Engineering Projects

Loading 7.5mm 1882 Ordnance: My Process

Author’s note: I posted this on a
local reloading forum
. I am reproducing it here in the hopes that someone trying to do what I did can learn from my experience.

I recently bought a Model 1887 Swedish Nagant and I of course wanted to shoot it. This revolver shoots 7.5mm 1882 Ordnance. It
was used by the Swiss and Swedish, so you will see the country names used interchangeably when searching for information online. You can buy smokeless powder rounds from a few specialty places, but I wanted to shoot a round as close to the original as I could,
which means its time for the holy black. I also get weirded out shooting smokeless powder in guns designed for black powder. To that end, here is how I went about loading 7.5. As always, you take your life into your own hands following my instructions. I could not find any load data in my books so my process is an amalgamation of everything I found online.

First I bought a bunch of 32-20 brass. This is going to be our parent case. I have a Lyman universal trimmer with an adapter for a power drill which I used to trim the cases down. Go slow and trim each case to a length of 0.89 inches. You especially need to be careful as you trim past the shoulder on the case. If I went too fast the cutter would push the last end of the shoulder into the case and mess up the case. After all the cutting was done I used a case prep tool to clean up the mouths.

Once you have the cases prepped, you are going to need some bullets. I went with 310 Cadet bullets from  Matt’s Bullets. These are heeled bullets like the original cartridge uses. Ideally I would have bought the mold, but the molds were going for $70 or so and you can get 500 bullets for a little less than that (lubed too). Diameter wise it is between the original Swiss (.315) and Swedish (.327) bullet diameter.

Now you are ready to reload. For my load I used CCI small pistol primers and 11 gains of 2F black powder (GOEX) topped off with a .32″ diameter, .025″ thick card from Track of the Wolf. Ideally I would have liked to put a lube disc on top of the charge and before the card, but there was not enough space left in the case. I did not use a drop tube, but you could probably ring some more space out that way if
you had one.

Now, you could spring for the correct 7.5 dies, but they were pretty
expensive and hard to find, so I jury rigged a solution using some cheaper dies. I seated the bullet using a 32 short (32 S&W) seating die. Do not press too hard or you can crush the case given this is a heeled bullet. Once the bullet is seated I put a riser on the press like the ones you find in a bullet resizing kit. Then I screwed a 30-30 WIN crimp die all the way down. If you put a bullet on the riser you can get it high enough into the crimp die to crimp the bullet in place. You need a crimp or otherwise I found you could easily pull the bullet out with your hands. Running the crimp die all the way down probably gives you more crimp then you need, so your may want to experiment with a little less crimp than I used.

Shooting wise, it seemed a little anemic, but it went bang. I am not a great shot with revolvers, but it was hitting the target at 10 yards so I was happy.

Anime Projects

Stories for a Dark Night AMV

For your pleasure here.

My sixth AMV, submitted to Anime Boston 2019, ConnetiCon 2019, and PopCult
Anime Con 2019, but never accepted to the finals. A far more experimental piece
than the other ones I have done. I really liked the idea of poems set to anime
and music and it is cool to have a bit of a compilation of them in one video.
It is kind of like a very quick anthology film. It was an interesting project
to work on as I only had the poems to start with and thus a lot of time was
spent finding the correct anime and music to go along with them. Originally, I
thought to frame the narrative as if it was one long night, but I ended up
carrying on into the morning as I did not have enough “night campfire” footage
to work with. Overall, I am very happy with the final work, but, as it the
norm, I wish more people liked it.

Director’s Notes: 00:00: I like starting AMVs out with no music. I think
this technique is underutilized. As an overall note, all the sound effects are
from outside anime. Mostly stuff I found on Youtube.

00:19: If you have an eagle eye you can see Rin’s smile stay in place, but
her head turn. She is talking in this scene which wrecked the vibe. I froze the
smile, but I did not bother with trying to move it with the face given how hard
that would be, compared to how minor the error is.

00:23: I tried putting the poem’s title here first, before the actual poem,
but I found I liked them better at the end.

00:26: I watched The Rose of Versailles in preparation for this
AMV when I found I needed something set in an aristocratic period. Pretty good
anime and very forward thinking in some ways.

1:03: Not a huge fan of this clip, but in every AMV you always have a few
seconds where you struggle to find something that works. This clip was ok so I
went with it.

