starlady: Sheeta & Pazu watch the world open out before them (think in layers)
[personal profile] starlady
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, 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!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-11 00:26 (UTC)
inkstone: Tokidoki Asian woman with the shoulder tattoo (cover girl)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
Omigosh, speaking of old school VHS AMVs, do you remember the I Must Increase My Bust AMV? I think I still have that somewhere on VHS!

But yes, I agree. Most vids I've watched are some sort of engagement with the source material. Most AMVs I've seen rely more on visual spectacle. Like I Claymore vid I embedded a few days ago... it's telling the internal arc of the series protagonist but its strength is visual in nature -- the way the cuts are synced with the music.

(Hahaha, look at me talking like I know anything about vids other than "Yay, I watched this and it was cool!")

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] inkstone - Date: 2010-04-11 01:09 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-11 03:12 (UTC)
pseudo_tsuga: ([Phoenix Wright] Larry)
From: [personal profile] pseudo_tsuga
Came here from my network; thanks for the links! AMVs is how I first encountered fan-made videos so it's still my primary visual language for fandom. It gets really annoying when you see fanvidders dismissing it as shallow and unskilled, though.

Had to respond

From: [personal profile] ravenholdt - Date: 2010-04-12 03:35 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-11 00:45 (UTC)
wistfuljane: sokka (avatar: the last airbender) playing the psychiatrist with the caption "and how does that make you feel?" (and how does that make you feel?)
From: [personal profile] wistfuljane
I don't know if you read them, but [personal profile] thefourthvine wrote a couple of posts on AMVs that sort of delved into the style of AMVs and such from a perspective of a media fan: Anime Vids for Media Fans, The AMV Feedback Project: Reaching New Heights of Obsession! and anime tag.

*checks the rest of your links*

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] inkstone - Date: 2010-04-11 01:12 (UTC) - Expand

Talking Heads

From: [personal profile] ravenholdt - Date: 2010-04-12 03:46 (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce - Date: 2010-04-11 08:56 (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce - Date: 2010-04-11 16:17 (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2010-04-11 03:22 (UTC)
were_duck: Ellen Ripley from Alien looking pensively to the right in her space helmet (Steampunk Eye)
From: [personal profile] were_duck
This is a great post full of crunchy, helpful things! I just got home and am in the process of DLing all of your recs and watching them, and your comments are really helping me get a handle on amvs in a way I never really have before. I think it's because I have tried to watch them the way I would watch a (western media fandom) vid, narratively and in conversation with the source canon, instead of as a visual spectacle as you say. Anyhow! I am tracking this post, and I'm really glad you're hosting this conversation.

I think there are lots of multi-TV dance vids depending on what you mean by 'dance vid'? I mean, we've got dozens on our vid party playlist earmarked for the 'dance party' portion of the night. One example that might fit what you're thinking of is Charmax's Boogie Wonderland, another is jescaflowne's Can Delight.

I haven't seen any Coppa articles about amvs vs. vids, and I think if I'm reading lian's comment right, she's suggesting that a Coppa article she read about how vids specifically make an argument wasn't generalized (or generalizable) to amvs (or all vids, for that matter).

Which, I don't think Coppa would mean to suggest that all remixes must make an argument of some kind in order to be somehow legitimate. But lian has a point there, basically, that vidding history like the work Coppa does is not really descriptive of the formation of amv culture. I don't necessarily think it has to be, either, and I think Coppa is generally good at mentioning that she's looking at a specific subculture and she's tracing the history and some of the techniques and language of that particular community. I think amvs have their own, equally awesome subculture, history, technique, and visual language, as you describe above. It deserves its own Geneology of AMVs, you know?

As you and I are experiencing right now, having a grasp of 'how to watch an amv' does not necessarily easily translate to 'how to watch a vid', and vice versa. I think that recognizing their roots in different traditions is good, and I think basically what we want here is some academic/historical work on amvs (which I'm sure exists, I just don't know where). Which is to say, "yes, but..." is a great impulse! We want cross-pollination! I am merrily slugging through downloading all of your recs so I can learn something of the awesomeness of amvs right now.

