Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

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Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby Phantasmagoriat » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:56 am

Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations
lol I could hear the collective "what!?" as you all read that



Let me explain.
For me, I can't organize my footage until I organize everything else first, otherwise I just waste too much unnecessary effort.

Because, really, a good AMV all comes down to good planning and foresight to only use what you need.
Minimum Effort. Maximum Result, eh? :twisted:
Basically you want to combine the "Best with the Best with the Best..."
...and you start using things that limit you the most, so you don't waste your time.
(For those that know chemistry, those would be like your limiting reagents.)
All of this can be explained in what I'd like to call the:


AMV Hierarchy of Limitations:

    0. > AMV Genre >>> Action
    1. >> Music Genre that 'fits' AMV Genre >>> Metal
    2. >>> Musical Artist >>> Iced Earth
    3. >>>> Song >>> Something Wicked This Way Comes
    4. >>>>> Anime that 'fits' song >>> Dante's Inferno
    5. >>>>>> AMV Concept that 'fits' Combo >>> "Coming of the AntiChrist: Dante"
    5. >>>>>>> Smaller Ideas that make up Concept >>> Signs, Birth, Contact, Conflict, Battle, Outcome
    6. >>>>>>>> Scenes that fit those ideas >>> "" ""
    7. >>>>>>>>> Best looking clips >>> "" ""

It's a pretty clear hierarchy in my eyes, but not everybody see's things like that.
I mean, trying to 'fit' a song to an anime doesn't quite work as well as fitting an anime to a song, because there's too many possibilities. Too many directions you can go with the anime. It's because of all the different characters, settings, events and side stories (anime side stories are great for making a quick AMV btw). But with a song, there's only so much you can do. There are more restrictions because of the mood and lyrics. And once you pick your song, you are pretty much stuck with it, eh? You'll find that certain anime simply fit a song better because of the visual mood, and plot of the story. It's just more natural, so I always try to use this to my advantage. Yet, people try to force songs onto anime all the time. I'm not saying it can't be done... I mean sure, if you want to pick the anime first, that's fine, and you can do it like that... but it certainly takes a lot more time and effort browsing through your music collection through trial and error. You might not even find a song that truly matches the anime, and you are stuck altering the anime itself to match the song (...which I admit can be pretty neat if done properly, but it becomes sooo forced too; and terribly frustrating to work around). You don't need to put yourself through that kind of pain :amv:. Yet, I still understand what it's like to really have your mind set on a particular anime, that you just have to find a song for it; so sometimes there's no way around that. [or is there?]

However, if you have enough foresight, and follow the hierarchy, you'll realize what I said earlier about organizing everything else first before you even get to the footage itself.
This saves you tons of time by eliminating entire groups of things that would never fit your AMV intentions; leaving behind only the stuff you need. :o
Which makes your life so much easier, so that you don't put all this unnecessary effort into organizing clips that won't even have a place in your AMV. (like action clips in a romance AMV). Of course, there's the off chance that you miss some clips you could use, but you don't really need that much footage, so it's not like you are going to run out. (And if you think you are, just be creative and re-use footage in different ways, like getting some closeup zooms/pans on your footage, or do some creative cropping/effect work [what else do you do when footage runs out?])

Now, I think it's important to develop [[[the skill to see things this way]]] so you can identify other things that limit your decisions. Like maybe you don't want to edit an AMV longer than 2 minutes. That easily limits your song choices to those with said length, (unless you want to do some audio editing, which I highly encourage. Remember: "Best of the Best" could mean only using the best parts of a longer song to make something even better). Also be aware that a lot of those subgroups can be broken down into even smaller subgroups (like, in the above hierarchy, 'Contact' can be broken down into Setting, Person1, Person2, and the Meeting between the two; or if your song has 4 clear parts to it: verse, chorus, verse, chorus.... then you know your Overall AMV Concept should be broken down into 4 parts as well-- which can also be broken down even further... it just depends how deep you want to go with whatever clips you have at your disposal.[how deep do you go? or does nobody else do this but me :| ])



An Example of Sub-Hierarchy:
    I'll randomly use my own KickStart (YouTube) from last year as an example.
    Hopefully you can see how I broke down the song into the different sections.

