flying low #17: to fly

Back in December of 2006, a Russian editor named ukms[z] released a landmark video in the history of the AMV hobby called Reflections. It won five VCAs at a time when such accolades actually meant something, and put Russian editors on the map — although nowadays the spread of “effects” editors is a lot more egalitarian and not as limited to geographical area, there was once a time that the videos coming out of Russia were seen as typically more cutting-edge than most other stuff, and Reflections was among the biggest videos to advertise that. Perhaps even more importantly, though, is the fact that Reflections was maybe the first really intensive crossover video, as most people would know them today. It has all the trappings of the stuff you see littered across YouTube these days — two completely disparate anime merged together to look like they occur in the same universe, lots of masking, and a metric ton of color manipulation to hide the more obvious stylistic differences between the sources.

Although I would argue that Umika perfected the craft years later (inasmuch as such a generally derivative genre can be “perfected”), it’s impossible to watch Reflections and not see a very obvious proto-2010s crossover approach seeping through every pore of the thing, and to come to the obvious conclusion that ukms[z] was, apparently, way ahead of the curve. Sadly it was the last video he would release, but he sure went out with a bang, all while sealing his legacy in the process.

In re-watching this video for the first time in…a long time, in preparation for this post, then, I was surprised (ok, only a little surprised) to find that Reflections is one of the campiest, most horrifically dated videos I’ve seen in a long while. Crossover videos of this nature often feel this way, but Reflections fares worse than most; a monument it may be, but it’s no wonder this video has been more or less forgotten in the intervening years.

All this is to build up to the video I actually want to talk about — a video that ukms[z] released 11 months before Reflections, and one that couldn’t be more different if it tried. In fact, if there’s any similarity between them, it’s the fact that both make use of two anime that are very different, although in the case of To Fly the difference is quite a bit more extreme. Utilizing the “A Detective Story” short from The Animatrix and a little-known Korean animated film called Wonderful Days, ukms[z] juxtaposes the two in a striking, heavy-hitting way that works a whole lot better than his later technical giant of a video.

It’s also a video that thrives on understatement and subtlety; there are few cuts compared to how most people would probably be tempted to edit this song. The scenes stick around for seconds at a time — a lifetime in AMV terms, in most cases. It holds back and resists the temptation to show its hand too quickly. The monochromatic, claustrophobic Animatrix scenes contrast sharply with the colorful, expansive Wonderful Days scenes, but when those colors come on, man, they explode. It explores an intimate message of a longing for freedom that can be translated across situations into personal, social, and even political terms (am I reaching with that last one? I might be reaching with that last one).

Maybe above all though, is that it’s dead simple. Ultimately, this is why I spent so much time referring to Reflections to begin with. Pretty much anyone who looks at that video today would probably be almost embarrassed by it, at least if they were watching it for the first time. It’s so kitschy and tacky, so overwhelmingly corny and melodramatic. The effects haven’t aged well, and instead of softening the melodrama into something relatable, they accentuate all its worst properties. In short, there’s very little about that video that works — and almost nothing that hasn’t been done better in the years since. Any feelings of fondness I retain for it are purely nostalgic.

There have been a lot of discussions lately in the AMVCentral Discord channel centering around effects use in AMVs, and predictably, a lot of the younger crowd are rolling their eyes at people like me who tend to demonize (or at least question the unrestrained use of) effects in AMVs. But I think there’s a lesson to be learned here, in these two videos — one was once the absolute height of technical achievement in its day, recognized almost universally as a masterpiece of effects work and storytelling, the other was nothing but hard cuts, and was completely overlooked. Twelve years later, I know which one I’d rather be watching.

