THE ONLINE AMV IRON CHEF TOURNAMENT v4.0Hosted by: Brad - Co-coordinated by: NessephanieJudged by:
Aerialesque, Zarxrax, MimS, Prodigi & GodixOFFICIAL RULESTHIS IS NOT THE SIGN-UP THREAD!
THE SIGN-UP THREAD WILL GO LIVE AT 11:00AM CENTRAL TIME ON SUNDAY, MARCH 27TH, 2011.1. INTRODUCTION
Hello again and welcome to The Online AMV Iron Chef Tournament v4.0! So it’s been three years since v3.0. A year later than the normal two-year gap, but so what! It’s time to resurrect this bad boy and rock it out. This time around we’ll be doing something pretty unique. Every two weeks (or basically whenever I think we’re ready for a new one) I will be putting a new “episode” of the tournament which will showcase each match that has taken place since the previous episode. My hope is that this will help the spectator element of the tournament and just make it much more of a fun event. Each episode will be available embedded on the forums or through the tournament blog at amvironchef.com
. So without further ado, lets get to the rules.IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU HAVE READ AND COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND ALL OF THE RULES BEFORE SIGNING UP!2. TECHNICAL/TIME REQUIREMENTS
- While this probably goes without saying, this is a video editing competition. You should have enough basic technical knowledge to be able to prepare your footage, edit in whatever editing application you use, export it, encode it to a high quality format, and upload it to an FTP server.
- Must be able to spare 3-4 hours every couple weeks to edit, export, and upload your video.
- Along with the first point, you must have an FTP program/plug-in (I like FireFTP. A free addon for the Firefox web browser) and know how to use it.
- You must own or have access to a minimum of 12 different video sources (a “source” will be defined later on in the rules).
- Must have access to either IRC or AIM. Both can be used without a specific program. You can just use your web browser (Mibbit.com for IRC or Meebo.com for AIM).IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN MEET THESE REQUIREMENTS, DO NOT SIGN-UP!
There are a limited number of spots in the tournament, and if you sign-up and don’t think you can actually do it, you potentially took away a spot from somebody that CAN. So please think before you sign-up.3. HOW A MATCH WORKS
I will be covering how your matches will be set up/scheduled later on. Let’s just assume for now that you know who you’ll be competing against and when. For example’s sake, let’s say match #12 is Sam vs. Max and it’s scheduled to happen at 6:00pm CST on Thursday, April 7th. Approximately 24-hours beforehand (around 6:00pm CST on Wednesday, April 6th), I send an IM to both Sam and Max to meet me in an IRC chat room. I also have them send me their list of 5 unique sources (again, this will be covered later). Once their both in the room, I roll 2 virtual 5-sided dice. The first number is Sam’s source (being the higher seed) and 2nd number is Max’s. They then have up until 6pm the next day to get their source ready to be edited. They should also make sure to do some quick editing tests in their editing program to make sure that it’s definitely working as intended and that it exports cleanly, since once the editing time starts, they won’t have much time to fix faulty source.
So at around 5:40pm CST on Thursday (20 minutes before their editing is supposed to begin), I message Sam and Max once again to come into a chat room. I then give them a link to download the audio that they have to edit to. They will download it, hopefully convert it to a WAV, bring it into their editing program, listen to it, maybe cut it down to a shorter length if they wish (AUDIO EDITING IS ALLOWED DURING THIS TIMEFRAME
), scrub through their footage to get ideas for what they want to do. Now, obviously since this is an online contest, there’s really not much I can do to prevent cheating during this time. Hence why they get it 20 minutes in advance and not 24 hours. However, we’re using the honor system and I’m hopeful that people will respect that.
