KitaCon Invasion Gallery

KitaCon returns!  Back at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole, across a pond from the NEC I was at the previous week no less!

Kita has made for itself the name of the UK party con, and it lives up to it in full force.  There’s been a  shift from cosplayers milling about during the day making full use of the pretty venue and the lovely outdoors for photoshoots to mostly empty corridors and people crammed into panels or sleeping off the previous night to make way for the next big party!

A combination of that, being busy, and being a bit on the lazy side means it’s a bit light on the floor costume shots, there were plenty of other photographers and videographers around so hopefully no one is going without.

On the other hand if you got on the stage over the weekend then prepare for a barrage of shots.  Pretty lighting and and the lovely Lulu Rose as my glamorous assistant means we’ve got you covered.  Keep an eye out for her shots, this is her first convention properly using a DSLR and I’m proud to include them in the gallery.

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MinamiCon 19 Gallery

Always my official start to the convention year, MinamiCon rolls around once more in time-honoured tradition.  No other event is as much of an institution as turning up to that Novotel lobby to already see crowds of familiar faces like we never left it the previous year!

A much more relaxed event than most in recent memory, as if there was a collective LETS TAKE A BREAK FROM RIDICULOUS COSTUMES FOR ONCE and I think it was a good move, certainly meant I wasn’t running around like a headless chicken for once!  Still plenty of lovely costumes to take pictures of at leisure, and I think overall comfort levels were higher for it.   This year the convention started earlier and finished later, crammed a lot more events in, and ran a chillout kotatsu lounge after the closing ceremony, filled with makeshift kotatsus, duvets, pillows, and many, many games.  Probably one of my favourite Minamis to date.

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AMV: Ordained From Above

This Video Makes No Sense

I think that’s my unofficial tagline for this video.

Okay, this was originally intended as an event-opener for AmeCon 2006, a UK Convention.. I just hadn’t told *them* this. By the time the AMV competition deadline had passed, I stopped speeding through getting it finished, and went back and tweaked things, changed bits, added silly references in, and messed around.

Despite being horribly late, they liked it enough to still show it during the event as a non-competitive entry, and it got a good reception, hurrah!

The issue is this: with all the changes and rehashes I made, I’m not entirely sure it still has any point or sense to it. It’s still just fun though. I also term it “Anime Characters Typing at Keyboards: The AMV”.

This is my fourth AMV, and my first multi-source video. It was a lot tricker working with so much more choice, yet a subject matter that still narrowed it down to scrabbling for footage. It’s also a far cry from the months I’ve spent on the last two; this video took me under a month to create.

So, yes, the concept? It’s loosely set in a bleak future, where for undescribed reasons, a black monolith decends to Earth bearing only the Org’s logo. Humanity discovers from this divine message that the only way to survive/evolve/reach higher understanding/etc is futher individual talents and creativity with one-man remixes, thus all original team-made content is banished and the editors of the world compete to win… er.. just. win. yeah.

That’s as much sense as it will make; it was meant to be an epic trailer-style AMV event opener, it’s not the same if the fate of the world isn’t at stake now, is it?

By the time I finished, there were over 35 different sources and little one-shot references involved here. That is, however, counting random shots that are totally unrecognisable to the series so guessing those would only be valid to people who know that series far too damned well.