 

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flying low #16: peering away the layers

It may be hard to remember, and the younger readers may not even know, but once upon a time there was a band called Staind, and for all intents and purposes they constituted what today would probably be considered a meme. In fact, the whole crummy genre of music they espoused was rightly panned by most people who didn’t like wrestling and, like, really baggy pants as being some of the most annoying radio music out there. You can imagine, then, how I felt as a 13-14 year old kid, just getting into music, when I heard Staind played on the radio and kinda…y’know…liked it. But, I mean, at that age social pressure has a way of forcing one to say that something you like sucks and then trying to convince yourself that it’s true.

The fact is I always liked the song “Outside”, despite Staind’s reputation, and I had to repress that enjoyment whenever I was around music-knowledgable friends. 16+ years later, I can finally say this without shame, although it’s not like I’ve just been waiting around for the right time to finally come clean; it’s just that I happened across this great AMV a couple years ago and realized that it’s something I can write about here.

Because this is really a pretty fantastic video. Released in 2001 by serDouglass, this was one of the first 2,000 videos entered into the .org’s database. Given that the .org now has some 165,000+ videos entered in it, that’s pretty impressive. But what’s more impressive, at least to me, is just how well it has stood the test of time these last 17 years. This video demonstrates an innate understanding of editing basics, which is something I harp on again and again when I talk about those AMVs that speak to me the most. There’s nothing fancy in here — of course much of that may be attributed to the time this video was released and the fact that, back then, effects were simply much harder to come by. But this video is all the better for it.

Even so, editing-wise, there’s really not much to comment on. I would expect any halfway competent editor to be able to do the things this video does, and truthfully someone watching this video today probably won’t “learn” anything they didn’t already know. Cut on the obvious shifts in the song, hold onto a scene as the music lingers, pay attention to the lyrics without being obvious about it. Everything in moderation, basically, and that’s the most played-out lesson in the world. If anything, the video shows how important it is, but you probably already knew that.

Nah, what this video has is something more intangible, harder to manufacture without more thought and heart — it’s simply the fact that the anime and song seem to be so in sync, almost regardless of the technical choices the editor makes (or doesn’t). And while that’s also a pretty hackneyed concept, especially on this blog, there’s a reason I’m always harping on it and highlighting videos that do it so well: it’s probably the most important lesson any editor can learn. Smashing things together just because you like them on their own is hardly ever reason enough to do so — the art of editing an AMV implies that the two go together on some deeper, more fundamental level. Being an editor means recognizing that connection and making it work.

There are plenty (and I do mean plenty) of AMVs out there that don’t follow this pattern. Many of those even rely on the disparity itself to work — and many of them are downright excellent. I’ll say this, though — the videos that last, that stick with me and that I watch over and over and over again until a normal person would be dead sick of them are those that harness and emphasize a found synergy between the two sources that totally shoves all the editing tricks and technical wizardry the editor might throw in into the background. Peering Away The Layers isn’t the best video that does this — not even close — but serDouglass certainly hit on something special with this combination that’s worth remembering almost two decades later.

 

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filling in the gaps #4

Filling In The Gaps is an ongoing series of blog posts I’m working on, where I’m listening through all the music from CDs I’ve purchased over the years that, up until this point, I’d never actually listened to. If this is the first entry in this series that you’ve come across, please click here to catch up on the past entries. Enjoy!

Feb 12, 2018

He Is Legend – I Am Hollywood (2004)
Oof, this was bad. Emo-drenched metalcore with trite lyrics (at best), this is like a cringey trip backwards into my most horrifically awkward high school moments. What’s worse is that I bought this in my college days — if anything positive can be said it’s that I didn’t actually listen to it until now, when I had to. I suppose it’s not up to me to judge what does and doesn’t speak to people, but I just find it hard to understand how people past a certain age can relate to this kind of stuff. Of course, then I remember that I, like, really enjoy Korean music aimed at 14-year-old girls, so maybe I should just shut up. — 1.5/5.0

Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View (1994)1-hootie
A few observations:

(1) Anyone who owns any CDs has this one, it’s basically required to be considered a music connoisseur, like needing to own a license in order to drive or something.
(2) It’s very ’90s. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who hasn’t heard it but it’s worth pointing out again.
(3) It’s actually pretty good, and I would accept it as one response to the challenge, “Give me three reasons Pearl Jam wasn’t a bad idea.”*

Not something I’m going to be throwing on regularly, but there are some pretty standout tracks here — “Hannah Jane”, “Let Her Cry”, and “Goodbye” to name a few. This is a really likable album all-around. — 3.5/5.0

*I don’t actually dislike Pearl Jam all that much, but most alternative/grunge that derived from them is just not my thing…which should be obvious by this point if you’ve been following these posts.

