Apr. 10th, 2010

starlady: the cover from Shaun Tan's The Arrival, showing an aquanaut in suburbia (i'm a stranger here myself)
Whitfield, Kit. In Great Waters. New York: Del Rey, 2009.

I know I heard about this book somewhere on the DWLJ-verse, but I don't remember where anymore. Still, I'm really glad I took the chance on this book despite the fact that it's about merpeople, because it's really quite good, and fairly original to boot.

In Great Waters tells the story of Henry, a half-human, half-merman (or landsman and deepsman, as they are called) "bastard" whose status as a true hybrid renders him a political threat to the weakened Crown of England, whose deepsman-descended tenants have intermarried too closely and are in danger of dying out. The book also tells the story of Anne, the younger princess of England, whose desire for security, and for mercy, leads her to great things of which no one, least of all she herself, thought her capable.

Snip )

Yeah, mermaids: not for children! Really, this is quite a good book.
starlady: Sheeta & Pazu watch the world open out before them (think in layers)
So I gave [personal profile] were_duck a list of AMV recs for the Vid Party she and [personal profile] damned_colonial are organizing at WisCon (I'm so excited, seriously). And as part of that I watched a lot of AMVs in a very short time span, which I haven't done in forever, and which caused me to say this in reply to [personal profile] lian's post on original versus fan works. And then both of them asked me, more or less, for my thoughts on AMVs versus vids.

Here's [personal profile] were_duck 's question:

I'm getting the sense from the few amvs that I've seen that there are significant differences between vids and amvs, but I don't really have the language to express what that is other than just saying that they come from different subcultures/traditions. Care to share your thoughts on the subject?

So let me repost my reply:

Hmm. Well, I can say a few things, certainly. I guess the first thing is that AMVs have come a long way from their VCR to VHS origins in the late 80s/early 90s, as I imagine vids have (when did vidding become a thing? same time? earlier? later?); the VHS AMVs that were made with access to professional-grade equipment still stand up, but they fit on the low end of the...hmm...technicality spectrum now.

The thing I notice over and over again is that AMVs abhor lipflap. Seriously, if there's one thing that'll get you flamed as an utter noob in AMV circles it's lipflap. Conversely, lip syncing done well is a real ideal of the genre. Whereas, in most vids I've seen the attitude seems to be that lipflap happens and you've just got to deal with it.

The other thing I notice is that, particularly in the last three-four years, AMVs have become feats of video editing and digital clip creation achievement. That one I linked above, "The Running Man", epitomizes this trend--there isn't a single frame of that video that hasn't been digitally retouched in some way, and a good chunk of it is original animation (actually, remind me to dig up the link to this one Death Note AMV I saw last year that has even more original animation). So the end result is this amalgamation of transformed and original content in a transformative practice that ends up somewhere in between the two, in terms of impact, I think. Whereas most vids I've seen are almost wholly using transformed content, and in terms of aim they are usually engaging directly with the source fandom, whether as critique or meta discussion or story-telling. The AMVs that are most popular these days, by contrast, tend to be multi-anime, and tend to have sheer spectacle as their purpose. Even when an AMV uses a single anime and an obviously relevant song (I'm thinking of this Soul Eater AMV here), it tends not to tell a story so much as harp on a trope. Actually, if you take a look at the 2010 Viewers' Choice Awards on animemusicvideos.org, you can see this made clear in the categories: Storytelling and No Effects get their own particular categories because they're the exception, not the rule.

A lot of this is just, I think, fairly deterministic in that it can be chalked up to the nature of the footage that vidders have available to them, respectively. I don't really think it's possible to make a multi-TV fandom dance vid, for example, but damn straight you can make some awesome multi-anime dance AMVs.

Apparently Francesca Coppa wrote an article about AMVs versus vids at one point, but I haven't read it, or so [personal profile] lian says here.
You'll note that my reply doesn't actually say much about the nature of vids, because I am still very much a noob when it comes to vids. I have probably seen two dozen total in my lifetime (sad, I know!)--whereas I personally have made 15 AMVs, and have inchoate plans for a lot more (and I should note, I am very much an old school AMV person, one who thinks primarily in terms of single-anime AMVs and has neither the plans nor the desire to become one of the technical wizards). So what do you think of my thoughts, vidders? Am I terribly wrong and just don't know it? And if I am, then where?   

ETA: Thanks to [personal profile] wistfuljane, have two hilarious posts by [personal profile] thefourthvine addressing this question from a vidder's perspective: Anime Vids for Media Fans, and The AMV Feedback Project: Reaching New Heights of Obsession!.

I should probably actually write up a bit of description for each of those recs I posted, shouldn't I? *sigh* 

ETA 2: Here are my AMV recs, with explanations!

ETA 3: One final related post!

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