Just like last year I have
created another video for Connecticon.
This time, instead of an AMV, I made an FMV (fan music video). This translates
to using a live action video source instead of an anime one. Go on and give it
a gander. It may not
have won any awards, but I like it.
I approached this piece differently than my last one. At first I was
planning on making a far more simple video than before. The last one was very
drama/story focused and I wanted something a little less involved and easier to
grok. Something more actiony and less reliant on knowing the story of a
particular series. I already knew I wanted to use the song I went with after
remembering its use in Metropolis. As far as the
video source, I was not quite sure. I knew I needed something with a lot of
action, but I did not want to do something very well known (e.g. Attack on
Titan or Black Lagoon). I want my videos to not only be entertaining, but also
to highlight less known works. That is when I remembered Ran. This is not the most
obscure film, but it is not super well known or talked about either. Based on
the Shakespeare play, King Lear, it is about a Japanese warlord who divides his
kingdom amongst his three sons. Two of the sons betray the father who goes mad,
only to be rescued by his third son. It is an engaging film, with vibrant
colors, devastating battle scenes, and masterful direction by one of Japan’s
great filmmakers: Akira
Initially, I was thinking that just setting the battle scenes to music would
make a pretty good action entry. In preparation for making FMV, I printed out a
copy of the lyrics and rewatched the film, taking notes and marking time stamps
of scenes I wanted to use. As I started to string clips together I naturally
progressed to a more story focused video, like my last one. The actions scenes
did work well set to the music, but If I had used just those scenes for the
whole thing, I would be stretched thin clip-wise. Kurosawa is a skilled
director which means he is not one to linger for too long, so there is not a
whole lot to work with. That is when I started going for more of a storytelling
The cold opening (0:00-0:0:15): I really like the opening. Most AMVs/FMVs do
not do that. They just go straight into the music and video. I toyed with
making this part SUPER long because I like the idea of people sitting there
wondering what is going on, but I did not want people getting too bored. It is
a real fantastic scene from the movie and I just had to put it somewhere.
Start of the music (0:16) The dichotomy of the violent murder of the King’s
entourage and the feel good lyrics of the song is a really dissonant in a good
way, IMHO. It sets the tone early on that this is going to be a weird piece of
work, with the song and images constantly at odds.
Flashbacks(0:29-0:0:38) I wanted to put more in here, but there is very
little time in the song to allow for that. This does an acceptable job of
providing some back story, but it was a concern of mine that this would not be
enough. It is hard to judge how understandable the story is since the audience
is probably unfamiliar with the film, but I am intimately familiar.
King’s guard bleeding out(0:55) Again, the song and pictures should be at
war with each other. This is a scene I really like which highlights the
dichotomy at plan.
King picks flowers(2:41) I love this cut. The King is really happy (in a mad
way) in this scene, but it is totally at odds with the scene that came
Son comes to king’s aid(2:59) It is a bit on the nose, since “Blue” in the
context of the song is really about the singer’s emotional state and less about
the color, but as Bob Ross would say, it is a “happy little accident” that this
scene lines up.
Son’s death(4:07) This is a tough one since it is not immediately obvious
what happened. In the movie all you hear is a gunshot from the distance,
context which is lost given all you hear is the music. I left it in since it
sets up the next two scenes, but I am not a huge fan of it. This is the real
struggle of making these videos: trying to convey meaning with the scenes you
King’s death(4:10-4:12) A big peccadillo of mine is flapping lips or any
speech you cannot hear during an AMV or FMV. Unfortunately there is just no way
to cut this scene to avoid that. Yet, if I leave this scene out the funeral
procession next scene makes no sense.
That is it. It took about ~10 hours to do with minimal changes after I made
a first draft. This was a lot quicker than the last one, but I had a lot less
footage to work with and a much stronger theme. I hope you like it. I will try
again next year and see if I can get an award this time around.