You can watch the video here. This was one of two submissions to Anime Boston 2022 in the other category. It was accepted as a finalist and won Best of Show. I will discuss the video here in text, but if you do not like reading you can watch a retrospective here. Credits to long time friend of the show Patrick Skehill (of Quixotic United) for his technical advice and beta testing and Chuck for holding the camera for one shot.
Ultimately, this video is the logical progression from my last live-action-AMV mix up: April 15, 2019. If you make one video with live action shots and then you cut in anime, the inverse would be to take anime and cut in live action shots.
The first thing I needed to do for this project was get a camera. I thought I would get something cheap, and while that may have worked, I figured it was good opportunity to get something decent as there may be future live action projects. This turned out to be a good call as I ended up needing some of the advanced camera features to get the green screening just right. I went with a Canon EOS M50 with a EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens. Once I got that there was a lot of work involved getting the green screen to work. I initially only had some photography lights. These were wholly insufficient. I had to get three new LED lamps. Once I got the lights, along with fiddling with the camera settings (iso:640, shutter speed: 80, and aperture 3.2) things started to look good. This took me about a month. What I found especially helpful was this video. There are a bunch of minor issues you will not notice on a close viewing, like me having the green screen light spill onto me or the LED lights reflecting in my glasses, but overall it is good enough for government work. Once I had that all sorted I could go into full production.
I pretty early on wanted to start the video with me being fired and then drowning my sorrows by watching anime. As an aside, I was not actually fired in real life as some people have asked. I had actually hoped for a much longer intro referencing the previous video, but I only had so much time I could dedicate to just live action so I had to trim it down to the bones. I was allowed a maximum of five minutes or 300 seconds. Since 75% has to be anime that leaves only 75 seconds worth of live action. Initially I thought I would get transported into just one anime (tentatively Bubblegum Crisis), but in doing some initial poking around I figured this would be very difficult. It can be easy to find a few scenes that work in any anime, but I was going to have an uphill battle to find four minutes worth of scenes that worked in one anime. Especially in a short OVA series like Bubblegum Crisis. It is also a rather niche series at the moment. I suppose it is my MO to use old anime, but I did want to have a wide selection of anime so that there was something for everyone to enjoy. Likely though that is still just going to be people who like anime from before the 2000s. This ultimately is why I went with the current framework of jumping from anime to anime.
Production wise I would split my work up over days. I knew I had plenty of time (since I started in April 2021) so I never killed myself working like I did with April 15th. Ultimately this project was much less demanding man-hour wise. One day I would spend an hour or two finding anime clips and building up my live action shot list. Then the next day I would record and bring the clips into my editor (Adobe Premiere) to arrange them and then into After Effects to key the green screen out. This took a couple months on and off, but progress was pretty steady. There were a couple action shots that were hard to get the angle right on and some shots I had difficulty keeping myself in frame, but for the most part it was pretty smooth sailing. I would say overall the shooting took a few months to complete, but again I was never working on it every waking day like I did with April 15th.
Interestingly I did most of the video before I had the music picked out. I would just put completed shots in a rough order. It was only when I brought the music in that I could hit the beats by trimming or lengthening certain scenes. For the music I wanted something retro-like. Something like it sounded from the 80s. I first thought I wanted an exactly four minute song: one minute of live action (or so) and four minutes of anime set to music. It was a late revelation that I could cut the song early. I am not particularly musically inclined, but Gloria by The Midnight fits the bill nicely.
A quick note on the title, I had wanted: “I got fired so I watched anime, fell asleep, and woke up in a new world”, but Anime Boston has a 70 character limit on titles, so I had to go with the current title which is not perfect, but comes in at 68 characters.
Overall, I am very happy on how things turned out. This project lacks the emotional connection April 15 does, and it is not the most logically consistent, but it is fun and unique. I do hope it inspires others to create live action and anime mixups. That said, I think this is the end of the live-action-AMVs for me. I am not sure what more can be done. I do have other AMV ideas though.