Hot Chip – Made In The Dark (2008)
So this is basically Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer?-lite, and that’s an album that IMO has not aged particularly gracefully. This is also an album that is BAM MID-2000s INDIETRONICA in a really unappealing way. I don’t know, if I had first heard it when it was originally released, I might feel differently, but now, in 2018, this album is just really middle-of-the-road artsy indie pop that leaves a somewhat sour taste in my mouth. Nothing stands out, and there’s nothing here that would cause me to bypass Hissing Fauna so its existence seems kind of pointless for someone like me. — 3.0/5.0

Feb 13, 2018

Hot Chip – One Life Stand (2010)
ANDY BELL. That’s who the singer reminds me of. Wait, no — totally Kevin Barnes. Err…I don’t know I guess! These guys switch between Erasure and Of Montreal on a fricking dime, it’s crazy. It’s also slightly better than Made In The Dark, though it still retains a really distinct sound that I associate with bands like Animal Collective and their ilk — pop-influenced artsy-fartsy indie dance that college me was in love with but that almost-30-me just kinda finds somewhat pretentious and dull. That isn’t to say this album doesn’t have some good cuts — “I Feel Better” and “Alley Cats” really stand out — but overall it’s not something I’ll probably be returning to very often. — 3.5/5.0

2-humHum – Downward is Heavenward (1998)
This is an album to keep on the backburner, for sure, and I probably did it a huge disservice by being distracted while listening to it — the sci-fi lyrics and imagery that I caught here and there were really cool and hinted at big ideas and narrative that I was unable to fully explore. The overall ’90s shoegazey sound didn’t do a whole lot for me, but I think this might be one of those exceptional albums that requires some time and dedication to really get into, and I can see myself doing just that in the future. And “Apollo” — holy crap, I’ll be coming back to this album if only for that song. — 3.5/5.0

I Mother Earth – Scenery and Fish (1996)
The band name, the album title, and the album art all pointed to grunge crap that I was sure to hate so I’m not sure what led me to purchase this in the first place — I think it was based off of the recommendation of a friend but I can’t remember for certain. All I know is that I got exactly what I expected and the 50+ minutes it took me to listen through this were probably the low point of my day. This is the kind of stuff I was talking about with my Pearl Jam comment earlier. — 1.0/5.0

Mar 5, 2018

Interpol – Antics (2004)
This album started off quite good but got mediocre real fast. Everything past “Take You On A Cruise” kind of blended together into a mopey sprawl. Like a lot of the albums I’ve listened to since I started, this wasn’t bad at all — “Evil” is a really good song, and the entire album is pretty listenable. It’s just not terribly interesting. It’s probably worth noting as well that while Turn On The Bright Lights was once close to a five-star album for me, my love for it has cooled quite a bit in recent years, and Antics doesn’t do much to reel me back in. — 3.0/5.0

Mar 6, 2018

Jars of Clay – Much Afraid (1997)3-jars
Painfully mid-90s adult contemporary college rock, but I have a soft spot for Jars of Clay so I probably enjoyed this more than the average modern listener would. Even so, there’s not a whole lot here worth returning to — their best work was and will probably always be their debut, but this is still decently serviceable for what it is. — 3.0/5.0