Once 6:00pm hits, I do a quick 3, 2, 1 countdown and on GO, the clock starts and they begin editing. During these 2 hours they can use whatever editing program they’d like. The main restrictions are that they can ONLY edit using the source that got picked from their list. They cannot add any additional footage. Things like motion graphics elements and text are admissible, but if it’s blatantly obvious that you’re going out of your way to NOT use the source (ie; doing your whole video using bouncing boxes you made in AE) then I may have to disqualify it. Basically as long as you’re not just looking for loopholes and doing stupid crap, you should be just fine.
After the 2 hours are up, I message both Sam & Max and tell them to STOP EDITING! I then ask them both what the duration of their video is. They then begin the process of exporting their video. I highly recommend that people export to a lossless format (such as Huffyuv, Lagarith, UTVideo, or Quicktime Animation) and then compress down to as high quality/bitrate H.264 MP4 as possible/practical. If you happen to be editing in 1080p (which I do NOT recommend for this competition), do me a favor and resize down to at least 1280x720. Then I give both Sam & Max login information to the AMVIronChef.com FTP server. Each match has a unique login, password and directory. Once both videos are uploaded, I rename each of them to “Match#-VideoA” and “Match#-VideoB.” I download and watch both videos to make sure everything turned out well, and then I send links for each video to the 5 judges. Both Sam & Max have completed their match and no longer have any time obligations for this round. Once the judges have reviewed the videos and have given me their votes, I will update the bracket and post the results. And that’s how a match goes!
4. HOW SOURCES ARE SELECTED
This is the part where people tend to get the get the most confused, so PLEASE read this carefully. If anything seems strange to you or if you have any concerns, please feel free to post in this thread or contact me directly about it.
For the first several rounds, you will need to select FIVE sources. Now, how is a “source” defined. This is changing somewhat from how it’s been in the previous tournaments. It must fit one of these criteria:
- FIVE individual and CONSECUTIVE anime episodes (more clarification on this soon)
- A single anime movie
- A single video game that is acceptable for the Org (specifically meaning, the FMV cutscenes from most Japanese video games. Examples would be the cutscenes from Final Fantasy games, Kingdom Hearts, etc. If it’s allowed on the Org, it’s allowed here).EDIT: After some people brought up some questions regarding specific sources, I've decided that some specific series are going to have to have special considerations. They are as follows:
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Sazumiya - Because this series technically has two different "orders" (original air order and chronological order, depending on what DVDs you got apparently), if you want to use this series, pick an order and use that order for the rest of the tournament. So you'd have to say "Haruhi Season One - Episodes 1-5 (Original airing order)" and then if you got that in your match and wanted to use Haruhi again, you'd have to go with "Haruhi Season One - Episodes 6-10 (Original airing order)" or whatever.
- Hellsing Ultimate OVA - Because these episodes have much longer durations than normal TV series episodes, I've decided to just say, pick 3 episodes (consecutive, of course). It should equal out to roughly the same duration as 5 normal episodes, if not a bit longer or shorter.
- DiGi Charat & Chii's Sweet Home (or other series made up of short 3-5 minute episodes) - I really don't know specifically where I land on this scenario yet. I'm waiting to see if anybody can tell me how many episodes are typically present on R1 DVDs of this series (if they even exist). What I'm not going to do is say "Just come up with x-number of minutes of footage." I wanna find a specific number and stick with it.
Overall though, I really don't want to have to police/vet every individual source. Lets try and keep this as un-complicated as possible.
Now, on the 1st criteria. Fact is, I’m not naive and I know that many people nowadays do not use DVDs as source, and I know that if I want a large amount of people to participate, I can’t outright say you MUST use a DVD/Blu-ray source. However, I’m also not in the business of advocating piracy (not that you can’t pirate DVDs. I’m also sure that there are probably legit ways to buy digital downloads of anime episodes). Basically I’m just going with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it comes to this subject. Just tell me what you plan to use, and I won’t ask how you got it. Make sense? I will say however that I DO want you to make a strong effort to use the highest quality source as you can, and for the love of god NO SUBTITLES (unless you add them yourself for whatever reason).
