- Member: Cyanna
- Studio: Aquiline Studios
- Title: La Cane de Feu
- Premiered: 2009-09-19
- Igor Stravinsky L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), concert suite for orchestra No. 2
- Anime Weekend Atlanta 15, AWA 15 - Pro Contest (2009-09-18)
- AnimeUSA, AMV contest 2009 (2009-11-20)
Oh where do I START. This AMV has been like...my favored child of the past few months. When I wasn't editing it I was talking about it. I was thinking about it. I've had Firebird on the brain since early November. Normally I'm not this wordy with my video info but I'm so excited about this one I could write an entire essay. I would not blame you one bit if you skipped my thesis but please hear me out on a few points.
Due to the nature of the music I need to create a happy ending. In other words I need to use the series' happy ending. In OTHER other words, this video is up to its earlobes in spoilers. I'm not trying to be an ass. Really. Princess Tutu does not end like a "traditional" fairy tale. This isn't one of those situations where spoilery things are happening but you don't know the context so it doesn't bother you.
Do you know who the main character is? What she looks like? Yeah. That alone is enough knowledge to be spoiled by this video.
If you're still reading this please bear with me a little longer.
This AMV is basically an alternate re-telling of Princess Tutu with inspirations drawn in from the original Firebird ballet and the "Firebird" sequence in Fantasia 2000. It's meant to be a story set to music and it relies more on mood synch than beat synch.
In this story Princess Tutu and Princess Kraehe do not exist. Ahiru is an ordinary duck. Rue is an ordinary girl. Mytho, though still a Prince, has never lost his heart. Drosselmeyer does not exist and neither do his powers. Fakir will be playing the role of "Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film". And the monster Raven is...a monster Raven.
Now for the actual notes (if that sort of thing interests you).
Act I: The Princesses’ Khorovod
A single horn followed by a flute and....oh hey! I'm liking this already! :D
So the video starts off with the text "All you children who love stories, come gather around." It is the line that Drosselmeyer says at the end of every Next Episode Preview in Princess Tutu (official Japanese translation). When Drosselmeyer says it it's kind of creepy. But as a line by itself it makes a good substitute for "Once Upon a Time". Although the "official" language of the Princess Tutu-verse is understood to be German, the text appears in French as a nod to the The Firebird's original French title "L'Oiseau de feu". La Cane de Feu = The Fireduck (or literally "The Duck of Fire").
This part is basically a straightforward exposition. We are introduced to the main characters and their relationships are established.
As far as the story goes, an ordinary duck is watching a boy dance on the water of "her" pond. Eventually she follows the boy to his school where he observes him dancing with a young girl. Though the duck is in awe, she can't help but feel a little sad because she'd never be able to dance as well as they do. She is only a duck after all.
Act II: Infernal Dance of King Kashchei and Berceuse
This was the segment that probably drew the most inspiration from Fantasia 2000.
One of the first things about the Infernal Dance that is noticed almost immediately is that it's very good at waking up everyone who fell asleep during the Variations. Disney approached this visually by having the Forest Sprite approach the this bird-like rock in the middle of dormant volcano. The camera slooooowly moves closer to the bird's face and theeeeen...POW! The bird's eyes just pop open and burst into flames. While the Raven is not exactly fiery it did give me the idea to have big red eyes pop out of the darkness.
While I was trying to come up with ideas I thought to have Rue devoured very early in the battle (similar to what happens in the series) but I changed my mind after watching this. The movie cuts to black right when the Sprite gets devoured by the Firebird followed by a cross-fade into scenes of the once lush forest completely reduced to ash...ouch. It's very effective in the movie so I attempted something similar in the video. Only I added a short segment of "Owwwww my head... W-where am I? Everything is all blurry."
Act III: Finale
I have to pause for a moment at this point and mention how I got this idea in the first place. Ultimately I owe my inspiration to two people. First off I owe my sister, who is not an anime fan but she IS a very talented flautist. Thanks to her I was able to "re-experiance" Firebird at her last All-State Orchestra concert. I remember setting in the audience reading the program notes, which contained a brief summery of the original ballet. Having only seen the Fantasia 2000 version before, I was a little surprised to learn that the titular Firebird was not a villain after all. In the ballet, it helps the Prince in his time of need by dancing with the real villains until they fall asleep. My thoughts turned to Princess Tutu and the scenes where "just a duck" Ahiru turns the tide of the battle by dancing. The bit where Ahiru takes fifth position during the horn solo was the first part of the timeline that was filled. It's still my favorite moment of the AMV.
I remember telling my sister that I wanted to make a Firebird AMV and she had this look of absolute horror on her face. I used the abridged version from Fantasia. But the original 1919 Suite is around 20 minutes long!
The second person I owe big time is Scintilla. Somewhere between that concert and the wedding, he had made a "demo" video using Princess Tutu and Gavin Greenaway's "Reflections of Earth". His goal was basically visualize what he hears...more mood synch based than anything else. Watching it really helped me set the pace for this video. As a result it relies more on internal synch and lengthy clips than cuts. Premiere's Time Remapper was my new best friend. I also borrowed his idea to use the "dressplosion kiss" during a musical climax. I've already apologized (multiple times) and he's cool with it. But I hope we can collaborate on that piece so that all the ideas we have for it can see the light of day.
Ahhhhh...The Finale...the greatest musical payoff ever. Seriously.
The entire ending of Princess Tutu fit this really well. From the moment Ahiru starts to dance to the final pas de deux is almost verbatim except to cut out Fakir, Drosselmeyer and more friendly interactions between Ahiru and the others. Now that it's finished I'm now scratching my head wondering why the creator's of series never gave a nod to THIS ballet. I totally understand using Swan Lake in the last episode since the series is loosely based off of it and The Nutcracker because it's arguably the most famous.
Oddly enough this is also the most effects-y AMV I've ever made. There's a lot of color correction in this to make certain scenes either blend in better or for greater visual effect. There is also some garbage matte use to hide lip flap and unwanted characters in certain scenes.
As a fan of the piece itself, editing this video was both really cool and really daunting. If you were to ask me if I felt that I did The Firebird justice...my answer would ultimately have to be "no". *shrugs* Not because of lack of effort (though lack of footage is always a problem) but rather because the music is just that awesome. I can't kid myself here. However I'm glad I did this project. I did the best I could and I LIKE the end result. I enjoyed making this video a lot and I haven't felt this good about editing in a while.