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Thread: The History of AMV Hell

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    Default The History of AMV Hell

    The History of AMV Hell
    As told by Zarxrax

    I don't really remember how it all began.
    The year was two thousand and four. SSGWNBTD had been on my AIM buddy list for a while, and we would chat sometimes. I hadn't met him yet IRL, and I don't remember how he got on my buddy list, but there he was. Quite freqently, usually several times a week, he would send me a message that simply consisted of a song and an anime title. Sometimes he would send me short clips that he edited. He rarely actually fleshed these out into full AMVs.
    So after quite some time of this, one day I said to him "hey, why don't the two of us make an AMV that just consists of short clips like these?"
    And so it began.

    We began work on our AMV of short clips. I don't remember how much time we spent on the first one... maybe a few weeks or months. Since the theme of it was comedy, I figured it might be a hit at conventions. However, since some of the ideas that we were coming up with weren't exactly "convention friendly", this posed a small problem. But we quickly came up with a solution. We will just split it into 2 videos: one that is safe to show at conventions, and another that could be viewed online.
    At this point, we needed to come up with some sort of overall theme, or a way to tie the videos together. I think SSG mentioned something about the game Wario Ware. I had just started playing Wario Ware twisted, so I thought I would take a look at some of the transitions that they used between the games. In the first level, Mona Pizza, it had a really cool tv transition. I didn't need to look any further, we had our transition.
    But, I didn't want to use the same transition for both videos. I figured they should be different. I had been using "Freakazoid" for one of my clips, and I remembered that it had an interesting transition, so I took that and used it for the 2nd video. Nate Bezner of Nightowl Productions also caught wind of our project, and sent in a clip of his own, which I put into the 2nd one.
    The title, "AMV Hell", was actually something we came up with almost at the very end. We had been bouncing around different ideas for the title, but were having trouble coming up with anything that felt fitting for the project. The previous year, I had attended an anime convention for the first time, and I remembered seeing an event there called "Anime Hell". This event basically consisted of some random video clips. I thought it might be funny to parody this by calling our project "AMV Hell". Some convention goers might get a kick out of it.
    AMV Hell. I liked the sound of it. This is where AMVs go to die. Of course, at the time, we were just making two simple AMVs. I had no idea that the scope of the project would soon grow exponentially, and then potentially cause confusion with the original Anime Hell event.
    I decided to premiere the video at Animazement, because it was a local con for me. Fanime also happened to be occuring on the same weekend, so we sent it there as well. I remember the audience at Animazement went crazy for it, with huge uproars of laughter. It was the first time I had seen such a response to an AMV. It reportedly had a great reaction at Fanime as well. After that, SSG wanted to send it to Otakon, because he would be attending that convention. It ended up winning both "Best Humor" and "Best in Show" at Otakon, which is kind of a big deal. SSG took home two huge trophies.

