The general Anime 2014 AMV and XMV-thread *Thanks people!*

Ask your AMV (Anime Music Video) related questions here.
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The general Anime 2014 AMV and XMV-thread *Thanks people!*

Post by Kaj » June 15th, 2013, 11:34 pm

Update nov 11: Due to technical difficulties we haven't been able to fix as of yet, we will probably stick to stereo playback of audio from now on during AMV and XMV competitions.
The reason for this is that our surround decoder didn't play nice with some of the surround tracks we were given, so a stereo downmix will be it. Getting a different decoder is probably not an option, since this kind of decoder is generally not available through rental and we are dependant on privately owned equipment for surround sound.

Update sept 1: The EMV is dead: let's hear it for the XMV!

I know, it's rather early, but one year from now, we will be smack dab in the middle of Anime 2014 and there is something about early birds and all that jazz.
The official page with the whole story can be found here. Any and all updates to rules will be adjusted there and made note of in here.
If you want to join the competition, please note that there are a few rules you must adhere to. The rules are almost the same as last edition; most notable change is the credits screen at the end. To make sure everyone can read it (well, save for those AMV's with a gazillion series mentioned- I'm looking at you, Sander), we'd like you to refrain from doing fancy stuff with it. So white text on a black background please: sans serif fonts (like Arial/Helvetica, Verdana or Calibri) are preferred.

I also did some elaboration on when to be where and why. :) You will notice there isn't a mention of the EMV yet: the reason for this is that we are re-thinking the EMV format. It will not go away, don't worry, but more on that later. Lastly, I'm automating the signup but this is in test and will be added later on. If I have my way, things will be a whole lot easier. :)
So let's get down with the rules:

* The deadline for participating in the AMV contest is Saturday May 17, 2014, 23:59:59.
If you submit your video past this deadline, you're out of luck and we advise you to try again next year.

* The deadline for mended AMV's is Caturday May 24, 2014, 23:59:59.
This deadline is for already submitted, but non-playing video's which need some work. Remember: we test and watch each video fully to make sure it works. If for some reason your video doesn't play or has other malfunctions, we will let you know as soon as possible, and you'll have until this date to send us a fixed version.

* Formats and containers: we are looking at different players but for now, we keep the Popcornhour C200 with the latest stable firmware as our player of choice, which plays nearly everything that adheres to video standards.
The compatibility list can be found here. However, if you're not sure, stick to video codecs like H.264, WMV, DivX/XviD and MPEG; AAC, AC3 or PCM for audio and containers like .avi, .wmv, .mp4, .mpg or .mkv. AVCHD transport streams muxed with Dolby Digital audio (.m2t) will do nicely as well.
We will flat out refuse AMV's in closed or backwards formats, like .mov, .rm, .flv, .swf and .3gp.

* The AMV contest will probably be held on Saturday in the World Forum Theatre, which you will have to attend in person.
You as an editor will have to be there to vote for your peers' AMVs. We kindly ask you to be there about 30 minutes before the show starts, so we can explain how the system works and to make sure everyone's there. Not showing up in time without letting us know may result in disqualification!
We have an Editor's and an Audience prize: the former is decided by the editors, the latter will be decided by a group of audience members equal in size of the editor's group. We will pick these members from the waiting line at random and/or might be designated by the organisation of the competition if we are sure the person picked is a fair and incorruptible judge.
The winners will be announced at the end of the competition, but if we have a feeling something's not right, we might decide to postpone the announcement of the final results to a later date and time.

* Your AMV needs to be an original, as in not shown in public or in other Dutch contests before. We also frown heavily on copying other people's work, so don't do that.
When in doubt, we reserve the privilege of checking with various sources whether your video is an original.
To prevent repeat performances (ie. AMV's which already have been submitted to other festivals), we have an exchange agreement with those festivals. This means that your AMV and your personal details will be made available to the person responsible for their AMV-competition and in reverse.
Suffice to say that nothing else will happen to your AMV or your details; we will not make anything public other than playing the video's at our festival and announcing the winners to the world, unless you give us explicit permission to do so. We'd also love to play your video at other events if the need arises.

* Your AMV needs to contain animation as its prime ingredient and make sure it actually has audio.
Note that we will interpret the term 'animation' loosely. If you are confident that you can make something awesome with just stills, that's fine by us, but try to make more of it than just a slide show. It's OK to use live-action footage as well if you like, but keep in mind it's an animation show in the end, set to music.

* We're a family show, so no pornography, gore, excessive graphical violence or blood please.
Cartoon violence is allowed. If you're in doubt whether your AMV will pass, please show us a rough version or let us know which show you're going to use and we'll advise for or against it. If you just send in your gory video without consulting, you'll most probably be disqualified.

* You can put spoilers in your AMV.
There's no reason for us to say no to this.