I’ve gone nuts on the Org entry, listing even series I’ve used for little more than a few frames – but even so the non-anime stuff is missing, so the full list is as follows, and I’m ignoring the 2001 reference because it’s only implied. (Logo and website shot)
Arcade Gamer Fubuki (MegaDrive & MegaCD shot)
Battle Programmer Shirase (Lots)
Blue Screen of Death (Self explainatory ;)
Boogiepop Phantom (CD Drive shot)
Chibi-Sadako (2ch Meme, shown on a screen early on coming out of a Game Gear)
DaiCon IV (Earth explosions)
Dai Mahou Touge (Eva ‘AMV UNIT 01’ footage)
Death Note (‘Rotoscoping’ shot and final credit notice)
Dragon Half (Comedy Shot)
Elfen Lied (‘New Order of Remix’ shot)
Excel Saga (CG Explosion)
Flame of Recca (Equipment smashing)
Full Metal Panic (‘No Clue Whatsoever’)
Golden Boy (Lots)
Homestarrunner/Strongbad (Headbanging keyboard)
Honey & Clover (‘Drama’ shot, and random keyboard scene)
Ichigeki Sacchuu! Hoihoi-san (On Strongbad’s broken screen)
Law of Ueki (Eva MAGI transition scene)
Lemon Demon (CD in MegaCD drive)
Machinae Supremacy (CD in CD drive)
Still Seeing Breen (G-Man sequence)
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Lots.)
Midori no Hibi (On screen in Paranoia Agent clip)
My Dear Marie (Old-style computer monitor paired with Dragon Half)
Netrunmon (Exhausted computer users)
Neon Genesis Evangelion (Lots.)
One Piece (On BPS’s screen, aerial explosion at start)
OS-Tan / Trouble Windows (On Haruhi’s screen early on)
Pale Cocoon (Random futuristic computer usage)
Paranoia Agent (Shocked digital artist shot, and mouse-flinging)
Read or Die OAV (Projector shot)
Samurai Girl Real Bout High School (‘Action’ shot)
Shuffle! (‘Suspense’ and ‘Lipsync’ shots)
To Heart – Heart Fighters (Apocalyptic crater scene)
Ultra Maniac (Random keyboard usage)
Witch Hunter Robin (Random laptop screen used for ‘Suspense’ shot)
Yakitate!! Japan (On Pale Coccoon screen)

A few random ones in there, the dark screens with the Half Life G-Man on? That’s cut from Still Seeing Breen, a music video edited by Paul Marino, and its presence is my little shout-out to the Machinima community.

Chibi-Sadako is indeed Sadako from The Ring films, only in cute chibi-form as a somewhat old 2ch/4chan meme. I still find the concept of taking the most forlorn undead horror film character and turning her into a cute girl coming out of mobile phones and Game Gears is oddly hilarious.

OS-tans – Similar, but turning different OS versions into cute mascots instead, in this case the girls representing Windows XP, 2000, ME, 98SE and Norton Antivirus in the background ;)

Machinae Supremacy and Lemon Demon, their appearances feel a little too obvious ;) Still, both are hewn from stones of pure awesome, very different stones, but hey. They are in no way a hint towards possible soundtracks of future videos, nope.

DaiCon IV – Well, if you don’t know about it, brush up on your anime history dammit.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

All that junk aside, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. Please check your brain in at the door, turn the lights off, bump the speakers up and please pretend to be awed.

Surprisingly for something only meant as a competition opener, it won more than anything else of mine!

** Anime Weekend Atlanta 12, Expo Contest — Best Parody Winner **
** Viewers Choice Awards 2007 — Best Fun Winner **
** Viewers Choice Awards 2007 — Best Trailer Winner **
** Viewers Choice Awards 2007 — Best Instrumental Winner **

I got the prize about two years later :P Though everything in the box was pink and girly XD

But I got an AMV badge so it’s all good.


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AMV: Sail On

Alright, this is the big one. The six-month beast I’m still actually genuinely proud of making.

So here it is, after months of solid panic. After Narutrix I got challenged a lot to try an actual action AMV rather than the ‘soft option’ of a trailer, and well, I had one planned anyway..

One Piece is an epic series, long running and always fresh, but it hasn’t got the best recognition this side of the pond, barely anyone here had heard of it a year or two ago. Its art style takes more than a little getting used to, and betrays its underlying awesomeness. So here I’m trying to expose a little of that! Do note this is from the original One Piece, not the hacked up American dub version with water pistols, cork guns and no blood. or plot.

This video follows the song largely. as a whole it’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride: you sit back, and let it take you.. or something. Hopefully if you haven’t seen the series it shouldn’t be too confusing, that’s the aim anyway. For those who have seen it, it’s a small slice of profiling the characters, and showing the general pace, action and style of the series, leading to their entry to the Grand Line. That said, I’ve taken footage from all over the shop, even from some of the bleeding-edge raws out at the time.

Fans will be happy to note: This video contains no spoilers, no desert walking, no gratuitous food eating, no annoying filler kids who hate pirates, and above all, no Apis and no sennenryu. Oddly enough it also has no Vivi, huh.. That wasn’t intentional o.O It also lacks Crocodile, I just couldn’t fit him in without spoiling or it not really fitting the video. I also apologise for lack of Jango and Crocus, one day they shall feature in a video of mine, I swear it!