And as for being a vid noob, well, I'm an amv noob! We can have fun together learning about each others' fannish passions, and I'm looking forward to having some of these new-to-me vids in our show.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-11 07:08 (UTC)
lian: Klavier Gavin, golden boy (Default)
From: [personal profile] lian
just jumping in here quickly (am on my late late way to wooork!) to say that yeah, Coppa never wrote anything about AMV vs. vids, but about Women, Star Trek, and the early development of fannish vidding, which makes a pretty focused (maybe too focused) argument about vids, I think, and to second [personal profile] were_duck's comment -- surely there is some academic treatment of AMVs somewhere (and if yes, I'm sure you're the person to ask? :D), but what I'd really love to see would be a contrastive discussion of AMVs vs. vids. <3

Academic AMV work

From: [personal profile] talking_sock - Date: 2010-04-12 13:25 (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2010-04-11 17:47 (UTC)
aethel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] aethel
nifty post! I was especially intrigued by the lip synching remarks, because I've only seen one vid ever that did that: Every Penguin Dance Now, by Mister Anderson. And from what you described, it was probably made in the AMV tradition?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-12 00:03 (UTC)
damned_colonial: Convicts in Sydney, being spoken to by a guard/soldier (Default)
From: [personal profile] damned_colonial
Wrt lipflapping, in live media vids it's called "talky-face" and is generally frowned on, but hard to avoid.

Here's one of mine with very little talky-face, by live action fanvid standards. I think part of the problem is that the people filming the show/movie/whatever tend to point the camera at whoever's talking, and also that fanvidding also often tries to convey emotion, and that often happens when people's faces are moving.

Also, wrt making lips move to the music... in my experience, you can't really do that with live human beings, because we can tell that they're not saying the same words. The motions of a human face when speaking are much more subtle than those of an animated face. I say "in my experience" because I once made this vid with muppets and found it pretty easy to get them to lip sync because, let's face it, when muppets speak their mouths just open and shut... there's no complex lip or tongue movement going on. Lots of people commenting on that muppet vid are amazed at how well the muppets appear to be singing along to the music, because it's really very rare and difficult in live action fandom. (FWIW, the muppets are *really* singing "sailing for adventure on the deep blue sea", but in the vid they are singing "frigging in the rigging 'cause there's fuck all else to do.")

I was talking to [personal profile] lim a while ago and she said that she made "My brilliant idea" (download here) in part as a protest against the "talkyface bad!" meme... she wanted to make a vid with heaps of talkyface in it, but that worked anyway. I think she did a good job of it.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-13 19:49 (UTC)
miss_prince: (Default)
From: [personal profile] miss_prince
Yes, and with animated clips, not only do you not have to match particular mouth shapes, but it's actually technically feasible to manipulate the frames themselves so that the lips flap where you want them to (specifically editing in open mouths or closed mouths and repeating frames so syllables are the right length, etc.).

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-12 03:20 (UTC)
thuviaptarth: golden thuvia with six-legged lion (Default)
From: [personal profile] thuviaptarth
History of vidding.

The equivalent of dance AMVs would be Club Vivid vids, which are made to be danced to during the nightclub part of the con, although a lot of people stop dancing to concentrate on watching the premieres anyway.

Dance vids

Date: 2010-04-13 00:05 (UTC)
talking_sock: sock (Default)
From: [personal profile] talking_sock
Yeah - just to refrain on this - I was an old timer vidder (before real life got in the way a few years ago) - and "dance vid" did not exist as a genre we talked about at all until post-Vividcon (i.e., after that con started). Club Vivid at Vividcon more or less turned it into a genre that people talked about. So, we had vid prior to that with people dancing in them, and we mostly said "cool, that's nice" especially when it was well-timed to the music, but it wasn't a genre of its own yet.

I heard this said very explicitly at Escapade this year, by another old time ex-VCR vidder during the vid critique panel.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-12 04:00 (UTC)
arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
From: [personal profile] arduinna
Saw your link in [community profile] vidding and popped over - interesting conversation!

(when did vidding become a thing? same time? earlier? later?);

The first proto-vids (slideshows set to music, played at conventions with the vidder/editor doing "live cuts" by changing slides as the music played) were made in 1975 by Kandy Fong; slideshows were the best that could be done until the earliest VCRs came out. By the late '70s, VCR vids were also being made, and by the early/mid '80s they'd taken over. Basically, live-action vidding pre-dates AMVs by roughly a decade. (There's brief history of vidding on Fanlore, if you're interested.)

