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Also known as AMVs or Anime Music Videos.

In a nutshell, the basic concept is to take footage from your favorite TV show, set the scenes to your favorite music, maybe add some Fan Art or fansubbing, put it all together in a digital movie maker on your PC, upload it to a video streaming site online, and wait for the comments to pour in.

It's not the most productive activity in the world, but for the most dedicated, it is one of the most time-consuming. Like Fan Fics and Fan Art, making and watching these videos is another way fans express their obsession over a show.

Naturally, the companies and network executives behind the shows and music are mixed on the whole deal. Some welcome the support and publicity and even hold competitions for the best video. Others simply turn a blind eye to the videos, neither encouraging them nor forcing them removed under threat of lawsuit. Other companies do that very thing.

By definition, Fan Vids consist entirely of copyrighted material. Whether the usage of the clips counts as Fair Use or not is up for debate, but there's a lack of legal precedent for whether it qualifies as fair use, largely because few makers of one are interested in dragging the case to court when they could just re-upload it under a different user name or on a different site. In any case, the proliferation of such videos makes it difficult for any company to gain headway in removing them.

Fan Vids made from Anime or cartoon sources are also called Animated or Anime Music Videos, or AMVs, while Japanese fans call theirs Music Anime Doujinshi, or MADs.

Fan Vid artists can also get into trouble for the audio they use. AnimeMusicVideos.org, which catalogs its namesake and hosts over 80,000, had to remove all videos using music by Evanescence in late 2005. Hosted videos now come with the disclaimer, "THIS VIDEO IS PURELY FAN-MADE AND IS IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH THE MUSICAL ARTIST OR ANIME COMPANY IN ANY WAY."

Shipping vids and vids centered around your one favorite character (sometimes called "tributes") seem to be the most prevalent, though Gag Dub parodies have been picking up steam recently.

Just like with Fanfic, Sturgeon's Law applies oh so very much when it comes to the overall quality of the videos.

A Sister Trope is The Abridged Series.


Popular Combinations

Action

Characterizations

General

  • "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence with... anything.
  • Anything to "What I've Done" or "Numb" by Linkin Park. No, seriously, anything.
    • Especially ones centered on Starscream from Transformers Armada. Interestingly, "What I've Done" appeared in the 2007 movie.
    • There is one with Kingdom Hearts scenes arranged and set to "Numb". It's about Roxas's anger at being just a shadow of Sora, so it gained points for making sense in context (the 'someone disappointed in' Sora being Riku).
  • Something epic to a DragonForce song. "Through The Fire and the Flames" is merely the most popular.
  • Lorena McKennitt songs for... just about every fandom ever.
  • Almost every fandom has a video set to "What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts. Seriously.
  • Quest, epic journey, war, or any ongoing struggle type stories set to Marching On by One Republic. At least 50 for Supernatural
  • Most Boys Love series are set to "Flesh" by Simon Curtis or the Far cover of "Pony" at one time or another.

Genres

  • Any show dealing in anyway with supernatural beings and romance combined with Real Life's "Send Me An Angel". (Ah! My Goddess is the most common. Often entitled: "Send Me Belldandy")
    • There is a Chrono Crusade version -- the irony that Chrono is a devil, not an angel...
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic and Lemon Demon seem the go-to artists for high energy, wacky comedy vids. (Some AMV contests have actually banned the use of Weird Al music since it renders making a crowd-pleasing, overwhelmingly popular comedy video far too easy.)
    • Case in point Lupin III/"This Is The Life", which even Weird Al has said is better than his own video for the song, which was basicly him acting out the lyrics mixed with scenes from the movie it came from Johnny Dangerously.
    • Then there are these two mashups of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic with two of his polka medleys, one with Polkarama and the other with the Angry White Boy Polka. They impressed Al so much that he posted the links of both of them on his Twitter page.
  • As a rule, any Hot-Blooded show goes well with JAM Project.