That being said, I do need to throw in some restrictions for multiple reasons. For one, I’m not going to say that you can use an entire anime series (unless you’re using a series that is 5 or less episodes). For one, it kind of goes away from the original spirit of the DVD-only competition where the somewhat limited amount of source was a part of the challenge. The other big reason is that these matches are meant to be done quickly. If I told you that you had to prepare 26-episodes to be edit-worthy in 24 hours, that would really suck.
So, when I say consecutive episodes, I hope you understand what that means. Let’s say that Sam wants one of his sources to be Cowboy Bebop. He would need to pick episodes 1-5, 4-8, 17-21, etc. and NOT, episodes 3, 9, 11, 17, & 25. This again helps us keep it similar to the single-DVD-only solution. So I don’t care where in the series you pull from, but they’ve gotta be consecutive back-to-back episodes.
In the case of series that have less than 5 episodes (such as some OVA series)... well... sorry. If that’s something you want as your source, then that’s up to you.
Now on the subject of using things that would normally be found on a DVD as extras (primarily a text-less OP/ED), I will allow that as well. But don’t go overboard with this. It’s gotta have something to do specifically with the anime. I don’t want to see behind-the-scenes interviews with voice actors just because I said extras are okay. Stop looking for weird loopholes just for the hell of it :O
So now that you know how to define a source, here’s how they actually get picked. I covered this briefly in this previous section, but here’s a bit more in-depth look.
Here’s an example of a list that Sam may have sent me:
1. Cowboy Bebop - Episodes 5-9
2. Grave of the Fireflies
3. Maria+Holic - Episodes 1-5
4. Bakemonogatari - Episodes 1-5
5. FLCL - Episodes 2-6
And here’s an example of a list that Max may have sent me:
1. BECK - Episodes 12-16
2. Jubei-chan Season 2 - Episodes 3-7
3. K-ON! - Episodes 1-5
4. Grave of the Fireflies
5. Final Fantasy X
So 24 hours before the match, we meet up in an IRC chat room. I roll 2 virtual 5-sided dice. The rolls come up 1 & 3. Because Sam is the higher seed, his number is first, and his source is what he put for #1, which is Cowboy Bebop episodes 5-9. Max’s roll was 3, so his source is K-ON! - Episodes 1-5 (that’d be an interesting match...). Now as you see, they both had Grave of the Fireflies on their list. If I had rolled 2 & 4, I would re-roll, letting them know they both had the same source.
Two final things as far as it relates to source. When you’re making your list, you CANNOT overlap episodes. Meaning, you can’t say Full Metal Panic Episodes 1-5 as one of your picks and then Full Metal Panic Episodes 2-6 as another. It doesn’t work that way. The other major thing to keep in mind is that you cannot use the same source more than once in the tournament. So in the case of Sam & Max, if Max were to win the match, he could not include K-ON! - Episodes 1-5 on his list for the next round. Got it?
As I said off the top, I know that this tends to be the more confusing aspect of the tournament, so if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.5. AUDIO SELECTION
Now this is going to vary from round to round, but for the most part, the audio that you will be receiving 20 minutes before your match is going to be a song that I have selected and associated to your match PRIOR to you being seeded there. Meaning, as of right now, I already have all of the songs picked out for each match and assigned to each match number, even though I have no idea who will be seeded where. Basically what I’m getting at is, you’re not going to have any idea what your song will be. It could range from dance’y electronic to folk’y pop to hip hop to whatever. I did have quite a bit of help this year when it comes to song selection but for the most part, I picked out a bunch of music that I both really like and think would be fun to edit to. I’ll admit there are a handful of “zingers” in there, but you’ve gotta look at it as a challenge. The people in the previous tournament can tell you that many of them did not out-right LIKE their song. Or even if they did like it, the source they had picked did not match the song whatsoever. Regardless of either conflict, this is a competition, and a major part of it is taking your source and molding it in a way that somehow manages to fit. Some of my favorite videos from the previous tournaments have been when people have taken a source and a song that seemed to clash horribly and make it work exceedingly well.
