On working alone

While my compy is still getting its pretty little circuits fried from the latest encoding session (closing on 19 hours total for episode 03 now :P), I wanted to mention a few things regarding the fact that I work alone.

For those of you that don't know them, AnimeClipse is perhaps one of the best (if not the best) greek fansubbing groups. One of the first that were formed in any case, as far as my poor understanding goes. So, apparently there has been a discussion in their forum lately regarding one of the latest trends: the so called one-man-fansub groups. Heh, or one-woman-fansub groups in my case.

The same discussion has been floating around in various other anime discussion forums too lately. But I was very intrigued by some of the arguments put forth by the guys at AC. And they seemed to have given this matter some serious thought. Does the group discourage new members from joining? Is there something wrong with the way they work? Do they appear so distant that new people would rather do all the work on their own than try to join them?

I think the fact that these people have thought on it so seriously does them credit. It is obvious that they honestly care about where their group is headed and what they represent as the leading greek fansubbing group. However, I must admit that my own answer is far more simple.

It never really crossed my mind. Also, I'm not so certain I was planning on things to turn out this way. :P

It all started back when I first found out about Porfy no nagai tabi from a random anime site and went "Whoa! An anime series about my country. Cool!". I went looking for a decent sub in anidb, but there was nothing there.

Half a year passed and one day I remembered all about that greek anime series. Surprise, surprise, still no subs. So I thought, what the heck, I'll download the raw episodes and watch them in japanese (watching anime with english subtitles is still less tiresome for me, since I don't have to concentrate on the dialogues at all). But no raws were around either.

A couple months later, I tried out Perfect Dark, a popular japanese P2P. While thinking of stuff to look up and download (including various novels in japanese as practice for my kanji reading skills), I sort of remembered Porfy no nagai tabi.

And then there were raws, as they say.

Long story short, I watched the first episodes and realized that the language was simple enough that I could translate it too if I so wished. And with the experience of looking everywhere for these episodes but being unable to find them still fresh in my mind, I thought I'd see what it's like to sub something. I had lots of fun reading about the secrets of encoding, filters and Aegisub. I took notes on how other groups worked and began to appreciate the work that went into those exquisite releases that I took for granted before. I fooled around, made at least 5 different versions of the first episode and laughed at my results most of the time. I learnt what B-frames and reference frames are. One particular evening, I panicked that some super-secret copyright law enforcing task force might barge into my house and arrest me, so I sat down and read on the legalities of the fansubbing community (much to my relief, Porfy is completely unlicensed, heh). I tried to show some of my first creations to my sister who called me a cartoon watching lunatic for the millionth time (while she was trying to convince me to use more make up, in which case I called her a silly bimbo for the billionth time, don't you just love siblings? ^_^). I picked up a couple of useful words and expressions for my 2級 studying. I then enjoyed fooling around with Photoshop and making this little blog. Took the chance to study HTML tags and a bit of CSS syntax, just coz they're all nice and shiny and they caught my eye along the way. I finished tranlsating the first episodes in not one but two languages and felt extremely proud of myself.

In other words, I had the time of my life.

So, to be honest, I never really stopped what I was doing to think "Hey, I should join a group if I want to do this seriously". Hehe, becoming a professional subber was never really my intention anyway. I do this because it's fun and interesting and, holy cow, people really did enjoy watching the stuff I made while having a good time, so why not? It's like, things sort of happened. Nothing was planned or anything.

So, my plans right now include to keep on having fun with this. For example, researching the new filters that will probably end up in episode 3 was a fun ride down the road of the encoding domain. Heh, my respect for the people of the trade certainly went up (have you seen some of those scripts? like, the really good ones, that include tweakings in the min and max thresholds and weird multiplying variants and sub-statements that make your eyes cross but can perform miracles on a video?). And probably try to keep up by translating as many episodes as possible.

Now, as far as working in a group goes, I want you to know that I'd be the last person to claim I can handle things just fine on my own. Working in a group would certainly produce better results and sort of ensure that the project would continue to live on even after I got bored/tired/quit. However, a small part in the back of my mind feels that joining a 'serious' group might turn this into work. Like, either having to incorporate myself into a larger working unit or being given a working group to administrate. Waaaaaay too much like my morning job, thank you. I need something more unconventional, no strings attached sort of thing to help me relax in my free time, you know?

Anyway, I hope I made a few points. I would like to reassure the guys at AC that their work is awesome and they don't just happen to be one of the leading greek fansubbing groups for their good looks (although I'm certain you have those too :P). Finally, my thanks go to Nadir, both for his constructive comments on what I could improve and for his attempt to bridge the discussion in the AC forum with the unknowing instigator, yours truly, here.

ΥΓ: Προς τα παιδιά της AnimeClipse, συγγνώμη κιόλας που τριγυρνώ ανώνυμα (under-cover! :P) στο φόρουμ σας, αλλά μου τράβηξε την προσοχή και το ενδιαφέρον η σχετική συζήτηση. Θα ένιωθα όμως και κάπως άβολα να κάνω register μόνο και μόνο για να πετάξω τη μούρη μου μέσα σε ένα και μόνο τόπικ, γι αυτό και περιορίζομαι στο blog μου όπου και ανήκω. Επίσης, σόρρυ που γράφω και στα αγγλικά, αλλά μου το έχουν σχολιάσει και άλλα παιδιά (μη Έλληνες) και είπα να τα γράψω μία κι έξω. Πάντως από εμένα, έχετε κάθε σεβασμό και τις πιο αγνές προθέσεις. ^_^

12 comments:

