Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

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Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Castor Troy » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:00 am

1) The video will not be posted by the creator (we have announcement forums for that).
2) The video will not have a currently active announcement thread.
3) The thread creator should post their thoughts on the video to initiate discussion.
4) The thread will start with a copy and paste of these 4 rules.



This one's going to be a lot different from most of the reviews, which I really hope sparks up quite a bite of discussion.

I personally dislike this video quite a bit. I remember seeing it at AX2001 and it literally blinded me and the rest of the audience. I even heard one person saying she had to look down when it was replayed after it's award was announced. I think this is one of the worst examples of oversynching every little beat in a song. While most videos really benefit from being on the big screen, I completely recommend not seeing it full screen or on a big screen at all. Over the years, there have been far more effective methods in creating a flow in really beat intensive songs without having to hit every beat in sight.

However, my intention is not to flame this video as it was quite influential back in the day and it put ErMaC on the map as a popular AMV editor. The success of this video eventually led to ErMaC and AbsoluteDestiny making the first Read ErMaC & AbsoluteDestiny's Friendly AMV Guides and most of us wouldn't even be here today without it.

If there are positives to be said, I would say that it's really more of an audio-video synchronization rather than a typical AMV. Some videos try to tell a story, some videos are just fun, but I feel the intent of this video was to really bring the audio to life through the use of video, so you're not just hearing the song, but also "viewing the song with your eyes". I don't think I really made any sense there, but after reading ErMaC's description, I think that was his intention.

I don't think it really deserved it's win at AX, but I do respect ErMaC's decision to edit "out of the box" and apparently many others still liked the video. I'd really like to hear from others who actually enjoyed the video and their own positives/negatives about it.

Discuss.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Pwolf » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:53 am

I was going to show this video at SacAnime 2010 as one of the "Most Influential Videos of the Past 10 Years" panel but ultimately dropped it from my list. However, I ended up showing his other video "Extraordinary World" which I believe is the video "Soul of an Angel" should've been, or more like what it became. While I enjoyed SoaA, I think it's repetition of stills is what ruins the experience not so much "edit on every beat" as Castor mentioned. After a while you just see the same thing over and over. While the story is in there, I think he could've done better with it.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Nya-chan Production » Mon Nov 22, 2010 6:12 am

This is one of the earliest "repeat" videos using excessive (and absolute) sync and that is why some will love it and some won't ever get it.

As for me, it's easy - I love it and replay it from time to time, as it still haven't lost its freshness - the concept will be still same and the rhythm still good even after years and years. The combination fits perfectly and the execution is flawless - for me a master video, even over its age.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby CrackTheSky » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:15 pm

Good God I hate this video, and I always have. I'll try to keep what I have to say from crossing the line from constructive criticism into flaming, but it may be difficult (it also may be a moot point, since ErMaC doesn't edit anymore and probably couldn't care less what anyone has to say about this).

This video just takes pretty much all the things I dislike about AMVs and smashes them together into almost six minutes of seizure-inducing, crappy editing. The translucent overlays, the scene repetition, the abundance of completely static scenes, the ridiculously in-your-face external beat sync...all these things are bad enough on their own, but in this video they come together in a rare orgy of bad taste. I'm sorry, that's harsh, but it's really how I feel - everything about this video just smacks of laziness on ErMaC's part. It's like he had this one idea that may have been cool for a part of the song, and then just decided to not only repeat the concept (flashing scenes to as many beats as he could), but repeat the actual scenes as well. This video's content could have been shown in half the video's actual time, but since the song is six minutes, we get an extra three minutes of the exact same stills we've been hurting our eyes over already.

Frankly, I don't get why this is a classic. Maybe because of the over-the-top sync, which I assume had never been done before to such an extent. Maybe it's because I started editing in 2006, well after the hobby was established, and I have trouble putting myself in the mindset of 2001, when pretty much every new video contained something that hadn't been done before. But to me this is just an annoying video, and a perfect example of how not to edit action, or any genre for that matter.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Castor Troy » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:21 pm

CrackTheSky wrote:Good God I hate this video, and I always have. I'll try to keep what I have to say from crossing the line from constructive criticism into flaming, but it may be difficult (it also may be a moot point, since ErMaC doesn't edit anymore and probably couldn't care less what anyone has to say about this).