1:31: I never found music for this poem that I was thrilled about. I tried
several songs. What I ended up with was ok, but nothing special.

02:14: The hard cut at the end of this poem arose out of the need to stop
the music and get back to camp site. I tried a couple ways to fade it out, but
they all sounded very abrupt so I went with a thematic hard cut showing Lain
here. It is a neat nod to the show and probably very confusing to those who
have not seen it.

02:33: My favorite of the four poems and the easiest one to do. I love the
poem and I love the anime (Legend of the Galactic Heroes) so it only took me a
few hours to cut this together and it was basically done after that.

03:28-03:32: I love how the white fade out transitions to the sky back at
the campsite.

03:47: There is something very pleasing about that woodpecker in the
distance right around here.

04:38: I like how 8man looks at the audience at the end and how Rin a few
seconds later waves at us.

Anime Projects

Martian Successor Nadesico AMV

For your enjoyment here.

My seventh AMV, submitted to Connecticon 2019 and PopCult Anime Con 2019,
but it made the finals at neither. A bit disappointing it never got traction as
I had hoped to shine some light on an anime that seems sadly forgotten despite
it not being that old. For reference the last AMV I could find using this on
Youtube was from 5/2017. It is even worse on (9/2013).
That said I did operate under the delusion that it was “Martin” Successor
Nadesico for quite some time so, perhaps I needed the refresher. Not my
greatest work, but I am pretty happy with the end product.

Director’s notes: 00:13: I am pretty fond of Yurika’s introduction. I think
it establishes her character fairly succinctly.

00:14-00:16: Some unavoidable talking here, but it is hard to see on a first

00:34: This clip is a little awkward. I wanted to show Akito as a mech pilot
and tie it back to him meeting Yurika (you will notice he has the same shirt
on), but Akito is doing a fair bit of talking here so I had to freeze his face,
but keep the background movement. It works, but he has an odd sort of facial
impression because of it.

00:47-00:52: I like the music and visuals here. Good lull in the music with
a sharp upswing that I think is well complimented by the clips I selected.

01:09: There is more talking in the background here, but I wanted this clip
and it is hard to notice.

01:16: I really like the timing of the horns and the lasers hitting the
Nadesico here.

02:17: A similar thing is at play here with the drum and the shoulder

02:41-03:04: This is probably the weakest part of the AMV. I needed to play
up the relationship of Akito and Megumi in regards to Yurika, but I had a hard
time doing that.

03:13: I love this clip of Yurika struggling in zero-g. This episode had a
lot of scenes like this.

03:22: This is an AMV primarily about Yurika, but I really wanted as much
Yuri as I could get too.

04:11 Not sure about the ending card here. This is the last scene from the
show. It might be a bit much, but I kept it.

Anime Convention Projects

April 15th, A Most Interesting Day

This blog post is talking about my latest work. If you have not
seen it, go do so now or else the following will make little sense.

Another AB, another video submission. Ultimately this entry, along with the
other one I submitted (which I will speak of later), was not accepted into the
finals (sort of). This is the fourth time I have submitted to the contest.
Overall, I stand at two accepted to the finals out of six submissions.
Technically, this was shown at the finals, it was just under “Exhibition” and
not eligible for any awards so I will not count it. Usually, I do a bit of a
textual commentary on specific scenes in the final product, but I experimented
with doing that via the medium of video. This was a
fun diversion as I was joined by longtime friend of the show (and a man
familiar with the visual arts) Patrick
Skehill. We were able to cover a lot of ground and go into more detail than a
normal blog post would cover. I will however reiterate some of that content in
this post.

From a high level perspective I am satisfied with the end product. I had
this idea (along with my other submission) last year and I mentioned it in my
yearly review. At the time
I said the following:

“I have some ideas which are a bit out there as far as my next AMVs go. I am
not sure how that will help me win any more awards, but they should be
different from the usual fare if nothing else.”

That prediction turned out to be pretty spot on. From a production
standpoint, this was my most ambitious and labor intensive project yet. I took
the initial nebulous idea and made a
of all the live action shots I wanted on 7/27. Using this list we
did the live action filming on 8/25. We stuck mostly to the shot list, but we
had a couple diversions (mainly the meeting room scene). Thanks again to
Mr. Skehill for providing the filming equipment, working the camera, and his
acting skills. Following that
I spent the next month (September) getting the live action cut plus the music
in order and ready for me to put the anime in.

