May 26, 2007

The Kanon Project, Update #6: "...Angel." is RELEASED!

It's now official...
It's finally here!
...has gone gold!

If you're a member of AMV.org, the 43mb file can be found and downloaded HERE.

If you're NOT a member, then Jeff Lawson has been kind enough to host a copy over at Hop Step Jump, where he also has a very kind blogpost on the video as well.

It's been quite the project, making this video. From the moment it first jumped to life in my head, to today around 330pm Pond Time, it's about nine weeks or so.

I started out with no clue how to use Premiere, or for that matter, how to use any sort of real video editing software (I had played with Windows Movie Maker a couple of times, and MGI Videowave 4, which was such a discouraging program that I wanted to take the cd-rom it was on and go target-shooting).

But even before that, I had to learn how to use VirtualDub, so as to be able to take the beautiful RAWs (from l33t-raws) of Kanon 2006 and chop them into workable clips. I made a couple of fundamental mistakes in so doing, both of which would bite me on the tailfeathers down the road...

THEN, I had to learn the ins-and-outs of Premiere. Not just the simple placing and trimming of clips; that's relatively straightforward. No, it's things like the settings for output, what each transition does (and how), opacity, running clips backwards, and just about anything else you can think of... that's what I had to learn.

Unfortunately, on my first attempt, I got SO confused with what I was doing that I burned the whole Premiere project to the ground and started over. Turns out that might have been the best thing for me, as I then had a 'trial run' under my belt. Things got a lot smoother from then on. Except for one of those two mistakes I mentioned earlier popped up, and caused me to tear my feathers out. I had consistently made my source clips too 'tight'. This made it difficult to manipulate them as I needed to, and in some cases forced me to go back and recreate the clips from the original RAWs... and I didn't take notes on where things were. Oops.

Of course, it helped that whenever I had a question (or two/four/whatever), I had a tech guru, in the form of Jeff Lawson of 'Hop Step Jump!' Jeff, who's made a slew of AMVs, was able to explain the answers to all my questions... in English, no less, as opposed to technicalese. He took the time to do all this, even though he was about to change jobs and move to a new abode. I can't thank him enough for that.

Just as everything was going smoothly, and I was nigh on finished with "...Angel", the second mistake appeared, and caused a three-day delay. I had created the clips at a frame rate of 29.97 per second (NTSC standard)... and Premiere hated trying to output at that. So much so that some clips (like the last 30 seconds of the video, and the credit sequence, and even some bits of the audio tracks) just... disappeared. I'd render the video, and those clips would just show up as black space.

Not knowing that 29.97fps was bad (and Premiere listed it as an option for output, though that might just have been because that's what my clips were at), I had no way of diagnosing the problem... and because my tech guru was halfway across the country, he had no idea I had used a wonky frame rate to solve my problem, either. It was just luck that I stumbled on the solution at random.

Then it went out to the betatesters; the Lord of the Mu/MeeNuVians hizzownself and the president of the Duck U. Anime Club, who is known as 'The Accountant', gave me good feedback, and Jeff sent me a two-page document going scene-by-scene (more or less). All of their input was incredibly valuable, and led to a revision, which then got revised again into the final version you can download today.

*phew*

Now, about the video itself. If you've seen Kanon 2006, you know how it ends. But what happens to Yuuichi, Ayu and Nayuki AFTER the show is over? Well, "...Angel" could be one of the possibilities. Yuuichi and Ayu have split up for one or another reason, and both have hooked up with other people (Yuuichi with Nayuki, much to her delight, and Ayu with... well, you'll find out). Then one night, the phone rings...

If you've never seen Kanon 2006, it'll all make sense, I think. I've shown it to three people who've never seen the show, and they got it right off the bat.

It's not a groundbreaking video by any means. There's no new techniques or startling special effects... just (I think) good storytelling. And without that, all the SFX in the world couldn't make this AMV work. The only SFX I could use would be to composite Ayu into one particular scene; it could be done, with the right programs, but it'd be gloss, and it's not vital to the piece at all.

If you do watch "...Angel", think about leaving a comment at AMV.org or here, or at Jeff's place. If you don't like it, PLEASE leave a comment here, or at Jeff's place, or at The Org. I won't be able to improve without critiques.

Total time involved? Probably in the vicinity of 120-150 hours, maybe as high as 180. For every night I didn't work on it, there were nights that I put 5 or 6 hours in. As I told Jeff, "I don't care if it wins awards... I just don't want it to suck."

It doesn't.

So what are you waiting for? Download it already!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:49 PM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
Post contains 981 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Most impressive, Wonderduck!

Glad I finally got to see it. The effort you put in shows - it is very polished. Hopefully the learning curve you experienced will make the next one much easier and less time consuming.

I'll admit I didn't quite figure out the Yukito angle, though. I guess I need to watch it again.

Great job! You know that I'm not a particularly big fan of Kanon, nor really of that song normally, but you made them both work well together and the AMV was very enjoyable to watch.

Posted by: astro at May 26, 2007 02:41 PM (q4NkN)

2 Listen to the lyrics at that point, 'Stro... all should become clear.

For what it's worth, Jeff had the same problem you did... I tried to change the scene, but couldn't figure out a way to do so and still make myself happy.

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 26, 2007 03:36 PM (2nDll)

3 Not too shabby, especially for a first effort. (Beats the hell out of mine, but that's not saying much unfortunately. *wry grin*)

I think that if one doesn't read your introductory blurb, the plot of the AMV is a bit obscure. It looks more like an Ayu fanvideo (once the initial setup sequence is past) than an actual story, though that may be by simple virtue of the fact that it was probably hard to come up with enough of the right kind of footage to support the concept.

