I realize I'm probably the last one to the party here in posting his opinions on the AX2003 AMV contest, but I figure better late then never.
This list is a direct copy of a similar message which I had already sent to the AMV mailing list.
Let me tell you... that little preamble I gave at my panel about "watching" videos versus "experiencing" videos certainly rang true for me. After watching them over and over and over and over and OVER and over again in the course of making the DVDs (*), by the time I saw them at con I was actually more entertained by watching Michael operate the discs than by the actual competition. The "experience" was totally lost for me, and I'm really jealous of you guys. ^_- Still, I had fun though.
> I Get a Kick Out of You - Cowboy Bebop - David Appleman
While this video didn't really strike it for me, it was pointed out to me that if you put yourself into a mindset where you can appreciate Frank Sinatra music (I'm not one for classics), this video is actually quite an accomplishment. This creator has style and artistic talent in spades, but I knew it'd totally be lost on the audience.
> Everything You Want - EVA - Thomas Smith & John Evangelista
This video was initially my favorite for drama. Yes, I feared the "Yet-Another-Eva-Video" syndrome, but this one was quite surprising. It was probably one of the best Asuka/Shinji videos I'd ever seen. I later talked with Tommy about this video, and he informed me that all he did was remaster it for video quality purposes and make one slight change. That slight change was the addition of very subtle zoom-in's and zoom-out's of the many still frames used in this video, and that originally they were just still frames. Those subtle zooms were PRECISELY what this video needed. This video later got dethroned as my favorite by an even better video.
> Restored Pieces - Love Hina - Dennis Grenadier and ???
This video didn't really seem to go anywhere for me. The song was nice, and the clips used seemed to suit the mood well, but aside from the scene of someone (Keitaro/Naru?) slipping on a ring and a dreamscape scene of Keitaro marrying Naru, there really didn't seem to be a plot in this. I was also a bit miffed at first because I thought that marriage scene was a massive spoiler, but after watching the Love Hina Summer Special I found out to my relief that it wasn't. ^_^
> Love's Reflection - AMG - Vlad Pohnert
One interesting artistic quirk about Vlad is that he loves to make montage videos. Being every bit the artist, he used an interesting picture frame effect which was a nice touch. I daresay that it was a tad bit overused though. I wasn't too fond of the song either, but that's a fault of mine and not the video. I didn't see much of a plot in this video which is something I prefer and look for in drama videos (again, a fault of mine and not the artist), but since this was meant to be more of a sentimental video than a dramatic story there wasn't necessarily one required.
> Center of the Sun - Metropolis - Jonathan Backer [Best Drama, Otaku
> Outpost Award]
I thought this video was quite touching. Although it did paralell the story of Metropolis fairly closely, it works quite well. There were one or two scenes which I feel the artist could have done more with or lacked inspiration to do anything with, but it was made up for with some extremely touching scenes. The scene with the dove sitting on the girl's (I forget her name!) shoulder was a good moment, and also the clip used when the song said "You say the most beautiful things" was absolutely perfect. It took me more than one viewing to really appreciate this video though, and my first viewing of this video only got a so-so reaction out of me.
> Through Time, Through Space - Hoshi no Koe - Jay Naling
This video slowly became my favorite. When I first saw the video, I hadn't seen Voices from a Distant Star (Hoshi no Koe), nor was I familiar with the story. So basically I thought the video was nice to watch and had cool mecha scenes which seemed to work with the hooks in the song, but otherwise it made absolutely zero sense. Then I got a copy of VfaDS, and while I haven't watched it yet, the back cover told me the story and then this video made total and complete sense. I rewatched this video and I LOVED it. It was absolutely perfect, and I felt really bad for this video because I knew that if no-one was familiar with the show that it'd be totally lost on everyone. And indeed it was. I also noticed the creator had a rather odd artistic detail. The video was letterboxed, but the top and bottom borders resembled torn paper.