Sex

  • Salacious scenes from various series set to Avenue Q's "The Internet is For Porn".
    • And don't forget any and all male duos and If You Were Gay!
  • "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi for Evil Is Sexy characters.

Shipping

  • Foe Yay scenes to t.A.T.u.'s "Friend or Foe"
  • Die for Our Ship themed vid to Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend.
  • Any slideshow of pairing fanart to "Everytime We Touch" by Cascada. Extremely prominent in the Naruto fandom.
  • A Takahashi Couple's Belligerent Sexual Tension set to John Mellencamp's Hurts So Good ("Sometimes love don't feel like it should, you make it -- oof -- hurt so good." Personally I am just surprised I've never seen a Ranma ½ video set to this.
    • If the Tsundere is violent, and an harem is involved expect "My Wife Met My Girlfriend" to make an appearance.
    • Another common video from the Tsundere's perspective is "He Drives Me Crazy" -- usually combining tsuntsun visuals with the deredere music.
    • A Kiss With A Fist is becoming popular.
  • Shippy Tear Jerker videos set to Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars."
    • Shippy Tear Jerker vids set to anything by Snow Patrol.
  • As with the previous type, another popular technique is to combine a saccharine Dating Sim theme song with a completely unrelated show.
  • Slap Slap Kiss or Foe Yay to "I Hate Everything About You" by Three Days Grace.
  • "Accidentally in Love" by Counting Crows is often used for two mismatched lovers.
  • "Two Lovers" by Mary Wells for a Love Triangle, usually if it's Two Guys and a Girl (never mind that the song is actually about one man with a split personality).
  • "All About Us" by t.A.T.u. is sometimes used for star-crossed lovers. "All The Things She Said" is the yuri song of choice.
    • Any time you get a yuri (or non-anime lesbian) couple, expect a lot of t.A.t.U. vids. Uranus and Neptune have almost their entire discography.
    • Actually these days you're lucky you get t.A.T.u. instead of "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry. This song is used for EVERY femslash pairing EVER. Despite the fact that it's a song about experimenting with women while having a boyfriend, it's used in videos about people who are in long term relationships.
    • The male version by Cobra Starship ("I Kissed A Boy") is getting quite popular for slash pairings.
  • "I Won't Say (I'm In Love)," from Hercules, for any UST couple. Or a couple where the vid's maker sees the UST, but the showrunners don't.
  • Expect to find vids about friendly enemies or brimming with Foe Yay set to "Wonderboy" by TenaciousD.
  • EVERY pairing EVER needs to go along with "Love Story" by Taylor Swift or "Why Don't You And I"? Because all relationships perfectly fit these two songs.
  • "I Love The Way You Lie" with just about any Destructive Romance, Masochism Tango or Slap Slap Kiss couple you can think of.
  • 'I Like It' by Enrique Iglesias (used prominently in Jersey Shore, of all places) is becoming a popular choice within the Disney/non-Disney crossover video crowd. (See here, here, here and here.)
  • It seems like every Star Trek pairing (and many sci-fi pairings, in general) have at least one video set to The Calling's "Wherever You Will Go".
  • Expect to see at least one video per shipping with "Look at Us Now" by Sarina Paris.

By source fandom

Anime and Manga

Film

Video Games

  • Cutscenes from Final Fantasy to an Evanescence song.
  • Anything overlaid on a Stupid Statement Dance Mix. These usually (but not always) come out of Japan; bonus points accrue if voice clips from the characters are set to the rhythm and/or melody of the song. Some particularly devoted creators will actually cut and paste very short samples of the character's voice so they "sing along" -- usually in a very mechanical way -- to the song; these are termed "manual Vocaloids" due to the popularity of Hatsune Miku and friends. Like so.

Western Animation

X with alternate music

  • Grabbing a specific scene, mostly or totally unaltered and unedited, from a work of media, and adding it music from a foreign work, specifically inserted to better blend in, sometimes improving upon the original music placement. In this regard it differs entirely from your traditional AMVs.


