- Member: kiarrens
- Studio: Tech Girl Productions
- Title: Hetaria Sing-a-Wrong
- Premiered: 2011-03-13
- Riddim Saunter It's a Small World
- Anime Boston 2011, Anime Boston 2011 AMV Contest (2011-04-22)
- Otakon 2011, Otakon 2011 AMV Contest (2011-07-22)
I had a ton of fun editing this video and used After Effects more than in any other video I've ever done - the "dust cloud" at the end is particle effects from scratch, the world in the beginning was "hand-animated" as was the bouncing ball, and a few scenes (especially towards the end) required a lot of lip-sync on pans as well as hand-drawn scenes.
This concept began with a very simple conversation I had with my boyfriend.
Me: "Hm. I've got 4 days til the AMV deadline, and the first two seasons of Hetalia on DVD. I bet I could whip together a short comedy in time. What do you think I could use for a song?"
Joe: "Um. It's a Small World After All?"
Me: "OMG YES. YOU ARE A GENIUS."
BasharoftheAges (via AIM): "OH NO. You are NOT going to steal comedy from me like that!"
In my search for the original song, I came across the riddim saunter cover, and immediately the thought sprang into my head, "What if Japan were singing it? Oh man, that'd be HILARIOUS! Then America can get annoyed at it..."
Now, obviously this is a parody of America dropping the A-bomb on Japan. For anyone who might be thinking, "My god, this is so insensitive!", I reply... yes. Yes it is. In my opinion, the best jokes are almost always horribly offensive to SOMEONE. I would like to make the point, however, that there is a huge difference between schadenfreude (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadenfreude) and funeral humor. I have read Hiroshima. I will NEVER forget the mental imagery of a man on a boat reaching out to a survivor in the water, and taking her hand, and the skin coming off her arm like a sleeve. It haunted my nightmares for months, and though I wasn't even born when the bombs were dropped, I still feel pangs of national guilt over our actions in WWII. I have nothing but respect for the Japanese people and I think that America was wrong - VERY wrong - for dropping the atomic bomb on a mostly civilian city.
And that's exactly why I think this joke is funny. I'm not only poking fun at the dropping of the A-bomb itself, I am also poking fun at AMERICA for doing it.
If you're willing to joke about someone else, you better be willing to joke about yourself as well.
Also, keep in mind that the entire concept of Hetalia is poking fun at national stereotypes and world events.
One more note. I began editing this well before the 9.0 earthquake that struck Sendai, and finished it two days after. I did some SERIOUS thinking about pulling the video from AnimeBoston's contest, and asked several people (including dokool, who was actually IN Tokyo for the quake) for their opinions on the matter. I came to the conclusion that, while the events over there are tragic and horrifying, this video is NOT making fun of them. Is it poking fun at Japanese racial stereotypes? Yeah, but no more so than they do in the actual show (listen to Japan's accent in the dub, or some of the comments about Nazis and subtle jabs at Hitler). I think that some people will be offended by this, and for those that were, I do apologize, and won't think badly of you if you refuse to watch the video ever again, or "boycott" my videos... but I think that most people will probably get a laugh out of it, and I think we could all use a good laugh right about now, myself included.
"Making of" notes
Adobe Premiere 6.5 (Shuddup, I love my old crotchety Premiere.)
Adobe After Effects CS4
Adobe Photoshop CS2
Footage Prep: My god, what a pain. The whole textless credit sequence is frame blended to hell. Then I made the mistake of assuming the animation was the same way, filled about half my timeline, and realized it was all interlaced. So I had to re-encode and de-interlace and replace the footage with the new, de-interlaced footage.
World with Chibis: Because of the frame blending, this scene wasn't nearly as HQ as I wanted. So I remade it. >.> The Earth is a hi-def image from space, the chibis borrowed from the deviantart user attributed below. The motion was achieved in After Effects with a very simple keyframed rotation.
"I am going to sing. w" "W" is the Japanese way of saying "LOL," if you didn't know.
"Engrish" Sing-a-long Section The Earth bouncing along the words is obviously hand-animated, using an After Effects motion path and keyframe "ease" assistance on the high-points. Timing this was a bitch, had to use the "CTRL + drag timeline marker" trick a LOT. The lip-sync was done before-hand entirely in premiere.
The misspellings of the words ARE intentional (if that weren't obvious). Bashar and I spent a good deal of time listening to the song and arguing over what he was "actually" singing.
Meanwhile... and Word Bubbles: The "Meanwhile" comic book bit is just a PSD overlay. Same for the word bubbles, with some motion thrown on to match the animation.
ACME Catalogue I took the part of America looking at a map and exported it as an image sequence, then manually painted out the map parts and photoshopped on the text.
Box The box here is a single image taken from the anime and altered with photoshop. The address on the box is for the White House.
Three years... This is the amount of time between Pearl Harbor and the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. I may be off by a day, but having years, months AND days sounded more amusing to me than just years and months.
Romanji/Katakana Lyric Sing-a-long Section Many many thanks to Dokool for giving me the romanji and katakana for this, since the lyrics don't appear to exist online. Bouncing ball was accomplished the same way as in the first section. The flowers and stars I took from a still shot of the closing animation, made into a bunch of separate layers, imported into AE and applied rotations to each one individually. I added them in because of some critique from Jess C., that she wanted this section to be "even more sickeningly cute" so the viewer empathized a bit more with America wanting to end it.
The bit with Roman Empire singing had to be lip-synced in AE since both shots were on pans. Accomplished with a layer of just the mouth applied over the original animation with frame-by-frame position keyframing.
Anvil Dropping: Found an image of an ACME anvil online, cut it out, scaled it down, and made a custom star-field background with PS. Applied a position keyframe sequence to the background, then another to the anvil to have it "fall" into frame, and a wiggle effect to give it a random rotation.
The image of Germany, Italy and Japan looking up was a "fun" project. Took the image of the Axis trio on the beach and edited them out in PS, then scaled up this background x 5. Found three images of the trio with appropriate expressions, cut out their faces, and asked a good friend of mine to draw in their shoulders (see his real work at www.virgiliart.com!). Then I made a quick and dirty "fire" with a still image and a ripple effect, and applied keyframed scale "zooms" on both the background and the characters/fire.
The dust cloud was the hardest part for me. I've never worked with particle effects before, so I played around first with hand-drawing dust clouds, but it looked far too cartoony. So I opened AE, applied a CC Particle Effect, and played with the settings for about an hour until I had a dust cloud that I liked. :) Added on the anvil falling on another layer.
Many thanks to:
http://sego-chan.deviantart.com/ (she doesn't check this account anymore, so to contact her use http://seg-o.deviantart.com/)for the hetalia chibis in the beginning;
http://virgiliart.deviantart.com/ for the hand-drawn "shoulders" towards the end;
BasharoftheAges for a sheer metric ton of beta testing and excellent advice (including but not limited to pushing me to re-encode the original footage to remove the sneaky interlacing);
Jess, Sketch, JoeDono, Al, Songbird21and LantisEscudo for additional beta-testing and some amazing suggestions.