Ad Caelum

Anime - Various Song - Michael Kamen - From the Earth to the Moon Opening Theme Completed May 2005 Premiered August 19, 2005 Link YouTube Link Ever since I was a little kid, I've loved planes and rockets. I devoured every book about the Apollo missions, fighter jets, test pilots, and the Space Shuttle I could lay my hands on, and watched every Shuttle launch I could. I was even watching live when Challenger exploded. My grandfather, a former private pilot, nurtured my interest and encouraged me to become a pilot when I got older. My poor eyesight eliminated the possibility of being a military pilot, and with the expense of obtaining a private license, that dream was put on the shelf a long time ago. Still, I love the thought of soaring through the skies, which became the source of this video. I went through the majority of my collection of DVDs looking for footage for this video, and even purchased Macross Plus specifically to make it. I was actually surprised that I own so many things related to flying, since there are several more series and movies that ended up not getting used here. The audio portion comes from the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, that I devoured watching it the first time. Again, the spirit of going higher and farther than anyone has before appealed to me. The video's title, Ad Caelum, is Latin for "To the Heavens," and is a small tribute to a poster I had on my wall for many, many years, showing an astronaut on the moon above the words "Ad Astra de Aspera," a Latin phrase meaning "to the stars through aspiration." The two quotes in the video I found randomly on some "famous quotes" site, when I searched for ones about flying. The Lilienthal one seemed especially appropriate for the feeling of the video. Finally, there's no real message in this video beyond the love of flying. Technical: This was my first video edited on my PowerBook laptop, using Final Cut Pro. The DVDs were ripped on my PC, since the PowerBook's drive is not region-free and the video uses some R2 disks, then the VOBs were filtered in AVISynth and uncompressed clips were created using VDub. The uncompressed clips were moved to the Mac and edited, then the final render was done in an uncompressed Quicktime file. This file was brought back to the PC and converted back to an uncompressed AVI file in Quicktime Pro, before making the needed compressions for conventions and distribution. Convention History: Otakon 2005 - Entrant, non-Finalist Anime Evolution 2005 - Finalist Bakuretsucon 2005 - Finalist, 3rd Place Drama


Anime - Sailor Moon Song - Culture Club - Do You Really Want to Hurt Me Completed February 2005 Premiered April 29, 2005 Link YouTube Link This video has a bit of story behind it. Sailor Moon was the first anime series I saw (in 1996, I believe), and is what drew me into the genre and AMVs (old RealPlayer music videos from Jet Wolf's page ^_^). However, Chibi-Usa annoys me to no end. Which is why I find the Chibi Project hysterical. I first stumbled on the site longer ago than I can remember (right after the electric saw test, I think), and had forgotten about it until Bakuretsucon 2004, where Patrick D was a guest. Revisiting the site brought back many memories and is even funnier than the first time I saw it. Boy George's music in general, and "Do You..." in particular also irritate the heck out of me. Whenever it came on the radio, I would wait for the first "Do you really want to hurt me?" line, say "YES!" and change the station. So when the song happened to come on as I was reading the Chibi Project's website, the idea was born. The video's title comes from the name of a pair of rabid anti-Chibi-Usa groups on the newsgroup that I was reading during my first experience with fast internet during the summer of 1998. LAKACUA, which is an acronym for Let's All Kick Annoying Chibi-Usa's A**, has a homepage that hasn't been updated since August 2001, so I think it's safe to assume it's a defunct group now, though I no longer play on Usenet to confirm that. Project CURE (Chibi-Usa is Really Evil) also has a website, which hasn't been updated in even longer (March 2001). As a small possibly in-joke, the voice saying "Scratch One" over the final text is taken from the old Mac Classic game Terminal Velocity, for which Patrick D provided voices. I can't confirm whether that particular voice is his, but I though it was a nice tribute to the guy who came up with the Chibi Project in the first place. Please note, I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of LAKACUA, Project CURE, or any other anti-Chibi-Usa group. I just dislike the character, and take humor where I can find it. I also am not a member of the Chibi Project staff. The images from the Chibi Project site are copyright, and are used with permission. Technical This video is also the first time I tried a number of different technical things. Firstly, this video is the first time I used AVISynth to try cleaning footage. All my earlier videos used whatever came off the DVDs, IVTCed if needed, but with no attempt made at cleaning it up. Since the Sailor Moon DVDs we got in the US are very low quality DVDs, cleaning was absolutely necessary. I may have overcleaned some scenes, but for a first attempt, I think the video looks light-years better here than what came off the DVDs. Secondly, this was my first attempt at lipsynching. Given the huge amount of frame jitter in the show, I decided to go with the "overlay mouth" method, letting the background run, and only covering the mouth region of the character. I only synched a few scenes, and just let lip flap run for the rest of the video. I figured the scenes I didn't synch don't distract that much from the rest of the video, so why not just let them go? All in all, I think it's not a bad job. Lastly, this was the first time using After Effects for anything more complex than the overlays in the round segment of Not What You See. These effects didn't come off that well, I think, so that tells me I really need to learn how to use AE better before attempting anything as complex as masking a character into another scene. Convention History: Anime Boston 2005 - Entrant, non-Finalist AnimeEvolution 2005 - Entrant, non-Finalist