For editing, I switched to using Adobe Premiere from Sony Vegas (which I
have done all my other projects on), partly to experiment with other editing
tools and partly to be in the Adobe family for better integration with Adobe
After Effects. Ultimately, I like Vegas more, but Premiere has a number of
features that helped for this specific project. Editing was pretty
straightforward except every live action shot had to be color corrected. We
filmed “flat” so we could have flexibility to set the time of day by altering
the coloring. There are other reasons, but I forgot what they were as this is
not an area I know much about. That said, it was particularly useful for the
scenes that are supposed to be at
(which were all filmed during the day). Additionally, I ended up with
a lot of extra live action footage. It was a good problem to have as it gave me
flexibility in the edit, but It is a shame some cool stuff got dropped.

The anime cutting process started 8/14 (I know this because we put the first
anime clip, the Gundam in the
, in that night before watching the Patriots beat the Chiefs) and
ran right up until I submitted the final project on 2/21. Progress was slow and
remained slow for the entire five months. It turns out cutting clips of anime
out of a myriad of different sources is very time consuming, let alone the
endless time spent trying to find good clips (plus the time lost actually
watching anime when I was supposed to be looking for something to cut out). I
would estimate I spent about 10-15 hours a week on this, with only occasional
bouts of self doubt delaying me.

Using a good quality source with a clear distinction between the background
and the thing I was trying to cut out I could get a good clip (say 1/4 to 1/2 a
second of runtime) in under half an hour. If the clip needs to be longer, or
the quality of the source is poor, or the thing being cut is indistinct from
the background then it would take more time. The most time intensive clips
would be Priss in the garage from
Bubblegum Crisis
and Heintz
walking around the stand in Magnetic Rose
. Both took about six to eight
hours. Given there are 100+ unique anime cutouts, you can do the math. I used
the After Effects rotoscoping tool to accomplish this. This tool is helpful,
but it can have a bit of a mind of its own. In many ways I still do not quite
get this tool or its settings, but I can use it.

Ultimately this was not selected as a finalist. I did try to stay within the
rules, but I think what most likely fouled me up was this rule:

” 75% of the footage in an entry must be from anime or Japanese-origin video
games “

I do contend (and I have the
to prove it) that I have more total anime footage than live action,
but I do respect that this sort of entry was just too far outside the bounds of
the contest. I do however very much appreciate that it was shown as an
Exhibition piece. It is a consolation prize to be sure, but I suppose I should
care more about people seeing what I do then just the accumulation (or chance
thereof) of prizes.

Generally, I am happy with how this turned out and I am pleased a lot of
people saw it and liked it. It was strange to be recognized at the convention,
despite my best efforts, but fun. I do think my next project will be more
traditional though, if only to save my sanity.

Anime Projects

Girls’ Last Tour AMV (Fifth Overall)

You can watch it here.

This was my second entry to Connecticon 2018, but it was not accepted. A bit
of a different take compared to what I normally pursue, this one focused almost
exclusively on a single episode of Girls’ Last Tour, a fairly recent anime. The
episode I used (episode 6) was my favorite of the series and is a great
standalone episode even if you have not seen the series before. For the song I
used “Fly Away” by John Denver. I am not a country music fan, but I felt this
song matches a lot of the themes I was going for both literally (flying away
from some place) and metaphorically (escaping).

Scene Breakdown

00:00 – 00:41: I really like the non-musical opening. It sets the stage of
the world well (which may not be familiar to some of the audience) and quickly
conveys the journey the girls are on. In general I think silence/non-musical
scenes are underutilized in AMVs.

00:47: A bit too quick of a cut here, but there was no other way to get
around it since the characters start talking right after and I like to avoid
seeing that if I can.

01:08: Good sync up with the lyrics and plane image here.

01:12 – 01:13: It is hard to notice, but there is some lip movement here. I
tried to avoid it, but it would mess with the story progression too much if I
cut it. It is hard to notice so I felt it was ok to keep in.

02:10: More lips flaps here, but the scene was too critical so I kept

02:19 – 02:29: I am not sure I was able to convey that the pilot wanted to
escape in these few scenes, but it was the best I could do with the limited
options available. On the last scene (02:29) I actually froze the clip as they
are talking during it.

