Friday, September 7, 2012

Response to video: Intentions

 Look, she got older, and taller, and... in widescreen.

This video is nearly identical to the one that I created three or four years ago; it uses the same music, transition cues, and story verbatim. I distinctly remember making the original video. It was near Thanksgiving, and I rushed the final third of the video before my sister arrived so that we could visit our extended family for dinner. It took roughly a week to make, and I spent majority of my time editing a random picture of a girl sitting on the floor from google images. Most of the story was written within a few hours, and the most notable part was the twist at the end.

 Admittedly, the original scene was easier because I just copied 
and pasted background pictures for desktops.

Looking back on it, it's hard not to see distinctive themes scattered throughout the video from the girl desperately escaping her life through fixating on a fictional character to the fabled narrator who's more real and rounded than the actual protagonist. And in hindsight, I don't know if a lot of it was intentional. I don't remember if I consciously paralleled the girl by creating the video’s fictional characters or if the hero was meant to be fictional at all, it could have just been a vapid and interesting way to end the video.

And in a way, it's disappointing because I'm really proud of this video; it’s part of a hand full of videos that I would consider to be the greatest achievements of my life so far. I know that probably sounds overly dramatic; throughout my life, I've won several medals in high school sports, written hundred page (admittedly terrible) documentaries, graduated college with two bachelor's degrees, and managed to find and maintain a stable career. But throughout all of those endeavors, I've never been alone; I always had the support of my teammates, peers, or family. Making videos has been my way of carving a self-identity. Throughout my experiences, I've honed every aspect of my editing skills from writing micro short stories to discovering new transition effects. In those early videos, every second was a painstaking process of overlaying frame by frame typography created in microsoft paint, edited in adobe elements, and rendered in microsoft movie maker. And with the most basic editing software that's included with almost every personal computer, I was able to share stories and convey emotions with viewers across the world.

It's also worth noting how miserable I felt while making these videos. It takes a certain level of depression to empathize with such flawed and isolated characters, and it's a very daunting to maintain that emotion throughout most of my videos. In some regards, it’s helped me let go of the past, but if I wanted to be true to certain themes and emotions, I'd need to tap into that guilt and anxiety that has inspired them. I’ve wanted these characters and emotions to be real to their viewers, and if I was completely honest with myself, I wouldn't want anyone to dwell on such pain and misdirected sorrow for years to produce simple five minute music videos.

And like the protagonist at the end of the video, I don't know where that leaves me. I don't know the value of someone relating to my videos or making someone cry. Maybe it's comforting to know that you're not alone at being alone or it's okay to be emotional over seemingly insignificant things. In the end, I've just wanted these videos to be meaningful to someone. Maybe it's left for the viewers to interpret that meaning, even if it's different from my own intentions.

Hope, the cyborg

In terms of actually making the video, I reused a lot of images and loops from the princess video since I knew that I had a limited amount of time before I had to go back to work. And it goes without saying, but I used the exact same story from the video I made three or four years ago. It can be difficult to synchronize the video's transitions with the music using Anime Studio Pro since there’s a delay in the preview screen, but I just lined up the timing according to the previously made video … and it more or less worked.

Well she does look more blue in the original video.

I think the interesting part about remaking the video is that it’s not necessarily better, it’s just different. Even though Anime Studio Pro provided a much cleaner look, there’s a lot more control on the transition effects on Microsoft Movie Maker from music synchronization to something as simple (and necessary) as fading in/out sentences and backgrounds.

Throughout my older videos, I’ve always tried to make them seem intentionally simple and elegant due to Microsoft Movie Maker’s limitations. And to that extent, the older video has a lot more subtle effects and transitions from the simple black background of the girl to the faint blue hue on her skin when she’s supposed to feel vulnerable and transparent.

I spent a few hours trying to make proportional legs for this guy
until I realized that he never actually gets off the horse.
...So he doesn't have body past his torso.

Again, I like the new video; the backgrounds seem vivid and the loops and animation feel a lot more natural and smoother than my previous videos. And ever since I made that test animation of the girl riding her horse through the trees and village several months ago, I’ve been racking my mind on ways to include that unused clip in a video. I don’t know if the video’s necessarily better than the original, but it’s different.

And I like it. I hope you do too.

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