glass falling in front of Seishirou, which, for a second, looked like flower petals the first time I saw it.

Overall, a pretty simple video that I enjoyed making.

Contest Participation:
Ohayocon 2009 – Finalist
Tekkoshocon VII – Entrant

AMV: Fugue of Fists and Feet

Anime – Angelic Layer
Song – Naota Shibata PROJECT – Theme of Simon
Completed December 2008
Premiered January 30, 2009 link

Listening to the Castlevania: Dracula Battle soundtracks always makes me think of action videos, so I decided to try one out. The goal was to make the various fights in the series flow together into what seems like one long mostly-seamless fight.

I think it came out pretty well; there’s a few spots that feel off, but I like the transition points, especially the Mao/Blanche one.

Convention Participation:
Ohayocon 2009 – Finalist
I-Con 28 – Finalist
Tekkoshocon VII – Entrant

AMV: 58,500 Heartbeats

Anime – ef ~a tale of memories~
Song – Johannes Brahms – Waltz in A Flat, Op. 39/15
Completed August 2008
Premiered October 18, 2008 link

Since ef had such an interesting and unusual artistic look to it, I wanted to do something a little different with this video. Classical music really doesn’t get much use in AMVs, so that’s where I started looking, and found this very nice piano piece by Brahms.

In the end, it’s a simple Renji/Chihiro romance video that I’m pretty happy with.

Convention History:
Another Anime Con 2008 – Finalist
Bakuretsucon 2008 – Finalist
Youmacon 2008 – Finalist

AMV: Live at Budokan

Anime – Various
Song – Def Leppard – Rock of Ages
Completed June 2008
Premiered August 22, 2008 link

As far back as my first full-length video, Big in Japan, I’ve wanted to do something like this, with as much concert footage as possible jammed into a single video. The idea went through at least ten different songs paired with it, and I actually started working on something using Eric Johnson’s “Cliffs of Dover” to all guitar footage before realizing how boringly repetitive and low-energy what I was creating was (plus the need to sync so much guitar movement was a serious pain for the tiny benefit it gained). I scrapped the idea, but for some reason kept all of the ripped DVDs on my hard drive for a couple months.

Meanwhile, I picked up Def Leppard’s “Vault” album after hearing a couple of their songs on the radio and liking them. The song “Rock of Ages” just jumped out at me, and I started gathering even more footage to work with, since so much of what I had already pulled together was guitar-focused. During this time, I was helped immensely by Val and Kim, who lent me several DVDs that I ended up using, as well as recommendations for series to look in from Meteor Dragon (thanks especially for the BECK recommendation), GloryQuestor, ngsilver, Kionon, and Kitsuner.

I also have to extend immense thanks to ZephyrStar for allowing me to use (and providing lossless copies of) the scenes of Yotsuba playing the guitar from his incredible Daydream video.

There were also quite a few series I had that didn’t end up in the final video, for whatever reasons, especially Idol Defense Force Hummingbird and Perfect Blue.

Probably the most problematic footage of what I actually ended up using was from the Zillion: Burning Night OVA, which came from a VHS tape, as no DVD of the show exists, even in Japan. I ended up playing the tape in an SVHS deck, recording it onto a MiniDV deck, then importing from the MiniDV tape to the computer, and finally running it through a metric ton of AviSynth filters to clean it up (the final script ran at about 0.7 fps).

The rest of the footage was pretty easy to work with by comparison, though several of the DVDs I was working with exhibited ugly frame blending, which I was sucessfully able to fix in some cases, not so well in others, but the result still looks fairly good.

Other than a little bit of lip and instrument sync, the most complex effect in the video is an additive dissolve, so the goal of a simpler-looking old-school video was achieved.

Contest Participation:
AnimeEvolution 2008 – Entered
Anime Weekend Atlanta 2008: Pro Competition – Finalist for “Best Various”
Another Anime Con 2008 – Finalist
Bakuretsucon 2008 – Finalist
Youmacon 2008 – Winner, Staff Pick

AMV: Wing and a Prayer

Anime – Area 88 OVA
Song – Kenny Loggins – I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)
Completed April 2008
Premiered May 16, 2008 link

This idea’s been kicking around in my head for a while, though originally it was using the Area 88 TV series, not the OVA, before I decided to go entirely 80’s cheese with it (source from 1985, song from 1984).

