AXNY Winners

This forum is for the announcement and discussion of anime music video contests.

Postby Kai Stromler » Tue Sep 03, 2002 8:09 am

Scott A Melzer wrote:Maybe it's that we're all so overexposed to each other's work that we haven't been experimenting so much, or that we care a lot more about competing than making something memorable. Are we sacrificing subtlety for overt crowd pleasing? Are we trying to follow the "bigger is better" credo? Is it just that there are SO many of them now, so that every Trigun video looks the same?

I think we're lacking concept. Not just the "I'm doing X to Y" but the actual CONCEPT. I think we're lacking depth in our work.



At this point the scene may just have gotten so clogged that it's time for people to take a step back and ask themselves, "Why am I doing this?"

Seriously. Why do you make AMVs? Is it for recognition? Bragging rights? Because you happen to have the gear? Or is it something else?

I'm working and competing for very specific reasons, reasons which inform evey aspect of my video-making process. I honestly could not care less about winning at competitions, playing to audience taste, or getting personal recognition. My objective is to change people's minds about a certain genre of music, and for that to proceed, I just need to make videos that are good enough to enable the music and foreground it properly. I need to work as quickly as I do to promote a wide range of artists at as many conventions as possible.

I know everyone's got their own reasons for being in this hobby, and for competing or wanting to compete at the elite level. I'm just saying that, given the apparently sorry current state of the craft (anyone else disappointed with the overall level of AWA's Pro contest?), it may be time to really think about those reasons, and possibly make some changes to your style or philosophy of editing.

I'm not suggesting anything to anyone except self-examination. I did this on myself before I even started competing, and the credo that I'm currently following seems like it'll work for me for the forseeable future. Someone (I forget who) dubbed this the "Year of Slump", but as one who has been in a multi-video slump and recovered, the only way to come out of a slump is to (re-) identify your core principles, go back to them, and work on through.

Ask yourselves: what is the sound of perseverance?

<token non-famed, undercompeted, overproductive metalhead returns to his lair>

--Kai
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IT'S TIME!
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Postby AbsoluteDestiny » Tue Sep 03, 2002 8:38 am

so, let me get this straight...

You think that most people dont have a good reason to make video yet your reason is because you like X kind of music and you want people to hear that kind of music.

Well, it's a reason.... but I don't see it as a particularly good one. There's much more to a vide than the music and most of my fave videos are to songs I dont generally care for. Music videos shouldn't be judged on the choice of music, you know, and whatever you might think about the choices of music in the Pro contest [re: your journal entry] you should still just be judging them on their merits as videos.
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Postby Kai Stromler » Tue Sep 03, 2002 9:17 am

AbsoluteDestiny wrote:so, let me get this straight...

You think that most people dont have a good reason to make video yet your reason is because you like X kind of music and you want people to hear that kind of music.

Well, it's a reason.... but I don't see it as a particularly good one. There's much more to a vide than the music and most of my fave videos are to songs I dont generally care for. Music videos shouldn't be judged on the choice of music, you know, and whatever you might think about the choices of music in the Pro contest [re: your journal entry] you should still just be judging them on their merits as videos.


No...it's not that. What I'm saying is that people probably do have good reasons, but may have lost touch with them. Given the competitive whirl and the recognition level afforded by the .org, this is an eminent possibility. I know I've found myself just asking "what should I send to X convention", or "what should I make for X contest" without taking that step back and asking "why should I really make this video" or "how does this video fit in with what I've been doing". I make videos because I love the process and generally like what I produce; I COMPETE for promotional purposes rather than to gain fame or attention.

Really, the only reason to make videos, when you come down to it, is that you cannot do otherwise. You have an idea for a combination that you have to bring into the world. If at some point I should exhaust my stupid-huge to-do-list backlog, I won't force myself into searching for a new idea just for the purpose of making a video. If it doesn't come naturally (to you, anyway) it just shouldn't be.

As for the Pro contest.....if I judged on music alone I could barely make a single recommendation (of course, I'm not going to push through my own material; it's middle of the pack and I know it -- not professional to break with judging standards like that). It's been enormously informative for me to have to surpress the SO FULL OF HATE feeling when listening to these videos and to evaluate them on the quality of the editing, quality of the synch, efficacy of effects, and general concept. That's the "Pro" part; to put aside personal prejudices and [try] to approach the material with professional detachment. The kind of music that I enjoy is widely disrespected, if not outright hated, and it would be rather stupid of me to fall into the same trap when reviewing other people's work. I'm not judging people on or for their music, but on their abilities to turn that music into a quality music video. I'd like to receive the same.