03:04: I think the animation in the show is average, but I do like the faces
they make from time to time.

03:34: I like the sync between the picture and the song a lot here.

03:58: Continuity error here with the propeller starting in the scene
before, but being stationary here. I felt it was ok to leave in as most people
would not notice and its not really a big deal.


Overall, I am happy it turned out as well as it did and I very much like how
this piece is different in structure than what I normally do. That said, I am
pretty bummed it was not accepted as I felt it was a strong overall piece, but
I cannot say it was better than the actual finalists so I will just have to do
better next year.

Anime Projects

Bubblegum Crisis AMV (Fourth Overall)

You can watch it here.

This piece was my second entry to Anime Boston 2018 and my first entry
Connecticon 2018. It was accepted at neither convention. This AMV is pretty
normal given my past work and is indicative of my general style: poppy music,
oldish anime, ironic lyrics, boarderline extreme violence. I happen to really
like Bubblegum Crisis (the original OVAs, less so for anything after) and MC
Frontalot (who is featured in this song, Robot Party by Supercommuter) so it
was a natural fit to merge both.

Scene Breakdown

00:00 – 00:14: I like this intro a lot. Not a lot of musical cues and it
sets the scene well. Perhaps I could have used some background noise, but I
think the silence is cool and unusual.

00:37: There is a weird white flash here that probably works better in the
anime than it does in this AMV. I thought about removing it, but it seemed best
to leave it in so that scene would not become disjointed and look weird.

00:45 – 00:50: This is one of the first bits I put together and it inspired
the rest of the AMV.

00:55: I consider this AMV to be mostly about robots tearing up a city, but
it can also be seen as a stealth Knight Sabers AMV as they appear in the
background from time to time. Some of the Knight Sabers appear in this scene
for the first time in the AMV.

01:00: I thought the biker sliding during a spin out was a clever match to
the “rotating” lyric.

01:37 – 01:44: Probably the weakest part of the AMV. I wanted to match the
lyrics, but there is nothing available that quite did it so I was left with

01:48 – 01:50: I had to slow this clip down a bit so it would fill out the
lyric, but it looks a bit weird because of it.

01:56: Another Knight Saber appearance.

02:18: I really like how “dance” and the guy flying line up here.

02:23: This is a Knight Saber “sword” here. Nothing else really matched.

02:45 – 02:52 : Pretty obvious Knight Saber scene here which fans of the
show should recognize.

03:45: I considered ending with a tv screen turning off, but it it never
worked well enough to use.


I spent a lot of time gestating this one and I like it a lot. I am surprised
no one else seems to like it, but that seems to be more an indictment of my
taste than others’. Overall I am happy how it turned out.

Anime Projects

Space AMV (Third Overall)

You can watch it here.

Another Anime Boston, another AMV submission. Building off my last accepted work. This time I decided my
best bet at acceptance into the finals was to be on theme. Given the theme was
space I used a lot of modern/sci-fi anime for my first multiple source AMV.
Specifically I used: – Planetes – Legend of the Galactic Heroes – Moonlight
Mile – Space Battleship Yamato 2199 – Royal Space Force: The Wings of
HonnĂȘamise – Freedom Project – Bodacious Space Pirates – Magnetic Rose

For the song I used Melody Sheep’s
Beyond the Horizon
which I edited somewhat to remove a section in the middle that was not fit for
my purposes. I would recommend giving him/her/it a subscription as they produce
a lot of interesting musical content.

I submitted this to Anime Boston 2018 and it was accepted as a finalist in
the “Other”category.
It won “Best Concept”
, my first award ever!

Scene Breakdown

00:00 – 00:04: It just cannot be an AMV without a little Legend of the
Galactic Heroes love.

00:05: This scene is unremarkable except that I had major difficulty with it
in Sony Vegas. Specifically I had issues with Vegas trying to changes its frame
rate. It was very frustrating and it would often render in a stuttering manner
until I sorted it out.

00:017: I spent a long time trying to find the right clip for this scene.
This was the best I could do.

00:18-00:19: I love this shot. It was one of the first clips I used.

00:39-00:40: Not a fan of this shot, but it had to do.

