Can you give us some insight into your process behind making a PMV? How do you plan them out? What sorts of things do you consider when selecting scenes?
The songs always come first. I’m always looking for a song that suits an idea I have, or a story I want to tell, or that would fit a respective character. Sometimes a song will come along that demands to be made into a PMV, regardless of how fitting it is; that’s how Discord Days ended up being made. But the rest of the time, finding a song can take a while, sometimes months of just wading through several gigabytes of music, but finding that perfect song is often a joy in and of itself.
I don’t write down my ideas, most of the time. I often put the song on repeat and just try to visualize what I’d see in the finished product. Listening to it over and over again gives me an intimate understanding of its peaks and valleys, and lets me coax out specific emotions from it – slower, quieter sections can convey a sense of sadness or contemplation, and faster portions can be used to portray confidence or aggression. These become hooks that I can hinge a story on, and the rest usually follows from there. I’ll go through the episodes and try to find scenes that would make the most impact, and because ponies are so expressive half the time, this is rarely a problem. Special effects are one of the last things I think of, and I usually use them to complement or emphasize a certain point, rather than be the focus of the video.
On occasion, a song will tap me on the shoulder and drop a story idea into my lap, nearly fully-formed from start to finish. I tend to like the serendipitous ideas the best, because the challenge is completely different; it’s not so much about trying to coax a story out of a song, but to match whatever’s in my head as close as possible with what technical knowledge I have of video editing. The Stars Will Aid In Her Escape was one of those ‘eureka’ moments, and if I didn’t have that idea, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to do something like that star field scene in the middle of that video.
So, tell us about ~ в ℓ σ ω ~
You know that thing I said up there about Appleloosan Psychiatrist being the video I’m most proud of? I lied. ~ в ℓ σ ω ~ is the greatest thing I’ve ever had the chance to contribute to, a mind melting spectacular for the ages.
DrDinosaur approached me and a whole bunch of other editors to make the greatest pony video of all time, a masterpiece so ahead of its time that it will only be appreciated hundreds of years into the future, when the robots take over. In preparation for this, I made sure to use as many effects in Sony Vegas as I possibly could without self imploding into bloody sausage, and then I included the live-action ponies for good measure, just for the robots. The sight of organics attracts them, you know?
The human rebellion will beam ~ в ℓ σ ω ~ straight into the optic receptors of every robot oppressor on the planet, and the resulting input of every available video effects plugin in Sony Vegas will overwhelm their circuits and destroy each and every one of them in a surge of prismatic light, resulting in n-1 rainbows simultaneously arcing all the way across the sky. Not only will it be a work of art, but it will result in salvation for the entire human race.
In addition to ~ в ℓ σ ω ~, you also made stuff for another big Multi Editor Project. Tell us about your experience working on PONIES: The Anthology II.
Humour has never been my strong point, so when DrDinosaur invited me to contribute to the second Anthology, I thought it would be a good time to exercise a muscle I rarely used. I think I ultimately surprised myself, and while I’m nowhere as funny/entertaining/random/technically apt at as some of our other anthology contributors, I’ve made a couple of things that genuinely made people laugh (if the reactions of my fellow contributors and the Anime North dry run was anything to go by). I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t have their support, if they didn’t make me laugh as well with their shorts and gave me the confidence to give it a go. Even with the show itself being so full of gags, it was still difficult for me at times to figure out what would make people laugh and what wouldn’t. It’s honestly easier for me to imagine ponies out of their element and make them do serious things. It’s like what Edmund Gwenn said; “It is hard to die, but it is harder to do comedy.”
It’s been 7 months since your last solo video project. Are you currently working on something we should get excited about? Care to give us any details?
I’ll just leave this here.
Even though you didn’t have any video editing experience your first PMV was very well made. Do you have any tips for others trying to make their own videos?
Learn your software. Appleloosan Psychiatrist was not my first PMV, I actually made an earlier one just to learn Sony Vegas, and had no intention of publishing it. It ended up pretty terrible. But when you make mistakes, you’re also teaching yourself to do things differently next time.
I’ve talked a lot about videos that influenced me, so one other thing that I would recommend is to just watch as many PMVs as you can find. Heck, watch AMVs too, and see how far we have to go just to catch up. Look at the ones you like and just dig deeper into what you really like about them. Are they funny? Is the lip sync good? Great special effects? Find the qualities you like and try to emulate them as best as you can. You can talk about originality all you want, but we all started somewhere, and I make no bones about how I’ve borrowed ideas to make some of my earlier stuff.
Lastly, never get comfortable. When I was first watching PMVs, you could get away with syncing the Sonic Rainboom to everything under the sun and slapping TV simulator over it. Nowadays we have custom animation and (what feels like) an almost mandatory knowledge of visual effects software like After Effects. You don’t need those things to make a PMV, but the fact remains that it is harder and harder to stand out in the crowd.
There are ways to do it without resorting to technical wizardry. Tell stories. Be unexpected. Above all, chase the ideas you REALLY want to do, the ones that give you motivation to see them through, the ideas that you believe in. Chances are, someone else does too.
Thank you for taking the time to answer all these questions. Please leave us with some final thoughts on PMV making, or really anything else you want to share!
Make friends, not view counts. View counts are really bad at keeping you warm. ■