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Without My Hero

This is an AMV (animated music video) I worked on from 2017-2019 that depicts Izuku Midoriya's journey to being the greatest hero, starting from his admiration of All Might, to him finding the strength and courage to becoming his own hero after All Might's retirement.

This is a project that required me to learn a lot of new video editing skills, especially about how to incorporate flow in the video, through the visuals and the music. Aimed towards both fans of My Hero Academia and fans of Avicii, I felt the song was a good match especially with how the story played out between the main character and his mentor.

When I started working on this project in 2018, the death of world-famous electric music artist Avicii was a piece of tragic news that saddens many of his fans to this day. I wanted to make this video as a tribute to the artist, and the song happened to work perfectly for such a piece. Even without him around, we can still remember him and the music he created. As many of his fans know, Avicii passed away after a long-time struggle with mental health, and by making this video, I hope to help people remember the person he was, as well as bring awareness to the struggle that 18.1% of adults in the United States struggle from on a yearly basis, and still growing in number. As we remember Avicii and the music he created, we also look forward to the future where we can help more people from suffering like he did to prevent more tragic deaths happening in the future.

Music Synchronization

An important aspect of making an animated music video is not the visuals, but rather than music/audio. The audio is one of the most important factors of making an AMV, and that plays a major part of whether or not your video has flow or not. A loosely defined definition of flow follows:

"FLOW is achieved when the footage is in sync with the music, follows the feeling of the song and works well with the clips before and after it."            
           -Vivifx

For my video, I split up the song into five significant phrases: The Beginning, Training, Fall of All Might, Recovery, and True Hero. To do this, I identified the phrases by listening to the song and seeing what parts are similar to one another, either by the lyrics or by the beat of the song. Within each phrase, the song is further split into sequences, which is used to beat synch the video clips I would use to make the video.

 

Below is an screenshot of my working timeline with all the markers I made as I beat synched the video clips with the music source:

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Visual Flow

Visual flow makes sure the clips before and after all work together. That is something that should be carried out throughout all if not most of the entire video, but an example of how that looks can be found at the timestamp 2:40, which is also shown in still images to the right.

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Masking

Masking is a powerful tool that one can use, especially in non linear video editing. In this shot, I used this technique for transitional purposes. For example, referring to the beginning of the video at the timestamp 0:09-0:10, where Izuku's foot steps in a puddle of water but the ripple effect covers up the previous scene of All Might as if All Might was a reflection in the puddle he stepped in.

Masked Sequence [0:09-0:10]

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Masking Screenshot [0:09]

Removing Lip-Flaps

"Lip flap" is a loosely defined term used in the AMV community that refers to when a character's lips move during a part of the song where the viewer can hear lyrics or beats, but can visibly notice that the lips of the character on screen does not sync with either. Since the series was not originally made for the song, or vice versa, it is the job of the editor to either remove or reduce the number of lip flaps in the videos. There are many ways to remove this, and one way is done by masking. The clips on the sides are the before and afters of the scene at the timestamp 2:39-2:41, after removing the lip flaps through the use of masking.

Masked Sequence BEFORE [2:39-2:41]

Masked Sequence AFTER [2:39-2:41]

In hindsight, either scene could have worked, as in the BEFORE scene (left), the character's lips happened to move on the beat. However, in context of the scene being used, it did not seem appropriate that the character had electric music coming out of his mouth. Therefore, I chose to mask over his lips in that scene.

Reflection

While working on this project, there are several skills I was able to practice throughout:

Storyboarding:

While I didn't draw out storyboard panels for this, there was meticulous planning of what scenes would be used to tell the overall story. In a way, that was the point of showcasing the music synchronization process. By planning out the five significant phrases, it helped me to decide what scenes from which episodes should be used where and how each shot will flow into one cohesive story. 

Technical/Editing:

There were many skills that improved or evolved during the process of this project. I learned a keyboard shortcut for masking something in Sony Vegas Pro, which allowed me to use more daring masks in this video, as seen in the examples above. It also helped me to better understand non-linear editing. Another skill I got to practice was working with the separate video layers to help achieve visual flow throughout the video.