Mar 7, 2018

The Jayhawks – Blue Earth (1989)
Buckle in friends, we’ve got five Jayhawks albums to get through, and man this is probably going to be a trudge. Normally I wouldn’t mind this kind of stuff — I’m generally fairly receptive to rootsy alt-country, and musically and lyrically this album is fine, but Gary Louis’ voice…it’s not bad, but it lacks all personality and emotion. Really brings the whole experience down, and turns an otherwise fine album into something pointedly lifeless. I really wanted to like this more. I’m hoping the next four albums are better…fingers crossed. — 2.5/5.0

The Jayhawks – Hollywood Town Hall (1992)
Marginally better than Blue Earth, but suffers pretty much all the same problems. I think in the right mood this might work a little better, but even then I can think of other groups I’d throw on well before I got to The Jayhawks, and by that point I’d probably have moved on to other genres anyway. — 3.0/5.0

Mar 13, 2018

4-jayhawksThe Jayhawks – Tomorrow The Green Grass (1995)
Peppier and catchier than their other stuff so far, but still does very little for me. I just can’t envision a time when I’ll want to throw this on, unless I’m in a super specific setting or a really unusual mood. It’s not bad music by any stretch of the imagination, I’m just having trouble justifying rating it very highly, knowing that I’ll probably never listen to it again. — 3.0/5.0

Mar 14, 2018

The Jayhawks – Sound of Lies (1997)
ZzzZZzZZZzzzzZzzZZZ…oh hey WHAT it’s over, another middling score GO. — 3.0/5.0

Mar 15, 2018

The Jayhawks – Smile (2000)
Oh man, we’re finally DONE with this section. It was pretty gruelling (although there’s worse to come, I’m expecting). I feel like I just listened to the same album five times and while it was perfectly pleasant, it left practically zero impression on me. I can now say I’ve listened through most of The Jayhawks’ discography, and I can also say that it’s probably not something I’m ever going to really seek out in the foreseeable future. — 3.0/5.0

Apr 24, 2018

Jeff Buckley – Grace (1994)5-jeff buckley
This was a very good album — Buckley’s voice is just, wow, and there are some seriously good songs on here. Everyone knows “Hallelujah” but there’s a reason it’s been covered so many times — it’s really fricking heart-rending. This is an album I’m definitely going to enjoy exploring in the future, it really deserves some solid, focused attention and reflection. Not bad for a $2.00 find. — 4.0/5.0

Jethro Tull – War Child (1974)
It was…ok. The thing is, I’m pretty sure Jethro Tull can do better, and I have two more albums to go through to prove this theory (although I’m fairly certain only the next one — Songs From The Wood — will deliver). This one is certainly charming in its way, with its British folk sound and references. It summons up imagery from medieval peasant Europe, and feels very earthy and genuine — most of the time. Songs like the awkward “Bungle in the Jungle” kinda break the illusion and sound really out-of-place, so as an album it just doesn’t work very well. But, I’m looking forward to hearing more from them. — 3.0/5.0

Jethro Tull – Songs From The Wood (1977)
I was shocked to find that I liked this less than War Child. It just didn’t engage me in any meaningful way. I think it was too rock-focused, and a lot of the folky elements had kind of gone. It wasn’t terrible or anything, but I think my expectations were a bit too lofty. — 2.5/5.0

Apr 25, 2018

6-jethroJethro Tull – Roots to Branches (1995)
Better than Songs From The Wood, but not much. A lot proggier than either of the other two albums I listened to yesterday, which isn’t a bad thing — I have a history with prog rock and this was actually pretty tame in comparison to most of what I’m familiar with. It didn’t leave too much of an impression overall, other than it felt a little long at some points and there was a more “tribal” feel to the music. Not bad, not great, just meh. — 3.0/5.0

Jewel – Pieces of You (1995)
Ok, so this album is all over the map — you have some clever and surprising bursts of lyrical genius (“There are addictions to feed and there are mouths to pay” from “Who Will Save Your Soul” was a head-turner for me), and then you have stuff like the absolutely, horrifyingly atrocious title track that has to go down as some of the most cringe-worthy songwriting I’ve ever heard. And then there’s Jewel herself, whose vocal range is as wide as the Grand Canyon, but who tends to get into yodel-y territory a little too often. I definitely enjoyed this, way more than I thought I was going to, anyway, but 50+ minutes of her singing with an acoustic guitar is a little…much. I have three more of her albums to get through, so please pray for me. — 3.0/5.0

