The point of this guide/theory is to get you to focus on your amv as a whole as opposed to the shiny details that sparked your video’s birth or that you discovered along the way. Just as an artist maps out the root structure of a figure with lines, circles and squares before drawing the creases in skin and the shine in hair, so should you plan out a basic map of the “story” you wish to tell. Also, this guide is more/less meant for Action, Drama and Upbeat videos. Comedy requires a certain level of discomfort to be humorous, so a fluid moving, evenly paced amv is going to take a lot of the discomfort out. Again, this is basic. Successful editors have learned how to twist the rollercoaster around to their own convenience. Also, these techniques are something successful editors may not even realize they do. It is my attempt to take their subconscious creativity and break it down for those who haven’t found the key to unlocking their full potential.
I created an AMV specifically for this guide to be your example. Please refer to as you read.
Getting Started: As this is AMV101, this guide is meant for beginning stage editors, however it could easily open up windows to those who have edited for years. That being said, for now do not worry about technical skills because those will come in time and experience. The most important thing in the beginning is learning how to make your video flow, move and tell its “story”. I put “story” in quotations because it doesn’t necessarily mean having a literal story being told. By “story” I mean how your amv moves from point A to point B to possibly point C, and then back again.
Choosing your sources: Because you are new to editing and wish to become near professional, choose video and music that are an easy match. Your first job is to learn how to create structure in an AMV. There’s no point in earning a 10 in Originality while earning a 2 for Overall or Re-view. If you don’t yet understand the basics of structure, then you won’t leave the viewer feeling satisfied.
AUDIO: Because the music is the foundation of your video you want to choose something of the following structure (typical for the average song): Intro Verse (Pre-Chorus) optional Chorus Intro Verse (Pre-Chorus) optional Chorus Instrumental and/or Bridge Chorus Conclusion
VIDEO: Your anime source is less restrictive. Choose what you want to edit.
Intro – Start down the tracks: The introduction is fairly obvious. You are setting up your scene/scenario. A lot of wide range shots can be helpful in creating the setting of where your characters are going to be placed. It’s also very important to have some kind of eye-catcher during these first 10-20 seconds. As the average viewer has a short attention span you want to give them something as soon as possible to grab their attention. And what follows will hopefully keep it. My eyecatcher is the tapping of feet and fingers to the beat.
Verse – Rise slowly up the tracks: Here is where you’re introducing your characters and giving a brief explanation about who they are and what possible conflicts may ensue. All the while you are building energy.
Pre-Chorus – Round the top: Not all songs contain a pre-chorus, however they are very common. The energy is still building here, you haven’t quite yet hit the first conflict.
Chorus – First downhill fall: Here is the first energy release. Bring the intensity up several notches but not so high that you’ll be unable to top it later. Intensity can rise by either editing style (increased speed, lip sync, lyric sync, etc…) or in footage choice. If you’re doing a Drama video at a slower pace, then this is a good place to put forward the dramatic scenes if you wish to keep the movement steady.
Verse – Rise up a slightly higher hill: So your energy should be back down by now, and you’re going to slowly build it back up again. Now you don’t want to bring the energy all the way back down to the same level as it was in the beginning - you’re already moving so don’t take the momentum away.
Pre-Chorus – Round the top: Same as before, you’re reaching the top of the tracks about to release the energy.
Chorus – Second downhill fall: Now because your last verse and pre-chorus rose in energy slightly higher than the first time, you want to release a corresponding amount. Changing up your editing/footage slightly in this chorus is an option and can help keep it from being repetitive. In the first chorus I used mostly Cowboy Bebop footage. I switched to Trigun in the second.
Instrumental/Bridge: Here’s where you want to change it up. Typical songs will have some kind of change in the bridge to keep the song interesting, such as a change in speed or key. You want to do the same with your video. Adding another eye-catcher is a good idea, like introducing a new character for example: This bridge can be twisty and have a few loops, or make a dramatic drop in energy altogether. Later on after you’ve had some experience, feel free to change that up to your own style and see what might work. Either way, by the end you want to have brought the energy to its peak for the entire video.
Chorus – Final downhill fall: This is your finale, let the flood gates loose. Release all the energy this AMV has to offer.
Conclusion – Gliding to a stop: The energy is now coming back down to where it was at the beginning. Bring your AMV to a smooth stop. If your song ends abruptly, let the viewer know in advance it’s coming to an end so they don’t feel like they hit a brick wall. Using wide range shots again are a good way of rounding out the video and bring it back to the level that was at the beginning. Because my song comes to a sudden halt, I added the anime titles to soften the blow.
NOW… here’s the monkey wrench I’m going to throw in this roller coaster and you’re going to hate me for it. Take this entire process I’ve given you and flip it. Flip it. What? FLIP IT. Yes, you are going to edit backwards. Set up your final scenario first. This technique is very common among movie makers and sit-com writers. It’s much easier to set up the climax of your story and then work your way down instead of constantly trying to top yourself. If you know what the maximum height of your roller coaster is in the beginning, then you will know just how low you can go to create the ultimate thrill ride.
In conclusion, you want to take your viewers for a ride. For now, don't focus so much on the details. Yes, details can be the most fun part of editing at times, but to make them shine properly you need to put forth as much care in the rest of your project.
Please remember that this is all theory. I’m not going to come barging in your home if you choose to color outside the lines. This is a basic structure and every anime and song combination is going to produce different results.
An interesting theory, although I don't think it would be able to apply to all music, as not all songs accustom themselves to this sort of musical style. Like the Up! track in the Disney MEP (I use this as an example, since I'm sure you're familiar with it). Plus, I think it would be hard to force oneself to edit within a certain restraint as there is here. Still, if people want to follow it, it's not terrible advice. Might help with some pacing issues that some people might have when they first start out.
