Dmytryk vs. The AMV Criteria (Substance before synch.)

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Dmytryk vs. The AMV Criteria (Substance before synch.)

Post by Serv0 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:09 pm

SERVO NOTE 01: (This editor, reviewer, and member (myself) doesn't know everything in the world and makes mistakes like everyone else. My views are not being labeled as absolute and can be easily justified as biased. This thread will hopefully correct me as well as other members. The opinions being stated in this thread should not affect the relations of editors here in the community. HOWEVER, this thread hopefully should influence the way we edit AMVs in the future as well as other motion picture storytelling.)

SERVO NOTE 02: (The references posted here are not absolute either. I am not saying that Kalium's AMV Primer is wrong, but instead a guide. Nor am I glorifying Edward Dmytryk's rules for editing as right, but instead lines to follow. The reasoning for this thread is to hopefully merge the two together.)

INFLUENCE: (This topic was influenced by the latest AMV-Review session held on October 22, 2007. The topic of the session concerned on Beat-Synch as a whole, and how it affects AMVs. Quadir should have the discussion posted in the General AMV thread soon. This Dmytryk vs. The AMV Criteria thread is NOT an extension of that specific discussion, but it was influenced by it. Quadir should have information for AMV-Review as a home for such discussion.)

Reference used can be found here in Film Editing.

And now to the topic.


Stanley Kubrick believed that editing was the one truly unique attribute to motion picture production. It was his most favorite phase in filmmaking and stated that it's the only art born straight from motion pictures.
Today many editors have picked up the art as a practice and many have found their way here to the Anime Music Video Community. Through my years I've picked up on the hobby and noticed something peculiar about the AMVs. The majority of them seem to base their overall on synch. Whether it be beat, lyrical, or lip, the majority combine visuals in synch with music alone. I do understand that the music used by the editors serve as mirrors for the anime footage used, yet one thing seems to usually be missing for me. That's substance.

Kalium's AMV Theory Primer is an excellent guide for every AMVer to see. Anyone who hasn't read it should.
Kalium wrote:Synchronization, or synch, is the idea that in a music video the audio and video should be connected. Synchronization is typically viewed as the most important technical aspect of a video, the medium through with everything else can be conveyed. It is the connection between music and video. Without synch, you have anime, and you have music, but no real connection between them. Synch can be subdivided into musical, lyrical, and mood synch.
Notice that Kalium specifically said "viewed as the most important TECHNICAL aspect of a video." If statement is true, then synch is not necessarily the most important face of a video. Yet I find that many AMVs top face is that of synch. Many from the overrated Naruto videos using the most used action sequences, to the prevalent themed AMVs that have a face but still depend on synch first. In other words, both good and bad AMVs have depended on synch.

In my opinion, the status quo of popular viewed AMVs is this: it depends on FORM.
An AMV that depends on form is a product that if synchronization is missing from the video, the video becomes less interesting.

I absolutely agree with above statement for an AMV if...
...if the video only has form and is missing SUBSTANCE.
Kalium later wrote:A video concept is a deceptively simple thing. The best way to describe it is as a vision. What you want the video to be, how you want the viewer to feel, what you want them to think, to understand. In short, why you're making the video. This is hardly an exhaustive discussion, so what is possible goes far above and beyond what I make mention of. It should also be noted that sometimes a concept doesn't need to be stronger than an anime and a song - not every video needs a strong concept. Attempting to strengthen a concept in a video that doesn't need it can kill the video. That said, when to apply the concept and when not is a matter of taste and style. After all, the overall goal of an AMV is to communicate something, right?
NOTE: when Kalium said "to strengthen a concept in a video that doesn't need it can kill," he wasn't saying that dismissing the concept is the way to go. He was merely saying that staying with a simple idea is probably better than making it complex.

Substance is emotion, story, and concept.
Form is technical and deals with synch.

Now I don't mean to sound like some flattering romantic but I'll go ahead and say it. Substance comes from within.

Majority of AMVs in my opinion only have form.

In his book, On Film Editing, Edward Dmytryk outlines seven rules that good editors should follow:
"Rule 1: Never make a cut without a positive reason.
"Rule 2: When undecided about the exact frame to cut on, cut long rather than short" (Dmytryk, 23).
"Rule 3: Whenever possible cut 'in movement'" (Dmytryk, 27).
"Rule 4: The 'fresh' is preferable to the 'stale'" (Dmytryk, 37).
"Rule 5: All scenes should begin and end with continuing action" (Dmytryk, 38).
"Rule 6: Cut for proper values rather than proper 'matches'" (Dmytryk, 44).
"Rule 7: Substance first—then form" (Dmytryk, 145).