Jewel – Spirit (1998)
Uhhh…actually this was rather pleasant. In between her her first album and this, her second, Jewel reigned in her warbling tendencies and the result is that her voice feels a lot more under control and just much more aurally pleasing. On top of that her lyrics are better (save for the slightly-awkward “Fat Boy”, although I’ll take it over “Pieces of You” any day), and the album format works here — it’s longer than Pieces of You, yes, but there are also no real throwaway tracks. I don’t want to overstate anything because this is definitely nothing revolutionary, but for mellow acoustic-driven folk-pop, you could certainly do a lot worse. — 3.5/5.0

Apr 26, 2018

Jewel – This Way (2001)7-jewel
Just an all-around bigger album than her previous two — more instrumentation, more energy, more put-on emotion — but not exactly better for it. While neither Pieces of You nor Spirit were exactly “daring”, they at least showed that Jewel was trying a bunch of things to find her niche. This album feels a lot more like she was trying new things…just to try new things. It doesn’t sound authentic most of the time, and is comparatively bland. The blatant infusion of country elements also kinda turned me off. Now, I say this all with the caveat that the last four tracks on the album are actually pretty amazing, and Jewel’s scream near the end of “Love Me, Just Leave Me Alone” is probably the most genuine outburst of emotion she’d put to record up to this point, so there’s some redemption there. — 3.0/5.0

Jewel – 0304 (2003)
Slick, high-energy pop music just doesn’t suit Jewel, what can I say. This feels overly produced and vapid, repetitive and obviously reaching for a wider audience, with the result being diluted, boring, leveled-out schlop. I don’t want to be too harsh because the album has some pretty catchy songs, but they all blend together and there’s also some pretty terrible lyricism. Most of what Jewel did up to this point overshadows almost all the cuts here, and it’s in large part thanks to the more intimate, coffee-house approach she had touted (at least in her first two albums). This one lacks any such personality and ends up as forgettable bargain-bin material. — 2.5/5.0

8-joanJoan Osborne – Relish (1995)
If, like me, your sole basis for recognition of Joan Osborne’s name is “One Of Us”, you’d be in for a huge surprise when firing this one up — it’s largely a rough-and-tumble collection of ragged-edged blues rock and aggro-folk, and man is it good. Osborne’s voice is up to the challenge of matching this very non-pop style — deep and rolling and vibrant. It’s got potholes, for sure — “Let’s Just Get Naked” is every bit as weird as the title would have you believe, and the stylistically misleading “One Of Us” has been played to absolute death by Alternative Radio — but none of them rob the album of its momentum and it ends up being a pretty fantastic time, even clocking in at just over an hour in length. Color me happily surprised on this one. — 4.0/5.0

Apr 30, 2018

Joan Osborne – Righteous Love (2000)
Massive step down from Relish. Where that one was aggressive and frayed, this one feels limp and smooth-edged, and not even Osborne’s powerful vocals can salvage it. It feels full of compromises and ends up being a monumentally boring work, which is something I don’t feel like I should be able to say about the same woman who wrote stuff like “St. Teresa”. — 2.0/5.0

Joan Osborne – How Sweet It Is (2002)
Marginally better than Righteous Love, but only just. It’s an album of covers, although I didn’t recognize most of them. I dunno, I find very little to comment on here, it was just a very dull 50+ minutes. — 2.5/5.0

