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NDK 2012 Review: AMV Contest

As in most years at NDK, the AMV (Anime Music Videos) contest was the peak of the convention right behind the cosplay contest. With over 2000 people in line, some for almost 3 hours, the contest is by far one of the most popular events at NDK and is well deserved.

As the line was long, it did take a considerable amount of time for the room to fill; it took almost half an hour. If it takes that long to get everybody in, you have to wonder how long it takes to give every person a ballet. Even with that many people though, the room was well ventilated, unlike a few years ago when it would get unbearably hot and muggy.

The contest itself is supposed to be about a 2-2&1/2 hour event, this year it went for 3 hours and a good chunk of that was due to the fact that the coordinator for the first time stood up and addressed the crowd about the new conditions of the this year’s contest. The other thing that ate up a bit of time was the fact 2/3rds of the way through the first category, category x, was the fact there were some technical difficulties part way through the winning video game AMV, Welcome to Aperture. After a bit of fiddling around with the system they started the AMV over and the rest of the contest went on with no other problems.

I’ve been attending the NDK AMV contest almost religiously over the past so many years and I have to say, that the openings have been very good, seeing as how it is an AMV itself, but this years opening was very drab, to put it bluntly. It started out by just words appearing on the screen about the editor complaining that he didn’t want to make a new opening this year. And just to throw some humor in he decided to make fun of the person asking him to do his job. It really kind of felt like a last minute, thrown together piece this year. The clips were randomly mashed together in the background and the clips to define a category were little to define if not at all. Over all though, it got the mindless crowd wound up like it’s supposed to.

This year was a big year for the NDK AMV contest, because this is the first year they have done an international contest. In all previous year they would either only accept from Colorado or the USA assuming the editor could make it to the awards ceremony. With this year being international, only a select one or two local editors made it into the contest, and only one local editor won. Not surprising with 17 countries submitting AMVs came to a grand total of 176 AMVs.

Of course as with every event, getting out was a problem, unlike last year where they opened the door to outside to make the process faster this year they let everyone out through the main entrance which of course causes major problems with the line for the cosplay contest and the traffic into the artists alley. On your way out not only do you have to worry about all the people around you bumping into you, stepping on your cosplay, and so on, you also have to make sure you turn in your ballet to one of the staff members with a basket.

The awards ceremony for the AMV contest is not as popular an event. At most the room was half filled with the people who attended the main event the previous day. The coordinator as usual did the honors of announcing the winners himself, and after every winner was announced they showed the AMV that had won said award. Given how almost every winner won 2 awards and all the editors were out of country, the ceremony went rather quickly, taking up only half an hour compared to the hour time slot given. The awards ceremony was a very informal event and even though it’s just for AMVs, I feel they should still be required to dress nice and if the editor isn’t there say a little excerpt about the AMV.

The Asuka Awards

The Asuka Awards

Best Video Game Video
KuroUnmei – Welcome to Aperture
What inspired Welcome to Aperture?
“The game Portal of course! I knew the music of Victims of science since a long time thanks to a friend and one day I listened to my playlist I reheard this song. Portal 2 was published since a year and the trailer of this game are amazing so I decided to edit a video with this song and the trailer.”

Where can people find your other videos?
“On my website (http://kuro.power-heberg.com/site/index.html), or on my YouTube channel or on my facebook page.”

What advice would you give an armature AMV editor?
“I did not really advice because it comes with experience… All I can say is take pleasure in doing what you are doing! Have fun and be proud of his work is the main thing. It should not take the lead.”

Did you play Portal 2 prior to making the AMV?
“When Portal 2 was published I have not been able to play because my computer was not powerful enough, so I have looked a play through on YouTube. And this year when I have changed my computer I soon bought Portal 2 and after and after I had finished the game I edited the video.”

Please excuse if this interview was difficult to read, the editor is French and did his best to answer my questions in what English he knew.

Best Category X Video & Best of Show Viewer’s Choice
Qwaqa – Paperheart

Best Action Video
Kisanzi – The Nightmagi Cometh

What inspired The Nightmagi Cometh?
“Well, this video was actually made for a multi-round AMV making contest called Project Orgeditor. The basic gist of the tournament was to make an AMV in one week to fit a specified theme. I initially had a different idea lined up for Madoka Magica which involved a lot of video effects and a serious song. But I realized after one evening of editing that I had no chance of finishing such a complex idea in just one week. So after racking my brain for a new song/concept I remembered the Daymanstep remix that I had heard about a month before the contest, and that it loosely fit the theme I was looking for. As a big fan of “It’s always sunny in Philadelphia” my idea was to mirror the context of the song in the show to match the characters in the anime. So after a bit of idea brainstorming, I jokingly put it on my timeline as a fun distraction to take a break from finding my new concept. After about ten minutes of editing my thoughts shifted from “this is a hilariously stupid idea” to “this actually works….really well.” From there it just kinda flowed from scene to scene and turned into one of the most entertaining editing experiences I’ve ever had.”

About how many hours did you put into making this AMV?
“About 20-25 hours, which is by far the fastest I’ve ever made an AMV.”