Basically what I’m getting at is, I really do hope you like the songs you get and I hope they match up well, but if you don’t like it or they don’t match, deal with it
Now, for Round One specifically I am implementing a change from previous years. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW, I will tell you ahead of time what GENRE of music your song is. This may help in what kind of sources you pick. I realize that I said that part of the competition is how you deal with whatever combination you get, but at the same time I still want people to have fun. I’d be a hypocrite if I said that I’ve never done an Iron Chef where I just couldn’t get around the song/source combo and I just ended up not having fun. Obviously I can’t tell you what the specific song IS, but if you’d like to know the genre at least, I will be willing to provide it. Keep in mind however these are genres as identified by myself. Your own idea of what that genre sounds like might differ from mine.6. SCHEDULING YOUR MATCH
When you do your match is entirely up to you and your competitor. I will NOT be responsible for telling you when you’re supposed to edit. I will say however that I don’t want each round taking months. I’m not going to set a strict deadline just yet, but if it gets to be ridiculous, I may be forced to disqualify people (with proper warnings of course).
KEEP IN MIND however that last tournament I did implement a new rule stating you don’t HAVE to do your editing at the exact same time as your competitor. This was to alleviate some strain from people who had exceedingly conflicting schedules or timezone differences. I know that we all have jobs, school, social lives (well.....eh..), etc. so finding time for both people to meet up and compete at the same time can be difficult. I will say that I’d greatly prefer it if you both people could compete at the same time, but if it’s not possible, I’d rather you edit a day between each other than take a month to schedule something.7. PRIZES
Now because I know that all of you are completely selfless and do this purely for the love of editing and competition, you’d GLADLY refuse ANY prize I’d offer, I’m just not gonna bother with them!
….. no? Oh...... well fine then.TOP 3:
Our very own Kiki Jenkins (Kikai Saigono) has offered to do a free art commission to the top 3 competitors. This is a big deal! She just had a daily deviation on DevantArt. She’s internet famous! (she’s going to hit me for writing that). But seriously, she’s an amazing artist and will make something really awesome for our top 3. She’s planning on joining the tournament herself, and if she ends up in the top 3, I’ll have to just buy her a milkshake or something.2ND PLACE:
Everybody’s favorite neighborhood Ryan Molina (Castor Troy) is donating a $50 gift card to Best Buy. In the case of an international 2nd place finisher, he’ll work something out for you. Thanks Ryan! You’re a total pal/hokage.1ST PLACE:
In the 3rd tournament, David (trythil) donated an awesome 500GB external HD to our winner. As cool as that was, that was 2007. So this year, I will be sponsoring a fancy shmancy 2TB external HD to the winner. Just imagine all the porn you’ll be able to archive!8. HOW TO SIGN-UP
As stated at the top of this post, sign-ups will happen in their own thread which will be posted at 11:00am Central time on Sunday, March 27th, 2011
, so be sure to figure out exactly what time that is in your time zone (especially you international editors). Sign-ups are on a FIRST-COME FIRST-SERVE basis. When the thread goes live, in order to officially sign up, you must say the words “One time!!”
This is primarily to make sure that you did indeed read these rules and aren’t just waltzing into the sign-ups without knowing anything.