00:55-00:57: These clips are from Royal Space Force and they look gorgeous.
This movie never seemed to got the acclaim it deserves both story wise and
animation wise. A big miss with modern CG is organic looking shots like

01:04-01:23: I went back and forth a lot on this section between trying to
actually find clips of Neptune and just showing planets. I think what I have
works, but it lacking. I wish I did have some Neptune shots. I also am not so
sure that section in the middle that flashes a bunch of planets (01:13-01:16)
works. It just seems choppy.

01:32-01:34: This scene is from Freedom Project and it is one of my favorite
shots in the series. The framing of the ship flying over the moon to the earth
is this AMV in a nutshell.

01:41-01:42: They say you should avoid flappy lips in AMVs, which I agree
with, but I made an exception because if it is just the button press it does
not make a whole lot of sense.

02:06-02:08: Kind of a boring shot, but I did not have anything else to

02:09: This is where I cut about 30 seconds from the song. Have a listen to
those seconds here. Its the
only part of the song that would be hard to work with since its a very sudden
tonal shift and their is some straight unautotuned voice over. I am pretty
happy with my cut as it is unnoticeable to me.

02:27: It is really nice how the Yamato blinks out with the beat. That was a
happy little coincidence.

02:34-02:36: This little jump of the spaceship with the beat is about the
most clever thing I have ever done. I have a long way to go.

02:43: I went back and forth a lot if I was going to stick to just modern
ships or show some futuristic designs like this one from Bodacious Space
Pirates. In the end I wanted to show both the past and the future so I ran with
it starting with this clip. It is also hard to find anime about the space
program or even modern spaceflight. Related to that, I so wanted to include
some Nadesico somewhere, but it is in 4:3 and would look weird with all the
other widescreen clips. I think Nadesico will be my next project.

02:46: I may have overused the main characters from the Freedom Project.

03:35: The close out with the baby going for the star is great in my opinion
and I get more Legend of the Galactic Heroes in.


Overall, the final product is acceptable. Given my previous work (like my
Saikano AMV and Ran FMV) this piece lacks a fun
juxtaposition of violence and upbeat tunes that I think characterizes my work
(and my other, in this author’s opinion, better second submission which I will
write about latter). That said it is good to have an optimistic video every now
and then and I cannot say I am unhappy about taking home an award. It is just
weird that I won for a video I was probably the least enthused about.

Anime Projects

An Unfortunate Misfire

As faithful blog readers will know I have been creating a number of video projects as of late. During all
the copious free time I had while I was unemployed, I spent some of
it on this Gundam AMV. I found out I
like Gundam a lot and I like the song I used (Mecha Mechanics by Whoremoans) a
lot. But this AMV just does not work out. I am not totally sure why, but I have
a theory. This video represents the ultimate “literal interpretation” theory of
AMV creation. AMVs subscribing to this school of thought try to match the
lyrics being spoken as close as possible to clips from the series. That school
of thought worked out well for me with the Homeworld and Saikano videos, but I feel I was too
slavish to lining clips up and consequently the video lacks a coherent theme. I
also just had a hard time finding clips for everything. I spent a lot more time
than I have on other videos trying to find things that would work.

I ended up not submitting this to any contests.

Scene Breakdown I have a couple comments on
various parts of the FMV. You can think of this as a textual director’s

00:13: Not sure how I feel about this 9/11 reference.

00:19: I really like this short clip and how it times up well with the

00:21-00:22: This is what I talked about above. These are clips of Gundams,
but it is not the models mentioned in the lyrics.

00:33-00:34: I love this joke

01:31-01:33: These clips do not work that great. I ran the first one in
reverse to look like it was going back into the water, but it looks

01:35: I think the next couple clips with the blue Zaku are the best
executed in the AMV.

02:01: I was not sure what to put here and this is the best I could come up

Overall, it is a bit disappointing spending a lot of time to produce
something that is not that great, but I learned a bit so it was not all a

Convention Projects

My Second FMV

I have finally gotten around to releasing my second FMV (Fan Music Video).
You can watch it here. It was a
first for me in that the source material is a video game. Specifically,

Homeworld: Remastered
(a remaster of the 1999 classic) and briefly Homeworld:
Deserts of Kharak
(A 2016 prequel).