Anime and Manga

Video Games

Web Original

Other common techniques

This is not, of course, to say that all Fan Videos are like this -- but an overwhelming majority of them are. Some have even resulted in Memetic Mutations.


General Examples

Anime and Manga

Film

Live-Action TV

  • In January 2008, a Firefly/Serenity video set to "Defying Gravity" (from the musical Wicked) garnered the approval and recommendation of no less than Joss Whedon himself.
  • A Doctor Who fan created "The Five Doctors", which is essentially a very high-budget Youtube Poop.
    • The Master dancing in the show to part of "I Can't Decide" by Scissor Sisters also led to the creation of fan vids set to that song which included clips of him dancing to it, creating an interesting recursive effect. Here is one of about 300 of them.
  • Now with over a million views, this was one of the first Kirk/Spock videos and has been played at several (non-slash!) major conventions. It's a bit disturbing, but a classic.
  • "Ordinary Day" by Vanessa Carlton is very popular for Doctor Who vids, like this one.
  • One notable video is the impressive Addicted To Lost, whose makers actually tweaked the audio of the original song ("Addicted To Love") so that Robert Palmer appears to be singing the new title line. The kicker? This isn't technically a fanvid. It's an actual promotional video that aired on ABC during the 2005 Super Bowl.
  • The unofficial theme song for Gomez and Morticia Addams appears to be "The Masochism Tango" from Tom Lerher. Not surprising, as they're Happily Married with a side of Too Kinky to Torture
  • This may not exactly be popular, but there are also Power Rangers/{insert whatevermedia here} crossovers, with characters from the other show/game/whatever 'starring' as any respective Power Ranger.
  • A very funny (and appropriate) fanvid for Torchwood is set to "Banned from Argo" by Leslie Fish & the Dehorn Crew. The verse about finding "the captain" engaged in group sex with five kinds of aliens? Yeah, the line was written for James Kirk, but Jack Harkness manages to out-do Kirk for Boldly Coming.
  • Despite being over thirty years old, Blakes Seven has some awesome fanvids. This one is a very wry one about the cheesy production values. This one lampshades and parodies the bleak tone. This one wins for being a marvelous piece of meta-fiction. The song itself is practically filk with the two lead singers playing the main characters, the clips are depicting the events sung about in the song, and the band itself was named for the series.
  • Community spoofed an actual fanvid of their show in the episode "Paradigms of Human Memory". Annie brings up all the glances and Will They or Won't They? moments she and Jeff have had and it cuts to a silly Noodle Incident montage set to the love song "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles. Jeff points out you could do the same thing with Pierce and Abed and a montage of innocuous moments between those two set to the same song is shown. It is an Affectionate Parody(or as creator Dan Harmon tweeted "homage") to a real Jeff/Annie fanvid made two months after the show premiered.
  • Heroes character tributes are popular. Like Sylar for instance. Also mixing and matching music or dialogue from other series.

Music

Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Another early progenitor of the modern Fan Vid: Fighter Fling, created by none other than the F-14 Tomcat fighter squadrons of the United States Navy. That's right, even the hotshot Top Gun types were into this sort of thing! From 1989 to 2004 (when the Tomcat's retirement was announced), the squadrons would produce one long yearbook-like video of Tomcats and their crew acting Badass or Bunny-Eared set to whatever music was popular at the time. Every so often, clips or entire Fighter Fling videos appear on YouTube, but as they are no less copyright violations than the average modern-day Fan Vid, they are often taken down due to DMCA.
    • The final Fighter Fling produced in 2004 included a sendup of Van Halen's "Right Now" music video, centered upon the final days of the F-14 Tomcat's service history.
    • This sequence from Fighter Fling 2004 says it all. You will never doubt the quirkiness of the United States military ever again.
  • Footage of Hitler's army being deployed seems to fit well with Krook's March from Donkey Kong Country 2 here, as it does with John Williams' Imperial March here.
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