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  • Member: CrackTheSky
  • Title: Fair and Square
  • Premiered: 2016-10-08
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  • Song:
    • Walk the Moon Work This Body
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  • Comments: Sooo...this video. I had the idea for this video probably close to a year ago, shortly after I finished watching Ping Pong (a series I loved). I had actually originally planned on making this video for Akross in December of 2015, but ended up having no time and less motivation. At that point I was in the middle of my engagement and doing lots of wedding planning and worrying about various things and editing was pretty far from my mind. I didn't forget about the idea, and had kept it my intent to have it be the next video I edited, whenever that ended up being, but I was slow to get around to doing that. After getting married in March, honeymooning in Hong Kong for two weeks, and then settling back into a daily routine and getting used to living with my now-wife, I finally found the time to sit down and get back to editing.

    I spent about a week in June putting this video together for NDK, as it's become my yearly must-submit-something con. The video more or less edited itself, and it didn't take me very long to finish. I've only seen one other Ping Pong video so I don't know how mine compares (although by the looks of it, there really aren't that many out there), but I am quite fond of the end result. This is a pretty straightforward video, although not exactly a retelling of the anime. It focuses in on a lot of the same themes though.

    I've found that, at least in American sports, and I'm sure in others throughout the world, players or teams often get divided into two groupings, depending on who's talking -- the "good guys" and the "bad guys". In fact, most modern major league sports rely on this insane fiction that "your" team is "good", and all other teams are baaaaad. They sell you this binary perspective to heighten the intensity and increase devotion to a particular franchise.

    Now, before I get all tinfoil hat-y about this, let me just say that I buy into this as much as almost anyone else who has a passing interest in sports, and although I could care less about most sports, this fiction is what makes watching sports so much fun. I think that as long as you keep rivalries friendly and don't let something as stupid and petty as rooting for a set of clothes come between yourself and someone else, participating in these rivalries is fine. But, I truly believe that painting any team with broad brush strokes is silly at best and downright harmful at worst.

    This is what I loved about Ping Pong. It uses a finer brush to humanize everybody. As the series progresses we are treated to an inside look at all the different major players, and we get to see their motivations, their desires, their histories. By the end, there are no "protagonists" or "antagonists", there are only a bunch of different people who love the sport of table tennis for different reasons and play it with different end goals in mind. I wanted to capture this in this video; although Smile (the guy with the glasses) is the main character in the series, he's not the only one we get to follow. This video traces, albeit succinctly, the paths of multiple characters from the series and doesn't really intentionally praise one over the other. All the different characters "burn [their] flame" in order to beat someone else, often for entirely unrelated reasons. Who you cheer for is up to you.

    From a technical perspective, I will very vainly say that the last ~30 seconds or so of this video is probably my favorite part of any video I've ever edited. From a raw editing viewpoint, I think it's the best thing I've ever done. Don't know if you'll necessarily agree or not, but I absolutely love it. The rest of the video is imperfect, but I don't know if I could improve on that last portion if I tried.

    Anyway, I hope you watch and enjoy! And if you haven't seen Ping Pong, don't let the weird animation turn you off. It's one of the most interesting and engaging anime from the last few years (plus it was written by the same guy who wrote The Tatami Galaxy, so you know it's good). I would recommend prioritizing it, as the characters are stunning and the storytelling is phenomenal. Not to mention the absolutely superb voice acting, something I normally don't notice, but is worth mentioning because it's outstanding in this anime.

    I've rambled enough. Enjoy!

    Technical notes
    Edited in Sony Vegas 8.0. Total editing time was probably not more than 10-12 hours over the course of maybe three days. Thanks to Koopiskeva and lynit for beta testing!

    Other
    Also worth noting, I suppose, is that this video didn't make it into NDK's contest. I had submitted three videos, one of which was Get Better, and since this video and that one have very similar pacing, feeling, etc, the judges ended up putting that one in the contest instead, for whatever reason (it got demolished in the contest anyway, yay!). It actually worked out though, because as a result I didn't have to rush to create something for 2016's AWA Pro contest, which is a contest I really enjoy entering each year but has a "right of first exhibition" rule, meaning that whatever you enter can't have been released anywhere else already. Since I hadn't released this video yet and it wasn't going to be shown at NDK, it was eligible for AWA Pro, where it ended up winning Best Action and Best Upbeat. So it all came together!

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