JOURNAL: KagatoAMV (Nic Neidenbach)

  • AX 03 - Saturday 2003-07-16 16:40:46 Saturday, July 5th
    Up at 8am again this morning, which felt like it was a lot earlier. I think all the wandering around and late night AMV contest wore me out the day before. While I would like to sleep in, the second part of the AMV 101 workshop was at 10am that morning. So I was up, grabbed some breakfast and headed over to the Marriott. Once I got there, I discovered that the workshop was at 11am, at least I wasnít late.

    Since my demo was Thursday, I was a little less involved in the workshop today. Brad walked through approaches a video editor can take in lip syncing, covering the pros and cons of frame-by-frame editing with overlay. His use of a luminance map to allow some portions of a video on a lower level to show through to the higher was a trick I hadnít thought of before. Tonyís approach towards creating a video is substantially different than my own, we almost approach the project from opposite directions.

    Fortunatly, Tony was there to give the PC perspective on video creation. There were a few Mac users in the audience, but the majority were PC. I hope that next year we have a little bit more info for the PC user who wants to start working on videos. We ended up pointing people to the ďHow-ToĒ section of quite a bit.

    Grabbed a quick lunch after the workshop and headed over to the Dealerís room. I was trying to find a copy of a Jpop CD my friend Brock forgot to get Friday. No luck, Iím not really well versed in the Jpop scene, canít even remember the title now.

    Made it to Video Room 2 in time to see the first to episodes of the new Big O series. Much like Berserk, Big O ended with a lot of things unresolved. From the looks of the first two episodes, this series is on track again. I want to do a Big O video, just need the right song.

    I finally decided to go to the DDR Project 1 screening instead of the Masquerade. Brad was going to Masquerade because thatís where they were going to announce the winners of the AMV contest from the night before. Brad slipped out of the Masq long enough to introduce the project, but had to hurry back. I kept an eye on things and while there audience did seem to enjoy the video, there wasnít a lot of dancing going on. What was cool was there was enough time after Project 1 for us to show Project 2. I found out later that there was a dance going on over at the Hilton. My guess is a lot of the people that might have danced at our screening were there.

    I stopped by the table gathering around 2am or so. Got a chance to see some great prints of photographs the administrator of the site (Kyle) took over the course of the convention. Some amazing 11x17 prints done off a portable Epson printer. Someone asked about the digital camera he uses, 11 mega pixels! Mine has 1.1 LOL. Heís the one that took this picture:

    I said hello to a few people Iíd met the day before while dressed as Kagato, then headed off to bed. Another long, but fun day.

    iTunes playing: "Here to Stay" - Korn 
  • Reflecting on AX03 - Friday 2003-07-15 13:26:28 Friday July 4th
    Awake at 8am and already considered skipping on the plan to cosplay today. I spent about two hours pondering whether or not to actually put on the costume and go out. But since Iíd already told several people that I was going to cosplay today, I figured what the hell?

    There werenít any laughs or jeers as I went through the hotel on my way to the Convention Center, so my initial fears were quickly put to rest. Just inside the Center, someone wishing to take my picture stopped me. Once in the dealerís room, more pictures followed. I was reassured about my decision to cosplay started having a pretty good time.

    Well before AX, I was thinking there would be a chance that people would mistake my Kagato cosplay for Ilbarazzo from Excel Saga. Ilbarazzo has a very similar costume, although he has a bizarrely uncomfortable looking shoulder pad/armor thing. There were several cries of ďIlbarazzo-samaĒ which I only corrected if they actually spoke to me more than that. I didnít want to come across as a jerk.

    After some time in the dealers room, I headed over to the video rooms and watched a little anime. Met up with Brad, Sean, Anthony and Troy outside the workshop where Troyís AMV panel was about to be held. Socialized with fellow AMV creators for a little while before the panel started.

    I slipped out of the AMV Panel to attend the photoshoot. I didnít really know anyone on the site, but Iíd been lurking there back when I made the Kagato costume for Halloween. I really just wanted to get in on the big panoramic group photo. As with the AMV dinner the night before, I should have introduced myself more. I did run into a young woman I met earlier, who was cosplaying as Maria Renard from Castlevania Symphony of Night. Her boyfriend took a picture of the two of us, which is my favorite from the convention. What villain doesnít look good with a lovely lady at his side?

    Returned to the AMV Panel room and met up with my friend Brock and his daughter Nara. Iíd only missed the showing of each of the panelistís videos, so I still got to listen to more of the panel. The AMV contest tickets showed up, so I got my tickets. Something I didnít realize until I wore a costume all day, capes are heavy. That weight on my shoulders really started to get to me. Brad, his girlfriend Melissa and myself noticed it was getting well past dinnertime and the contest would be seating soon. We grabbed a quick bite at Pizza Hut and headed over to the Convention Center.