    That was supposed to be the end of it.
    But then, people started asking me when AMV Hell 3 would come out. Now, at the end of AMV Hell 2, I had included a short advertisement for "AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture". This was, for all intents and purposes, a joke. I figured that it should be obvious that we weren't going to make an actual movie. But apparently it wasn't. After several people asked me about it, I finally started actually thinking about the idea seriously. A few years earlier, the concept of the "multi-editor project" had been born, thanks to the DDR Project. I thought, if we make this a multi-editor project, maybe we could really pull this off. I consulted with SSG, and it was on like Donkey Kong.
    Google had just launched their new Gmail service, so we made a shared email account that we could use to manage the entries that everyone was sending in. Me and SSG both got to work making lots and lots of clips.
    Videos from other people were coming in... rather slowly. There were many times when I wondered if we would really be able to pull this off. It seemed like my and SSG's clips were going to make up the majority of the project. I was hoping we could at least get it to be about 30 minutes long. But as the deadline drew near, videos started coming in at a rapid pace. Apparently everyone had been procrastinating. Finally, right before the deadline, this guy "Kitsuner" sent in like 50 videos, all at once. The project was saved!
    For the opening sequence, I thought the song "Highway to Hell" would be really fitting, but I didn't really know what to do with it. Zephyrstar offered to do 3d animation for me, so I got him to make a car driving on a desert highway. In hindsight, the opening was probably a bit long and drawn out, and theres not really any humor to it, but at the time, it seemed like a cool idea. For the ending, SSG took a popular AMV, "Shounen Bushido", and he re-edited it to a remix of "Country Roads". Once I saw what he had done, I knew that there was no better way to end the project.
    For the transition in this one, I decided that the way we handled it in AMV Hell 1 was really good, so I went with the TV transition again. This time I tweaked the design a little so that it would look better, but its still based on the graphics from Wario Ware Twisted.
    One thing that we were struggling with at the beginning, was figuring out the best way to give recognition to the creators of each video. I felt that simply having a huge list of credits at the end wasn't enough, because who reads credits anyways? I thought of maybe putting the info on the screen when the clip comes up, like on music videos, but that seemed like it would be too distracting. Finally I decided to let each creator send in a small logo or avatar, and these would go on the bottom-right corner of their video.
    I almost forgot, but just like we had split the original AMV Hell into 2 videos, we decided to do the same with AMV Hell 3. The alternate video this time would be called AMV Hell 0. I specifically told people not to hold back... they should make the most nasty, disgusting, or offensive things that they could. Nothing would be censored. This basically resulted in a lot of Hentai videos. Now, there were a few videos submitted which even made me uncomfortable, particularly a few which contained racism, solely to offend. However since I had particularly told people to make offensive videos, and that nothing would be censored, I decided to let some of these in. However, as AMV Hell 0 ended up being known as a hentai video, these videos (and some of the tamer videos) do feel out of place in it.
    The last few weeks leading up to the premiere were pure hell. Most people have no idea of what goes into assembling a project like this. Most of the entries were coming in at the very end, so you can't work on it all throughout the year, you have to just make a mad rush right at the end and hope you meet the convention deadline. For almost every video, there is back and forth communication with the creator, you've gotta get all the video info together for the credits, you've gotta get the person's logo on the video, and you've make sure all of the videos conform to certain resolutions and framerates, all of this different stuff. PLUS I was putting together two projects, not just one! And then you have to arrange everything on the timeline, and put transitions between every single clip, and try to make sure that the volume levels don't jump around wildly from clip to clip. Arranging the clips is actually a very involved process. They aren't just placed randomly. There are many factors to consider: you've got to look at how funny you think a video is, so that all the really good videos aren't bunched up in one place. You have to look at where the joke accurs in each clip. If people are going to be laughing at the very end of one clip, you've got to consider that they may not be able to hear the start of the next clip, so you have to take this into consideration. You don't want a bunch of spoken dialogue clips to be right next to each other--they need to be broken up with clips that use songs. You don't want a really loud clip to follow a really soft clip. Clips that use the same anime need to be split up so they aren't all bunched together. You don't want all of a single creator's clips to be bunched up together, either. Long clips need to be seperated by short clips, or else the audience may start getting bored. Some clips have a certain synergy together, and work really well when put next to each other. And finally, special care has to be put into selecting the first several clips, and the last few clips of the project. I probably made at least 5 different revisions of AMV Hell 3, changing the placement of some videos each time. The sheer number of clips make everything really complicated. It's difficult to know if you accidentally forgot to include a clip, for example. Making the credits is probably the worst part. Trying to collect all of the information together for each clip is a huge hassle, and then putting it all in the same order that the clips appeared in the project is very time consuming.

    (Continued)

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    Watching the premiere of AMV Hell 3 at Anime Weekend Atlanta was amazing. So many people came to see it, and the amount of laughter was incredible. I was told that this was the first time that the Video Art Track room there had filled to capacity.
    I didn't actually get to see AMV Hell 0 premiere in any sort of official fashion. It wasn't officially on the schedule at AWA, so they were just going to play it whenever the dance ended, and there was no telling what time that would happen. So at around 2 or 3 am, the dance was still going on, so a lot of us AMV Editors just went up to someone's room and watched AMV Hell 0 there.
    After all was said and done, we released them online, and there was much rejoicing. And there were a lot of people saying "Oh God! I wanted to submit a clip! Why didn't anyone tell me about this!?"
    The AMV Hell saga was completed. Or so I thought, for about 5 minutes.

    After a spaghetti dinner at AWA, the idea was sparked for a little side project. Instead of making another big project, what about a contest to see who can do something interesting with a specific song? I laid out the rules for AMV Hell Championship Edition. Once a week, a song would be chosen, and people could try to make a video for it. The entries would be voted on by some judges, with one video each week being crowned the winner. After it had run its course, all of the winning videos were compiled together, along with some of the notable runners-up.
    Many people say that AMV Hell Championship edition isn't nearly as good as the others, but that's missing the point. AMV Hell CE was fun during the week to week challenges. The compilation at the end was not the goal, it was simply a record of the past several weeks.
    After that, AMV Hell was finished. Or so I thought, again.

