Let me start off by saying this: internet and compressed anime footage blows!! Don't even bother using it. Your video will look like crap. Bigtime. Don't give me that, "Oh, I can't go out and get a real copy" bull. If you're going to do a video, do it right. Save up and go buy a copy on tape or DVD. If you have to, go out an rent it or even borrow it from a friend who has the footage. Find a real copy somewhere.


As far as source goes, VHS is ok. The one thing you will want to do is make sure you have a clean copy. If your copy looks as if it has been viewed 200 times, it probably isn't going to give you clean footage. Your video can only look as good as the source (unless you are willing to put in LOTS of time digitally cleaing it up). There are too many videos out there that have streaky lines and chopped up garbage as source footage. You don't want your video to be one of those.

Oh yeah, make sure the VHS copy is a NON-SUBTITLED version. Most anime watchers have a Pavlovian response to read subtitles any time they appear on the screen. We can't help it. If you want us to pay attention to your video, make sure there are no subtitles going along the bottom of the screen. As a last resort, use black bars or fake a letterbox screen cut to cover the subtitles. There is also a guide dedicated to removing subtitles.


Laser discs are a now obsolete method of storing movies. Laser discs are really big, really heavy, and really expensive. But, laser discs are an excellent source of quality footage. If you happen to have some or have a friend who will let you borrow thiers, consider yourself lucky. The major drawback is that you need an analog capture card to get the footage into your computer.


Now DVD rules the world. I would highly suggest that you purchase or use a DVD copy of the anime you are going to use (in fact, I have sworn to never purchase VHS again). Plus, if you have a DVD drive in your computer, capturing is a snap. A computer DVD drive can be grabbed for $25 or less (even cheaper on eBay).

One thing you may want to keep in mind when choosing footage is the aspect ratio of the anime source, letterbox (widescreen) or pan-and-scan (TV sized). You generally don't want to mix the aspect ratios because it gets annoying jumping between the two in a video (it's big, it's small, it's big again).


Now take your song map you made in step 2 in one hand, your video remote in the other, and watch all the anime you are going to use in fast-forward. Look for clips as they fly by that would match the ones you've written down. When you see one, do a rough time count to see if it fits time wise and then write down the clip location (tape 3, 20 mins 12 secs in). Do this for as many clips as you need for your video.


Once you have a list of footage to use, setup your capture station and start capturing away. Capture at the highest resolution and quality you can. If you are capturing footage from a VCR or laser disc player, be sure to use the s-video component if you can. Your captures will come out much nicer than using the regular RCA composite connection. Also make sure you capture a second or two buffer before and after clip you want to use. You can trim things down easy enough, but if you don't have that first or last split second of footage, you don't have it.


The last thing you need is a copy of the music to go with your video. As with video, downloaded MP3s are not good. Go out and get a CD copy or even borrow one if you have to.

On to Step 4: --> Cut, splice, and sync

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