Now, because I’m going for 96 spots this time around, I’m FAIRLY certain that it won’t fill up super fast. I will be willing to leave up the thread for 4 days. If by the end of 4 days we do not have 88 or more participants, I will be forced to bring the number back down to 64. I’d REALLY hate to do that (purely for my own selfish reasons. I’ve already designed the collateral and prepped songs for a 96-person tournament. It’d make a lot of my work obsolete... boo) so please tell your friends to sign-up! If we get at least 88 but not the full 96, the remaining spots will be placed as blank, and whoever gets seeded against the blank spots gets a by.9. BRACKET SEEDING
As I alluded to in previous sections, after the sign-ups are finished, I will be seeding the brackets RANDOMLY. Essentially I will put everybody into one big long list, shuffle up that list a few times, and seed you accordingly. So if you get seeded up against studio-mate in the first round, well... sorry but one of you is going down.10. IF YOU’VE NEVER IRON CHEF’D BEFORE
If you’ve never done an AMV Iron Chef before and that’s what’s keeping you from signing up, don’t worry. The majority of the people in the last tournament had never IC’d before either, and most people seemed to have a lot of fun with it! I strongly encourage you to give it a shot. Because the timeframe is so short you really don’t have much to lose.11. THE JUDGES
I listed the judges at the very top but I figured I’d shed a little more light on them. This year’s judges are as follows:
- Danielle Ustica, aka Aerialesque
- Alan Clontz, aka Zarxrax
- Karim Amadi, aka MimS
- Callan Watt, aka Prodigi
- Robert Crauder, aka Godix
I selected these judges based around a variety of criteria. For some it was because of their involvement/placing in the previous tournaments. For some it was to get some international representation. And for some it was because I knew he just had nothing else better to do (....>_>....) Either way, I’m happy with the panel of judges we have and their variety of editing styles and critiquing methods well lend itself well to giving a balanced vote to each match.
Now, a note about judging criteria. Basically, each judge will decide on which video they like using whatever methods they prefer. I don’t ask them to give me specific reasoning behind each vote, I just say “A or B” and they tell me. Sometimes it’ll come down to a pure visceral “This video just held my attention more than the other” or maybe “Both videos kinda suck, but this sucks less.” Who knows. Either way, the judging is blind. So what it shouldn’t come down to is “I like this editor more than this editor.” Not that it would either way, but you get what I’m saying.12. MISCELLANEOUS RULES/TIPS THAT DIDN’T FIT IN OTHER SECTIONS
- While you’re editing, TURN AUTO-SAVE ON
(assuming your editing program supports it). There were MANY times in the previous tournaments where somebody would come back to the chat room after an hour and be like “FFFUUUUUUU-...... Program crashed, just lost everything.” Unfortunately, it sucks, but there’s nothing I can do for you. You just have to make sure you’re saving often. Things happen and you just have to be prepared.
- Keep it simple. When it comes to Iron Chef, just concentrate on the editing itself and less about complex effects. I’m not saying you can’t take your video into After Effects and do some cool stuff, but don’t do it because you think “Ooooh this will impress the judges.” Do it because a part of the video legitimately calls for it.
- You are allowed to add text to your video, but YOU CANNOT ADD YOUR NAME ANYWHERE IN THE VIDEO
. As stated before, the judging is BLIND, meaning the judge should not know who made what video. So just because I say you can’t put your own name in there doesn’t mean you can say “this was edited by the person who is going up against <your competitor’s name>” or whatever weird loophole you might be looking for. Just keep it fair and fun guys :O I preview the videos before sending them to the judges and if it’s completely obvious that you’re trying to subvert the rules, I’ll be forced to disqualify you.
- YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FINISH YOUR SONG
. This is another thing that tends to come up a lot. Just edit as much as you can in your 2 hours. The majority of the songs in the mix are way too long to properly do in 2 hours (I know this doesn’t apply to EVERYONE, but still). This is also why I do encourage people to edit their audio down beforehand. Most videos, even short ones, tend to feel “better” when they have a solid and planned ending. So if you can take your 3 minute song and edit it down to a 1 minute song with a nice ending and then make your video to that, do it.
So that’s it! I know I’ve already said this a few times but PLEASE let me know if you have any questions or felt that I didn’t cover everything. I really hope you guys have a ton of fun with this tournament. Take care, and I’ll see you in the sign-up thread.