      Concept: KickStart [starting/stopping/starting]
          Mood Establishment
          Buildup/Hook/Title
          [00:42] Fight pt1
            -Introduction to fight
            -The guys fear of getting his ass kicked
            -The guys resolve to fight back [pencil]
            -Stalemate [pencil breaks]
          [1:07] Fight pt2
            -Noticing the fight resumes
            -She's still kickin his ass
            -Shock from onlookers
            -Defeat
          [1:19] Healing
          [1:32] Outcome

Don't get me wrong, I didn't plan this all out from the beginning or anything like that,
but I did section off the song into it's natural breaks (notice the repetitions of 4)
and assigning the above ideas to each section, filling in the blanks as I went along.
From the beginning, all I knew was I wanted to use the defibrillator scene @1:19
(because that's something unique you typically wouldn't see in an AMV)
How I got there, was all about giving meaning to the prior pieces to build up to what I wanted.
So, in a sense, that one scene was a fundamental Limitation of my AMV.
Of course, all of this falling under my umbrella concept of KickStart.
I find this method works really well since it takes less time [that took 4hrs]
and it seems to have a more logical flow too.
It's just a matter of sectioning off the music properly first.



For Minimum Effort, Maximum Gain, use the Limitations:

(pretty much just follow the hierarchy above)

    0. Decide AMV genre like action, drama, comedy, romance, trailer, etc; deciding roughly what I want to achieve in the end: my goal
    1. Make a list of anime that could fit my goal
    2. Make a list of music that could fit my goal; creating a playlist of songs that sound like they would do a good job catching and maintaining peoples attention; then I put the playlist in order according to which ones I like the most;
    3. Starting at top of my playlist, I make pairings with songs and various animes in my head while listening; checking for 'fit'; staring at my anime collection helps (because of the DVD/BD artwork)
    4. Feel for moments when certain anime would be 'perfect' in the music; checking for lyrics; checking for mood
    5. Decide anime to use; decide overall concept of AMV;
    6. Recognize if song has good structure for an AMV; checking for dynamics, clear song sections to make editing easier, and anything that might make the song boring, or hard to keep pace, so I can scrap the song altogether.
    7. convert music to .wav, and drag into timeline
    8. Feel the music for clear musical breaks/shifts; paying attention to patterns (usually patterns of 4 repetitions, but not always)
    9. Make cuts at said breaks in music; dragging sections of the song up/down to different tracks; to visually organize the music in my timeline.
    Image
    10. Assign ideas to various sections of the song; trying to use as many of those 'perfect' moments I thought of earlier; sequentially building ideas to create my overall AMV concept; essentially, "forcing my concept to fit the song."
    11. Convert footage to something editing friendly like UT Video or MJPEG proxies so everything scrubs faster in my timeline; drag footage into timeline track1; run automatic scene detection in Magix, (or Autoclip in my signature for Vegas)
    12. Scan forward through footage for clips that match the ideas I need (shift+scroll helps in Vegas); dragging the pre-cut clips down to lower tracks as I go; maybe using track 1 for idea 1, and track 2 for idea 2; Once done, I highlight all the clips I don't need, (which if you've done everything properly should be the majority of your footage) and delete it, leaving behind only the stuff I actually need. (And when you think about it, for an AMV, you don't need that much, but you might as well have the best of the best clips at your disposal). Now, if you use Magix, you can highlight the entire track1,2,3 etc and drag into the media pool. Then drag the entire media pool back onto the timeline so that all your clips line up back-to-back. (yeah, using this method, you can line up all your clips in one step, it's fucking great! Can't remember when I figured that out, but it has saved me what would otherwise take hours)
    13. Then everything else is just about matching your pre-selected clips to the corresponding sections of the song, and you are done. easy.
    Image
    14. Export big old Master Copy as something Lossless like Uncompressed, UT Video, HuffYUV, Lagarith...
    15. Compress to x264 using something like Zarx264gui



How to use The Limitations of Song to your Advantage (Sections & Parallels):

    I think music is one of the more interesting Limitations when it comes to AMVs, because there are those certain moments where you just feel like you have to edit something, and if you don't... it just doesn't seem right.