    As we headed to the back of the line up for the AMV contest, I spotted a young woman dressed as Ryoko. Brad snapped a picture of the two of us, then I got the idea to do an ďactionĒ pose. I had the thought of going back in later with Photoshop and adding a lightsword effect. Iím not sure if Ryoko knew what my intention was, but she was a good sport about it. I completed the picture a couple of days later and sent her a copy. Itís my second favorite picture from the con.

    After some delays due to problems with getting everyone seated, the AMV contest itself went very well. There were a lot of very strong entries this year and not a single video that I thought didnít deserve to be in the contest. It was a little disappointing not to learn the winner of the contest that night, but understandable since there were a lot of votes to go through. My only real complaint with the contest was the MC. She made to many comments about the videos and while she might not realize it, what she says can have an impact on what the audience thinks of the video. I donít think an MC is necessary, maybe AX wonít use one next year.

    The contest ended around 1am, I was so tired from being on my feet and lugging the costume around that I headed for my room and bed right after that.

    I think my first time cosplaying was a complete success.

    iTunes playing: ďBandagesĒ Ė Hot Hot Heat 
  • Reflecting on AX03 - Thursday 2003-07-14 13:15:26 That was probably one of the best Anime Expos I have ever experienced, and Iíve attended all of them. Even though none of my videos made it into the finals of the AMV contest, I still had a great time.

    Thursday, July 3rd 2003
    Got off to a slow start on Thursday. The original plan was to be up at 6am and on my way to meet my friends Mike and Eric for breakfast before the drive to Anaheim. While I was awake at 6am, copying the DDR project file to the external hard drive took well over an hour and half. So I didnít leave my apartment until 8:30. Still, I refused to feel rushed, the idea behind AX was to have fun, not stress out. Especially since I was already a little nervous about cosplaying on Friday.

    Breakfast and the drive down went off without a hitch. I was a little worried when I realized Iíd brought a print out of my hotel reservation for AWA, not for AX. There was no problem at the hotel though, so that didnít turn out to be a problem.

    Met up with Brad DeMoss an hour before Brad, Tony and I were to head up part 1 of the AMV 101 workshop. I wanted to make sure my external firewire hard drive would work with his Powerbook. They synced up fine and we took the time to discuss the Workshop and render a bunch of the project files ahead of time. Eventually the whole project has to be rendered, as I added an overlay graphic.

    I think AMV 101 went over real well. I took my DDR project for the Track ďMusicĒ and went through it, step by step. First showing marking the beats and putting the audio into the timeline, then placing clips according to the style of video I had in mind. Eventually building up to the finishing touches of an overlayed EQ meter. Even though Brad and I both use Macs and most other creators use PCs, the general ideas Brad, Tony and I discussed were still pretty relevant no matter what platform is used. Next time, Iíd like to have a couple of PC editing configurations I can describe to those just wanting to get started.

    After the workshop Troy (Xstylus) drove a bunch of us over to AMV creatorís dinner Sean had organized. We got there a little late, but still had time to eat. Bah, I still didnít introduce myself to enough people.

    The showing of the 2nd DDR Project was right after the dinner. We were back in the same room as the AMV 101 workshop earlier that day. Iím glad we had a chance to show the project here at Expo, but I suspect that both the crowd and the Expo staff really werenít in sync with what we were trying to do. The room was cleared of chairs to allow room to dance on the dancefloor they had for the Traditional Dance workshop, but the lights were on all the way up. We eventually got them to turn the lights down a bit. Brad tried real hard to get people up and dancing, but overall most just wanted to watch the video. I guess thatís good in a sense, but still.

    After the screening, I socialized a bit with some AMV creators and friends. Watched some anime in the video room and headed off to bed around 1am, there was still cosplay to face the next dayÖ
  • An Update?! 2003-05-28 16:52:13 Touched up a few things here and there around the website. Fixed up the Flash animation, redid the naviagation bar graphics and removed the ftp links from the Videos page. Been struggling to come up with a style for the graphics. I usually create some new graphic, such as the film strip to the left and add it to the page. While this gives me a chance to be creative, its doesn't lend itself to a unified theme.

    My latest video is "The Voice of Escaflowne", Escaflowne the Movie set to "The Voice" by The Moody Blues. I think it'll actually be screened at AWA 9, it didn't make the finals at Anime Expo, Animazement or Anime Central. I haven't heard any feedback on it, but it might be due to the song being well over 20 years old and pretty obscure. Of course the other possiblity is that my videos are junk, but lets not go there. ^_^ 
  • "I wasn't dead, I was just in Nebraska" 2003-02-11 18:22:10 Or something close to it. ^_^

    Going to try updating here more often, as well as the website. I'll ftp up the updated websites tonight when I get home from work.

    Stop by and visit the site to see my _first_ Flash movie. 
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