For a while now I have been thinking of doing one of these and I mentioned
it as a goal for this year.
I recently finished the main anime adaptation of Legend of the
Galactic Heroes and it was very disappointing to me the series has such
little visibility amongst English anime viewers. Granted its age and its MIA
English localization probably play the largest role in its lack of popularity.
That said I wanted to do a little something for a show more people should
watch, to that end my first AMV.
For those not familiar with the format, an AMV is a series of anime clips
set to music. Sometimes they tell a story, or showcase some
or are just funny.
I wanted to make an AMV that covered roughly the events of the first half of
the series (episodes 1 – 53 to be exact). I did not want a flat retelling of
events though so I themed it or focused it around the relationship between
Reinhard (blonde hair) and Kircheis (red hair). To those not familiar to the
series, they are childhood friends who set out to conquer the galaxy.
For the music I wanted something that fit the feel of the series. The show
makes extensive use of famous classical music, mostly Beethoven. While not
classical I went with Time To Say Goodbye,
sung by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. I like the mournful nature of the
song and the interspaced use of English. I did not want to go with a poppy
contemporary piece as it would be jarring with the visuals of the series.
Now that I have given a brief summary I am going to provide some commentary
on parts of the AMV.
00:00-00:22, I wanted to start big to give a good scale the series works
with. A shot of the galaxy to begin with and with each strum I narrow the shot
until we focus on the ship of our two main characters and then the characters
themselves. The preceding shots show a vast battle taking place until we fade
out to the end result of the battle, lots of ship wreckage. Not a huge fan of
the fade, but it does its job. These scenes are mostly from early episodes so
we see a very young Admiral Reinhard.
00:25, Shot of the Odin, the capital of the Empire. Its not important that
you know that, but series fans probably recognize it.
00:25-00:31, I wanted to establish that Reinhard is important within the
Empire, but still not the leader. The scene shows him being honored for the
battle we saw in the beginning.
00:32, Start of the flashback. Need to establish the long relationship
between Reinhard and Kircheis that started when they were young.
00:38-00:46, This scene with the bully helps establish both Reinhard’s
aggressive nature and how Kircheis is always there to help Reinhard out. The
rock beating scene also nicely matches up with the music. At times I think it
is a bit humorous, but I resisted changing it.
00:47-00:58, These are some scenes set after the bully time frame, but still
when Reinhard and Kircheis were young. I wanted to convey Reinhard ambitious
nature and I like the imagery of the gun shooting into space that fades into
his ship in full action. As you can tell I like fades. There is an important
subplot to the series involving Reinhard’s sister that these scenes are
important to, but it is not important for the story I am telling.
00:58-01:12. Easy call here to tie Kircheis’s death to the first “Time to
Say Goodbye” lyric. It is perhaps a bit quick setup after the flashback, but it
is really important that death and lyric are timed up well. This is a pretty
big spoiler for people who have not seen the series and arguably the most
important event in the entire series.
01:22, I went back and forth on including this somewhat gratuitous death
clip. It is a bit jarring, but I think it works. Kind of quick flashback that
Reinhard is contemplating.
01:25-01:43, Second flashback showing a bit more of Kircheis interacting
with Reinhard and doing his own thing. As a side not we can really see the jump
in quality across some of the early episodes in these flashbacks. After the
series came out some episodes were remastered so the quality can be all over
01:45, Its debatable if we need this shot of just the gravestone as the
earlier scene basically covers what we need to do, but I like lingering here a
01:49, The locket is a very important item to the series so I had to get a
shot of it here. You can see it also includes his sister who is important to
the story, but I ignore here.
01:50. Kircheis in the stars may be too cliche, but its from the series and
bookends this section of the AMV nicely.
01:53-01:56, The music changes and I need to jump a bit chronologically and
show how Reinhard has increased in power in the Empire. The scenes with the
crowd accomplishes this.
01:57-2:01, This scene is a bit clunky. I want to convey again how in charge
Reinhard is and setup the rest of the AMV, but we linger, perhaps too long, on
02:05, I love this shot of Reinhard and all the ships engines. As a side
note that is Mariendorf next to him. She becomes pretty important around the
half way mark of the series.
02:06-02:13, This is the planet Fezzan, a planet not in the Empire nor the
Free Planets Alliance (FPA). The two major antagonists in the show. It is one
of the first planets Reinhard takes on his campaign. It is a relatively quick
battle which I used to convey the size of Reinhard’s fleet in action.
02:14-02:19, Some of the most well drawn scenes in the series. Bookends
Reinhard’s conquest of Fezzan.
02:20-02:25, Maybe the cheesiest part of the AMV. That is an actual scene
from the anime so I went with it. Also you can see the locket again which is
02:26-02:45, Lot of ships again. Start to show some large battles with the
FPA, but nothing decisive.
02:52-03:19, Again we return to Reinhard’s ship and then show his decisive
involvement in a battle. Lots of FPA ships blowing up climaxing in a nice large
explosion. I cheat a bit and take a lot of battle clips from across the series,
but we need a lot of different shots here and frankly a lot of these battle
shots look the same.
03:20-03:23, Good scene to show after Reinhard’s great success. You can see
how lonely he is on the empty bridge and it contrasts well with the first shot
of him and Kircheis from the beginning.
03:24, This is Heinessen, home planet of the FPA, after being captured by
03:26-03:27, This is a shot of Yang Wen-li, Reinhard’s counterpart in the
FPA. He is super important, but not covered at all in this AMV. I wanted to at
least give him a quick showing and I think these two rapid beats help introduce
him as the adversary nicely.
03:28, Real cool shot of both of their massive fleets converging.
03:28-03:41, Start of the battle, lots of fireworks to show the scale, but
nothing to show who will win.
03:41, Maps again! Its hard to convey how the battle is going so I went with
maps (which the series likes using too) to show things going against Reinhard.
This shot also has Yang in the middle.
03:44-03:51, Might be asking too much of a person not familiar with the
series, but I need to convey the battle turning in Yang’s favor. Showing the
map of a fleet disintegrating, FPA ships firing, and a lot of Empire ships
exploding hopefully conveys this. It might be difficult to get if you cannot
distinguish the different sides ships at this point.
03:54, Great scene of the Empire ships moving to defend Reinhard’s ships.
Hopefully conveys how desperate the battle is going.
03:55, Another really excellent scene of Reinhard having the ships guarding
his front explode.
04:01, And here we are end of the AMV. This shot is the best in the series
and what motivated me to do this AMV. I love the giant imposing FPA ship
bearing down on Reinhard. Its awesome and in my opinion, a a great ending with
the sudden cut to black.
The thing about that ending scene is, its a massive cheat. The very next
second that ship gets blown out by the timely arrival (in true anime fashion)
of Admiral Muller’s fleet. I admit its deceitful, but I really just wanted a
nice cliffhanger to end on to motivate people to watch the series.
Lets wrap up with a quick tool discussion.
All of my editing was done with Sony Vegas 13. I like it a lot since its
relatively simple to use. I am sure other editors like Final Cut are just as
good, but I have been fiddling with Vegas for a bit now and I know how to do
what I want. The only real issue I had was the video sources. I was using files
in MKV format and Vegas cannot handle those files. I had to convert each
episode I wanted to use from MKV to MP4. I did this using Handbrake which is dirt simple. It was a tedious
work around, but it got the job done. I will leave you with a shot of all the
clips in the editor. You can see I like to have a lot of clips lying around so
I can mix and match and see what works.