Perhaps pushing an agenda is wrong. But what is right? I have an admittedly bizarre perspective on the whole business, and would like to hear from those with more competition experience than I. What are the RIGHT reasons for vid creation and competing?

--Kai
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IT'S TIME!
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Postby AbsoluteDestiny » Tue Sep 03, 2002 9:24 am

Kai Stromler wrote:Perhaps pushing an agenda is wrong. But what is right? I have an admittedly bizarre perspective on the whole business, and would like to hear from those with more competition experience than I. What are the RIGHT reasons for vid creation and competing?


Well, I dont know what the right reasons for competing is, but I do know that the reason I make videos is because I enjoy the process of video editing and being able to make something that I pictured in my head become reality in video form.

I make videos to songs I don't like - usually because the editing concept is too appealing. Yeah, to me it's about making something I pictured in my head that currently doesn't exist, be it a visual style or whatever. That's it really.
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Postby MaboroshiStudio » Tue Sep 03, 2002 9:52 am

Vlad G Pohnert wrote:Eveyone is free to express thier opionions about videos. It doesn't mean we have to like them all or like though others like as well. I personally have always like individual videos rather them videos from creator "X". There some I like you did Joe while some of your others I think lack some elements that others may not agree with me on as well...


Everyone connects differently, that is to be expected, and I agree with you on liking the video not the creator. People are caught up in too much fan worship and overlook the merits of a video I say. Then again, with anything you create you always run the risk of people not understanding it, but as I stated the most important thing is if you enjoyed making the video and are proud of it. I think expectations have become really high and sometimes people just want to have fun not. These are just anime music videos so have some fun... so what if this year has not produced a great number of memorable vids. Are we going to be elitist saying do not bother making a video unless it is great and if it is not great you lack creativity? I do not agree with that negative mindset...


Vlad G Pohnert wrote:I agree with your arguments, but I'm not too sure I agree with your delivery as well. To me it sounds like your blowing off some steam as well (a bit anyway). Everyone is entitled to thier opinion about what they think of in terms of AMVs this year and it may not be nessassarily just to blow off some steam.

I'm not really trying to start an argument with anyone here, just expressing my view on this....

Vlad


I was pretty reserved in stating my opinion here Vlad... I don't think you saw how I was back in the day where I was known for putting in a bunch of snappy low blows into a post. I had a problem with what Scott said and voiced my concern in a reserved manner imho that is all.
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Postby ErMaC » Tue Sep 03, 2002 9:53 am

Frankly I think limiting yourself to one genre of music like that will severely limit your audience. I don't think people will go out of their way to find videos with a specific style of music unless they like it already. Maybe once you get into a position where people will actually, you know, watch your videos because you're you then maybe you'll start swaying people's opinions about music. As it is you'll just appeal to metal heads.