I mainly wanted to do a drama about the separation between Shin and Ryoko, and give it a bit of a different twist, with Shin wanting to stay in Area 88, because the fight is something he believes in to the point of leaving Ryoko behind (which is the exact opposite of the actual series).

Convention History:

Anime Central 2008 – Entrant
AnimeEvolution 2008 – Entrant

AMV: Right Here

Anime – Shakugan no Shana
Song – Triumph – Somebody’s Out There
Completed February 2008
Premiered March 21, 2008 link

This was a nice simple Shana/Yuuji romance video that sprung into my head after hearing the song on the radio.

The footage only goes up through the first few episodes of the second season, since that’s as far as the DVDs were when I was making this video.

Overall, I like the video, but for such a fast-paced series, this slow video sometimes feels a little off.

Convention History:
Anime Boston 2008 – Finalist
Tekkoshocon 2008 – Finalist
Anime Central 2008 – Entrant

AMV: A Kanon Carol

Anime – Kanon (2006)
Song – Trans-Siberian Orchestra – The Lost Christmas Eve
Completed June 2007
Premiered August 17, 2007 link

Kanon has been in my mind for this song for several years, and I was planning on making an all-girls video using the 2002 version of the series for quite a while. I was looking for a copy of the DVDs for the series for less money than I was finding when the first episode of the 2006 remake broadcast. My plans for this video were immediately put on the shelf until I could get the new version.

The first step was shortening the song; I’ve always hated the middle section with the “Christmas…” chant, so I wanted to take that out, along with the final section after the faded chord, since it seemed superfluous to the song. I ended up also cutting the second verse and chorus, since I was having a great deal of difficulty finding scenes that would fit that section of the song once I decided to focus on Ayu rather than have the video skip among the various girls for different parts of the song (Ayu was always intended for the final section before the instrumental finale, though, which I think is the best segment).

The video on the R2 DVDs was insanely high quality; it’s no surprise that they retail for 6000 yen each. They were progressive and anamorphic with almost no video issues coming off the disk, so I didn’t need to filter a thing, and it allowed me to release an 848×480 distro copy. Whatever KyoAni paid their encoders for these disks, it wasn’t enough.

Editing was pretty straightforward, without much in the way of effects other than a few white flashes/fade to white moments. I’m still a KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) editor, and prefer to have the footage tell the story, rather than have the video taken over by effects. Editing this way does make the user have a passing knowledge of the series you use, but it’s the way I feel more comfortable.

Convention History:
AnimeEvolution 2007 – Finalist
Anime Weekend Atlanta (Pro Competition) 2007 – Finalist, Best Sentimental
Bakuretsucon 2007 – Finalist
Another Anime Con 2007 – Winner, Best Drama

AMV: Azu Heart

Anime – Azumanga Daioh
Song – Nakatsukasa Masami – Feeling Heart
Completed April 2007
Premiered May 11, 2007 link

This video was created especially for Anime Central’s 2007 Theme contest, “Faux Anime Opening.” I went through almost every DVD, tape, and fansub I own looking at openings for ones that I though I could do on a technical level, and that had at least some scenes that I could think of replicating using another series. Ten openings made the list, including a remake of my first AMV ever, and the one that I could most easily see was Azumanga Daioh replicating To Heart’s opening.

I had to wait for several days after deciding before actually being able to edit, as RightStuf’s release of the first To Heart DVD wasn’t out yet, and I didn’t want to work from a very low-quality VHS fansub copy from 2000. I was able to make a list of potential scenes from Azumanga that would match, as well as generate the credit list that would be used in the video (all the credits in the video are accurate for Azumanga, save the opening theme credit, which matches the To Heart opening credit, thanks to for providing the correct kana/kanji for positions and names).

The final video was made in four parts: the opening, up to the logo, the title logo itself which was made using After Effects on the desktop, the main video, which was duplicated twice for the half-rolled section, each duplicate being sepia-toned, and the ending segment, which was simply a keyframed 4-point matte.