How hard is to find the video footage you use?
“I’ll assume you mean scene selection. It was pretty easy at first since the show is nicely divided into action footage segments and dialog segments. But the challenge came in when I was just about finished since one of the characters I chose to feature is only in 5 episodes of the show. So it became very slim pickings on scenes for them, but there was just barely enough for me to work with. As for finding the right scenes for the right moments, most parts I could picture in my head, but some of the best parts happened by accident as I would stumble across scenes that I forgot were even in the show. When putting these kinds of scenes on the timeline, I’ll admit I laughed while editing since it was such an unexpected fit for the lyrics.”

Where can people find your other videos?
“I upload all of my AMVs to animemusicvideos.org for people to watch and download. Otherwise I upload a good majority of my newer AMVs to my YouTube channel, “kisanziVNS”.”

What advice would you give an armature AMV editor?
“It’s a good idea to edit with what you like. An AMV comes together much more smoothly when you have affection for the anime you are using. If you put your fandom for the show into your editing it will shine through and really connect with the audience. As far as the technical aspects of the process, start simple and make sure you’re AMV keeps its focus. Find your style and what you like to make, then polish and develop it. Never be afraid to try new things because you’ll sometimes be surprised by an unexpected idea or editing technique that turns out to be something really good.”

Best Drama Video & Best of Show Editor’s Choice
siny – Creating Something Beautiful

What inspired Create Something beautiful?
“Creating Something Beautiful” was made for a specific contest called Project OrgEditor (a sort of parody to the American fashion show Project Runway). The concept is the same; you have a group of editors and themes. For each round, a number of editors are eliminated.

This video was made for Round 5, where we had to create a video based on an awarded video from the VCAs (Viewers Choice Awards) and JCAs (Judges Choice Awards) of www.animemusicvideos.org from 2011. Some of my personal favorite videos are part of that list of winners. I picked “Something Beautiful” created by LopezAMV, a really beautiful anime mix based on the original video clip of the song “Something Beautiful”. But the idea wasn’t to totally recreate the video; you couldn’t even use the same anime. It was actually this rule that gave me the idea to create this video.

While looking at the list of anime that Lopez used, I saw a pattern: no Ghibli anime. I knew that the non anime footage was from the original video clip and to make something original I would have to change that too. That’s how the idea was born. I started looking for clips related to the Studio and that’s when I realized I had enough footage to make a Ghibli tribute video.”

What program do you use to make your AMVs?
“For this video I used Sony Vegas Pro 10. I waited until the contest was over to switch to Premiere and After Effects and that’s what I’ve been using right now.”

Where can people find your other videos?
“I have my YouTube channel “sinycatarina” where I upload pretty much everything I do, but you can also find my videos on www.animemusicvideos.org under the name of “siny” where you can watch and download some of my videos. I recently created a Video account where I can upload my videos with better quality.”

What advice would you give an armature AMV editor?
“Keep watching videos, a lot of them! Watching videos from other editors is one of the best ways to learn something new. Another really helpful tip is to have someone who can watch a beta from your video and give you an honest opinion. Getting feedback from other editors and non editors will make you wonder about a specific scene and maybe even make you change it.

Also, a lot of editors don’t stand by this, but I only like to edit with things I watched. I don’t like making random videos with random pretty scenes and for that I need to know the story. The thing I like the most when I’m watching an amv with an anime I like is the moment where I can say “Wow this song fits this anime so well!” and that’s what I try to do while making my videos.

One last thing: have fun! When you’re not having fun editing, it will start feeling like an obligation and it’s easier to lose your inspiration”

Best Comedy Video
VivifxAMV – Ponynote

What inspired PonyNote?
“PonyNote was inspired by a rogue thought I happened to have about a year ago. I turned to a friend of mine and said I want to make an AMV about Light Yagami becoming a brony. I didn’t have any idea then that I wanted to have a PonyNote or involve other anime. The original concept just consisted of a drama/comedy of Light Yagami discovering that he liked My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and focusing on his reactions. It wasn’t until I began editing that I realized having a PonyNote and making this a mix anime AMV would make this idea a million times better. In the end, I wanted to make an AMV that spoke to both fans of anime, and of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and encouraged love and tolerance between the Otaku, and brony fandom. Considering how it has been received both online and in the con circuits, I think I succeeded.”

How many clips were used in the AMV?
“There are 6 main sources used in the video, and a few other stray shows I threw in for good measure. Overall, as to how many shots/ scenes I used, I would say at least 100. “

Where can people find your other videos?
“I post all my AMVs on my YouTube @ www.youtube.com/user/VivifxAMV. I am really active there too. I also post my videos for download on AMV.org. “

What advice would you give an armature AMV editor?
“Overall, don’t be afraid to learn. Make friends in this community, and ask questions! There are lots of helpful people on AMV.org who are always happy to help noobies learn. Just keep practicing and having fun! Try to be diverse and edit lots of different things to see what you like. “

Best of Show Judge’s Choice
Ryan M. – Naruto Ball Z Shippuden – Heroes Come Back

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