Anyways. I have always thought there's a problem with motivation, but people are either of the opinion that 1) their motivation is the right one, 2) all motivations but one are acceptable, or 3) it doesn't matter what your motivation is. I'm not sure where I stand anymore. As it is, firstly I make videos mostly because I enjoy making them and I love watching the finished product. I can watch my videos over and over again and I love them to death. Secondly I like to enter in competion to improve myself so the quality of what I do increases and thus increases my own enjoyment of it. (As testament to this, my last 3 videos which went to AWA are getting more rotation in my viewing schedule than any of my previous videos) Thirdly, I like it when other people enjoy what I do and I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoy watching and making them. In this vein recognition in costests helps because it means more people will want to watch my other videos and newer videos, thus hopefully more people are satisfied customers.
And I would be lying through my teeth if I didn't say there's also the ego factor - I think most if not all would have to agree. It's a big ego boost when you win a contest or an award (for those who have had the luck and skill to have the pleasure of doing so) because it sort of validates your work. It makes you think, "Well, at least i'm doing something right."
The only motivation I ever find problems with is the people who just do it because the "can" or because it's "cool." Granted, a lot of people eventually "grow up" (in my opinion, of course) and start doing something more meaningful that, but some people take a heck of a lot longer to mature as a creator, in my view, than others. The people stuck in the infantile, "ME TAKE POPULAR SONG, PUT BIG SMASHY DBZ CLIP TO IT, BANG ROCK ON TABLE!" are basically poisoning the well. In MeriC's All-Purpose DBZ video (hah! got her gender right that time!) there's a great line about Linkin Park and DBZ - "Thanks for ruining it for the rest of us." I kinda feel that way about AMVs in general. They just get dumbed down and I don't think they treat the medium with respect.
My friend and I recently had an interesting argument about GAiNAX specifically and whether they really had any artistic integrity if they could produce things like the Stripping Instrumentality Project H-Game or the Princess Maker clone Raise-your-own-Rei game, which were both made officially by GAiNAX. They also make H Calendars and stuff. He said that he felt it cheapened the whole medium and turned the art into a commodity, and thus made it lose a lot of it's magic and appeal. I feel kinda the same way about AMVs nowadays.
The barrier to entry for making AMVs is now gone. It was blasted to hell by online anime downloading, Premiere pirating, and Windows Movie Maker. With a lower barrier to entry comes both the good and the bad. The good means that new, talented creators now have a better chance of getting started and making a good finished product. The bad is that all the rest of the no-talent people can try the same thing and fail miserably.
I like to think making AMVs is like most other forms of art - not everyone can do it well. Hell, my drawing skills are pitiful in comparison to the marvel of artistic talent that is Elizabeth Kirkindall. She just has so much talent and she's obviously worked hard to get as good as she is.
If someone said to you that maybe the little doodles you're making really just aren't very good, would you snap at them saying anyone can make great works of art like picasso or something? No, there's talent involved there. I'd like to think the same thing applies to AMVs. Not anyone, even given ideal conditions, can take source footage, an editing program, and make a good video.
I think eventually either 1) people will lose interest in this little hobby of ours and leave it to those of us who are dedicated enough and care about our finished product or 2) things will get so bad because of the huge "Sea of mediocrity" - to borrow a phrase from Will Milberry - that contests will just stop happening because no one wants to deal with it anymore. I mean look at the AWA Pro competition. I've made it no secret I'm in the contest. I'm now sitting here in Japan asking one of my senseis to lend me a VCR so I can watch these three tapes, which are most likely filled with 80% videos that I have no desire to watch. I know that no matter how much I feel bad about doing it I will fast forward through some videos simply because, face it, they suck and are not deserving of my attention. The creator can sit there and watch them all they want but that doesn't mean I'm going sit through it for more than 60 seconds before I write it off as a lost cause.
One of the reasons I wrote the guides originally was because I wanted other people to make better videos. I think my guides have lowered the barrier of entry even further because now Joe Schmo with his HK DVDs and pirated Premiere can make AMVs that look at least contest-quality but are still utter crap. Sometimes I feel guilty about it, and some people have complained that we're making things too easy for people. Well it's a double edged sword - it means that a lot of the good creators who just didn't know any better now can make better videos, and I think that outweighs the bad. Same goes for the whole lower barrier of entry in general.

I just hope it doesn't come back to bite us in the ass.
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Postby MaboroshiStudio » Tue Sep 03, 2002 10:00 am

Hey E... paragraphs man, break it up so we can digest easier. I will have to ready your post when I get back from my job interview today! woohoo
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Postby ErMaC » Tue Sep 03, 2002 10:02 am

There are paragraphs, I just neglected to separate them by a blank line. There are single returns in there.
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Postby MaboroshiStudio » Tue Sep 03, 2002 10:11 am

ErMaC wrote:There are paragraphs, I just neglected to separate them by a blank line. There are single returns in there.


I could see that... heh but at first glance I was like good lord
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Postby Kai Stromler » Tue Sep 03, 2002 10:32 am

ErMaC wrote:Frankly I think limiting yourself to one genre of music like that will severely limit your audience. I don't think people will go out of their way to find videos with a specific style of music unless they like it already. Maybe once you get into a position where people will actually, you know, watch your videos because you're you then maybe you'll start swaying people's opinions about music. As it is you'll just appeal to metal heads.


