- Member: Scott A Melzer
- Studio: NoN.D.E.
- Title: Ein the Wonder Hamster
- Premiered: 2002-02-15
- Weird Al Yankovic Harvey The Wonder Hamster
- Katsucon 8, Katsucon 8 (2002-02-15)
I was incredibly honored.
Maybe this sounds a little silly, but it's actually REALLY cool.
Terry Chu (organizer and website designer extraordinaire) has had this project for about two years now. He calls it "The Harvey Project." The website is at http://www.flybynightdesign.com/harvey/index.html I might be getting some of this wrong, but basically, Terry had made a video to the song, "Harvey The Wonder Hamster" by Weird Al. It's only 20 seconds long. Then he had the idea of getting several people to make videos to the same song, but about different characters. That grew into an invite-only group of people that Terry thought were the best video makers. There would be exactly 8 videos, made by the best creators that Terry knew.
I'd met Terry at Otakon twice before, but it wasn't until I met him at NekoCon that he remembered me. He had been impressed with my latest video (This Is DBZ Life) and had seen the fan parody (This Is Otakudom). It turned out that he had known my earlier work, but we never got the chance to talk. After chatting about tech stuff and weird concepts, he asked me to join the Harvey project.
I was floored.
So, maybe this sounds a little silly. But, I'll tell you who's in the project already:
Bobby C-Ko Beaver
Tim Park (Doki Doki)
I don't know Scott, but the rest are basically my idols in the AMV Biz. To be asked to do ANYTHING in that group is an incredible honor to me. I hope that didn't sound stupid, but it's true.
Well, enough awe-struck worship. On to the actual video.
What can you do in 20 seconds? Well, with the pressure of being associated with the greats... Oh, sorry. I promised.
I don't know where I got the idea for using Ein. Maybe it was the idea that Cowboy Bebop was one of the really over-used Animes at the AMV contest at Otakon this year, so it was on my mind. Maybe because I was thinking about cute little critters, and I knew that I wanted to use a really COOL critter. Maybe because I had recently finished seeing Bebop. After Otakon. After the major spoilers in the AMV contest. Maybe.
The project started with disaster. Terry wanted to show the current Harvey Project (with 6 videos) at Ohayocon. This was (is) in a few weeks. The deadline for MY submission was basically... around when I got asked to do it. I downloaded the .WAV of the song from Terry's website. I borrowed the Cowboy Bebop DVDs from a friend of mine. I made popcorn and sat down to watch the entire show again and capture footage.
I'd done all of my other computer work at 640x480, but I'd heard that 720x480 was the preferred video size by a lot of people, so I gave that a shot. I started a new project file in Premier 6.0, set the specs to 720x480, captured some clips, and double checked them. I dropped them into the timeline, and they played back fine. Having double checked, I proceeded to WATCH the entire show (it had been a while for the first 2/3, and it's hard to find short shots when you're scanning DVDs, as poor little Ein usually only gets a few seconds here and ther and the DVD scan might skip over him). As I had a lot of other things due, it took me about three days to watch the entire show (ep. 24 STILL made me cry) and capture everything. I had a decent idea of what I could do with the video. I sat down to edit. I timed up the whole song for beats and made notes about neat stuff that the music did. I went through all my captures and pulled the "cool shots." I started putting clips in spots to see how it flowed. I found that the shot of Ed & Ein walking out of the Bebop into the desert wasn't fast enough. I tried to speed it up.
I screamed and I cried. The video sputtered. The music skipped. The computer crashed.
I found out later that while the DC30+ will happily capture at 720x480, and will even play back those clips, it's got no clue how to edit at that size. I couldn't do ANYTHING to the clips. I couldn't even EXPORT MOVIE and have the capture card play it. All of the captures were useless. In a fit of blind optimism/desperation, I tried having the computer resize them. Didn't work.
I started over. Rewatched the show (in Fast Forward, this time) and recaptured everything at 640x480. Fortunately, I could export a movie of the old project and at least use that to mark my timing on the new project. After two more days, I got back to work.
I decided that since the video was so short, and because my group was about to start their second fan parody, I'd use this video to try out some digital effects. Nothing too fancy, as those usually RUIN a video (unless it's done VERY well). On the second runthrough, I hit on the idea of showing Ein downloading the video and watching it on a computer (of course, that's because I've been spending so much time HERE). I found a shot of Ein looking at one of Bebop's Laptop/TVs and figured out how to superimpose a shot of Terry's Harvey website (as an in-joke) and the first clip of the "video" onto the laptop. I knew about image masks, but I had never used them. Learning how to do that one shot added probably about 12 hours to the project. Well, I'm pretty happy with the results. I also figured out how to do splitscreen! Yay!
Skipping some more blow by blow crap that I'm sure you're not interested in:
I pretty much abandoned the idea of the video being all on Ein's computer. The first shot was cool, but I liked the punch line ending that I had, and tacking Ein watching the last shot on computer would just kill the pacing and probably no one would get it. I also dropped the clip of ein's paw hitting the Enter key, because it didn't flow with the next shot. My original idea was to play off how Ein doesn't actually do much. The video is very upbeat, and I thought that it would be funny showing Ein lying down and sleeping or eating. Boring stuff. I thought that compared to the song, it might be funny.
It was boring.
So, I decided to just go for it and make Ein as exciting as possible. He runs! He flies! He dances! He rides strange little girls like they're horses! I'm sure he'd make Julianne fries if you asked him nicely!
It still took me about three days to put clips together. Since it was only 20 seconds long, I really stressed over making the timing perfect and having cool stuff happen. I image masked Ed's lips in one part to control her lip-synching while still letting Ein float merrily by in the background. In those couple of days, I learned a lot of really cool techniques, through e-mailing people I've met on AMV.org and through experimentation. This video was majorly helped by the AMV community. It's the FIRST video that I did as a part of a project, and hopefully it won't be the last.
I hope you like it.
Hmmm. The irony of having my longest description being for my shortest video (it CAN'T get any shorter, right?) is not lost on me...