This video just takes pretty much all the things I dislike about AMVs and smashes them together into almost six minutes of seizure-inducing, crappy editing. The translucent overlays, the scene repetition, the abundance of completely static scenes, the ridiculously in-your-face external beat sync...all these things are bad enough on their own, but in this video they come together in a rare orgy of bad taste. I'm sorry, that's harsh, but it's really how I feel - everything about this video just smacks of laziness on ErMaC's part. It's like he had this one idea that may have been cool for a part of the song, and then just decided to not only repeat the concept (flashing scenes to as many beats as he could), but repeat the actual scenes as well. This video's content could have been shown in half the video's actual time, but since the song is six minutes, we get an extra three minutes of the exact same stills we've been hurting our eyes over already.

Frankly, I don't get why this is a classic. Maybe because of the over-the-top sync, which I assume had never been done before to such an extent. Maybe it's because I started editing in 2006, well after the hobby was established, and I have trouble putting myself in the mindset of 2001, when pretty much every new video contained something that hadn't been done before. But to me this is just an annoying video, and a perfect example of how not to edit action, or any genre for that matter.


Holy crap, that's pretty harsh :P

I know Ermac cut the first minute or so of the song and that still makes it too long. Kevin Caldwell and several others had already achieved over the top sync way before this video, but I guess this was one of the earliest over the top sync videos with multiple layers to show all of that sync.. :x
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Zarxrax » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:59 pm

I *LOVE* soul of an angel, and it is one of my favorite videos of all time!
I think a lot of people just don't get it. The repetition is not without purpose. I think this video captures the feeling of trance music better than any other video out there. Trance music is all about lots of repetition that can literally put you into a hypnotic trance when you listen to it, and this video really delivers in that regard. Turn out the lights, put it full screen, and just sit back and watch. I often become completely lost in the flashes and hypnotic beat, and the time just flies by, with the video seeming much shorter than it actually is.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby pink haze » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:38 pm

Coincidentally, I watched this for the first time eight days ago.

Castor Troy wrote:I feel the intent of this video was to really bring the audio to life through the use of video, so you're not just hearing the song, but also "viewing the song with your eyes". I don't think I really made any sense there, but after reading ErMaC's description, I think that was his intention.

Actually, that makes perfect sense to me.
It sounds like the basis of sync. You could say you are, among other things, "viewing a song with your eyes" when you watch a dance, because the sounds in the music are translated into visual dance moves, and it's all about flow. Heavy-sync AMVs work the same way.
And it's pleasant to sit down to sync something and think, "How can I make these clips dance?" whether you're working on a hyperintense action vid or a peaceful sentimental or anything.


NOW as for the video itself.

I have watched it twice only, yet I find it interesting that it is so easy to tell exactly what the editor's techniques were, despite the abundance of overlays and quickly flashed clips. I suppose it's the fact that the editing itself is rather simple, using only four different techniques to sync to the music (see ermac's comments for the list), and repeating them as the song repeats.

I suppose the editing style is meant to make the video hypnotic. Repetition, like a watch swinging from side to side. Lack of thought-provoking material leaving the mind to wander. I can see how it'd work on some people.
Perhaps it's my overanalytical editor's brain at work, but unfortunately all I can think about when I watch this is sync-schemes.

So, I am INDIFFERENT to Soul of an Angel.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby McDirty » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:09 pm

To tell you in honest truth, when I first watched this music video, I didn't mind it. I actually ended up keeping it on my hard drive over the years because it was something I would open up when I had a little free time. ErMaC intended the video to be very hypnotic and it does do that.

But even so, this video is largely dependent on someone's taste and it is very easy to dislike. The main complaint I would have about it, is the length. I understand ErMaC did cut the original song down a bit, but even so the vid is way too long. Every time I watch this video I get about 3 min into it and then I decide to skip to the end.