This is why I compete. I know people aren't going to seek my stuff out unless they're already into it; that's why I have to bring it to those who aren't looking for it. There is some damn good music out there that is not being heard as much as [I feel] it deserves; if I can get an idea to set that song to a title, make a decent video out of it, and get it shown, even if it only reaches one person out of the entire audience, if I can prompt even a little new thinking or reassessments, I've done what I set out to do.

Sword forbid anyone ever watches one of my vids just because I made it. If anything is going to sway anyone, and mean anything, it must be the video as it stands, as the combination of music and animation. The less associated my personality is with my work the better. In the underground I come from, there are people who take points off albums because the band included their pictures in the liner notes. This is a little extreme, but to me, it's not, and never, about me. It's about the finished product up on the screen.

And, of course, I don't exclusively make metal AMVs; it's only about 75% of my output. It continually irks me that I used ONE jpop song, ONCE, in making ONE demo-video, with random scenes and text to sell my old club, and that video has more than double the hits of my top-interest "real" (not demo/various) video.....which happens to use one of the first and rawest death metal songs ever written.

Just a little bit on the guides, completely off the main topic: I think that I was actually helped by NOT reading them when I first got into this hobby. I had read some material that Eric from OV put together way back in the day, so I knew that I needed a capture card and a CD-rip utility, but I didn't know anything about the traditional way of planning the video first and picking out clips. I just captured my source ad omnibus into MPEG1 (of course, MPEG2 now), chopped it up into clips, avoiding subtitles, and arranged them over the audio track, using real-time playback in the editor to make sure the editing worked (to my n00b standards anyway). I don't watch a lot of AMVs, so I don't know if new creators' styles have become more similar since the publication of the guides, but I think, in some way, that the scene might be better off if people had to learn to swim on their own. When you have to learn about a system all by yourself to make something decent, you really, really, learn it, and more, know how to figure out the new parts as you come across them. I'm still learning and optimizing my setup, still figuring out how to integrate new tools into it and make 'decent' into 'better'.

Then again, it might just create more bass-ackwards creators like me with screwy A/V setups and virtually no common knowledge base.

--Kai
Shin Hatsubai is a Premiere-free studio. Insomni-Ack is habitually worthless.
IT'S TIME!
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Postby AbsoluteDestiny » Tue Sep 03, 2002 10:38 am

To touch on the guides thing quickly, the way I see it in my recent work on the guides is that its an attempt to level the playing field so everyone can have the same opportunity for making good videos.

This leaves everything to the individual talent of the creator rather than the technical prowess - which is how it shoul be in my mind.

I get asked a lot how I made my SRV divx look good, and it's no big sercet - so i've written a guide on it and hopefully this, and the other additions that are happenening to the guides, can at least take audiovisual technical aspects out of the equation when judging good videos.
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A Picasso or a Garfunkel

Postby jbone » Tue Sep 03, 2002 10:51 am

I only make videos because I can. I decided to teach myself Premiere because nonlinear video editing seemed a useful skill to have. I entered some contests to see if what I'd made was any good, and to my surprise people seem to like what I make. Since that's the case, more power to them.

I had a lot of free time, so I decided to start watching AMVs after I made one. I've seen enough to know that little to nothing is "new" among creators. All the good concepts and techniques were created a while ago, and people now are just regurgitating what's already well-known.

Show me a video. I'll tell you how everything in the video was accomplished, I'll tell you how the footage layout causes emotioan response (or lack thereof), and I'll show you at least a half dozen videos which attempted (successfully or not) to do the same thing in the same way.

There's nothing new in the world of entertainment. Everything we make nowadays is just manipulation of what Greek actors portrayed to live audiences.

And art for art's sake is a commodity. It's created to be bought and sold. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either ignorant or in denial.

At one time, "art objects" all served relevant purposes. Today, art is created to fill space and "look pretty."

Whether the buying/selling is of money, ego, prestige, or status, the buying/selling is the motivation of modern objets d'art.

Creativity is a commodity.
"If someone feels the need to 'express' himself or herself with a huge graphical 'singature' that has nothing to do with anything, that person should reevaluate his or her reasons for needing said form of expression, possibly with the help of a licensed mental health practitioner."
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Postby dji » Tue Sep 03, 2002 11:52 am

Well I have noticed the editing and use of effects have matured over the last year or so.. however I do agree that content and depth in some of the recent AMVs I have seen, have been lacking, even though they're "well edited" videos.

