- Member: iserlohn
- Studio: Iserlohn Productions
- Title: 春と阿修羅 (Haru to Ashura)
- Premiered: 2002-06-15
- Duran Duran Come Undone
Title - Haru to Ashura
Anime - Kenji's Spring
Song - Come Undone
Artist - Duran Duran
Completed - April 2002
Participation - Anime Mid-Atlantic 2002 (3RD PLACE WINNER!!), Otakon 2002 Screening
Notes Written for: Anime Mid-Atlantic Reel CD, animemusicvideos.org profile
Notes revised for: Anime USA 2002
Indirect Link: AMV CD Distro. Go get my CD!
Making the Video:
I had this idea for almost a year before I actually made the video. I originally saw Kenji's Spring at an Anime Sunday meeting in Omaha in the early summer of 2000, and while it went entirely over my head, I loved the visual styles of the movie, and was thrilled to see it coming out on DVD. Well, the DVD got delayed until after Otakon 2001's deadline (so they got the Lupin Double-Feature) and then it was discovered that the DVD authoring was horrendous and an insult to any film, especially one this great, and so more delays occured, both AMV wise, making the Katuscon 4-Pack, as well as to give the bad version of the DVD time to flush itself out of the market and allow the remastered edition to come in...well, that didn't work too well and only after a nasty email to Tokyopop was I able to track down a remastered copy for sale.
Making this video took about a month. It was done entirely in HuffYUV 640x480, with source footage ripped from the (poorly) interlaced DVD and converted to 29.97fps deinterlaced source. Because the movie itself is so short, it was nice to be able to chop it up into 5-8 minute segments and pull clips of THOSE in VirtualDub than to attempt to do it in FlaskMPEG's lacking control system. This video also would not be what it is without the massive amount of feedback and stylistic help I got from Nathan Bezner of Nightowl Pictures (http://www.nightowlpictures.com). Nathan was the poor unfortunate soul who got to watch all of the test renders and respond with what needed fixing, eliminating, tweaking, etc.
Now for the fun technical and stylistic notes. First, every clip in this video has an effect layed on it in the form of Premiere's Gamma Correction filter. This allowed me to avoid what is known in theatre as "beating your audience over the head with a concept stick." Basically what gamma correction does is shift the brightness curve so that you can brighten or darken a scene proportionally. This allowed for the harsh and shrill reality scenes and the darker more saturated points of madness. The reason that I think this is subtle is simple - everyone who sees this video without knowing never would know the effects were there - aka the best kind. Those who are careful viewers will also notice that either right before or after a color shift there is a scene where Kenji is writing, which funcitons as a trigger. Also used in common imagery is a shot of an eye on "stay blind" and Kenji's father on "to the hopes and fears outside," as his father is the man whom Kenji fears and despises most.
Overall this video has over 200 cuts. Can you spot them all?
This may also be a good place to bring in the audio aspects. I actually shelled out to get the CD by Duran Duran (used of course) and used a 44.1/16/stereo wav for the audio. About 20 seconds of the beginning instrumental were cut, and the ending was faded slightly early. Otherwise the song is, for the most part, intact.
Attentive viewers will notice during the first scene that I once again did my usual crap job of
Photoshopping a sequence during the zoom on Kenji's face. The sequence moved too much for me to be able to apply a mask, so every frame had the mouth painted out. Frequently you can see some inconsistency in the shadow, and will note that his whiskers are moving as if he is talking (which, of course, he is.) The way the opening is framed is once again thanks to Nightowl, who sent a rough mockup which I redid to adjust for speed, flap issues, and personal style desires.
The flashing pencil sketches appear twice in the video, and the second time is when the colors are proper. A Solarize filter was applied to the first set, as it helped them to contrast better against the orange sky, as well as seem different from the later appearance. Each frame is a different sketch, and the sequence is repeated numerous times in order to make an extremely short bit (less than half a second) work for an extended time period.
The compression artifacts on the extremely bright scenes came from a combination of gamma artifacts and the original DVD authoring.
Repeated footage also manifests itself a few times in the video, most noticably during the chaos that is the ending episode of madness, but the candle seen at the beginning (with a darkening gamma placed on it) appears in a fade later in the video. The later fade was actually placed first, and I liked it too much to get rid of it so it stayed. While the candle fade may SEEM like it runs too long, it was rigged to fade in and out with a background synthasizer that one can hear if the treble on their speakers is good.
Fades are important in this video. A couple of the better ones (the first fade into madness in the writing sequence and the fade of the skeleton cats) were suggested by Nightowl. Many thanks again.
There is a sequence around 1 minute 48 seconds where a light comes up, flashes, and the scene fades to light flying all over the screen. The original flash was yellow, and Premiere's color replace filter was made to change it to blue as the action worked but the yellow->blue fade didn't. The following eye shot worked PERFECTLY by how it was placed.