Homeworld has always been very special to me. It is an excellently
constructed game, with unique gameplay mechanics (full 3d unit movement),
excellent graphics, strong art direction (see Peter Elson, the Terran Trade Authority
, and this fan site). I have
played it and its sequels many times and I have always wanted to pay tribute to
it in some form

Here is what the finished project looks like:

This FMV was a huge technical challenge for me. I would have to capture
almost all the video clips I needed (minus some cinematics) and work with three
different styles (Homeworld Remastered, its black and white cinematics, and
Deserts of Kharak). I did a lot of research and testing on various capture
solutions, eventually settling on the excellent and open source OBS
( While testing this tool, I found only recording at
the highest quality (lossless) captures the vibrant color of the ships and
backgrounds of Homeworld which is critical to the end product. This resulted in
huge video files, about 100MB for every 5 seconds compared to 61GBs compared to
my average size ~5GBs. Thankfully, Sony Vegas had no problems handling these
large files. Painful as it was to work with all these large clips, it did allow
me full freedom in selecting the shots I wanted as all I had to do was move the
camera and record. This was made easy since both Homeworld games have a
cinematic mode which hides the UI except for the pointer which can be hidden by
holding the right mouse button down. All this freedom can be a challenge
however as you get to decide what you want, instead of working from a set
palette of clips. More freedom, but more indecision. It was a new experience in
that regard as I had to have more of a director’s eye rather than being given
everything to start with. This does help cut down on all the time trawling
though episodes to find what you need, but It is replaced by lots of recording
and lots of thinking you are recording only to realize you forgot. For the
story, I wanted to present the full journey through the first game so I took
highlights from most missions, skipping missions that did not contribute to the
main story. It was tough to get a few shots given a game is going on, but
judicious saving made it easy to get most of the clips I wanted. Finally of
note, the end product is letterboxed a bit. I did this because the cinematics
from the first game are letterboxed and it was distracting to see the bars
appear and disappear as the video went on.

I submitted this FMV to Connecticon 2017, but it was not accepted as a
finalist. I was a bit bummed by that as I thought it was pretty good (biased
though I am). I will take it as a challenge to submit a better one next

Scene Breakdown I have a couple comments on
various parts of the FMV. You can think of this as a textual director’s

0:00-0:03: I love using voices from the source material and having a cold
(music-less) open. This clip is actually frozen until the hyperspace window
appears at 0:04. It was too hard to capture the mothership (the banana ship)
and Kharak (the planet behind the mothership) standing still and then
hyperspacing in one shot. You can see a tiny bit of the hyperspace window, but
it is hard to spot (IMHO).

0:29: This shot comes from Deserts of Kharak. It actually has a bit more of
a letterbox than the clips from Remastered, but it is not that noticeable

0:44: The next few clips are from an in game captured log of the attack on
Kharak so it intentionally has static and a timer in the upper right. There is
nothing I can do about it so I left it as is.

0:55-0:56: I love the explosion of the space station blending into the
cinematic explosion. It works really well.

1:04-1:13: One of the weaker parts of the video if I am being critical. I
had to introduce this ship (as it is very important latter), but it is not very
interesting otherwise.

1:16: This clip is stretched a tiny bit since some of the UI actually crept
in on the edge and I had to hide it. At long distances in Homeworld: Remastered
ships get a border that cannot be hidden.

1:24: This is a cool shot of a lot of ships, but I have no idea how that ion
frigate got so out of formation at the bottom.

1:35-1:36: I think the abrupt song transition from fast paced to slow is
very well complimented by the shot selection here.

1:44: These are cryostasis pods which might not be apparent if you have not
played the game.

1:54: This shot of the hyperspace inhibitor is actually not from the
cinematic montage of enemy structures used in the previous clip. It will become
important latter on so I wanted to set it up here.

1:58: We can start to see some of the great color usage in the game as it
goes from a black background to a vibrant red here to orange and yellow as we
go on. You can really see this gradual color change in the project picture.

2:13-2:17: Really cool shot of some bombers making a run on the Kadeshi
needle. I setup to record just the bombers and got lucky one was destroyed
during the filming.

2:17-2:20: This ship is an important story piece so I set it up by including
it here.

2:23-2:29: Again, I got lucky here as the camera automatically zooms out to
prevent clipping into a ship. It gave this great shot that goes from being
tight on the fighters to wide as they break off showing all the capital ships
in play.