There are definitely live-action dance vids, as someone else said; both vids just set to dance music, and vids with people dancing to the dance music. You've already been linked to three of my favorites of the latter (Puttin' on the Ritz, Starlight, Boogie Wonderland). For non-dancing dance vids, multi-fandom is a fairly popular way to go, either as "kitchen sink" vids that use as many fandoms as possible (for instance, A Fannish Taxonomy of Hotness (aka Hot, Hot, Hot) by the Clucking Belles (under "First seen Vividcon '05"), or as more structured 3-4-fandom vids.

I think it's totally possible to make any kind of fan video using any kind of footage, it's just that the communities have evolved in different ways, which is fascinating to me.

I had a hard time watching AMVs for a long time, until Absolute Destiny explained one year at Vividcon about how the focus is the visual spectacle - it makes a huge difference! Part of his explanation included showing two bits of footage with the audio stripped out: one from an anime, where two characters were having an intensely emotional moment, and one from a live action show where two characters were having a similarly intense moment.

The anime footage was almost completely static for the entire length of the clip (IIRC, one character was lying on a bed, the other was standing nearby, with neither of them moving at all); there was absolutely no way for people who didn't know the source to know that this was a meaningful moment. The live action footage (one person sitting in a chair, the other standing nearby) had internal motion, changing facial expressions, shifting gazes, etc.; even without knowing the source, you could pick up on the emotion involved.

So it makes tons of sense that AMV editors focus on adding visual spectacle to give viewers a hook into the vid, because so many of the clips give them a nearly blank slate. Whereas with live-action vidding, you work with and around everything that's already on the screen; adding spectacle can be a distraction rather than an enhancement.

That's changing a little as the editing tools get better and better, and as live-action vidders get more exposed to AMVs and to the work of AMV editors who use the same skillsets when they approach live-action vidding (like Absolute Destiny and Jescaflowne). It's all so cool.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-12 05:41 (UTC)
damned_colonial: Convicts in Sydney, being spoken to by a guard/soldier (Default)
From: [personal profile] damned_colonial
"distraction rather than enhancement" is a great way of putting it. From what I've seen of most (not all) live action vids, when we're doing effects in live action vidding, generally (not always) the sorts of things 90%+ of us are doing are:

1. slowing things down or speeding them up to fit the music (this may involve reversing the clip, too)
2. cross-dissolving to make a smooth transition between clips
3. zooming, panning, or otherwise moving the view to better focus on something happening.
4. chopping up a clip to make it appear, um, stuttery (sorry, don't have words here)

Good vidders who know their software way better than me also do things like:

Cutting out a frame from clip A and inserting clip B into it, or overlaying clip B onto clip A in some way. Examples: The Test by [ profile] heresluck, which overlays Star Trek TOS onto footage from the Reboot movie to show us stuff about the Kirk/Spock relationship, and I'm your man by [ profile] charmax which does it with mirrors.

Sometimes people cut the screen into sections and show different things in each section, sort of like the opening credits sequence to every 70s TV show ever ;) I'm not thinking any really good examples though. Oh! Yes! Vogue by [personal profile] luminosity has a lot of this, though there's a lot of other stuff going on there too.

Something else I've seen is people using effects to texturise (for want of a better word) footage, to make it look old or something. You quite often see sepia tones, old film effects, and similar. Examples: Closer by T. Jonesy and Killa, go back to sleep, by TikiTyler9 (also does other stuff with colour and black and white), I am/Lamb by [personal profile] lim.

lim has a number of vids that have a sketchy, hand-drawn sort of a texture; "Us" is the best known of them, but "This is how it works" also does this. Some of her vids have a different, scrapbooky sort of effect, see eg. "Wallpaper" and "People are People".

(Wow, I wish some of these vidders would write (or point me at) tutorials on how to do this stuff in Final Cut.)

The thing about all these is that, IMHO, they're usually done to tell a story or evoke a mood, not just to make it shinier. I could link a handful of fanvids that *do* use effects to make it shinier, but generally I think it misfires, and I don't think the vids are better for it, so I won't link as it would constitute a negative review, you know? Oh oh oh! No wait, here's an exception: Moulin Renown by [personal profile] drbillbongo. It's obviously a crackvid, though, so that kind of helps it work. (Many people might mention is Another Sunday by [ profile] jescaflowne but she's coming from an AMV background so I'm not counting it.)
Edited Date: 2010-04-12 05:43 (UTC)

seeking amv fans for my survey...