> 1000 Years - Final Fantasy X - Jonathan Backer
Again, yet another video that took repeated viewings for me to appreciate. I felt that this video would score well simply because it was a video game based AMV (VGMV?) and would do well simply because of that. However, after watching the video a couple times I did see a cohesive story or mood being conveyed, even though at times some scenes drifted from that plot. There were some scenes that were quite touching (intimacy underwater), and some others had a bit of an ominous feel to them that matched with the music.
> Everyday - Macross Plus - Johnathan Reed
I liked this video almost right away. A quick adrenalin rush with fast action, and while not exactly having a story to tell, it did have a plot and wasn't simply random action. While at first I liked Eternal Damnation and Mitternacht more, I felt this was the superior video due to it containing a plot, and the content of its action did come toe to toe with the other two. I am extremely disappointed that it got very little reaction from the audience.
> Bite the Dust - Noir - David Appleman
This video just didn't do it for me, even after repeated viewings. It fit with Noir in a rather gimmicky way, almost to the point where I felt it was more comedic than action, specifically the scene where the girl non-challantly shoots three guys and the song goes "Thwop, thwop, thwop. Another one bites the dust!" I was quite surprised by the crowd's positive reaction to this video. I guess they saw something I didn't.
> Souls of Rage and Sorrow - Escaflowne the Movie - Tim Stair
This video I felt was Tim's artistic attempt at action. While I don't think it had a chance against the "adrenalin rush" videos, it was a worthy entry none-the-less. Not something I'd watch repeatedly though.
> Eternal Damnation - Hellsing - Tim Stair
This video made me want to get a copy of Hellsing, and it made me want to get one posthaste. This video was my second favorite.
> Eye of the Battousai - Rurouni Kenshin - Keith Torbett
It was a good attempt, but it easily got trounced by the other six in the category. I could see a faint plot in what the creator was trying to accomplish, but I don't think it was quite gripping enough for it to gain much headway in the category.
> Sin City - various - Kamran Ahmadi
I daresay it was mostly random action, but still very interesting. It worked well, but eyecandy without a cohesive direction will only get you so far. A very worthy entry though.
> Mitternacht - various vampire stuff - Scott Grasso [Best Action]
Again, more random action, but this time it had a theme. The artist made good usage of the lulls in the music to build up tension, and when it released it was in one hell of a rush. The forced letterboxing of the Hellsing scenes weren't exactly the brightest move and were noticable, especially Alucard's excessively long outstretched arm with a pistol aimed at a vampire. This video would have been my third favorite.
> COMEDY (I note that this was particularly strong relative to previous
> Hound Dogs
This video was just plain WRONG, and because of that it was kinda funny. Seeing Belldandy crying from an abuseive Keiichi... that's just wrong wrong wrong! Very clever, but it's hard to tell if this video would have been better if it tried to maintain that wrongness throughout the video. I expected Anthony to give the Cajones award to this video.
> Vanilla Vash - Trigun - Senta Miller
I really enjoyed this video. It was masterful in its concept and editing, but it borderlined on action. It had comedic value, but just enough for it to be considered a comedy video. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this video. I was even more surprised when I learned who made it.
> Leaves of Happaness - misc - ???
I've seen the real Leaves of Happaness music video repeatedly, so this video didn't quite have the punch that it would have had against people not familiar with the song or its silliness. Furthermore, I don't think the translations were accurate, although I don't think it matters too much. This video was rather gimmicy in a manner somewhat akin to my ATW6:35 video, but this one actually has replay value.
> In the Mind of a Hina Inn Manager - misc
I didn't really get this video at all. I felt it could have done without the rather odd intro, and most of the scenes were random without any clear direction or purpose.
> Without GTO - GTO - Ronald Ladao [Cajones Award]
Very clever pairing of GTO and Slim Shady. Onizuka IS Slim shady. If they were to make a live action Onizuka in the US (they already made one in Japan) Eminem would be the perfect star. I also thought that the blending of dub dialogue from the show with the music was rather interesting, and something I've seldom seen done. At some points it was done well and helped the video a lot, at other points it got lost as noise and hurt it. A little more refinement and this video could be a winner at other cons.