The shot of the Kanji on "words" has ghosting applied and was the second longest running clip in the video to render.
Phonographs appear a lot in here. Originally the sequence of Kenji in the field with the phonograph was much longer.
People who watch closely can see where parts of one episode of madness were chopped up and reassembled.
The episodes of madness also get longer and darker as the video progresses.
The final scene with Kenji's father (following the ant eyes, around 2 minutes, 45 seconds) was the clip which took the longest time to render, because it had a film grain filter on it. For some lucky reason, Premiere only filtered the foreground moving image of the father, and as he popped out it would then filter the background. I re-edited the cut points so that the frames without the father had no grain added and it blends in perfectly with all of the other static going on.
The last madness *LOOKS* incredibly complicated, but it was done fairly haphazardly - it just seemed to be the best place to put leftover footage, add things that I wanted to use elsewhere but couldn't, and speed stuff up like mad. Almost every clip in there is running insanely fast, and all the cuts were made on exact half second intervals - in fact only half of the scenes used are different clips, the rest came from one long sequence of the original film. In the earlier cuts of the video,
the flashing cats were ever present in the background to add more darkness and visual stimulation, but it got to be too much and got pulled.
The final shot of Kenji lying in the field was gamma darkened, and I debated after making the final exports about whether or not it should be bright, but the fade to white may not have worked as well if I had. It also works darkened because Kenji is still in his madness. As he wakes up the cloud of insanity is still hanging over him like a mist, and he doesn't get to see that light again.
I'm sure that there's more to talk about in this one (in fact I *know* there's more to talk about with this one) but we must keep some of our secrets. I'm not sure how true that is with this video, though, as many of the tricks used won't work with another type of setup, and almost certainly not with the videos I have planned in the future.
What's this video about?
Kenji's Spring (The full literal translation of the Japanese title is "The Vision of Ihatov: Kenji's
Spring" ..Tokyopop felt for some reason that they should call it "Spring and Chaos" ...) is the story of Miyazawa Kenji, a Japanese poet who wrote very abstract poetry and stories for children. His most well known work (which has also been made into an anime) is Night on the Galactic Railroad, which was written during the period of Miyazawa's life portrayed in Kenji's Spring.
The movie itself was made for Japanese television in honor of Miyazawa Kenji's 100th birthday (although he was long dead by that point) by Shoji Kawamori (who also did the mechanical designs Macross, directed Escaflowne, etc.). The movie never makes it clear if Miyazawa was mad or not, but many of the episodes of "madness" showed up in his writings, so it could be argued that this is his visions of inspiration, namely in the world of Ihatov, where his stories were set.
I chose to use the instances as a madness of sorts, and portray the illness and death of Miyazawa's lover(? sister? close female of some sort...) as a control over madness. When she is well, Kenji is OK. When she is ill (and eventually dies), he is lost to the madness and upon her death can not recover. The music works remarkably well with this.
Commentary and Notes:
This is the most complex, and perhpas even the most artistic video I have made yet and possibly ever will. I'm proud of this one. That being said, it's artistic, serious, and using obscure anime, and therefore will probably go WAY over the heads of anyone who sees it at a convention. *sigh* so it goes.
As it turned out, the crowd at AMA split two ways - easy to please folks voted for a
hackjob set to a Jock Jam megamix using ripped footage and cheap effects, and everyone else split between Scooby Doo and Cowboy Bebop and this. I was pleasantly surprised (very surprised) to see that this did anything at all, and the fact that people were asking what the anime was and where to get it felt really good. It also gave me high hopes for Otakon which were dashed three days after I got to my study abroad in Austria when I got the email saying that my video didn't make it in. Damn, Smeg, So it goes, failed for three years in a row. At least it went over well (or so I was told) at the screenings at AFO3 (Thanks to Legionair for having faith and showing it.)
Mine, immaculate dream made breath and skin
I've been waiting for you
Signed, with a home tattoo,
Happy birthday to you was created for you
(can't ever keep from falling apart
At the seams
Can't I believe you're tearing my heart
Oh, it'll take a little time,
might take a little crime
to come undone now
We'll try to stay blind
to the hope and fear outside
Hey child, stay wilder than the wind
And blow me in to cry
Who do you need, who do you love
When you come undone
Words, playing me deja vu
Like a radio tune I swear I've heard before
Chill, is it something real
Or the magic I'm feeding off your fingers
(Can't ever keep from falling apart
At the seams
Can I believe you're taking my heart
Lost, in a snow filled sky, we'll make it alright
To come undone now
We'll try to stay blind to the hope and fear outside
Hey child stay wilder than the wind
And blow me in to cry...
Who do you need, Who do you love
When you come undone