    Every now and then, SSG would be all like "let's do AMV Hell 4", and I would be all like "no". But after some time, he kept being all like "let's do AMV Hell 4" so I was finally like "aw, ok, but this is the last one".
    I decided not to make an adult version this time around because the hassle of managing two huge projects at the same time was just overwhelming. Also decided not to put the logos on the videos this time around, because a lot of people thought it was kind of distracting in AMV Hell 3. I continued to refine the television transition, making it even better, to where it barely resembled the original graphics that it was made from. Once again most of the clips came in near the deadline. We held a contest for someone to make a theme song for AMV Hell. I used the winning entry to make the opening sequence. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of much to actually do with it, so I took the easy way out and played all of AMV Hell 3 over it. Once all the entries were in, SSG made an absolutely epic ending video using AMV Hell 4 itself.
    The premiere at Anime Weekend Atlanta was much bigger than for AMV Hell 3. This time people were lining up to get in, and people were being turned away before it even started! The showing went very well, but at the end, everyone started leaving when the credits started, completely ignoring the awesome ending video. After the showing, we continued to work on it some more and made a few changes, due to the audience feedback. SSG went and made another completely different ending video, that was even better than the first. We released it online and there was again much rejoicing, and many arguments as to whether AMV Hell 3 or AMV Hell 4 was the better video. And once again, there were a lot of people saying "Oh God! I wanted to submit a clip! Why didn't anyone tell me about this!?"

    After some time, SSG was wanting to make another adult one, AMV Hell / 0. I insisted that I was having no part in this, because I couldn't handle the stress of it. So he took it upon himself to manage the project.
    I don't have much to say about AMV Hell / 0, because I wasn't very involved in it. I think it turned out quite well, and once again there were lots of arguments over whether AMV Hell 0 or AMV Hell / 0 was the better video.
    THAT was the end of AMV Hell, or so I--aw, who I am kidding. I knew it wouldn't stop there.

    My main issue with AMV Hell, was that its a huge amount of work, jam packed into a couple of weeks. Because everyone submits their work right near the deadline, you can't really get started until after everyone is done submitting videos. And then the sheer amount of videos that you have to sort through and mess with is just crazy.
    So, I got the idea to try something a little different. What if I made AMV Hell in bite-sized chunks? They could be released online, and the work would be in small manageable chunks, spread out over time. The result was AMV Minis, which has currently been running for a little over a year, as I write this. I've managed to push out about 1 episode a month. I'm not sure how long I will continue AMV Minis. I may pass it off to someone else, at some point.

    SSG never really became involved with AMV Minis. The whole time, he was plotting AMV Hell 5. When he announced that he was going to be doing this project, it was honestly a bit of a surprise for me, but in the back of my mind I knew this day would come eventually. He seems to have managed it quite well. It had a great premiere at Anime Weekend Atlanta, and lots of people rejoiced for another time. And once again, there were a lot of people saying "Oh God! I wanted to submit a clip! Why didn't anyone tell me about this!?"

    At this point, I don't think I can ever say again with a straight face that AMV Hell is finished. When will it return? Probably when you least expect it.

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    Ididnt read all of this but :3 I read some of it and wow youv came so long ^^ I cant believe thats how amv hell began :3 it is amazing :3

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    I respect you for all your hard work these past few years ^^

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    That sure is one exclusive history. And it sure shows, with all the success with AMV Hell.
    I am proud to be part of this community =]

    It sure has inspired other knockoff series as well. and yea, i def dont see AMV Hell dying out for years to come, and I plan to be here to the very end, if there ever is one ^^

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    I hope there is never an end Otakus need a community like dis anyway :3

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    Was interesting to read it. Can't wait for the third part of this story :D
    And AMV Hell has become ?berpopular over internet. Often encounter videos from it on youtube, even while searching unrelated stuff. The same for other sites. I dont think internet community will forgive if AMV Hell 6 wont come out :D

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    it will come out, in time, lots and lots of time

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    Pretty awesome. It's odd how two people make something for the fun of it & turn it into a whole new genre of AMV. You guys are going down in Otaku history.
    Will create AMVs for money.


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    I wonder if Japan knows about this, imagine the insanity that would ensue! stock market crashing, rioting, suicide! or world peace, Jesus returning and marajuana legalized! the world may never know!

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    They know it. AMV Hell 3 and 4 was uoploaded to nicovideo video too.

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    Well this certainly explains things. Thanks for all the hard work.
    "If you want to make a mythical creature, just take a regular animal and add wings to it. A horse becomes a pegasus, a lion becomes a griffin, and a hawk... becomes a double hawk." - Demetri Martin

    I find it funny that for a period of time I was literally a red-headed stepchild, minus the whole beating thing

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    i really enjoyed reading this. and yea, i agree, i doubt AMV Hell will ever die out. it's like an energizer battery, it just keeps going and going and going......then it eventually dies out, then you put in another one, and THAT keeps going and going and going...
    My name is Steve, but my friends call me Special.

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