Personally it's a video I don't mind watching once in a while, but completely understand why someone wouldn't like it because the flaws are there.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Beowulf » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:43 pm

I've always really enjoyed Soul of an Angel. Its an exercise in listening to a song visually, and thats just fine by me. Most of my videos are very similar in approach, including my own two Eva videos. I don't know if people notice the scene selection in the flashing, but I do, and I think its exquisitely laid out. A flow of faces that you can't tell where they end or begin. The actual scenes are edited very basically and thats just enough to hold it together. The whole experience is engineered very well.

I think if any video would benefit from a remaster with the new EVA blue rays it would be this one. There is a LOT of work going into those transparency effects that is lost in the compression. I never listen to trance music on my own accord, but this song is great. It fits the general themes of Eva nicely and works with Shinji.

The video shows its age a bit but its still good imo. It was the first hypersynch techno video to do the thing it did, and the incredibly catchy song doesn't hurt things at all.

And to you guys saying it "blinded you", buck up you pussy faggots :aimkissyface:
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Knowname » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:05 pm

Back in 02 I said it was good and I'll stick to that :P I think I got lost in the music. Something I failed to do this time... but hey. That's why we op things eh?? :P
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby godix » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:16 pm

This was one of the videos I loved when I started in the hobby. I just rewatched it for the first time in probably years. I think it still stands up, although it's slipped from "I *LOVE* THIS" to "Pretty good".

Cons
- For what it is, it's just too long. Several minutes could have been cut entirely without affecting the video at all really, and probably should have been
- The way he did the quick flashing like changes, it was rather hard on the eyes. Mostly because he didn't just switch from one scene to another quickly, he added a one or two frame white flash at the end of each scene.

Pros
- Variety of editing style. Yeah, I know it repeats a lot. Yeah, I know the flashing gets old. Still, he had different syncs for various parts of the music including parts that had no flashes/overlays at all. So while it was a sync to the beat repeating video, it still had editing variety to keep me interested.
- Buildup. While the way he syncs is pretty consistent throughout, the quick change of frames, he does it in such a way there's still a buildup of mood. Mostly this is through the background visual, with slow static scenes then the infamous Asuka fight as the music progresses.
- Very good job of directing viewers attention. Perhaps this is something I just noticed because my last project required me to think a lot of about that. What I mean is that ErMaC constantly adjusted the opacity of the flashing. Sometimes it's in your face and what the viewer follows. Sometimes it's very much a background thing and I'm focused on the scenes under the flashing. This doesn't require conscious thought either, it's just how the eye naturally follows it. So I really admire how he kept control of and directed the viewer attention.
- I like how complex this is for what is, really, a very simple trick. Technically speaking, it's nothing difficult. Anyone who has ever done a crossfade has the skills to replicate this video. Yet with little more than the opacity rubberband, he made something that appears complex, unique looking, and has multiple layers (both literally and figuratively). It's nice to see that in this day and age when it's assumed you have to be an AE wizard to do anything.
- I can not look at a Shinji and hear the words 'You have the bravest heart I've ever known, you have the strongest will I've seen' and not smile. I don't know if if ErMaC was going to ironic humor, but that's what he achieved.

So overall, it's a nice video. Due to how many sync videos came after it, I'm not age has treated it kindly. But still, I enjoyed it and admire how much he achieved with little more than '50% opacity here... 30% there...' Beowulf is right, if any video would benefit from remastering with bluray, this is it.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Castor Troy » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:24 pm

I also have to give ErMaC major props for making this video in 2001 when Premiere 5.1 couldn't even copy and paste multiple selections. Having to copy/paste all of the overlays must have been absolutely grueling and was probably 80% of the effort.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Knowname » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:46 pm

oh rubber bands :)
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Corran » Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:05 am

My feelings on this video are similar to Zarxrax's.

Beowulf wrote:I've always really enjoyed Soul of an Angel. Its an exercise in listening to a song visually, and thats just fine by me.

I agree. This was one of the first vocal trance amvs I watched and being 2002 when I saw it, it was a rarity. Hell, it still is. If people such as Nostromo continue making trance videos that are "an exercise in listening to the song visually" then I support that. As far as I'm concerned they are filling a void most editors don't bother with.
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Re: Review - Soul of an Angel - ErMaC

Postby Sephiroth » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:22 am

If i remember right people were pissed off that this ended up in action at AX that year and won.
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