Overall, I’m happy with the way it came out, though I’m disappointed by the edges in the masks at 1:25-1:32, Tomo’s and Osaka’s in particular stand out. Something to work on in future videos.

Convention History:
Anime Central 2007 – Finalist (Theme Contest)

AMV: Designs by Daidouji

Anime – Card Captor Sakura
Song – Lazytown Soundtrack – Step By Step
Completed February 2007
Premiered April 20, 2007 link

This idea came to me while I was digging through my short songs looking for something that might have fit the “Magical and Musical” magical girl MEP. I ended up not joining the project, but the song paired with CCS stuck in my head.

The overall idea was to showcase Tomoyo’s contributions to Sakura’s adventures, which mostly consist of costumes and videotape. The main realization I came to while going through the series:

Tomoyo is a really creepy girl at times.

Ripped/filtered on my Windows desktop, edited in FCP on my Mac laptop.

Digital effects came out in force for this one, especially the opening sequence, which took twelve video layers, and I’m quite proud of how it came out. Each of the “Hollywood Squares”-type also have their own internal linking theme, if you look for it.

Convention History:
Anime Boston 2007 – Finalist
Toracon 2007 – Winner, Sports/Romance/Other
AnimeEvolution 2007 – Finalist
Bakuretsucon 2007 – Finalist

AMV: Magical Barrage

Anime – Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (Original and A’s)
Song – KOTOKO – We Survive (short ver.)
Completed May 2006
Premiered July 7, 2006 link

The first time I watched Nanoha, I remember thinking that the action scenes were better than any other magical girl series I’d seen. That impression was confirmed and significantly enhanced during the second season, which had even better battle scenes (with more than twice as many people involved in the combat, things can be much more interesting). So when I decided that I wanted to do a combat-action video, Nanoha was the first thing that jumped into my mind.

The music was much harder. I wanted a fast, driving song, but fairly upbeat, and without long slower sections. I decided that I wanted to use a KOTOKO track after some deliberation, and was having difficulty deciding between “Oblivion” and “Face of Fact,” though both had the problem that they petered out pretty badly at their ends. I decided to dig through my collection one more time, and found that I had missed “We Survive,” the opening to VG Neo, on the first pass through. The long version, from the GIGA Opening Collection CD, felt like it was too long to carry the action the whole way through, but the short version was still available on the company website, and was perfect for the length and feel that I wanted.

Most of the editing was done without a major plan in mind, just general blocks that I wanted certain characters to dominate. My main goal was to make the action flow, and almost every clip was replaced at least once before finding a good scene for the music.

The text effects of the characters and their devices were fun to do, as finding a font that looked similar to the official Nanoha font took some time. The spellings of Raising Heart, Bardiche, Laevatein, and Graf Eisen are all official, from the device cards in the Nanoha A’s DVDs. The spellings of Chrono’s and Fate’s last names, Signum, and Vita are all from Triad’s subs, as I couldn’t find an official spelling. I admit that the actual “light” that reveals the text looks kind of lame if you pause the video and look at it, but my skills at generating my own static images are pretty lacking, and they’re only on the screen for about a third of a second at a time, so it still looks okay. Something to work on for my next videos, though.

There is one shot at about 0:40 that isn’t from Nanoha or Nanoha A’s, but from the Triangle Heart ~Sweet Songs Forever~ Soundstage VA, which is a collection of music videos from around the Triangle Heart series, made as a promotion for the then-upcoming OVA series. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha started out as a sidestory game to the Triangle Heart games, and was apparently vastly different from the series, if the video from TH~SSF~ is any indication, including a distinctly different device, a fairy-form Lindy, and Chrono apparently as the bad guy of the game. Having the DVD available to me, I couldn’t resist putting at least one small segment from Nanoha’s roots in the video.

Convention History:

Animethon 13 (2006) – Runner-Up, Best Action
Otakon 2006 – Finalist
Anime Evolution 2006 – Finalist
Bakuretsucon 2006 – Finalist