May 1, 2018

Joanna Newsom – Ys (2006)9-joanna
Man, I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. Newsom’s voice is just so hard to get behind — I get the appeal, really I do, but 50 straight minutes of it is really pushing it for me. I also found the music somewhat dull — it’s often little more than a harp and maybe some other chamber elements. What captivates here more than anything is the storytelling, and as such the album as a whole definitely deserves another listen, but it’ll probably be a while. Although, I will say that I really did like “Sawdust & Diamonds”. — 3.0/5.0

John Coltrane – My Favorite Things (1961)
Love it. I’m weirdly picky with when I’ll listen to jazz (I usually prefer it in the winter over warmer months, for whatever reason), but this just hit the spot, like pretty much everything I’ve heard from Coltrane. I don’t have nearly a good enough understanding of music theory or jazz in general to break this down much further; all I know is that I like it and I’m looking forward to the other Coltrane albums I have coming up. — 4.0/5.0

John Coltrane – Africa / Brass (1961)
Slightly less engaging to me than My Favorite Things, but again, really hard for me to pinpoint exactly why. Although I will say that “Greensleeves” is the perfect example of why I prefer to listen to jazz around the Christmas season. — 3.5/5.0

May 2, 2018

10-coltraneJohn Coltrane – Olé Coltrane (1961)
The first track, “Olé”, is a sweeping, epic piece that I really enjoyed. Exactly the kind of thing I want to hear when I listen to jazz. Didn’t care too much for the second track, but the third, “Aisha”, was the other side of the coin compared to “Olé” — downbeat, relaxed, and very calming. It’s a really well-balanced record and clocking in at only just over 30 minutes, an easily-digestible little chunk of music. — 4.0/5.0

John Legend & The Roots – Wake Up! (2010)
A beautiful, moving cover album of protest songs from the ’60s and ’70s, updated and given a new voice. This is striking stuff, and some of the most lyrically thought-provoking music I’ve listened to in a long time. Legend’s voice is untouchable, and The Roots are consummate professionals in everything they do, this album not least of all. “Hard Times”, “Wholy Holy”, “I Can’t Write Left Handed”, and “Shine” are true stunners, but the entire album is super listenable and just riveting. — 4.0/5.0

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flying low #15: beyond the clouds

I think enough time has now passed that it’s safe for me to post a Place Promised In Our Early Days video without feeling like those of you who read this blog will dismiss it out of hand — in the mid-/late-2000s, it would probably be a different story, but chances are it’s been a long fricking time that you’ve watched a video using solely this source. Editors have (thankfully) moved on and since 5 Centimeters Per Second was released, it’s not often that editors turn to it as a legitimate source. Because, let’s be honest here — anyone who’s watched AMVs for any amount of time has probably gotten sick to death of Makoto Shinkai’s work being used in AMVs. If that’s you, then I apologize — maybe you’ll still find something to love here. I do believe this video has stood the test of time in a unique way, and it has, over the years, remained one of my favorites using this particular source.

Probably the most striking feature of this video is the way that AceMan utilizes sync — it’s a relatively slow song but he syncs almost every beat to a quick camera zoom or shake, and normally something like this would be a recipe for total disaster, and something I’d want no truck with — this is one of my main issues with the super trendy short-form videos that are being released on YouTube and Instagram these days. Happily, though, it works here and it feels a lot more guided, more deft, and it gives this AMV a totally unique feel that underscores the tension and desperation innate in the source itself.

There are also some really good editing tricks in the first verse of this thing, or if not editing “tricks” in the way one might think of them, than simply great scene selection — the use of scenes from the source with background fades from one setting to another is masterful, again lending this uneasy surrealism to the whole video. You never feel “happy” or “good” about the way the story in this video unfolds, even though it basically just follows the story in the movie and has what could be considered a positive ending. I have to believe that AceMan achieved this primarily through his editing choices because I’ve seen more videos that use this source than I care to count, and I can’t name another one that has such a specific feel.