* Your AMV length must not exceed 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
The sequence must be like this: 2 seconds of silent black, 180 seconds of AMV (maximum, doesn't need to be 180), 7 silent seconds of white on black-credits to the music and animation and 1 second silent black. Please don't name yourself in the credit screen; this might be of influence during judging.

* No logo's, (fan)subs, credits, or what have you.
Just don't. If you can't use a blu-ray or dvd source for whatever reason (often has a creditless opening and ending as extra), at least take some time to get rid of unwanted details. If we get the feeling you just threw something together, hit the Render-button and be done with it, you'll be disqualified immediately.

* Video resolution can be between standard DVD resolution and 1920x1080p.
If you want to make it smaller, your video will probably be rejected, because counting pixels isn't everyones hobby. Speaking of pixels: square pixels are preferred; while a 1440x1080 video will play OK, we'd appreciate progressive video's all the way.
We probably won't have budget nor equipment to play 4k-files for a while, so please don't bother. There is no limit on file size, but be moderate. There is no need to reserve something like one gigabyte for 3 minutes of HD video. 20Mbit video streams should be more than sufficient to let you show wat you want to show.

* Aspect ratio can be 4:3 or 16:9.
Our screen is 16:9, our player output and projector will be set to 1920x1080 pixels. Our screen will be something in the range of 9 to 12 meters in diameter.
However, don't upscale your DVD source to something it's not if you don't absolutely have to; it might end up becoming ugly. The scaling hardware in our equipment will take care of it instead.

* Mark your file with your Ticket number (ET---------), your initals and the title of the AMV in one uninterrupted file name (for example, mine would be ET123456789-KS-Electric-Railgun.m2ts).
This makes life easier for us and helps to determine which is what and to whom it belongs. Titles like Sequence01.mpg are NOT acceptable! Please put your AMV into a ZIP, 7zip or RAR-file with the same name as described and upload it to your server or use Google Drive, Dropbox or WeTransfer.

* You need to attend the competition in person, holding a valid ticket for the festival.
We need you there to vote for the other contestants and it's more fun to see the people react to your AMV when you're there.

* The number of entries depends on the amount of time available, and thus on how long your AMV will be.
For example: the 75 minutes of playing time we reserve for the contest itself can contain about 20-22 contestants with AMV's that use the maximum alotted time. However, an AMV doesn't NEED to be 3 minutes; it may very well be less. We draw the line at 25 contestants: we simply do not have more voting boxes than the 50 we already built and we need the other 25 for the audience judges.

* Collaborations are permitted.
We can't enforce a ban on things like this so we won't try. However, you can only send in one AMV and we will only have one trophy.

*Tips and tricks:
+ Make sure your encoding machine has computing power to spare; the average video encoder takes every last bit of processing power it can find. Professional editing software also uses your GPU when compatible. For example: Premiere recognises the CUDA-GPU and uses it when it renders.
+ Make sure your project settings fit your source material in terms of frame rate, resolution et al.
+ Despite following the specs to the letter, it's still possible to screw up because you're adamant on using PCM, while the container demands AC3/Dolby Digital. Good editing or rendering software usually helps you with this, so pay attention!
+ Interlaced video in progressive AMV's usually makes your video look like crap (jagged lines are a giveaway), so make sure you de-interlace your source material and set your output to progressive as well. Most editing software doesn't allow you to go back and change the fundamental settings of your project, so be extra careful when you set up your document.
+ Don't add black bars to your video! Video players are able to figure out which aspect ratio the video has and will add black bars when necessary.
+ Make sure your audio sounds good with a sufficient bit rate. Check this by playing it through a proper stereo set instead of a set of in-ear headphones or the tiny speakers of your laptop. We will have a large, multi-kW audio setup available during the competition which amplifies (ba-dum tshh) every flaw your audio stream has.
+ Normalise your audio and make sure the peaks do not go above -3dB, but definitely not over 0dB. Our equipment and 2200 pairs of ears will thank you for it.
+ When you're all set and done, make sure you watch your video at least one last time before you send it in and perhaps show it to your significant other, a member of your family or a friend as well. If one of them or you sees something out of the ordinary, you can still do something about it.

Now, one question that's been asked to me on a regular basis is this: why are we using a designated media player (one that's a couple of years old to boot) when a computer does the same?
The answer is simple: reliability and years of experience. We've done numerous tests with player computers, but nearly every time we try, something goes very wrong at exactly that moment we need it the most. If a playlist doesn't fail (like it did in 2011), it will be some background process throwing a spanner in the works or a software player which decides to crash spectacularly. We've had our share of problems and other conventions had them as well, so enter the Popcornhour (PCH).
This device does what it's supposed to do: play video that adheres to video standards. You don't need heaps of processing power to play 1080p: you can do it with a Raspberry Pi, for crying out loud. The PCH has a dedicated processor with an instruction set to do what it has to do, contrary to a PC which relies on multiple factors to do its thing. A PC is more versatile, but also more prone to errors.