Not What You See

Anime - Revolutionary Girl Utena Song - Savatage - Not What You See Completed May 2004 Premiered July 30, 2004 Link YouTube Link I found the song for this video because of VicBond007's wonderful This Isn't What We Meant. Because of that video, I picked up a copy of the album Dead Winter Dead, and found "Not What You See" because I did. The choice of Utena as the source was kind of a fluke, because I was planning another video entirely when this pairing leaped into my head. The basic premise was that the entirety of Ohtori Academy is not what you see on the surface, and how Utena and Anthy needed each other to break out of the cycle that the school is, even though neither understood that at first. I made the conscious decision to avoid as much dueling footage as possible, since it has all been used many, many times before in other videos, plus it wouldn't have fit in most places in the video. The most difficult section to decide how to do was the round starting at about 1:58. I knew I wanted to have something for each line going, but not how to do it. I ended up alternating Utena-Anthy, and repeating as the line was repeated a third and fourth time, so yes, the repeated footage is deliberate. Also, the "I don't understand" lines with the various Duelists was chosen because none of them (except possibly Touga, though that's debatable) fully understood what the Duels and the End of the World were. On the downside, this video highlights one of my biggest hurdles to overcome as an editor: an utter reliance on lyric sync and over-literalness. There are several points where I wish I could have picked better scenes, but I can't think of anything that might have worked better off the top of my head (the literal wheels during the round for "As the wheels go around" is probably the biggest example of this here). Hopefully I can get over that soon; I think that it'll make me a much better editor once I can. Otakon 2004 - Entrant, non-Finalist AnimeEvolution 2004 - Entrant, non-Finalist

Isn’t That Love?

Source - Avalon webcomic Song - Shimokawa Mikuni - Sore ga, Ai deshou? Completed February 2004 Premiered February 27, 2004 Download link (12.6 MB) YouTube link This was a bit of a gift for the fans of the C & P pairing. With the song completely and irrevocably stuck in my head, I happened across a translation of the lyrics, and immediately thought of Avalon. This was a fun way of learning keyframing in After Effects, and I like how it ended up coming out. There is also a Sub Station Alpha script with the translated lyrics as subtitles available here.

Gummi Tanuki

Anime - Pom Poko Song - Michael & Patty Silversher - Gummi Bears Theme Song Completed December 2003 Premiered February 13, 2004 Link YouTube Link The blame for this one lies squarely on sleep deprivation, too much sugar, and Richard "Pocky" Kim's performance at Katsucon 9. A few months after Katsu, immediately after our finals finished, two friends and I sat down to bounce AMV ideas off of each other, while we played songs in the background. When someone dropped this CD into the player (we're still not sure who did), we remembered Pocky's bouncing onstage to this song at the cosplay. I had the "bright" idea of doing a video to this song to torment poor, long-suffering Pocky with at the next Katsucon. After much laughter, we moved on to other ideas, but I hung onto the image of the ubiquitous con personality bouncing on stage in the back of my mind, and decided to actually do it. The first order of business was to decide what anime to use. I rejected several ideas (Chibi Goddesses, Record of Lodoss War (SD segments), and other similarly cute shows) before I stumbled across the Ghibli classic Pom Poko in the anime club library, which was due for a R2 DVD release very shortly. The DVD was preordered in short order (Hey, you can never have too much Ghibli). Unfortunately, the other piece of footage that I desperately wanted to include was not available, as the copy of it that I asked the Katsu con chair for got lost en route to me. Having the actual scene of Pocky at K9 in the video would have been wonderful, and I actually created an edited version of the song specifically to include that five seconds of his embarrasment. ^_^ Then came my final class, graduation, and moving back to my home state, along with applying to graduate school, so the video simmered on the back burner until I finally sat down to edit the video in mid-November. As to the actual editing, I decided to not use any digital effects, since I had little enough time to edit the video already, and the fact the they were largely unnecessary to the video. So the only effects in this video are cuts and crossfades, with a very few clips slowed down to about 85% speed to fit a lyric. I also had to choose whether to cut the song before the instrumental, or to do the entire song. I tried both ways, and eventually decided to keep what I thought was a fairly weak instrumental section because I liked the way the final vocal segment looked. In particular, I liked the final clip, (Actually not from the movie, but from the trailers on Disk 2) which makes the video look a little like a real opening with a title card at the end. Convention History: Katsucon 10 - Winner, Judge's Award AnimeEvolution 2004 - Winner, Best Fun/Upbeat Bakuretsucon 2004 - Entrant