It would seem to me the weight of one, effects another. That's why when I see a truely well done, well thought out, well constructed video it gets major props from me. (not that that means much) :D

However, even though some videos lack depth and content, I look at it as a whole. If you're only looking for one aspect in your judgement, you might be missing the point (overall) of the video. Of course, I'm assuming the creator had some point in making the AMV aside from "fan-catering".

I showed one video to somebody recently.. and they started ripping into this video.. it wasn't until I explained the point of the effects to them that they started to get the video, even though he didn't understand the Anime story.

IMO, really good videos should be able to convey the story or a story without the audience knowing the anime itself. But sometimes the Anime doesn't have any content to begin with.. I recently saw a very well edited video, fantastic use of effects, but zero content. However the anime they choose doesn't really have any content.

As Quu says "think of it as art" because in the end, isn't really about the love of what we do? Maybe I'm just being too nieve. :)
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My two cents...

Postby anneke » Tue Sep 03, 2002 1:30 pm

I think that with the sheer number of AMV creators there are now that it's not just a drive for people to win competitions but to stand out from the crowd.

Another problem being that with all the AMV creators, and all the videos out there alot of things have been done. It's getting harder to come up with a unique idea, to feel passionate about.

The videos people seem to really like and remember are those that were the first to do something in a certain way. Most things have been done, and we need to reach out further. (Use different music, use different animes).

Why do I make AMVs? Because I've always wanted and had a desire to have the ability to create art. I have no artistic talent when it comes to the other medias (Drawing, Painting, writing, etc...), and AMVs is a way that I can do art. One which I think I may actually have some talent in. Those who know me, have seen how upset I get about AMVs. I'm am very passionate about them, as some of the extreme artists can be about other forms of art.

Also be careful that as a creator, and AMV watcher, your not simply burnt out/over exposed to AMVs. If you eat to much of anything, eventually you will get sick of it.

Anneke
Maybe I'm keeping to Yaoi videos because there are so few, and thus an open area to explore still.
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Postby Scott A Melzer » Tue Sep 03, 2002 1:34 pm

Woah...

Boy, do I feel really stupid now.

Joe, I'm sorry if anything that I said came across as hurtful or mean. No, I wasn't "blowing off steam." If anything, all I felt was tired and a bit sad. I certainly didn't mean to say anything that was a "slap in the face" to people. I thought I was expressing myself clearly, but I guess not. I do think that you took much of what I said out of context (for instance, I never said that there haven't been any good videos since Bobby's, I just didn't want to write an exhaustive list), but I also understand that I'm not the best at expressing what I mean. We have a history of rubbing each other the wrong way. I've no interest in revisiting that. I don't want to not get along with ANYONE. It's no fun.

I didn't mean to spark this huge discussion. I still love AMVs, and have just been disappointed lately. In my work, in what I'm seeing at cons, etc. On the other hand, I have also seen some of the best stuff that I've seen in years. Some videos manage to use effects extremely well. I thought that Ian's "Shameless Rock Video" was a beautiful blend of concept AND effect. There have been others, but I don't want to waste everyone's time.

I've heard a lot of people calling this "The Year of the Slump." I've overheard creators, people at cons, people at panels, people online. I am just continuing my thoughts on this, not trying to insult everyone. I'm sorry if anyone took it that way. I was utterly shocked that Joe took my words to be hurtful and full of anger. I was exhausted and sad. There was honestly no anger whatsoever in me.

It's exactly this type of flare-up that happens that drives us apart. So, I'm appologizing. I hope that we all either "pull out of this slump" or that I'm just incredibly wrong and it's just my opinion and there IS no slump. And I hope no one was offended. Of COURSE to each his own. Of COURSE opinions vary. That's why we're not all making the same video, using the same music, using the same footage. If I even slightly implied that I thought different, then I'm shocked. Yes, I was originally very upset at Joe for "taking me out of context" and "twisting my words" but I went back and re-read my post and understand how he could have taken it that way. I want to be a "peace maker" not a "flame starter." *sigh*

Peace out. Best to everyone.
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