The downside of the PCH is that it's a bit picky on combinations; the files need to have a correct combination of codecs and containers, otherwise it won't play the file. Despite that, it's been proven to be the most reliable player for us: when it plays, it keeps on playing, and it doubles as a smoke test. :)
Video is a tricky bitch, with a host of standards and codecs which don't play nicely with eachother. Our player is a picky eater, I admit, but it's a great tool to play video's who do adhere to standards and smoke out those who don't. Software like VLC allowing you to use just any container and codec is a bad thing, because people get lazy and just throw whatever they can into it. Getting it right not only helps us getting video's that will play on just about anything, it'll also help you make better video's and understand the underlying technical side of them, understanding how it works.
Obviously, we are open for suggestions; if you know something that's proven to be rock solid, configurable to our needs and not too expensive, we are more than willing to give it a try. Until then, the PCH C-200 will be our player of choice.

The entry form can be found here.
Good luck, you will have fierce competition. We're looking forward to seeing your creations.

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Re: The general Anime 2014 AMV-thread

Post by Salafor » June 16th, 2013, 12:59 am

Well Kaj, you're certainly early!

And I'll probably join the Animecon 2014 AMV competition! Atleast, I see no reason why I shouldn't.. yet.. ;P

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Re: The general Anime 2014 AMV-thread

Post by imp » June 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

whoooo! everything sounds good.
Nice to know that the deadline moved accordingly with the actual a'con date,
I'll probably need every little bit of time I can get this coming year.

btw: automated sign-ups? if it works that'll be quite some work off your shoulders I suppose.
This is finally complete and up-to-date:

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Re: The general Anime 2014 AMV-thread

Post by SD Maruko-kun » June 16th, 2013, 11:58 pm

Kaj wrote: * We're a family show, so no excessive graphical violence, blood, gore and pornography.
You might want to formulate that a bit less ambiguous...
Depending on how you read it, you could interpret "excessive" to apply to only the first or to all 4 items, which I guess includes interpretations ranging from "not a single drop of blood may be shown" to "some porn may be shown".
Neither of those I'm guessing is what's actually intended... ;)
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Re: The general Anime 2014 AMV-thread

Post by Kaj » June 17th, 2013, 5:31 am

I see your point and did something about it. :)
The front page still has the old text; I'll get to that later.

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Re: The general Anime 2014 AMV-thread

Post by MelyoraMel » June 17th, 2013, 7:56 am

I do have something to say about the 50% animated part.
* At least 50% of your video needs to contain animated footage, and we appreciate some music as well.
You can put manga and live-action into the mix if you want, but in the end, it's still an Animated Music Video contest.
You say that you can ADD manga into the mix, but at least 50% has to be anime.

But there are pretty good MMVs (manga music videos) out there, and they don't require anime to make it a complete video. Some editors, like myself, also edit manga to make it move. Anime in a manga-based video only disrupts the flow and sense of completeness of the video.

I understand where your thoughts come from (because some MMVs are practically only slideshows), but as an active MMV editor I honestly have to say that I object to this rule.

Edit: If I need to prove this rule wrong, you're on! :D I've been wanting to make a full MMV for a while, since it's already been some time ago.

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Re: The general Anime 2014 AMV-thread

Post by Kaj » June 17th, 2013, 9:56 am

First, we've had this rule for years and it didn't stop some people to send in an MMV after all in the past years, so yeah, they already proved us wrong. :) Most memorable one was the video that started out with Naruto/In the End, a few years ago.
Then again, they basically made their own animations with static images, so it still can be regarded as an AMV with animated footage. So... what's your actual problem? ;) :D

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Re: The general Anime 2014 AMV-thread

Post by MelyoraMel » June 17th, 2013, 2:01 pm

One, then I must have read over that rule for the past three years XD My apologies.

Two, then I drop my objection, but you might want to phrase that rule differently. With this comment, you say that 'animated manga' fits in the definition of 'animated footage'. But in the rule it says 'You can put manga and live-action into the mix if you want', with which you exclude 'manga' from 'animated footage'.
It's quite confusing to me, because animated manga is still manga.

Tell me if I don't make sense here, because I find it hard to explain, but the way the rule is now, I read it as manga is not included in animated footage.

PS. I had it phrased in a nicer way before, but when I pressed 'Submit' it said that I had to log in, while I already was logged in, and then my message was gone XD

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Re: The general Anime 2014 AMV-thread

Post by Kaj » June 19th, 2013, 9:03 am

Don't worry, you are making sense; I'll try and rephrase the rule.

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Re: The general Anime 2014 AMV-thread

Post by Kahless » June 19th, 2013, 2:55 pm

Is that rule even necessary? I presume that all the editors who participate understand the target audience and are making creations which will appeal to us. Does it even matter how it is made or with what kind of footage. if it manages to impress/humour the audience & judges?
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