Date: 2010-04-12 13:17 (UTC)
talking_sock: sock (Default)
From: [personal profile] talking_sock
Hi, I found this via your link on vidding. I'm struggling to understand amv myself, and would like to do it some justice in a talk I'm giving at the end of the month on fan vids. The talk will be partly about technical needs of vidders (and amv editors? if I can get the input). Would you or other amv editors mind taking the survey I have up and forgiving the language biases that show it came from a vidding perspective? I'd really appreciate it. There are some $20 amazon gift cards for raffle and the cross-cultural insight will be helpful :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-13 16:19 (UTC)
coraa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] coraa
Ooh, yes. This is a topic of great interest to me, because I came to fan-made videos through AMVs, and have noticed what seem to me to be culture differences between the two. It's been interesting trying to untangle the differences, stylistically and demographically.

(Also, thoroughly seconding your rec for Skittles. I was at Anime Expo the year it was in the AMV contest there, and seeing it on the big screen was mindblowing. And I hadn't yet seen Haruhi at the time, although now it's one of my favorites.)

via metafandom

Date: 2010-04-13 19:56 (UTC)
miss_prince: (Default)
From: [personal profile] miss_prince
This is a fun post. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed AMVs! Two of my favorites from back when were The Lord of the Yen (Azumanga Daioh does Lord of the Rings) and a Yukari vid set to 1985. But like other people have expressed, I really prefer to know the canon when I watch a vid.

I'm kind of excited now. Now that I have a much nicer computer, maybe I'll fiddle around a bit with making an AMV myself.

Re: via metafandom

Date: 2010-04-13 19:59 (UTC)
miss_prince: (Default)
From: [personal profile] miss_prince
This is the 1985 vid

And here's Lord of the Yen

Lots of masking going on in both.

Re: via metafandom

From: [personal profile] miss_prince - Date: 2010-04-13 21:07 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-15 00:08 (UTC)
thuviaptarth: golden thuvia with six-legged lion (Default)
From: [personal profile] thuviaptarth
Sorry to keep doing drive-bys; I'm having a hard time articulating what I disagree with about your post, though I think it's mainly that you haven't had a broad exposure to different kinds of vids. As a bunch of people have mentioned, "talky face" is frowned up on by most experienced vidders as a distraction.

It's true that more narrative or thematic approaches to the source are preferred by most of the vidders on LJ/DW who coalesce around the vidding and vividcon comms, but there are a lot of spectacle vids as well, especially in people coming from other comms. YouTube vidders--that is, vidders whose primary community is YouTube, not just LJ vidders who cross-post for streaming--tend much more to be spectacle-focused and effects heavy. There's also a lot of interesting cross-over.

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce - Date: 2010-04-17 18:34 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-11 00:54 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've wondered about this myself; so much of the discussion of vidding that is out there really does refuse to acknowledge the AMV's that are made *not* to drive an ideology, make a point, present a critique or tell a story - but simply to deliver a pure audiovisual experience. And, as can definitely be seen from things like 'Iron Editor', in the AMV world, the technical aspect of creating the product is often at least as important as the actual end-product itself.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-11 15:03 (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, exactly. And in a lot of ways AMV creators are basically on par with the creators of the source anime, in terms of technical capability.

You might be interested in clicking the DW link for this entry, there's a lot more discussion going on there.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-22 03:12 (UTC)
lovepeaceohana: Ed and Ein, with text that says "carefree" (ed carefree)
From: [personal profile] lovepeaceohana
here via an old-ass post on [community profile] animanga_news; and, ahaha, this is amusing because I spent time at FOGcon randomly poking at [personal profile] oyceter asking the same thing! I've recently gotten back into amvs due to having come across vids and, in trying to get over my initial dislike of vids, I realized that part of the disconnect for me was that the visual language of amvs and purpose of amvs are just so different that getting into vids was going to require a completely different approach. So things like this are helpful to me! And now I am off to read your amv reclist, heh ^^;

(Also! I think I met you at FOGcon, which makes this even more funneh! *waves* Hello again!)


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