    (I've posted this before, but I thought it fits the above message pretty well)

    Before starting an AMV, I always look at the overall structure of the music first. Then simply edit my AMV around that.
    In my humble opinion, this is the most important thing you can do when making an AMV, seriously.

    Because once you break down the music into musical sections, it's quite easy to assign a purpose to each section in your overall AMV. Timing of your mood shifts will be much better too. Even if that means pairing the perfect scene with the perfect part of the song, and that's the only thing you are confident with, just build your AMV around that. (This should make your amv flow better too because it gives the viewer time to digest the smaller ideas in each section which build up to higher-order ideas.) It also allows you to introduce parallels amongst sections, like in the timeline above, the first double-repeat can focus on the protagonist, and the second double-repeat can focus on the antagonist... which gives rise to parallel structure (and each of those can be broken down further into Setting/Character or whatever you like for even better parallelism). Then it would be appropriate to have the two meet face to face in the quad-repeat, perhaps in a four-part fight or something. Be creative, but keep it simple too. I mean, there's only so much you can cover in an AMV-- remember all those different parts to a short story you learned in grade school? Those actually help. Google that stuff right now, really it's not just busy work your english teacher wanted you to learn... But anyway, I strongly encourage this method since you are far more limited by the song than you are by the anime, so for me, it just makes sense to structure your AMV around the music. Plus I think it makes it easier for both you and the viewer to focus on multiple smaller ideas which come together afterwards. Really, you'll finish your AMV faster (particularly with clip hunting), and it will probably be easier for the viewer to follow too. All it comes down to is developing your ability to recognize the musical shifts, and organize it's structure in your timeline. Then just mix and match ideas to the different sections until the overall structure looks like something you can live with. At that point you are basically done your AMV-- and all that's left is to edit the darn thing.
    :bear:

    All things said and done, you can make your AMV however you want, but that's just what I do.
    And hopefully this makes some sort of sense, without going over peoples heads. :sweat:

    ~Phan


Questions to Consider:

    What limits/restricts you the most when making YOUR AMVs?
    Do you think these limitations are really limitations, or rather instructions on how to build your video?

    Any other thought?
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby Taite » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:20 am

:up: Very nice and informative read.

For me, I don't go searching for an amv to make, it kind of just comes to me, so I don't really need to go through the whole beginning stuff. But when editing an amv, I think breaking down the song into sections and assigning developmental story parts to it is an easy and effective way to just get your story across. I do this mentally, but I find myself straying quite a bit to fit in scenes that I "like," and therefore my story becomes more lackluster and hard to see. Sometimes editing away from a set outline is good, because you aren't restricting yourself as you may come across something new that would fit well. But the whole "cutting up the song" is useful in any kind of amv, and not just mentally :p So :up: to that point.

Although
trying to 'fit' a song to an anime doesn't quite work as well as fitting an anime to a song, because there's too many possibilities

for me it's opposite. I always have a mental list of several anime that could fit one individual song. Personally, I rarely approach amvs like this, I typically have a theme or story I try to convey that (usually) exists within an anime, and I sometimes have to look for a song to help better convey that idea, but normally I already have it because it was one of the contributing factors in making that idea.
So this little bit is mehmeh to me, because everyone is so different in how they approach editing an amv.