Rider4Z wrote:The most important thing in the beginning is learning how to make your video flow
Honestly, I disagree. I think the most important thing in the beginning is to learn how to edit to a rhythm (and learning your software, but assuming that's a given). This guide is about structure, which is, IMO, completely dependent on the editor's concept and idea. While this is a good example of how to structure this particular video, it may not work for something else. Much like what Code said, songs have different layouts themselves and don't necessarily follow a standard. I can think of many songs that are really just one long story being sung, no chorus' (not to mention instrumentals that have no noticeable sections between and a beginning and an end). By learning the basics of editing to a rhythm, you don't need any real structure to make something quite enjoyable (and good) but also isn't just random nonsense edits.
This guide is better served not as an AMV101 type guide but more of an in depth guide on how to break apart a concept and build it into something that makes sense and flows point a to point b... If you choose to make a video using this type of structure that is.
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i don't mind if you disagree, pwolf. you're right as well. i can name several amvs that don't follow this structure (or any obvious structure at all) that are brilliant, but again they usually come from experienced editors that know how to make the "magic" happen.
a lot of beginners, however, aren't really sure where to start. it's my hope that they'll find this helpful in figuring out how to break a project down in order to focus on it as a whole.
I'm sure it will, no doubt, just saying I wouldn't really consider it any type of "first step" type guide, there are more important things that should be learned first and i think the guide should recognize that before saying "this is the most important thing".
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well that's why it says "Rider's Guide" and not Pwolf's seriously tho, this is just my opinion and experience. people may take or leave it as they choose. even if they don't agree with everything it might trigger some of their own thoughts outside the box.
i do like hearing other people's opinions about the topic tho. it's interesting to learn how other operating minds work.
I do recognize that this is indeed your guide, I'm just trying to make it better. It's not so much them not agreeing with what's being said, it's misleading. This guide isn't really about the overall flow of a video, it's about the structure of a single video. The flow of the video is determined by the editing rhythm, scene selection, and in most cases, the structure of the video (but videos with great flow don't need a structure, as you agree with). You're really only covering one aspect of the whole while saying it's the most important thing to learn. I don't really see that as actually helping anyone who's just trying to get into AMVs and wants to make sure it flows well. Based on this guide, all they'll have is a structured video and will have to figure out the whole scene selection and rhythm thing on their own.
Point being, I don't think new editors will benefit from and produce the type of video the guide expects based on the information it provides. It lacks other important information, such as I've mentioned: rhythm. Another way of looking at it would be if someone was writing a short story. This guide will be good for them to use as a way to create the blueprint for their story but they wont win any awards if they don't know how to actually write the content in a way that makes sense and flows from page to page within the structure.
That said, the guide is actually really vague on how one should act based on each aspect of the structure. You should provide more examples using your video as to what you actually did to achieve the goals that are laid out in each section... For example, towards the end:
Rider4Z wrote:Chorus – Final downhill fall: This is your finale, let the flood gates loose. Release all the energy this AMV has to offer.
What does that all mean in relation to the video? What exactly are you doing to "let the flood gates loose" and "release all the energy"? Are you increasing the tempo of your edits? Picking scenes that have a lot more action? speeding up the source? adding effects to make everything more chaotic? I'm all for people figuring this all on their own but I think if you really want to help, it would be better if there was more information about what you actually did in relation to what's being asked.
Anyway, it's your guide, do what you want.
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i appreciate your thoughts a lot, pwolf, i know my guide is far from perfect and i'm sure i'll come up with things along the way myself that i could do to improve it.
Pwolf wrote:What does that all mean in relation to the video? What exactly are you doing to "let the flood gates loose" and "release all the energy"? Are you increasing the tempo of your edits? Picking scenes that have a lot more action? speeding up the source? adding effects to make everything more chaotic? I'm all for people figuring this all on their own but I think if you really want to help, it would be better if there was more information about what you actually did in relation to what's being asked.
i understand your point. the reason i didn't write out specifically what i did is because the details are specific only to this particular video, and what i don't want is for beginners is to take those details and try incorporate them into their anime and song. because that won't work. what i want for them to do is to put on blur goggles so to speak so they stop focusing on the details and more so on energy. (i did reference in the first chorus different options on how to do that but i probably could have brought it back up again for explaining the finale.) but my biggest concern is when people focus on the "small" stuff, they lose sight of the big picture. that's why i consider this guide 101. then the more advanced they become, the more they'll be able to tighten up and hone in on the details without losing sight of the full picture because it'll become second nature. like ngsilver and johnny depp said, the most important part of the story is the ending. but it must have a set up and execution to meet its full potential.
and just so we're on the same page, i think you and i may have a different definition of flow. for this guide i'm referring to the flow of energy, not necessarily moving from one scene to another if that's what you mean.
well.... hmm.... it makes sense in my head.... i'm very right-brained so this is hard for me XD
let me try this a different way, from your comments i've assumed that when you say flow, you mean the timing and movement how one scene is cut to the next, right? assuming yes i'll go on....
for this guide, i mean flow as in the transition from one level of energy to the next, and when done properly the energy of the viewer will react accordingly. meaning when the video and music are fast paced or full of drama, that high energy will therefor build up inside the viewer. same as when the video and music are at a more calm state so will the viewer be. It's that energy inside the viewer that you want to control to make them feel like they went on a roller coaster. if you create a video that is consistently high in energy then you will tire your audience out. and the reverse applies as well if you make something that's consistently low energy, they'll get bored. if you can find the balance in between, having the correct number of intervals at the right time, then the final result will be one of great satisfaction (like a bigger applause in a convention setting) because you will have given the viewer literally a physical reaction to what you created.