> If You Know What I Mean - Ranma - Eric Weiner
This video would have been better if decent source footage was used. The video and song used actually are a clever match, but more could have been done with it. Eric shouldn't have limited himself to just the 2nd Ranma movie (with the exception of one very short [and heavily interlaced] clip from the TV series) and included the 1st movie and OAVs as well. I am a big fan of Ranma 1/2, and I see few good Ranma AMVs out there. I'm glad to see someone trying.
> The Chibi Things (that Kill) - various [Fans Choice, Creators Choice,
> Judges' Choice, Best of Show]
The idea was clever and the execution of the concept was good, but there were some aspects I wasn't too enchanted by, the least of which was the use of spoiler footage at the end. I do think it was the best comedy video in the category though, with the possible exception of Vanilla Vash. I don't think it should have won Best of Show though.
> Young Felicity - various - Peter Stoll
A friend pointed out that the video attempted to emulate the original music video quite well, which is a very interesting touch, but that's an effort that would be totally lost on the DBZ kiddies who weren't even a twinkle in their MTV watching mother's eyes at the time the music video shown. Good concept, but I don't think anybody got it.
> The Two Shall Meet - Utena movie
Aside from the horrible macroblocking problems and some rather dirty matte overlays and transitions, this was an absolutely excellent video. Very touching, very interesting. While it's a festival of eyecandy, I feel it would clean house in the drama category. While I feel it can "get away with" being in the AMTV category, it really belongs in Drama in my opinion.
> Femme Fatale - Noir - Rin Valentyne
Very simple video, and I feel this one fit quite well in AMTV. Not a whole lot of anything fancy, although the music was quite trippy and the jolting repetition of some clips was an interesting touch. I heard a few glitches in the song itself, but laughingly enough they actually work with the song. Heck, they might even be intentional and I didn't realize it. This video is hard to appreciate though from anything other than an artistic perspective. There's nothing really gripping or exciting in this video.
> Questionable Gender - I My Me Strawberry Eggs - Alan Jones
This video had obvious video quality issues, so this guy may want to mingle with a few people on this list to work some of those kinks out. It was quite a vaild video for the comedy category, and I daresay it barely qualified as AMTV. I think I heard somewhere that this was Alan's first effort, and it is a very decent start and I hope he is at least encouraged by that.
> Euphoria - Rah Xephon - Jay Naling [Staff Favorite,AMV ML Originality
This video was eyecandy galore, and was perfect for AMTV. I didn't get a cohesive story or direction out of this video, but I did gather a mellow "take me away" mood from it which was quite enjoyable. I can see myself playing this video over and over again quite a bit. This was my second favorite video for the AMTV category, but I thought it'd be a ringer not just for the category, but for the whole competition.
> Hindi Sad Diamonds - AMG Movie - Brad DeMoss
To be honest, I haven't given this video too much thought up until right now. While Brad told me that he initially entered this into Drama, it really does fit much better in AMTV, and it's not a bad video at that. This video had to grow on me a bit, and it conveys a rather strange and ominous mood which is rather interesting to have evoked from AMG. Keeping in mind that this was initially to be a Drama video, I can't say that I see much of a story or plot behind this video. The song starts and ends with "She is mine", but I didn't see anything that grew on that.
> Stop the Rock - misc - Richard Cole [Best of AmTV]
I love this song, and I'm glad that someone made a great video out of it. This video started off with some really clever scenes, and if you look carefully you will find Plum in almost EVERY scene, or at least a majority of them. I feel the mood of the video tapers off midway through (except for Koshi dancing in the disco suit... GOD I hope he saw that) but it started out sufficiently high enough to carry it through. This video was my favorite for the category.
Anyway... that's my report for this year's competition. Congratulations to everyone who entered, and good luck for next year! ^_^
-Troy / XStylus
* A small sidenote: Even though I made the DVDs for the contest, I have had no influence over the competition. Although I am on staff, my duties do not pertain to the AMV competition, and I was doing this as a favor. If you have any questions about the competition, I'm not the guy to ask. Please direct them to James or Kat. ^_^