However, overall, I think this is a well laid out guideline that gives an easy and basic approach to editing amvs.
So thanks for taking the time to write this all out. I think it's a "tool" of sorts that you can bend to fit your own editing style (how you approach editing, not how you edit). I'd personally like to see it sticky-ed or whatever. :)
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby Phantasmagoriat » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:27 pm

oh for sure Taite ;)

The struggle whether you should pick the song first or the anime first is one of those things that can go either way. For me, I just find it's hard to fit the perfect song to the idea in my head, because if there's something in the song that's not consistent with my idea, the whole idea falls apart, or it creates extra work for me that I'm not sure I'm willing to invest into manipulating the anime; or searching for something that might not even be there; so I always shy away from making that attempt to find the right song. Whereas I've always seen the song as the idea, so if I choose the song first, and the anime second, I usually find the footage has more variety in it, which is typically easier to bend towards the song. However, you can't really bend the song itself. Once you have it, you're stuck with it. So that's why I see it as a higher-order limitation in the hierarchy, and that's why I usually pick the song first. Or maybe I'm just too lazy to do things the other way around :P, but either way, it certainly has made my life easier, and I just want others to know that they can have that too.

Also, thanks for your kind words ^__^
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby Koopiskeva » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:40 pm

Good read. I agree with your limitations for the most part, except I'd also add amount of time and amount of effort in there somewhere. Possibly for each step. |:
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby Phantasmagoriat » Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:46 pm

Koopiskeva wrote:Good read. I agree with your limitations for the most part, except I'd also add amount of time and amount of effort in there somewhere. Possibly for each step. |:
Thanks :D
That's a really good idea that I never thought about. But I can see it working quite well, like if you know there's a certain segment of a song that is crucial to making your video work, you'll spend more time on that, and less time on other parts that are simply used to connect everything together. Especially if you give yourself an overall deadline. Might be useful for iron chief too, though you might run the risk of having holes in the end, but certainly something to be aware of. :up:
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby gotegenks » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:24 am

this stuff is great...is it going in the guides section on the main site? we're severely lacking in guides that help with the creative process, at least ones this easy to follow and immediately helpful. good stuff, saving this all in a notepad right meow. :up:
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby Phantasmagoriat » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:00 pm

Thanks, I can't remember the last time a new guide was added to the site, and the whole idea about sharing our knowledge through How-To Guides has prompted this idea.
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby DriftRoot » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:45 pm

Phantasmagoriat wrote:What limits/restricts you the most when making YOUR AMVs?

Wonderful that you put all that together. I do think it reflects a very specific type of editing process, though, and certainly one that not everyone uses. A lot of people who create AMVs are in it purely for fun and aren't very strategically conscious about what they're doing. Perhaps unconsciously they are going through these motions, but I suspect many are not and would not want to.

Speaking to your questions about what limits/restricts me personally, it's the inability to create what I want to create due to the basic fact that the footage I see in my mind's eye does not exist, or else I am incapable of creative workarounds. I have a number of good AMV concepts rolling around in my head that on paper - in outline form very much like you'd done here - are coherent and compelling, but they have proved impossible for me to create because I'm either not skilled enough to pull them off or the anime cannot support my concept (or both). Unfortunately, I have a hard time compromising my concepts - if I can't do what I want to do, then I typically move on to something else. This isn't really reflected in the "limitations" you outline, as they seem to operate on the assumption that the skill and footage exists to create what the plan dictates must be created. For me, that is the hard part. I have no problem making plans, I have a big problem making plans which can actually be carried out. To do that requires a realistic look at the anime and song you're working with, and planning accordingly. The concept cannot exist in a vacuum - it's not enough for it to look good on paper, it must be good in practice.

Phantasmagoriat wrote:Do you think these limitations are really limitations, or rather instructions on how to build your video?