2:31: Those are actually captured enemy destroyers in the background (there
is an ingame capture mechanic). It would be confusing for someone not familiar
with the game to see them up close, but it is far enough away and well obscured
so I thought it was ok to cheat just this once. This was some of the first
footage I recorded and I had forgot about that mechanic. Gamewise, capturing
everything is always the correct strategy which is why it was heavily nerfed in
the sequels.

3:43: I probably overdid it with carrier explosions as here is a second

3:47: This is captain Elson in his black destroyer. He is very important to
the game, but hard to explain without words. I do not think I succeed in
conveying that to people who are not fans of the game.

3:59: I love the strange angle the multigun corvette is taking as it comes
into the shot in the lower left.

4:03: A great shot, but for this mission the head on approach is very
costly. Two cloak generators in the middle of a tight ship formation is far
more effective.

4:04: You can see the turrets on this heavy cruiser moving, but not firing.
I am not sure if that was a bug, but I let it be.

4:10-4:12 Probably the hardest shot to get. I had to get both the homeworld
and the mothership in frame. It took a number of reloads to get it just

4:13: This attack in Remastered is actually very different from the original
as it is far more aggressive and reckless. Thus the Remastered version has a
big difficulty spike here.

4:23-4:25: A very Michael Bay-esque
here with multiple ships moving at multiple distances from the

4:29-4:30: I got lucky with this shot as the missile strike destroys the
fighter right on a music beat.

4:41: I think I should have held this end shot a bit longer. The song ends
pretty quickly, but we need some time to decompress.

Conclusion Overall, I really like how this came
out. I think it struggles a bit with some boring shots that do not make sense
if you are not a fan or familiar with the game, but it was fun to make and a
interesting technical challenge. Look for something more familiar for my next

Anime Projects

My Second AMV

After much effort I have completed a second AMV which can be seen here. I am very happy with
how it turned out as it was accepted as a finalist at Anime Boston
in the other category. This is the most success any of my video projects have had. Just like those
two other projects I want to give a brief overview of why I used the anime and
music I did along with a couple comments on particular scenes.

Music and Anime I found the music first. During
the time between Christmas and New Years I worked from home for a week and I
was listening to a bunch of music. I started listening to The DoubleClicks as I had head them at
Pax East 2016. When I heard the song I ended up using: Can’t You See
the World is Ending
, I knew right away this was going to work with an
actiony anime. At first I thought I might make another Legend of the Galactic
Heroes (LOGH) AMV like I did with my first one. Reinhard would be the focus and
there would be a lot more action. I scrapped that idea because this song has
more of a high school/young adult vibe and as much as I want LOGH to become
more popular, I am not sure I alone can carry that torch. Then I thought of
using Nadesico since
that has more of a lighter vibe benefiting this song and I want more people to
watch this show too. I was not sold on the idea though and I did a brief search
to see if another anime fit the bill better. Then I remembered Saikano and it just fit right away.
It was just a nice bonus that the show is not in vogue anymore.

Editing Before I started editing I had a lot of
difficulty getting quality source material. Saikano has never had a blu-ray
release and the actual animation quality is just ok. That did not stop me from
spending a lot of time with conversion tools (mostly handbrake) trying to get the best I could. The end
result is functional, but certainly not as good as I would like. A big take
away for me in the future is to secure better source material before becoming
married to an idea.

For the editing process I used Sony Vegas. Here is what the finished project
looks like:

When I start I lay the music track down first, then I put notes (those
orange flags) around lyrics I want to get specific clips for. For example when
the song reaches “try to stop the bombs” I want to put a clip of bombs falling.
It is pretty basic, but it helps me keep things organized. Then I have a couple
video tracks. 1. The main “AMV” track which will be the final video 2. A track
above that for “Clips” so I can easily swap clips in and out that I want to
try. You can think of this as alternative cuts. 3. A number of “Effect” tracks
which holds things like text I want to overlay. I had a lot of more of these
effects than any video I have done before. I am sure there is a more clever of
way instead of using multiple tracks, but this is easy to do and what I was
doing was not super complicated so I ran with it.

Once that is all setup I just trolled through the episodes to find clips I
wanted to use. I would bring the whole episode into Vegas and I would scan it
quickly (say 2x-3x speed). I had a good sense of what I wanted to see, so when
I saw a clip I liked I would cut it from the episode and place it roughly where
I wanted. I did this with all 13 episodes (ignoring the OVAs). After I went
through all the episodes I had a lot of clips in rough position. I refined
things from there, going back to get more clips when I needed. After that I
added a few effects with some text and I was finished.