  1. Don’t listen to them just keep up the good work you done so far.
    I’m hoping to enjoy more from you.

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  2. Mm keep up the goodwork, watched episode 1 I liked it plus I think the subbing quality was quite comparable to higher end groups out there (meaning it was great quality IMO). BTW keep the format SD please T___T if it goes HD then alas it will make the series unwatchable (well for me and the others who cannot play HD due to older model computers). SD is still very much alive, a lot still prefer to torrent that. So keep it SD :D

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  3. @Sonik
    Hey thanks, hopefully the new ep will be here soon ^_^

    @Anonymous
    No worries, I might be fooling around with the avisynth script, but the final bitrate and file size will stay the same. I prefer the more light-weight versions as well anyway. ;) Other than that, thanks for your kind words. ^_^

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  4. I think the big concern about you going solo with this project is that well its a fact that subbing is a lot of work, especially for ones hardware. So the big concern is that eventually it may be difficult for you to handle that you may end up stopping at some point (which knock on wood I hope doesn't happen). BTW as for subbing as much as there have been cease and desists if you must look at cases not very much western countries actually do pursue things such as arresting you, a lot of cases end up Scot free (and if you're not familiar with law the reason why past cases are so important in deciding legal action is that past decisions in themselves become a law) so really the paranoia of cease and desists don't have much power. Moreover, its rather difficult to pursue international action with the addition that intellectual property rights, especially pertaining to internet/digital related matters, is still very much a gray area with no real universally accepted modus operandi (perhaps in Asian countries like Japan action has been able to be implemented but other wise there are relatively few countries wherein you can get in trouble.) Just my 2 cents regarding that issue. Chances are anyways this series won't be getting picked up (based on previous World Theatre anime like Les Miserables this genre is heavily neglected but you never know though even if that were the case you'd be fine XD.)

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  5. Hestia do not worry about AC and what they are saying about you. Losers!!! I think is a really good thing you are working solo. In my opinion AC is not so good as you think. 1 episode in 1 month is not a fansub group. In addition if you try to download something from their tracker what you get is 0 seeders. Again not a fansub group. I think the work you do by yourself, will deliver faster releases and better quality than them. Keep up the good work. XD.

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  6. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your effort! It is truly amazing that you started such a project on your own, but more amazing is the fact that you learned all the stuff necessary for fansubbing from all aspects (filtering, encoding, typesetting)!

    AnimeClipse officially supports your effort and you can ask anytime about anything without thinking twice about it!

    Also I would like to thank you for all the good stuff you posted about us! This is the reason that we try to keep providing quality fansubs for all greek speaking anime-fans out there!

    Keep up the good work! ^_^

    Best Regards, Gpower2

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  7. Hestia, I would also like to congratulate you on your effort... being alone is not bad.. it is just difficult! I hope you will not get bored and will be able to finish what you started. As a member of the AnimeClipse fansubbing group I would like to thank you for your good comments about us and wish you good luck and patience...

    @Anonymous
    1 episode a month means that right now there might be some problems... being anonymous and saying bad things about others means that you are a loser yourself... Not everyone has enough free time for fansubbing all the time! As for the tracker... if you knew how to read, it is written in the homepage of the site that write now we are experiencing problems... but I suppose you don't know how to read Greek!

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  8. @ Anonymous: Fuck off Animeclipse is the best greek fansub out there. They're just experiencing problems and waiting for batch releases to kick your ass.

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  9. Hi. I just watched the first episode and will definitely be downloading the next. I hope you keep up with this, especially since it's just you doing all the work. I don't know any Japanese except teeny tiny bits from anime but all the same, I didn't notice any inconsistencies in your translation (and I have with other subs, so that's a compliment even from someone like me..) I thought the video quality was nice and the subtitles were nice and readable. Just a couple of spelling mistakes but that's not such a big deal, I just thought you might want to know.
    Really good job :)
    (I'm referring to the English version)

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  10. Keep up the good work, and remember to have as much fun as possible (thats the value of fansubbing after all).

    Regards and best wishes,
    a faithful leecher...^^

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  11. Oooookay, I was a little busy the past couple of days, so a few of my replies might seem outdated, but I felt bad not mentioning anything either.

    @Anonymous 3:52 AM
    Thanks for analyzing things up a bit. Truth is, I mostly wanted to check. And yeah, it is more unlikely for people to bother, especially since I'm located in Greece. However, I am making english subtitles too. Also, I am very pleased with my real life achievements and have no wish to get into any sort of trouble with the law, even if it includes the tiniest suspicion. So basically, we're all lucky that Porfy is unlicensed. ^_^

    @Anonymous 1:29 PM
    Although I appreciate the sentiment, I myself never claimed that AC said anything bad about me. On the contrary, I do respect their work (the fact alone that they have been around longer than most is an achievement). Besides, this blog does not concern them directly and it would be unfair to discuss them here like this... Other than that, you have my many thanks for your encouragement.

    @gpower2
    Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. And dealing with all sides of fansubbing was the fun part! ^_^

    @ManiacGr
    You're welcome and thanks for stopping by!

    @RaiDeNJuNioR
    Please refrain from using improper language here. ;)

    @Kate
    I really appreciate your comments and that you took the time to post here. Umm, I don't know if you will be coming back here to read this, but would you mind pointing out any of the spelling mistakes you noticed? I would really appreicate that. ^_^

    Dante80
    I still owe you a million thanks for the ddl thing. You're the hero of the day. ^_^

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  12. Thanks for sharing how Seiki subs came to be. I think it's most important that you have fun doing this, whether as the sole subber or as a group! I haven't watched any eps yet as I'm waiting until you release more, but I'm glad you mentioned you're going for the 2kyuu jlpt as it gives me that much more confidence that I'll be reading the right translation! :D

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