Rule 7, is greatly an important one, but majority of AMVs however contradict it.

Walter Murch also gave six criteria concerning good editors. They are listed from top to bottom 'most important':
* emotion — Does the cut reflect what the editor believes the audience should be feeling at that moment?
* story — Does the cut advance the story?
* rhythm — Does the cut occur "at a moment that is rhythmically interesting and 'right'" (Murch, 18)?
* eye-trace — Does the cut pay respect to "the location and movement of the audience's focus of interest within the frame" (Murch, 18)?
* two-dimensional place of the screen — Does the cut respect the 180 degree rule?
* three-dimensional space of action — Is the cut true to the physical/spatial relationships within the diegesis?

Murch assigned notional percentage values to each of the criteria. Emotion, with 51%, outweighed the combined value of all the other criteria.

NOTE: Above information of Dmytryk and Murch is referenced from wikipedia article Film Editing.

Notice that rhythm is third on Murch's list and doesn't even assign close to 51% of all other criteria.
Again, AMV's contradict this, in my opinion.

Personal view of the status quo of popular AMVs:
2)Visual novelity
3)Sound novelity
4)Editing Style novelity
7)Eye-Trance (Optional and is often overlooked.)

This is merely a personal view, but I highly disagree that AMVs should consider above criteria in their order. Emotion and Story must be on the top, hands down.

So what's the solution here? It's not like I'm going to say "HEY! Make your damn videos they way they're damn suppose to!"
No, no. That itself is biased and a form.
All of us need to take time to adjust our AMV storytelling. Fortunately, a lot of editors out there are going down a similar path in focusing mainly on substance. But we all need to know what's going on and learn from our past works, as well from each other.

There needs to be a balance between Substance and Form.

My father conversed with me last night after watching me work on my latest video. He said that hopefully one day there will be a generation where this medium is appreciated and set up artistically with the test of time. But in order for that to happen, there needs to be a movement where AMVs become something more than just visuals and music. Much much more.

I understand that there are a lot of you who enter this practice for fun and I totally respect that. It's the same thing for me too. The great Stanley Kubrick said that the best practice of making movies is to go ahead and make them. Keep in mind that your practice for fun should evolve and become something greater.

Kalium said something to me that AMVs are part of an aesthetic capable of evolving.
And you know what? He's right.
It's up to us to evolve the medium.

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Post by BasharOfTheAges » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:23 pm


Music videos are not film - and in 99.9% of all cases they no such aspirations and they have no right trying to be, thus different rules do and will apply.
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Post by Greggus1 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:27 pm

Opinion in sig.

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Post by Moonie » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:37 pm


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Post by Moonie » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:54 pm

BTW, Servo...


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Post by Fall_Child42 » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:59 pm

I reject any and all rules put towards any artistic medium of any kind.

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Post by trythil » Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:11 am

There needs to be a balance between Substance and Form.
I agree, and I'd like to submit the opening post of this thread on a similar subject as a good example of balancing substance and form. Specifically, that thread does not suffocate concise, clear conversation with unnecessary exposition.


That out of the way, I'd like to actually talk about the topic...

It sounds like you'd like to see more editors putting more emphasis on visceral or intellectual content vs. what you perceive as following the cut-for-synch's-sake mainstream. This is fine, but there's a couple holes that I can't fill in that I'd greatly appreciate you addressing.

There's a long history of AMVs that attempt to communicate emotions and stories, rather than just going for cheap thrills. Kalium has a long list of examples; he even threw one of my videos in his list (which I think completely destroys the credibility of his primer, but that's beside the point.) There obviously have been (and are) editors who are "aiming for the top" (so to speak), so I don't think there's any need to start "a movement where AMVs become something more than just visuals and music". It's always been around.


(1) Why do you think this movement is not larger than it currently is? (Do a search on these boards; you'll find tons of threads on this and similar ideas. I don't think the problem is a failure to recognize this characteristic of the AMV community, nor do I think that it's due to a lack of discussion on the topic.)