Overall? Not bad. Here's hoping you're similarly inspired again some time soon so we can see how your skills progress.

Posted by: GreyDuck at May 26, 2007 03:57 PM (CdXfx)

4 Speaking as someone who is a big fan of Kanon, I liked it. Technically, it's quite impressive for someone who had never done anything like this before. As you mentioned, it doesn't use a lot of effects, but they're well-executed where they are used. Timing seems a wee bit off in places, but that may just be me.

On the artistic side of things, it feels pretty conventional. All the iconic clips one would expect to see in an Ayu-centric video are here--biting into the taiyaki, colliding with the tree, sprouting wings and the rest. Not that sticking to convention is at all bad (it's probably the best way to go for your first video), but as someone whose favorite AMVs tend to be more unconventional I can't get all that enthusiastic about it. Nothing that I can fault you for, really, just a difference in taste.

All that said, watching it multiple times in order to form an opinion wasn't at all difficult, and I'm looking forward to your next project. Well done!

Posted by: Andrew F. at May 26, 2007 04:17 PM (ncbLS)

5 *quack*
I like. Yuuichi and Nayuki as an implied item doesn't really rub me the right way, them being cousins and what-not. I never got any kind of a romance vibe from either of those two in the show. Makoto may have been a better choice because of her genuine crush on Yuuichi, but finding approriate scenes between them prior to her becoming, (well, you know) would have been difficult. Otherwise everything else is quite solid. You managed to turn down Ayu's toothaching cuteness enouch to make a serious video.

Just a little aside about that song. Girls love that song, which to my mind can only mean they all consider themselves the mistress, not the woman being cheated on. How screwed up is that?

Posted by: Will at May 26, 2007 06:50 PM (olS40)

6 Nice for a first-time. I'm in the middle of making my first video as well, so your video has been helpful.

That said, I hate the premise of your video, but liked everything else.

Yea, I'm a Nayuki person.

Posted by: omo at May 27, 2007 01:32 AM (gHLqv)

7 Will says "I never got any kind of a romance vibe from either of those two in the show."

Not from Yuuichi, no. Nayuki, on the other hand, practically lives for him during the show.

Omo says "I hate the premise of your video..."

Can you expand or explain, Omo?

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 27, 2007 01:53 AM (2nDll)

8 The only thing I didn't like about it was that Yukito was with Ayu. I'm a Misuzu and Yukito fan.

Posted by: Madame at May 27, 2007 04:51 AM (wkF7L)

9 Awesome video! I have to say that not only is it a stunning first effort, but it's amazing, period.

One other thing you've done, perhaps unintentionally, is showcase why KyoAni fanboys rave about the art.

Posted by: ubu roi at May 27, 2007 12:44 PM (II3cW)

10 Nothing unintentional about it, Ubu. I'M a KyoAnimaniac.

...and welcome back!

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 27, 2007 02:06 PM (2nDll)

11 Not from Yuuichi, no. Nayuki, on the other hand, practically lives for him during the show.

I'm not entirely certain about that. Ther was certainly affection there, but I can't tell how much of it was romantic or familial. To me they seemed to play the roles of older-brother to younger-sister. If/when I decide to go through the show a second time, I'll keep an eye out.

The problem is pretty much all the girls live for Yuuichi, which I think is part of what drives a lot of people away from the show. It's a harem show with angst, sorrow, and dread instead of eichi, nosebleeds, and the funny.

Posted by: Will at May 27, 2007 05:12 PM (olS40)

12 Will, did we watch the same show? I don't think it's a harem show at all. Yes, there's multiple girls. One at a time.

There's also a ton of funny... 'woof'.

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 27, 2007 05:17 PM (h/YdH)

13 We did watch the same show, but we are seeing different things in it.

There are multiple girls, and early on, they are all vying for some of small bits of Yuuichi's time. The difference between this and other harem shows (and it may be what disqualifies it from harem status) is that the girls are spread out and never get into catfights over him. And the more I think about it, Yuuichi's somewhat distant oniichan attitude toward most of the girls diffuses a lot of conflict.

It was a forgone conclusion who he would pick, and I don't think he felt anything truly romantic for any of the girls until his memories fully returned at the end. By that point, all the other girls had dropped out one by one, because none of them ever stood a real chance in the first place.

I'd never had any exposure to Kanon prior to watching this, so I had no idea what was coming. I puzzled out pretty early that something terrible had happened to Ayu and that it had tainted Yuuichi's realtionship with all these other girls. That made most of the light little moments sprinkled throughout the show more bitter-sweet than fun for me.

I'm going to have to write a bit more of this down somewhere. It'll get filed right next to the second half of the Seikai novel review I have yet to finish.

Posted by: Will at May 28, 2007 04:55 AM (olS40)

14 Generally explaining jokes ruin them, so I'll refrain and hopefully you will get what I mean.

Posted by: omo at May 28, 2007 03:54 PM (gHLqv)

15 As my name would suggest, I love the 2006 version of Kanon! In fact, it was what got me into watching anime on a regular basis

Love the song, clips fit well except Yurito....totally didn't pick up on that angle....which resulted in a WTF kind of moment lol......

Also, if you want the video to be viewed as a story, I think you have to have that introduction attached somewhere when you post it on websites

Overall, I give it an 8/10.......the score would probably be higher if I hadn't been hoping against hope for a Nayuki ending lol .......Although it will never happen, it would be awesome to see a Yuiichi x Nayuki OVA

@ Will:

Nayuki DEFINITELY has a thing for Yuiichi ....It's a common theme in a drama/harem show.... (ex. Kouta and Yuka in Elfen Lied)

Posted by: Kanon_fan82 at May 29, 2007 01:06 AM (X4Eu+)

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