Getting Your Video

Before you start to collect the footage for you amv, you need to have a good think about where you are going to get your footage from and how you are going to prepare it. This page is intended as a simple rundown of the options available for you to use and the pros and cons of each source.

VHS - this is the worst source (although I have seen a video that captured footage from TV using a webcam). It requires a capture card, and a reasonably good one in order to maintain any quality. Only use VHS sources if there is really no other source around. A big hard drive will be required for the captures.

Laserdisc - The king of analogue. Laserdisc sources are pretty good and with a good capture card you can get some very good quality footage from them. You will need good cables and a big hard drive for all the information but laserdiscs really aren't all that bad. Many of you may not even know what a laserdisc is, because they never really caught on in America. They were fairly popular in Japan though, until DVD caught on.

DVDs - Plentiful, accessible, good quality and very useable. If you have an option to work from a DVD source then by all means do. The most efficient way to obtain DVD footage these days is direct digital ripping from the disc itself and this guide will show you how. However, if you are only using the DVDs for analogue capture then they will offer no vast benefit over Laserdiscs. If you have DVDs then you really should be ripping them.

Game footage - a viable option for those making GMVs, See Quu's Guide and look in the forums for some individual guides on how to rip footage from certain platforms.

Downloaded footage - No. I don't care what anyone says about the current quality of fansubs or anything like that, downloaded footage is almost always second grade. They've done a great job cleaning up the footage but even then it's often riddled with chroma noise from TV captures and so on. Many digisubs suffer from poor quality fades, blocking on gradients and all sorts of other issues you are not going to get on a DVD. Not to mention the fact that if you are going to be violating copyright when making AMVs, the least you can do is actually pay for the thing you've used. Which means, invariably, using DVDs which is always the best option. For dvds of your fave fansubbed anime, try cdjapan or animejungle or wait for a western release. If you are uncertain about the legality of a site's dvds, ask on the forums or read through the Pirate Anime FAQ to see if it's a bootleg or not. If it looks too good to be true (region 0, cheap, english subs) then it's probably a bootleg and shouldn't be bought.

If there happens to be some footage that you've downloaded that you really really can't find officially (like, for instance, the Daicon III and IV opening animations which are only available on a very rare laserdisc), or maybe a promotional video that was only made available online, then it might be alright to use this method.


OK, now that you've decided on your source, there are two guides to help you use these sources:

Analogue Capture Guide - This is a general basics guide to analogue video capture. It doesn't refer to individual capture cards, as there are so many different ones, but it does refer to software and some other useful technical pointers.

Downloaded Footage Guide - Please, PLEASE, don't use downloaded fansubs instead of DVDs.

DVD Ripping Guide - This is an all-new version of the DVD guide which will talk you through different methods and how to get the best out of DVD footage. This is in-depth and complicated but with practice it will be a simple process.