JIMAA: A Short Explanation of AMVs

This entry will discuss AMVs aka Anime Music Videos.  You might of seen them at on the web, or attended a convention and watch them in a viewing room or for an AMV contest. You might be wondering what’s the process of creating an AMV, why do people do it, or you’re interested and creating your own and don’t know where to start. Never fear my otakus! I am here to give you some info on AMVS. So let’s get started shall we?

What is an AMV?

An anime music video is a music video which features clips from one or more anime which are set to music.  This term usually refers to fan-made unofficial videos.

There are two other types of AMVs: GMVs-which is video game footage put together with music; and Animashing-a format of AMV’s that include or a comprised of non-anime gaming footage.

Keep in mind that AMVs are not official music videos released by a musician. They’re created by amateurs.  Also AMVs should not be confused with music videos that employ original, professionally made animation, short music video films, or with fan-made “general animation” videos which use non-Japanese animated video sources.


In order to create an AMV, various video editing techniques are used to get the desired effect of synchronization and unity:

Editing: Using different clips from the video source and changing between them at specific times is important for having a great AMV. Most times the events in the video and the transitions between the clips are synchronized with events in the music. This synchronization is divided into two general types: internal- involves synching the audio with actual events taking place in the scene, such as gunshots and slamming doors-and external-instances of edited in cuts made in time with the audio.

Digital effects: By using video editing software, the video source can be modified in various ways. Some effects are designed to be impossible to notice (such as modifying a scene to stop a character’s mouth from moving) while others are intended to increase synchronism with the audio, or create a unique visual style for the video.

Lip-sync: This editing style is seen in many videos and is also commonly used in parody AMVs. The songs vary and can come from musicals or to the latest on the pop charts. The purpose of making the character or characters appear as if they were singing the song (the synchronization of the lip movements of a character in the original video source to the lyrics of the audio) is often a comedic reason.

Rubber-bands, keyframe manipulation or dissolves: These are techniques in which the editor makes at different points in a video which makes the video either fade in or fade out. This can be to another video clip, or to a different color, most commonly solid black or solid white.

Finally, some editors use original and manipulated animation, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional, in AMV works. Such additions are often used for visual effect or to convey a story that is otherwise incommunicable using only the original video source.

More Information about AMVs:

The first anime music video was created in 1982 by 21-year-old Jim Kaposztas. Kaposztas hooked up two VCRs to each other and edited the most violent scenes from Star Blazers to “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles to produce a humorous effect.

One of the first anime music videos that achieved popularity came from the 1996 song “Daytona 500”, from rapper Ghostface Killah, using clips from the 1960s anime Speed Racer.

There are many competitions for AMVs. In Iron Editor, two or more editors compete directly with one another, editing videos on the fly in a real-time contest in the style of Iron Chef. Many conventions host AMV viewer choice contests as well as other types of AMV contests.

There you have folks. Now you know more about AMVs.  Now here’s your homework: Check out AnimeMusicVideos.org and watch some AMVs. I hope in the future to host a JIMAA AMV contest. Alright see you next time!


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