To render I create a new template with the technical specifications Anime
Boston wants and I make an RC or release candidate. From there I send the video
out to a select review group for comments (Mr. Skehill of the inimitable
Quixotic United and my sister). I get
comments from them and make various RCs until I am happy. That final RC becomes
a release and I submit that video. This is a rough imitation of the software release
life cycle

Scene Breakdown I have a couple comments on
various parts of the AMV . You can think of this as a textual director’s

00:00-00:08: This is the part of the AMV I am least happy about. I was never
sure what to put here and this just ends up feeling like wasted space.
Originally I had put a bunch of establishing shots of buildings and
countryside, but that was pretty boring. At least opening with a bunch of
crying shots gets your attention.

00:17-00:00:20: These are flashbacks in the anime so they have a hazy
border. It has the effect of making the animation quality look even worse, but
I really wanted to use these scenes so I figured it was worth it.

00:26: It took me forever to find a clip that worked here.

00:32-00:34: I like the dichotomy of these two clips a lot and that vibe is
what I try to hit throughout the AMV. The main drive of the song is everyone is
acting normal in an abnormal situation so I wanted to highlight that wherever I
could. The one drawback here is it spoils a bit of the surprise later on when
we see her with the Gatling gun (0:53).

0:53-0:55: I think this scene works particularly well. It lines up with the
song, it is pretty snappy with all the cuts, and the contrast between the
destruction in the background and her being the hero is just right.

0:55-0:56: There is actually not a lot of action scenes in this series, with
most of them coming from episode 1. Lucky there are enough clips for this AMV,
but most of the actiony shots come from this episode and episode 13.

1:00: I went back and forth on actually showing people eating food when the
song mentions it. I did not have anything better to use, but I wish I did.
Mostly it just seems lazy to show food when the song mentions it.

1:06. This is the first effect I used. It is just text, but I had to cover
up what is actually shown on the pager with a block of color. It is basic, but
it gets the message across. Looking at it now, I think the text should be more

1:15-1:16: Best part of the AMV in my opinion. Happy trumpets with a sad
violent clip.

1:29-1:30: This is a subtle effect. Chise (the standing character) actually
talks in this scene, but it was distracting to see. I effectively froze part of
this clip so we could see the animation around the exclamation points, but not
her talking.

1:42-1:43: Those familiar with the series will see Chise shopping here which
is not congruent with the song. In the song Chise is effectively the singer so
she would not be shopping, but her friends would be. That said it goes by quick
so I do not think it would upset many people. There was also no other shopping
clip to use.

1:56: I do not know what the Japanese says here.

2:01-2:02: The most complicated part of the AMV. Basically I repeated the
effect from 1:06, but I had to animate both the text and the color block to
move with the pager. It took a long time, but I think it syncs up quite well. I
also like the humor of mentioning the AMV title here. Interestingly, I came up
with this hashtag first and then I liked it so much I used it as the title.

2:25- 2:26: Ok, this might be more complicated than before. Effectively, I
had to cut out part of the clip with the TV, and then overlay the hamster dance
video where the cut out is. The tricky part is a character is moving right next
to the TV so with each movement I had to change the part I cut out (the mask)
so it would look consistent. On close inspection it does not look amazing, but
perfect is the enemy of good so I moved on.

2:33: This is the second part of the scene from 1:15.

2:49-2:50: I actually uploaded the clip I wanted to show here to youtube and then screen recorded it to get
the youtube controls. I then inserted that clip on top of a TV from the anime.
The effect is nice and it is a bit of an inside joke if you can see the title
and are familiar with the anime. On reflection I think I should have filled the
screen with the youtube clip and not bothered putting it on a TV.

3:00-3:04: Originally I had a clip where Shuji (the guy at 0:09) was crushed
by a giant wave, but I got feedback that a scene like this would work better
and I agreed.

Conclusion Overall, I like how things turned
out, but there are a few scenes I would tweak. Big picture, I think this AMV
was hobbled by the source quality. I should be a bit more sure about what I
have available to work with before I get too involved. Interestingly, the next
project I am working on I have just about absolute control over. Look for that
around July when Connecticon happens.