Anything spoilerous in this vid I’ve made sure is completely stripped of context ;) It shouldn’t ruin anything, except possibly *that thing* that the third opening spoils for everyone anyway -_-;;

Sadly Chopper and Robin do feature reasonably little, neither get particularly good action sequences for the most part.. Chopper always ends up looking pretty silly when he’s not going absolutely ballistic, and Robin mostly.. stands there. Great when you’re watching the series, but out of context? looks weak. Apologies to their fans.

The song itself is cool, though makes a lot of references to “the line”, which is damned useful to match to the Grand Line, a large plot point of the series. How handy.

Random facts! For this video I prepared and cut 3,598 clips from 171 separate episodes (not all in sequence), 6 movies and 2 specials. Along with the 5 openings, 15 endings, and 3 game openings I have lying around. There’s also a few chunks of scanned manga and artbook material there too. Along with a random Chopper plushie image thieved from a google image search, because dammit I can’t find a nice Oda coloured picture of the little guy.

That was a clip harvesting run aimed at any future vids I may make though, fret not.. I’m not that mad. This video used approximately 120 clips, from 66 episodes and three of the movies. Plus stills and other bits.

I’ve gone with the vobs -> avisynth script -> segmented avisynth scripts -> mediastudio approach here, so I can turn ivtc and video cleaning filters on and off with a text file, and keep filesizes to a minimum. I had to write a small java program to convert the full VirtualDub jobs list into all the separate avs files, and compile those into fake AVIs for mediastudio.. Ick. It worked in the end though. MediaStudio was not a happy bunny at all, mind. Occasionally it would just decide that all AVS files were, in fact, blank. Restarts were required. Often.

This project was also set back by a hard drive death, due to overheating in the summer, and I’ve had to recompile all the source files three times now -_- (note: make that four. new raws o/) It wasn’t even my hard drive, dammit..

Special thanks to Dythim and the K-F crew for helping me track down those elusive creditless openings, and other bits of help offered, you guys rock.

Thanks to istiv studios too, for inspiring me to track down Masterplan’s album after watching Shounen Bushido :P

Also thanks to those who actually stayed throughout the entire AyaCon AMV exhibition since this was the last one shown :) Damn that room was a lot less full than when it started..

Edit: This is not a freakin’ “all lip-sync video”, in total, counting even the most obtuse of scenes, there’s maybe 20 seconds of what could concievably be called lipsynced footage, 20 out of 285. Smooth, people.

Answers to most common questions:

Yes the song is actually called Sail On, as is the video. I sucked at coming up with an original name, and yes the Masterplan album it’s on is also called Masterplan. Originality all around, people.

If there’s a clip you don’t recognise, chances are it’s either from the Water 7 arc, or it’s from movie 6. What little I could use of movie 6.

Easter egg: see if you can spot why I had to add sweatdrops to Going Merry as they fly off the top of Reverse Mountain ;)

And an easier one: Guess whose hand is grabbing the Gold Roger scroll near the beginning? It’s not Luffy’s, I had to recolour it to look like it was.

Later awarded Best Action / Horror at AnimeDestiny 2005, for which I got the shinest trophy ever:

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AMV: The Narutrix Re-ninja’d

Yeah, I’m responsible for this one.  Infamy gained +100!

So here’s the Narutrix Re-ninja’d, which was pretty much the working title I never changed. I’ve also heard it called Enter the Narutrix and such too. It’s basically a typical AMV parody trailer; a mashup of an original movie trailer with anime footage stuck on top. In this case, it’s the final theatrical trailer for Matrix Reloaded (not Revolutions, people) synced to footage from the anime series Naruto, which involves Ninjas, special moves, mystical energy, sharp pointy throwy things, and NO ACCURSED CARS! Ahem.

For the uninitiated, this means I’ve got the original audio from the trailer, complete with music, sound effects, little speech clips, all the stuff that makes you want to watch that film you just saw a trailer for in the cinema really. Then, instead of the actual film of Neo slapping multiple Agent Smiths about, I’ve got little animated ninjas.. Um. Yeah.