As Mahoro Sleeps

Anime - Mahoromatic Song - Sophie B. Hawkins - As I Lay Me Down Completed July 2003 Premiered November 8, 2003 Link YouTube Link This is the first video I finished after graduating from college, so I was looking to make a fairly nostalgic and sentimental video to fit my mood at the time. I had just finished watching all of Mahoromatic and Mahoromatic 2 with my brother, so that was the series that stuck in my head when I sat down to find a song. It took me a few days to find an appropriate song in my brother's collection, and another day to watch the first season again (DVDs of the second season hadn't been released yet) and take notes on the scenes I wanted to use. I'd have liked to use several scenes from the second season (especially episode 13), but without high-quality source, I couldn't. Actually editing the video was a lot easier than I expected, especially since I didn't use almost any special effects except crossfades and speed changes. The most interesting technical hurdle was determining how to edit the anamorphic footage in MediaStudio Pro 6. I eventually decided to edit in the full 720x480 squished mode and resize/letterbox after the final export. The one digital effect I used was the gaussian blur "transition" at 1:19 and again before the quick flashes at 2:22. I really liked the way it looked, and might use a similar effect in future videos. One thing that irrites me that I didn't catch earlier is that the horizontal black padding on the first DVD is about four times the size of the padding on the other two, so it's very easy to tell which scenes came from the first DVD. As Mahoro Sleeps was entered in the Nekocon 6 AMV contest and missed the submission deadline for AnimeUSA 5 because I mailed the form too late. Convention History: NekoCon 6 - Entrant Bakuretsucon 2004 - Entrant

Dreams and Dreamseers

Anime - X TV Song - Heart - These Dreams Completed May 2003 Premiered June 13, 2003 Link YouTube Link The inspiration for this one came when my older brother gave me his copy of the "Heart - Greatest Hits (1985-1995)" CD. What better way to visualize a song about dreams than with the four Dreamseers of X? It took me about four months from when I had the idea to when I actually had time to sit down and edit the video, since I was in my final semester of college. This video was unfortunately quite rushed, so as to be submitted in time for Otakon, and I think that hurt it somewhat, as the timing could have been a bit tighter and there were a number of special effects that I had planned, but ended up not using at all, because of time. I'm particularly satisfied with Kotori's chorus and the "Could it be spring or fall" line. Convention History: AnimeEvolution 2003 - Finalist Otakon 2003 - Entrant, non-Finalist

Gods and Mortals

Anime - Ah! My Goddess (OVA & Movie) Song - Styx - Show Me the Way Completed November 2002 Premiered January 12, 2003 Link YouTube Link YouTube Link (Remastered version) When inspiration strikes, sometimes you don't have the resources to run with it. That was the way this video started out, as I was listening to my older brother's CD collection for something interesting while at home for the end of summer break. The idea struck halfway through the first verse, and simmered there until I could get back to my apartment at college and start in on it. I actually had to rebuild the project twice during the month and a half I spent between classes creating this video, both times because I had ripped the movie footage in the wrong aspect ratio. The instrumentals of this one are, hands down, the weakest part of the video. I'm still not completely happy with several of them, though the long one in the middle of the song, which shows every character in the series I'm fairly proud of. This video is also the first video since Corbies that I extensively used digital effects, and I like to think that they worked quite well in the video. I originally planned to debut this video at NekoCon V, which would have been my 1-year anniversary of submitting videos to cons (Rouge's Prayer at NekoCon FLASH), but somewhere between them being received and the compilation of the contest tape, it got lost, so I decided to keep it under wraps until Ohayocon two months later. At the urging of a friend of mine who was going to AnimeEvolution, I sent this video there as well. Convention History: Ohayocon 3 - Winner, Best Drama AnimeEvolution 2003 - Winner, Best Drama/Romance; Best Artistic; Judge's Best Overall

World of Alex & Luna

Anime - Lunar: Silver Star Story Song - Phil Collins - Two Worlds Completed July 2002 Premiered July 12, 2002 Link YouTube Link When my DVD drive died partway through making a video, I was left with the urge to make a video, but without the means for all of the ideas I already had. So just for the sake of doing something, I picked up Lunar: Silver Star Story and played through it in under three days of marathon game sessions. After I finished, I suddenly wanted to make an Alex and Luna video, with a smattering of Jessica/Kyle and Nash/Mia. Since I still had a CD drive functioning, the video was readily available. The song, however, was much, much harder, taking three days of hunting, and ransacking not only my collection of CDs and MP3s, but my roommate's as well. Finally, I came across a song I'd never heard before on one of his CDs, and was struck with inspiration. In one marathon all-night videofest, I scripted and spliced together the video, finishing around seven in the morning. Looking back over it, I'm very proud of the "Raise your head up/Lift high the load" segment. One interesting thing is how the two closeups of Nash both seem to be lipsynched, though neither of them were even intended to be that way; the video actually looks like that in the game. And yes, the song is supposed to cut off like that. I faded it out about five seconds early, but it's already gradually fading at that point, I just sped it up a bit. Convention History: Not Entered to Conventions


Source - Avalon webcomic Song - Princess Rouge OST - Ushina Wareta Kako Completed July 2002 Premiered July 19, 2002 Download Link (3.27 MB) YouTube Link In July 2002, Josh Philips (artist of the webcomic Avalon) had announced his immenent return from his first major haitus, and the idea I had had kicking around in my head for an Avalon-based video finally congealed. After an all-night editing and coloring fest, I posted the final result to the Forum on July 19th. I also had the privilege of personally handing Josh a CD containing all the original source files at Otakon 2002 later that summer.