- Member: 808-buma
- Title: DGDI1&0?
- Premiered: 2005-09-01
- Peter Gabriel Growing Up (Remixed by Trent Reznor)
Do Ghosts Dream In Ones & Zeros?
Whew - this was one long effort for my first, true, full-length AMV. I started this video one week when I was home sick and needed something to do other than watch TV. Four months later, DGDI1&0 is finally finished!
It all started a month after Hawaii's very first anime convention - www.kawaiikon.org where I was first introduced to what an AMV actually was (yes, I've never heard of them before). I saw a whole block of them there and, when I was sick, thought to myself in my fevor-suffering state "I can do that!" Well, not one to give up too easily, I kept with it even after a lot of initial setbacks (first starting with a linear editor, next waiting over a month for the source audio file, then having to redo over half of it when I discovered I really didn't have a point to the video, etc.). However, putting that aside...
Growing Up by Peter Gabriel (remixed by Trent Reznor) - edited by buma
I purchased the CD that had the original version of this song on it on a whim. Once I heard it, I was instantly hooked on it. I listened to it over and over, and instantly I had the notion to use as a source video...
Ghost in the Shell (the first OAV)
I always liked this OAV ever since it first came out. The story had eluded me the first time I saw it and it took a while for me to watch it again. But once I did, the ideas of who and what Motoko was and what she became just fascinated me. But how to tell a story with it was the question...
Basic Ideas and Themes
Originally when I started this video, it was almost a strict retelling of the basic story of the OAV that occured durring a dream sequence until I caught myself about 2/3 of the way thru - I didn't want to retell the video, I wanted to tell my own tale. So, I had to go back and really think about what I was trying to accomplish with this AMV. The mind-wipe idea finally hit me (and now that I think about it as I write this, was probably subconsciously influenced by the movie Johnny Mnemonic too - but it only just occured to me).
I wanted to explore a theme of how controlling and potentially nefarious Section 9, the organization that Major Motoko Kunasagi works for in the original story, could be in the cyberpunk world of GitS. As it is a highly secretive unit of the Government, I wondered how they would keep their top agents (who are almost all machines except for their 'ghosts') from divulging any information of the 'black ops' that occur in their day to day activities. Then the idea hit me - "Well, what if Section 9 hacked into the ghosts of their own agents and selectively deleted sensitive operations data while they slept?"
As stated earlier, this was originally composed on a linear editor. It was fine for my first attempt at an AMV short (Kyttys Gone Bad), but with a more complex and 4x as long AMV, ti wasn't going to do at all. So, with this 'great idea' of mine, I went back and chopped a good half of the video off (the last scene of Motoko's 'dive' off the building is the cut-point of the original video) and integrated the balance of the scenes with my newly purchased a non-linear editor. Once imported, I started working on the waking up scene at the end of the movie as that was going to be a critial scene. From there, I sort of worked backwards and forwards until the two points met.
The subtitles were the only way I could figure out how to actually tell the story I wanted to relate to the viewing audience. Some may think of it as a copout and that a story should be told by the images alone, but I feel that the subtitles work with the story and do not interfere with the video itself. I had a hard time working out the scripting of the story, but in the end, I think that the story unfolds very well via the dialog.
The audio file was heavily edited from its orignal length of about 6 minutes 30 seconds. I spend a good 10 - 15 hours just on this alone. The easy parts to edit was the beginning (the original version of the song doesn't start as the video does) and ending of the song (I cut out about 1 minute of repetition of the chorus at the end). The hard parts to do was the editing that starts at the 2:53 mark ('Growing up, looking for a place to live) and continues to the 3:33 mark (My ghost likes to travel). Each of the vocal parts orignally repeated eight times and had a complex background vocals that didn't easily line up for editing. However, after much head scratching and listening to it over and over and over, I think that it is pretty seamless now.
There are 3 areas that I am sort of proud of in this AMV. The first is the computer screen about half way thru the video. It is a composite of 4 video clips (the brain scan and the underlying computer screen itself and 2 'lines' that showed the upper and lower limit of the brain scan screen). The section of video that had the computer screen had to be looped back and forth as the original clip was very short. With 5 layers of video (the 4 video items and the 5th for the subtitles), it is the most 'complex' layered scene in the video.
The second effect occurs near the end of the video when the snipers are targeting Motoko. The original scene was a green targeting scope scene and was sort of off centered and rotated from my scene of Motoko's head underneath. I had to slightly enlarge the target scene, rotate it so that the heads on the two videos lined up, and then alter the color to red to match the final targeting scenes (see below on this). The video flash between the targeting and Motoko's head was more of a 'happy accident' and I kept it as it fell right in time with the music.
The last, and most my most proud scene in the video occurs right after the scene above. It is a 3-layered effect with Motoko looking up on the fist layer, the glass ceiling of the builidng she is looking at on the second, and the red-dot sniper's target on the third. It then cuts to Batau who looks like he notices the snipers red-dot sighting and quickly raises his arm to block the bullet with a final red-dot sighting right before the shot is fired and the inevitable fate of Motoko occurs - right before she wakes up at the end of the video.
This video was created on 2 machines and a portable HD
Home computer - Pentium 4, 1.8ghz, 512 megs ram
Work computer - Pentium 4, 3.4ghz HT, 1 gig ram
Portable HD - 200 gig USB hard drive
Video editor: Nero VisonExpress (LE) & Magix Movie Edit Pro 10 (NLE)
Audio editor: Audacity (a lot of use too to edit down this originally 6 minute song)
Encoder: Tmpegenc (mpeg-2)
Time: hard to say, but I'm guessing about 120 hours or so over 4 months
AW-11 2005 AMV *EXPOSITION - finalist
Archon 29 AMV Contest - drama finalist
Ani-Magic 2005 AMV Contest - action finalist
Onna! Music Video 2005 Contest - finalist
Things I wish I could have done
With alterations to the bumper, the video is as entered in the contests stated above. The reason I changed the bumper? I could never really get it to properly encode at downloadable encoding bit rates - it always appeared 'washed out' or just plain bad. Too bad too as I really worked hard on that bumper.
Another thing I wished I could have done batter was the very first scene. I could never get that opening to smooth out the colors like I wanted. I think my main problem with that was I did all my video cleaning after I had done the AMV and it would probably have been greatly improved with some pre-processing. That and the image is composed of a still frame shot that fades into the video shot (that was put into reverse so it looks like she's falling asleep). But as deadlines loomed, it had to be abandoned.
The other area that I considered needed a bit of work too was one of the end scenes where Motoko's cyborg face closes up in the overlay? I really needed to put some sort of 'masking' layer just under it as the base image of the window just sort of 'light-blasted' the hell out of the overlay. However, I didn't catch this until after I had entered the AMV into contests, so I figured I'd just leave it in to remind me not to do it again in the future.