I recently realized that my editing process is very forced, that I do everything by the numbers, according to plan, with an extremely strict network of rules and regulations that allows for very little "casual" editing and creative freedom. While planning and organization certainly aren't hurtful when making AMVs, I think there is a lot to be said for exploring different paths, being open to alternatives which come along and aware that there is always room for improvement. Just because you have a plan doesn't mean it's a good one or the ONLY way to proceed. If your plan is flawed or other factors interfere, there will be some real challenges to deal with. Should you give up if you can't come up with a plan? Certainly not!

So...yes and no, to these "instructions" being limitations. Being unable to follow these instructions is likely a HUGE limitation for a lot of people. Should it stop them from making AMVs? No. If they can't follow these instructions, but can still make a good AMV, does that mean these instructions are worthless? No. These instructions are advocating the importance of executing a concept in one's AMV, which some people believe is an utterly worthless pursuit (not me). Your instructions may not a one-size-fits-all situation, but I can't imagine someone criticizing an AMV for executing a concept, and if what you've written will help people better understand how to do that, then I'd say your advice is more liberating than restrictive!
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby Phantasmagoriat » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:35 pm

DriftRoot wrote: Unfortunately, I have a hard time compromising my concepts
I'd like to bring this to your attention, because by allowing other things to dictate your AMV besides concept, (like the layout of the song) it can make your life much much easier. Of course, I understand having your mind set on a particular concept can be hard to let go, especially when it's a really good idea. I mean, some pretty awesome ideas would have never come into fruition if editors didn't stick to their guns :P But at the same time, when you can't get it to work, it's terribly frustrating, so I just want people to know that it doesn't need to be that way.



seem to operate on the assumption that the skill and footage exists to create what the plan dictates must be created.
Good point. Now that's something I would hope my hierarchy can address, because it tells you to never pick a concept if the footage doesn't exist to create that concept. Of course, having the foresight to do that comes back to what you were saying about taking "a realistic look at the anime and song you're working with, and planning accordingly," so yeah it's hard. There is no denying that. So just as a tip: if you practice making *whole* AMVs, that skill can be developed. And I love making casual AMV's. In fact, I've still have never made "the big one."


"casual" editing
I strongly encourage trying this; simply following the hierarchy; and getting to a final result. Even if you don't upload it anywhere, it feels great.


And thank you for your kind words ^__^
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby TheLuminaireShow » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:42 pm

As we've already discussed Phan, you and I seem to have a similar approach to assigning footage to music. And while I can appreciate trying to formulate the idea process, I think that's usually the part that comes to everyone in different ways. I mean, the actual steps to actually producing an AMV never change; form idea, gather footage and song, put clips to music, edit effects and transitions, render. But I think the actual conceptualization process can easily differ for many people. Personally, I don't like the approach of, "I want to make an AMV, so I'll start by picking a genre/song/anime whatever." I think the best AMVs are where the creator likely went, "I HAVE to make an AMV to this!"

Like, the inspiration for me was always a smack in the face. Often, if there's a song I hear that really inspires me and makes me start to daydream (in other words, a song that is clearly sparking my imagination), I'll take note. If I happen to be thinking about an anime in particular, or certain kinds of scenes from various anime, BAM! There's my AMV idea! Then yeah, I'll probably start segmenting the song in my head and start thinking about it more intensely for what kind of clips can go to the other parts of the song. Then you start the editing. :D

But hey, the whole point is, that's my process. Whatever process works for anyone else, more power to 'em.
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby Phantasmagoriat » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:51 pm

TheLuminaireShow wrote:"I HAVE to make an AMV to this!"
When stuff like that happens I always get pretty excited too XD
But at the same time scared. Because I foresee the possibility that the whole thing might not work; whereas if I follow my method, I can be more confident that I'll get what I want. But yeah, that's totally a valid starting point ;)
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Re: Phan's AMV Hierarchy of Limitations

Postby TheLuminaireShow » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:13 pm

Oh yeah, I have a magnum opus or three in my mind that I dare not attempt until I feel capable. But it doesn't mean I'm not going to ever try either. But hey, that's what practice is for. That and collaborations. :p
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