Part of the reason I started this blog was to provide a place for me to write my thoughts and observations as I go through and continue to build up the database of the AMV Genome Project. I’m doing my best to be incredibly thorough not only in the data collection process, but in the development of the project as a whole. I want there to be a trail that anyone can easily follow to track how the project morphs over time. It’s already changed a lot since I started, and I expect it to change more as it goes along. Although I do not anticipate anyone caring about this as much as I do, and although interest right now seems…nonexistant, save for a select few people, one never knows what will happen years down the road. On the (extreme) off-chance that this project gains traction and enacts some sort of major change in the AMV world, it’ll be nice to have a running commentary. Maybe. To someone.
Anyway. So as I’m looking through my Genome Project list, I realize that the My Ratings column is probably meaningless to most people. For the few who care about the project, the interesting stuff is elsewhere in the spreadsheet, and my ratings are purely for me. I do, after all, plan on using this for more than just data analysis at some point in the future. For all intents and purposes this list is a kind of “Table of Contents” for me, a way to keep track of all the videos I watch. The “My Ratings” column, then, is very handy for me; it essentially tells me what videos are worth remembering and which aren’t.
But simply attaching a number to these videos only tells one so much, myself included. Really, it doesn’t do anything other than provide a comparison for how much I like one video relative to another that’s also been rated. So far, no standards have been attached to these ratings, so I figured I’d do it here. If nothing else, this can serve as an exercise for myself to put into words exactly what I mean when I say that I like a video.
So, what follows is an explanation of the “My Rating” scale found in the spreadsheet. You may find this utterly boring and narcissistic and irrelevant; that’s fine. I figure I need to make sure that everything in this project is defined at one point or another, so it’s a necessary evil. Bear with me!
Videos rated 10/10 are, unsurprisingly, my favorites. They are those videos that, to me, get everything right (or, in some cases, enough things right where the mistakes are utterly overshadowed). They are perfect videos, in the sense that they satisfy to completion what I would expect to see out of a given song/anime combination. These are videos that lose nothing over repeated viewings, and in most cases, get better and better the more I watch them.
Videos that have a 10 rating are, in almost all cases, those that I’ve had around for a while, typically years. They’ve had time to grow and root themselves in my brain. Very few videos are able to achieve this rating without being subjected to many months of scrutiny.
Perhaps ironically, these videos tend to be less about the objective features of editing and almost entirely about the subjective; I tend to connect with these videos on a deeply emotional level that surpasses all others, and which is impossible to quantify, or nearly so. (This post might describe better what I’m talking about).
9.0 – 9.5
Videos rated 9.0 – 9.5 are very similar in type to the ones listed above, but may have enough editing flaws or one or two minor technical flaws that keep me from becoming 100% immersed in the video. These videos can also be technical marvels or conceptual masterpieces that do little for me on an emotional level, but which I still thoroughly enjoy watching. These videos can still rank among my favorites and are often go-to videos when I’m in the mood for something specific.
At this level, and as we go on, actual editing technique begins to become more prominent in how I choose to rate a video. When I don’t connect with something fully from an emotional standpoint, technical flaws/perfection begin to be my main point of reference for rating a video, and so this factors more heavily in my scoring.
8.0 – 8.5
These are strong videos that I very much enjoy watching, but tend to have more noticeable and less forgivable editing flaws than those that I would rate higher. These videos may be very emotionally engaging, but the editor made some poor choices with effects work or a put in a few badly-placed scenes that stick out too much to ignore. You will also see in this range videos that have a strong and clear concept, but execution that is lacking in either technical competence or reach. This is also the score range where repeated viewings start to yield diminishing returns, and may eventually result in a video that becomes less enjoyable over time.
Basically, these are great videos that could have been perfect or nearly so if a few basic things had been done better.
7.0 – 7.5
This is where it starts to become apparent that the pure editing is now the majority of what I’m grading on. These videos may have some emotional investment from me, however there is definitely a wall that can’t be breached which keeps me from ever being fully invested in the video. These are the videos that I may re-watch from time to time, but rarely; in most cases they are edited proficiently but lack enough elements to effectively keep me from enjoying it to the extent that I’d like to.
As a result, these are still videos that I would classify as “good” in that they may appeal to other people in the very aspects that turn me off. The subjective portion of what I enjoy in videos is by and large missing from these videos, for me, but it may be present for someone else.
5.0 – 6.5
At this point in the spectrum, I am not being engaged emotionally on almost any level. Some 6.5-rated videos may be hitting me in some way, but it is generally vague and forgettable. These videos are usually well-edited, from as objective a standpoint as one can take: The editor hit all the major beats, used effects tastefully, utilized decent scene selection, but it was all done in a style that I found uninteresting.
I will probably not willingly re-watch these videos, as they are not all that engaging to me, but they may still appeal to those who find more joy in the pure editing rather than any other aspect of AMVs, or who have more of a connection to the song/anime combo than I do.
1.0 – 4.5
At this point we’ve entered the realm of objectively bad videos, which are lacking in terms of both editing and emotional connection. Very few people will find these videos appealing in almost any way, as these videos tend to be rife with technical flaws and effects work that either never worked to begin with, or simply didn’t age well. These are videos that are badly paced and have an awkward or contrived song/anime combo that simply doesn’t work. Videos that are highly derivative can also find their way into this rating range.
I try to make it so that videos rated in this range are not just videos that I personally dislike, but are videos that actually have enough quantifiable flaws where most sane editors would also not like them. The lower the score, the more prominent and present these flaws are.
Videos with this rating are so offensively bad that it’s hard to see how anyone could like them in the first place, the editor included. These videos are defined by their flaws and nothing else, including but not limited to: hardsubs, watermarks, orphan frames, extremely LQ footage and/or song quality, lip flap, tasteless effects, a lack of actual editing/cuts, no relevance of the anime/concept to the song, etc. Because these same flaws can be found in almost any of the other ranges of scores, it’s important to note that videos rated 0.5/10 have many of these things (and possibly others not mentioned) in extreme abundance.
This is a rare score, because even with most bad videos, I can at least identify the reason the editor had for making the video, and can appreciate it even if I don’t like it. Videos with this score have no such redemption waiting for them. They were beyond hope the moment the editor opened his editing program.