My “O Canada” MMD video confused Japanese viewers!

A feature article by LearnMMD's Senshi Sun!At the end of June, I decided I wanted to do some sort of celebration for Canada’s 150th birthday. 150 years ago, Canada went from being a bunch of colonies to being a Dominion, which means that it’s part of the British Common Wealth, but is mostly independent.

The making of my “O Canada” video…
How Internet Patriotism became Japanese Surrealism!

I had a few ideas for what kind of video I could make:

  1. Rick Mercer explaining the Canadian Government
  2. The opening to Mr. Dressup
  3. William Shatner’s “O Canada

I was musing about the advantages and disadvantages of each video when I checked the calendar. I had misjudged the amount of time I had to make the video. I did not have a week. I had one day.

William Shatner’s O Canada it was! I already knew the audio well because a show I was working near used it as part of their program. It was short – only five minutes long – and simple. All I really needed was one guy standing on a stage and talking.

First, I needed a stage. I immediately went to our very own Learn MMD Auditorium stage because it’s simple and clean.

Second, I needed a guy. This was a bit more difficult to figure out because I was not sure if I wanted to imitate the look of the original video. Eventually, I chose Hzeo’s Formal Kaito because I’d already downloaded it.

Third, I needed the audio. I found a shorter version of the original clip on YouTube and downloaded it.

Analyzing this video gave me the basics for the camera set up. There were two shots. One was a full body shot from the front, and another was a bust-up at an angle. The video switched between one and the other. There was no camera movement. Easy.

I didn’t want to motion trace the video. Motion tracing would be much slower and more complicated, and I wanted to make the video my own.

I worked very quickly. I didn’t use interpolation curves very much, and the movement was pretty basic. I didn’t even recolour the ground shadow. I would not consider this my best work, but I had a deadline to meet.

I finished it and uploaded it to YouTube on June 30th.

Because videos seem to get more views on Nico Nico Douga, I uploaded it there too. I didn’t put subtitles on the video. This was partially because I thought it would take too long and partially because I thought it was easy to understand.

There was a small but notable reaction. On YouTube, the video got two thumbs up and one thumbs down.

On Nico Nico Douga, the reaction was different. It was added to a few people’s favorites. People left comments on it. I don’t read Japanese, so I put them through Google Translate.

Initially, I thought there was a mistake with the translation. After fiddling with the translation options, I realized the confusion did not come from a translation issue.

They said, in summary, “Lol! This is so surreal.”

My "O Canada" video... OMG... how could they NOT get it?... The jokes, the presentation... too funny, right?How could they say that?

It was easy to understand!

I was so confused.

Then, I realized it was easy to understand if:

  1. You can follow casual English sentence structures with many parentheticals
  2. You know the Canadian national anthem
  3. You understand who William Shatner is
  4. You understood what the jokes were

Most Japanese people didn’t meet any of those requirements. They just saw the “Rankin Bass” level of animation quality and heard a series of words strung together by nonsense.

Next time I upload something to Nico Nico Douga, I will have to add subtitles. If I could find a Japanese translation or somebody was kind enough to write one, I could write them in Japanese, but English subtitles could work too. At least then, people will be able to figure out what the people in the video are saying.

I hope these musings are useful to some of you. I will be writing more soon. Have a wonderful day!


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