(2) It sounds like you think that these videos have so far done little for AMVs in the eyes of art society and society at large. Is this an accurate statement? If it is, why do you think that is? Do you think they're getting drowned out by all the noise? Are they just not good enough?

(3) It sounds like you're operating on the proposition "if we evolve towards higher substance then we will gain appreciation and acknowledgment". Is this an accurate statement? Do you think that this is the major barrier? The only barrier?

On (3): I don't think the substance, or lack thereof, in AMVs matters a dime with regards to widespread appreciation and acknowledgment; I think the dubious legality of the hobby is the major barrier. Pulling out enormously emotional and cerebral videos might help this some, but I'm having trouble justifying an argument for it overcoming the enormous inertia of "ur cuttin up someone's cartoonz".

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Post by omegaevolution » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:44 am

moonie211 wrote:BTW, Servo...

oh my :shock:

now we have an official pic to say that!! :D

way2go Moonie ^^

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Post by Arigatomina » Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:21 am

A few things to keep in mind when comparing film rules with amv rules - speed/duration, audio, and audience.

Amvs are short and fast. Unless it's a slow amv, you'll have a difficult time using film tips. Take the "eye-trace" tip. That works with slow videos, where the viewer is focusing on the faces of the characters, their expressions, and a sudden shift to a hand movement will catch the eye and hold it. With the speed of most videos, the viewer has time to take in the frame - but not time to focus on specific pieces of the frame. Action videos in particular have frames that last for a second or two - you have to focus on the color (mood) or the overall image when you're choosing which frame to use for that second-long shot. Because your viewer isn't going to have time to take in the scene as a whole and then focus on a particular part of the scene - a character's expression, his body language, anything subtle that takes more than a second to register in a viewer's mind.

You'd do better to compare amvs with the rules for action scenes, fast flashbacks and other short quickly edited blurbs in film making. The storytelling rules for film editing is different when you're editing normal scenes versus a flashback where you have a 30 second to 3 minute time limit in which to to get all of the condensed information across to the viewer.

Films have multiple songs, an appropriate track for each part of the story being told. They aren't limited to a single song with which to tell the entire story. Amv editors can stick with slower songs and follow the usual film tips - with a time constraint for the overall story but not for the individual scenes. If you edit to a faster song, everything is rushed. With films the fast songs are reserved for upbeat scenes, action scenes, and very dramatic scenes (and screech = jump horror scenes). These are small parts of a larger story in films. In amvs, this rushed soundtrack is the *entire* video.

And then there's the audience. There's supposedly a 3 second rule in films - that's the limit of an average viewer's attention span. There must be movement or a scene change or your viewer gets bored. Say an average movie is 90 minutes and an average amv is 3 minutes. If a viewer who is planning to sit in one place for 90 minutes can't go 3 seconds without getting bored, that doesn't bode well for those viewers who consider a 6 minute amv 2 minutes too long. Either they're in a hurry, or their attention span is even shorter than an average movie-viewer.

The average amv viewer has also seen the anime. He's not downloading an amv to watch a movie - the "movie" is in the original anime. He's watching an amv to see a remix, a parody, a summary, or a beatsync visualization to the music that just happens to use anime footage.

There may be an audience of amv viewers who download amvs looking for the sort of stories you find in full length movies. If so, they're the minority.

Note: I like the film tips better than the amv tips. I love listening to director and editor commentaries, where they point out their favorite tricks. Unfortunately those "tricks" don't translate well to 3 minute videos made using stock footage and a single song.

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Post by CodeZTM » Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:10 am

*swears profusely*

AMV (Not=) Film

AMV = Fun Editing

Film = Serious Buisness With Moneh

AMV = No Moneh

mooniepic = massive win


I despise people trying to turn AMV's into some sort of industry standard, and making us all edit like robots. It bugs the hell out of me. -_-'

Keep in mind that your practice for fun should evolve and become something greater.
Uh, I work until about 10 o'clock at night, and I'm not even in college yet. Fun shouldn't have to evolve, because it is fun, and has no need for evoluion.
All of us need to take time to adjust our AMV storytelling.
I think my AMV story telling is just fine, thank you.
Walter Murch also gave six criteria concerning good editors.
Since when does the guy that edited Cold Mountain (one of the worst films I have ever seen) get to decide what makes a good editor? Personally, I think Murch is highly overrated, and arrogant.


I digress.

Moonie said it best.


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