To the experienced AMV viewer, it’s more of the same, yet another Matrix trailer parody with footage from the current most-popular-must-make-amv-from series of the last year or so. Naruto is amazingly popular, and despite all it’s faults and pitfalls, is actually quite stylish and a complete joy to edit from.

So yeah, not the most original and unique concept, but it made me laugh and that’s all I need to start making the thing ;) I’ve always been a fan of well-made trailers or adverts, so I’ve always planned to do at least one AMV parody, there may well be more ;)

If you’ve not seen/heard/cared about Naruto before, the concept is set in a world full of ninjas, there’s whole villages full of them, except they just don’t dress like ninjas. Black on black stealth suits? Nah. Bright orange jumpsuits and bright red dresses are in fashion for ninjas these days. That aside, they’re ninjas because of all the mystical energy they can focus and use to do special techniques. The main character, being the reckless muppet type, discovers the ability to clone himself and perform group smackage of the current opponent with just himself. Sound familiar?

Put this together with the line “So now he’s found a way to copy himself?”, and you get the idea. Also his best-friend/worst-rival archetype is very much a moody Neo type, he moods, he broods, he wears black. He also gets more ‘cool’ screentime than anyone else in the entire series ;) Add into the mix the token love interest as Trinity, the kung-fu lord above all Rock Lee as Seraph, random old wise woman as the Oracle, hard-ass slightly disillusioned ninja Anko as Niobe, and of course the wise-talking Third Hokage as Morpheus, and you’ve got yourself a cast.

I’ve rewritten this so many times and it still sounds stupid ;) So yeah, the Lee/Sasuke thing. I wanted Lee to be Seraph, but he doesn’t get any lines in this trailer, so I messed about with it – having Lee doing the opening lines made the Naruto/Lee battle blend much easier and all, but yes technically it does make it look like Sasuke and lee are both Neo ;) My bad. Apologies.

I kinda wanted it to be both to Naruto fans and people who may not like Naruto at all, simply because it was going to be aired to a room full of both.. So it had to be generic, non-spoilery, funny, and generally “yeah I’m using Naruto footage but it’s good anyway” :p

Timing is my specialty so it is pretty heavily focused on that; lipsyncing, punches connecting, things going boom, the usual. It follows the original trailer reasonably closely for the most part, but diverges at the end because the voice parts had stopped and it was just a chance to show off some of the better sequences from Naruto; I’ve kinda specifically avoided the cheesier or less well animated scenes where I could.

To clarify, it’s as much of a Naruto advertisement as it is a Matrix parody; you’ll see what I mean at the end :P Even for such a popular series I like to at least show a few teaser scenes to make more people go see it..

This video won over the popularity vote and the Judges’ decision at AmeCon 2004, and I was awarded a Rei-in-the-bathtub soap dish, yay ;)


Also it was awarded Best Trailer in the 2005 Viewers Choice Awards, and made it to the finals in Best LipSync too, which was unexpected to say the least.. It’s also been linked from BoingBoing which put my traffic through the roof, as well as ending up on iFilm’s Viral Video list.. I officially made something viral, yay?

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AMV: Thissu Kissu

The tenth anniversary of the UK’s longest running anime convention, MinamiCon, heralded it’s first AMV competition, a minor event in it’s playlist but one that sounded worth trying for.

The con is known for being the cute happy UK con, it allows people of all ages, and tries to maintain a general family-happy fluffy aura, so preferred videos would have to match that nature. Keeping such in mind, I trawled around random music I’ve had laying around for years, and came across a song I still don’t think is very good, but it’s highly adept at forcing itself into your skull and never, ever, leaving.

It matches the happier side of KareKano very well, so it seemed it’s destiny was already chosen. One thing about entering a competition that isn’t due for about 9 months: Don’t forget when the exact final entries day is. Or at least remember to check more than 5 days before it expires! 2 days of work, followed by three days of caffienated beverages and not even getting near my bed, I finished this video just in time to be mailed special delivery to make it in on time. It wasn’t intended to be a winning video, I just wanted a nice solid clean start as what’s technically my first actual AMV.

The winning video did blow it out of the air, but it stood very well against the rest of the opposition.. Next time, Gadget, next time!!

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