Discussion: Technicalities vs. Content

As part of PMVToday, our objective is to celebrate the talent and creativity of the MLP community. This includes showing any PMVs we think deserve more recognition than they get. You may have noticed some posts that were admittedly lacking in the visual department, and may even be a pain to watch for some. Why would we think those should be given more credit? Let me elaborate.

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow animator about this a few weeks ago. My argument, specifically, was that there are some aspects of animation that cannot be judged subjectively. These aspects include only the strictest descriptions of quality, like whether an animation is choppy/smooth, messy/clean, or unnatural/natural – and if something follows the 12 basic rules of animation. Then there is animation style, which would include details like lighting, graphics, colors, etc. but can be judged by opinion. He believed that every quality of animation is subjective, no matter what you are talking about. However, neither of us were correct in that argument. There is a lot more to quality than both strict technics and visual style. The content is just as important as the visuals. Sorry – Enough about animation; let’s go back to PMVs.

Let’s look at the original definition of a PMV: a Pony Music Video. Okay – that’s simple and broad enough to pretty much encompass anything that:

  1. has ponies in it
  2. is set to music.

That is all a PMV has to be, but that isn’t all it can be. Take a look at any PMV collab, and you can will likely see so many different styles of editing and/or graphics in there. They can range from simple cuts from the show, for example “Spike’s Saga Begins;” all the way to full-on graphics animations, like what Acleps tends to create. And here is where my discussion comes in.

Recently, the community has become more biased toward PMVs with fancy graphics and effects, and leaving simpler ones in the dust. Honestly, I can’t blame them — Flashy videos are fun to watch. But there is much more that can be in a PMV than visuals. Content — Song choice, meaning, depth — also plays a factor in PMV quality. In my opinion, a video does not have to have quality graphics to be good. Sometimes it takes a little bit more focus to look past the surface of those types of videos, but I believe we all try to emphasize that in our posts. We try to give nice shout-outs to creators unbeknown to most of the brony fandom – the ones who make PMVs with quality content, and who might have potential of a great editor someday.

So if what I have said doesn’t seem to make sense, here’s what I mean. Sometimes, PMVs have a great story or message to them; but look pretty lackluster, so they are cast aside. Sometimes, PMVs have spectacular visuals, but are ridiculed for being “empty” or lacking meaning. These are the two ends of the spectrum, and there are many PMVs that successfully made it to the glorious middle ground. From personal opinion, the best of the two worlds include, as examples — self-promotion time — TheLightLeavesThee who leans more toward show clips, and Pixel3000nerd who tends to create motion graphics. Creators who make PMVs like these, which have both good visuals and depth, tend to be the ones that are noticed more. As an incredibly extreme example, think of Lullaby for a Princess. Although it is an animation, it still counts as a PMV by those two rules I stated above. And it is arguably one of the most incredible fan works of My Little Pony that has ever been produced – it is incredibly deep, has stunning animation, and fits the song perfectly. The technicalities and the content are both top notch.

This is my story on the spectrum between the technical side and the content side of PMVs. This is based on my own personal thoughts. What do you guys think? I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic.


daspacepony-kitkatyj (@kitkatyj)

Story and visuals are indeed the two most important parts of a PMV, in fact in any visual medium. It’s up to the artist to decide how much of each to implement to bring the message across.

I too believed that fancy visuals and motion graphics are very important, until I realised, what’s the use of all the fancy visual stuff if there isn’t anything to bring across besides eye candy? I guess this is something we eventually come to realise…

Andrew (@LimeyPie)

Yeah I agree. Mine don’t get many views but I’ve been told by people the ideas I come up with are very interesting and one of the best ideas for a PMV. I remember I was shown the Skype chatlog about my PMV for Bronycon 2015, and someone said “Lets make 4th place feel good this year” and “LIKE NOTHING YOU SEEN BEFORE”. (They are talking about my PMV “Pinkierama”). The people that make the best ideas, or best visuals and stuff, usually don’t get as noticed like other people such as Flufflepuff. (Flufflepuff is IMO the most overrated OC in the fandom). Some people on Youtube said they are getting bored of Flufflepuff always winning in the “Top 10 Pony Videos”, and that the content is becoming stale. Same thing every time. Cute, Randomness, etc. It’s good to post your work, but eventually you need new ideas to keep the audience “fresh”. That’s why when I make PMV’s, I always try ideas and use songs no ones tried before. They may not get a lot of views, but I’m hoping I’ll get noticed more soon!!


Athil MV (@AthilMV)

I think that the fandom has seen a lot of simple pmvs in the past so they’re happy when they see an after effect pmv with motion graphics and such because it brings some fresh air, wich could explain why simple pmvs are not geting as much recognition as before, simply because their is already a lot of them.

For the “Content — Song choice, meaning, depth” part, a lot of people don’t pay atention to this and it’s not restricted to the PMV side, it goes the same for AMVs, it’s sad to say but sometimes you just need to take a catchy/fast song, and put action/fighting scene during the entire video and the people will be like “omg it looks so cool”, even if it doesn’t fit the lyrics at all …

PMV makers, or people that are really into pmvs will make the difference between a pmv that has a lot of thinking and meaning into it, and one that is just a montage of fighting and action scenes, but a normal person who watches pmv occasionally will not make the difference and just think that “it looks cool so it’s good”.

The problem that I sometimes have is that i’m thinking a bit too deep about wich clip to use and why, so people don’t get what was in my head when I chose to take a clip in particular, So a friend of mine has come up with an interesting idea that i’m curently testing, he told me to write, on a Word file for exemple, what was I thinking when I took a particular clip, why did I put this effect here etc… so that people can watch the pmv, then read it and understand perfectly the video and the meaning behind the clip choices, plus, it can help new pmv makers to get ideas from it ^^
(It’s curently in French but if you think that it’s a good idea, I can translate it into english and i’ll put it in the description of my videos)

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