If there’s anything to criticize, it’s the kind of “special thanks” that AceMan throws out at the video’s end. While today most of the names that flash across the scene probably mean nothing to anyone under 25 years old, if you had seen this video when it was first released you would have recognized almost all of them as big editors on the scene — and even to this day it feels like AceMan was trying to throw down as many big names as he could to either legitimize his work or just show off his connections. While it would have been fine to do this in its own separate section after the video had ended, to list off these names in the video’s final moments, forcing the viewer to sit through them, feels more than a little heavy-handed (and this isn’t unique to this release; AceMan’s more popular video, Andromeda, suffers the exact same issue).

I can’t really harp on that for too long though, because Beyond The Clouds delivers in literally every other part of its almost-four minute run. This video has persisted over the years for me, and has always stood head and shoulders above almost every other Place Promised video released before or since. If you missed it when it was released 11 years ago, you have no excuse now.

 

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genome project journal #5: amv tracker v1.2.0

I think it’s safe to say at this point that the AMV Genome Project is now so intricately tied to AMV Tracker that the two are, for all intents and purposes, essentially the same project. Which is to say, further development of AMV Tracker will be for the purpose of making the Genome Project communicable to anyone who cares enough to want to investigate it. That was its stated purpose initially, but after releasing AMV Tracker last year I got a little off-track, and you need look no further than the most recent release that I put out a couple weeks ago.

This release includes a whole bunch of what I would consider to be relatively niche features — things that no one asked for but which can increase one’s ability to do micro-organization of one’s database. All features are fully explained in the v1.2.0 update notes, as well as in the newly-added tutorial function accessible from AMV Tracker’s main window. A brief rundown of its two biggest additions:

  • You can now add videos to “sub-databases”, which are databases that exist alongside (but separate from) your main database. The main use is to separate out videos that you might not want to be located in your main database for any reason — maybe you use different rating criteria for different types of videos, for instance, or you’d like to keep an easily-accessible list of videos you want to watch but haven’t yet, etc.
  • You can now create “Custom Lists”, which are curated lists of videos that you can easily access at any time. These can be used to group together frequently searched-for videos (i.e. if you really like horror videos, you can add all horror videos in your database rated higher than a certain threshold, and then instead of doing a Custom Search each time you want to find these, you can just pull up your list). Custom Lists are meant to make AMV Tracker a lot more personal to you, and to make organization of your data even easier.

There are a bunch of other minor additions, QOL updates, and bug fixes as well. It was a big update — I worked on it for the better part of two or three months before releasing it — but it wasn’t what I had intended on doing for my next release. After initially releasing AMV Tracker last year, I had wanted my next major update to the program to be focused instead on statistics and data analytics. While I started down that path (there’s now a “Quick Stats” feature that shows some very basic stats about the videos in your database), I didn’t get very far before veering off-track and adding all this other stuff.

The reason is pretty simple — what I want to do with the statistics feature is very large and intimidating. I anticipate that it will take, probably, at least as much code as exists in all of AMV Tracker currently to create what I have in mind. Frankly, at least right now, I’m finding myself without much time or drive to work on this part of the project, so it may be a long time before anything develops in this direction. I’m hoping that I can get something out within the next six months or so, but even typing those words makes me recoil a little as I know it’s probably not going to happen. Besides having an online course taking up a lot of my free time over the next three months, I’m finding myself drawn to other interests and pursuits that are keeping me from doing much of anything AMV-related recently (to put this in perspective — I can count the number of new AMVs I’ve watched since I posted my year-end list in January on one and a half hands). This last point is hardly new though — I’m always being pulled in different directions because I’m interested in so many things and find it hard to focus on any one thing for an extended period of time.

All this is basically to say that the Genome Project, while not dead, is not actually progressing towards any end I’m currently satisfied with, and probably won’t be for a while. I hope those few of you who may have expressed interest in this at one point or another will continue to believe in me that something will come of this, someday, and to please keep an eye on this blog because any developments that come of it will certainly be posted here.

In the meantime, please do check out AMV Tracker if you haven’t already. And if you’re unfamiliar with it, well, I made a nifty video to kind of introduce it, above.

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