- Member: Kusoyaro
- Studio: Kusoyaro Productions
- Title: Self-Titled (Updated)
- Premiered: 2002-09-25
- The Beatles Carry that Weight
- The Beatles Golden Slumbers
- The Beatles The End
- AWA Exposition Contest, AWA Exposition Contest (2002-09-27)
- Katsucon, Katsucon (2003-02-14)
This video was indirectly inspired by the DDR Non-stop Megamix Project. After my involvement with the project, I thought of the second half of Abbey Road, which basically consists of two short non-stop strings of songs. I threw out the first set of songs because "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" has bizarre lyrics that I couldn't imagine matching to anime. I originally wanted to do it as a collaborative project with a couple other editors, but when I thought about it, I knew I could probably pull off the "Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight"/"The End" segment if I had a varied enough set of footage. For a long time I was going to do it as just a general various video. At the same time, I was also thinking about doing something with Ghibli footage...so I just put two and two together, and decided to go for it. I wanted to do it for AWA Masters, and I wanted it to be the best video I'd ever done. It was in my head for nearly a year before I sat down to actually do it.
The premise of the video is really simple. It's a Beatles tribute, and it's a Ghibli tribute. I've seen a ton of Ghibli videos, and while some of them are very good, pretty much all of them are sentimental videos. Either that, or they're story videos. Well, I wanted to try something that I hadn't seen before: a Rock n' Roll Ghibli video. I wanted to bring out the fun and energetic aspect of the films. But I also didn't want to overlook the sentimental aspects which, while used often, are still vital to the spirit of the films.
The audio itself carries a lot of the video. It starts out very sentimental and dreamy, and then becomes uplifting and inspirational, with horns blaring and cymbals crashing. Then it all comes to a rocking guitar solo climax before calming down again at the end.. I basically wanted to follow the song with matching footage. Nothing more, nothing less.
"Golden Slumbers" was by far the easiest out of the three songs to edit to. It was a very typical Ghibli tribute video-type song. "Carry That Weight" was the most difficult, because the tone of the song is an odd mix with the Ghibli footage, and with anime in general. I didn't want to get too literal -- ie, just using footage of characters carrying things around. I ended up doing that more than I wanted to, but at the same time I tried to go with generally inspirational footage. I love the middle section of the song, with the horns and the melody from "You Never Give Me Your Money."
"The End" was just 2 and a half minutes of good old rock & roll fun. I basically wanted that section to be energetic and upbeat. During the solo, John, Paul and George take turns wailing on their guitars, so every time the guitarist changed I used a different source. It was a lot of fun to edit, but it was more difficult to pull "action" footage out of shows like Only Yesterday and Whisper of the Heart. I randomly stumbled upon the scene with the girl from Only Yesterday tapping her foot, and it's probably my favorite clip during that sequence. I tried to include as many of the sources into the final slow sequence as possible, as that section effectively wraps up all 3 songs, and as a side note, also wrapped up the Beatles' career (I believe it was the last song they ever recorded together as a band). I really love the shot of the four characters from Totoro walking away as the piano plays. Now that I think of it, I should have had them walking down Abbey Road :P
I saved the drum solo for last because I had NO freakin' clue what to do with it. I mulled it over in my head until I simply ran out of time to mull it over any longer. I decided just to show random still-shots from every show, flashing in and out of black in beat with Ringo's drum. Instead of actual still-shots, I messed up and made very-slowed-down-shots, but I liked the way it looked so I kept it. It took me 3 passes to get the drum solo right, as every time I did it I noticed some quirk that I didn't like and had to redo every clip. What a pain in the ass.
On the tech side, this was the most technically difficult video I have ever made, mainly because it was the first video I tried to do by ripping DVDs instead of capturing. I ended up encoding all the DVD rips to low-quality MJPEG files for editing, and then replacing them with AVS scripts afterwards for rendering. It took a looong road of technical headaches to get to that point, though. For a long time I didn't think it would ever end up working. I learned a hell of a lot while making this video.
For the opening sequence, EK adeptly removed the Beatles from the Abbey Road cover. I had a 3rd-person POV clip of Kiki flying down a street, and for months I had planned on cutting her out of that clip and having her fly down Abbey Road instead. Well, that ended up not working -- the camera angle was slightly off and it was hard to tell what you were looking at when I cut her out and pasted her onto Abbey Road. I was just about to give up when I found an even better shot, one of her flying towards the camera and upwards. I opened the clip in VDub and spat each individual frame into a TIFF file, and using Photoshop (and a lot of advice from Brett Buchan), I spent about 6 hours editing her out of all the frames. I then stuck each individual frame into Premiere, and had to set motion and zoom settings for each one. I made a shadow by simply drawing a black oval in Photoshop and then blurring it. Then I loaded it into Premiere and used motion settings to make it move down the road. The whole thing took a lot longer than its 1-second run-time really warranted, but it ended up looking a lot neater than I thought it would. To me, it was worth the effort.
As for the title...well, I was originally going to call it something cheesy like "Ghibli Road," but then I decided to add Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro as a source in order to supply additional energy to the "The End" segment (which is still somewhat consistent with the rest of the sources, as it was directed by Miyazaki). So I couldn't just have "Ghibli" in the title, I would have to have "Miyazaki" in it too. Normally I just use the song title unless some other title jumps out at me, but in this case, using all 3 song titles would be too cumbersome, and there really is no common theme tying the three songs together. I was just going to leave it as "Untitled" when Paizuri suggested I call it Self-Titled as a joke. Well, I liked it, so Self-Titled it was. I eventually axed Lupin out of the video, so I technically could have gone back to "Ghibli Road," but I thought the new title was more fun. I guess it doesn't really matter, since I purposely left the title out of the actual video.
I know a lot of people think titles are stupid, but I mainly just wanted there to be a quick and easy way to refer to the video ^_^
In the end, it's not the best video I've ever done. I don't even think it's one of my better ones. But I did enjoy making it, and hope that I've done something unique with the works of Ghibli.
Just to clarify something so I don't get undue credit: I didn't mix the songs together myself. The three songs blend together on the CD just as you hear it in the video. Cool, eh? :) There's another "non-stop" sequence on Abbey Road as well, but with MUCH harder songs. Maybe someday ^_^
Because of all the problems I had making this video, 6 people are listed in the Special Thanks section of my credits:
Justin Emerson (ErMaC) - For his online guide which got me started on DVD-ripping, and for personally navigating me through some of the steps that I had problems with.
Ian Roberts (Absolute Destiny) - For introducing me to the MJPEG-AVS replacement method, and for guiding me through every painful step. Also, for writing me an AVS script to fix the aspect ratio of Mononoke, which for some reason was stretched oddly on the DVD.
Jeremy Wells (Super Sapien) - For suggestions which led to the idea of making the drum solo black & white.
Brett Buchan (Kwasek) - For extensive help on the opening sequence in which Kiki flies down Abbey Road.
William Milberry (Aluminum) - For helping me fix a residual Pinnacle driver problem which caused me about 15 hours of frustration.
EK (Big Big Truck) - Again, for Photoshopping the Beatles out of the Abbey Road cover...fantastic work!
P.S. There's some "bonus" stuff in the video for you hardcore Beatles fans out there. Maybe one day I'll reveal what they are if no one notices.
Whew. My longest video write-up by far.
Awarded VAT talent award at AWA 8:
Jason Salce's "Triumph, the Comic Dog; 'For me to poop on'" Award
Winner at Katsucon 9: