insufferable know-it-all (bironic) wrote,
insufferable know-it-all

VVC report part 2 -- Panels

Part one here

As mentioned, I spent the majority of the con in panels rather than in vidshows. Here are some notes. I'm still not sure how many of you long-time f-listers care about vidding or vid-watching, but hopefully you'll find something interesting in here.

Structure of a Vidshow with greensilver, melina and absolutedestiny

Advice from trelkez, who knows how to do emotion in vids:
  • Vidshows are like mixtapes with pictures.
  • Where do you get vids for your show?
  • Mix up subjects, pairings/gen, energy, music...
  • Start obvious: Establish your anvil theme. Big, strong, high energy.
  • Ease into and out of intense vids.
  • Close with another vid that's strong and representative of your theme.
Comments from melina, who co-runs the Premieres shows:
  • First, divide same-fandom or same-theme vids into the two halves of the show, i.e. one Supernatural or "women who kick ass" vid in the first half and one in the second half.
  • They ask: Do we know which vid will be the last in the show? Usually, yes. The one(s) that can't be followed.
  • They ask: Do we know which vid will start the show off? Also usually yes. Lighter.
  • They also balance for type of fandom.
  • Sometimes it's impossible to avoid a jarring transition from one vid to the next.
  • They front-load longer or serious vids, accounting for people getting tired as the show continues.
  • Making a vid show is like making a vid—you figure out which clips (vids) go together.
  • Having submitters label 1st and 2nd choice vids sometimes comes in handy to put together a coherent show.
Comments from absolutedestiny, who runs the Club Vivid dance party:
  • CVV is different—it's a *slow* shift from one music type or fandom genre to another. Goal is to keep people on the dance floor. That often means providing more of the same. People come and go with their taste. He'll group the vids of people who are friends so they come in for the first vid by a member of the group and stick around.
  • He will do small themes within the show like three superhero vids.
  • General structure. Disc one: modern pop, energetic. Disc two: electronica, dance, rock. Disc 3: cheese, 80s; slower because people are tired; sing-able/best appreciated when drunk.
  • Other goal is to support premiering vids as much as possible while making room for favorites. Favorites are useful for segues.
  • Can be tough to put together if premieres are all totally different or totally similar.
  • Long-build songs are harder.
  • End of show: The ones everyone wants to watch/dance to.
Discussion/general comments:
  • Some shows support a narrative structure/connections more than others.
  • Nearly New wants more high-energy vids.

WIP It Good with kuwdora

Which turned out to be just as much about different people's vidding processes as about why and where vidders get stuck on projects. Nifty insights.

kuwdora started out with a chart showing categories of vid production and their various substeps: pre-vidding (including searching for and obsessively listening to songs), outline/storyboarding, grunt work (ripping, clipping), working in the timeline, export, distribution. Neat screen shots of varying techniques here, such as obsessive24's handwritten notes and heresluck's detailed spreadsheets. One example showed something similar to how I work, which is with a table with lyrics down the left column and clip matches down the right.

Interesting point re: distribution that when you post a vid that doesn't get enough feedback in your opinion, the vid is never really finished/closed in your mind.

On to *why* people get stuck.
  • Loss of squee
  • Tech hurdles
  • Narrative hurdles
  • Emotion/confidence blockage
  • Wait for source (out on DVD, new season)
  • Deadline pressure (freak out, can't work)
  • Lack of support
  • Not knowing what the "deeper layer" is
And ways to fix/overcome:
  • Try a new process
  • Seek support/show someone your draft (not a beta but a cheerleader)
  • Take a rest period
  • Start a new project
  • Deadline pressure (stop thinking, stop worrying, got to get it done)
  • Overhaul your concept (oh the pain)
  • Do a rewatch with someone to ramp up your enthusiasm again
  • Cut out a verse
Then we watched a few people's vids in progress to see different stages of stagnancy and offer advice. absolutedestiny had an old Xena/Gabrielle vid. kiki_miserychic has started a lovely-looking Teen Wolf vid about a female character but is waiting for the current season to end. trelkez lost a vid after a hard drive crash and has inserted text descriptions on black background of what clips or general concepts she wants where (can't remember exactly, but stuff like "Oh no, bad guy has a sword!" "Now so does Methos!"), in between the few clips she's laid down again. It was kind of hilarious. Audience demanded that she post it as is and that it become a new type of vid.

I appear to have written down "the long game" as my last note and have forgotten what that means. Whoops.

Do You Vid Your Myers-Briggs? with Rache and Killa

Fun and fascinating concept; wish we'd had even more time to delve into how Myers-Briggs—what's the word, poles? not poles—affect the way we make and interpret vids. That people have different MBTI types when they're beta-ing vs. when they're watching; when they're a vidder vs. when they're a "real person" (I volunteered this, because in life I'm a thinker and when I'm making or analyzing fannish creations I'm more of a people-focused feeler). Some people like vidding because it allows them to explore their less dominant traits; "vidding allows me to feel"/"vidding allows me to go to a thinky place."

We watched a vid (West wing, "Circles") and discussed how we reacted to it. Scoped out into general observations. Ts ask what is it trying to say; Fs ask how does it make me feel. An I in the audience says "I don't make a lot of 'This character IN YOUR FACE!' vids." An S is good at matching X clip/action to Y beat/cue. A strong J has no WsIP but has a harder time getting a project started if he doesn't know how it will end. Might be helpful to find a partner who complements you on one or more key traits. Or: consider that someone reacted to your vid in a certain way because of their personality type.

Laughter at "Your vid doesn't suck, you're just an INFP."

Got me thinking, anyway—I'm an ISTJ, and that fits a lot of my creative processes (although being creative in itself pushes me away from S and into N)—I tend to go for quiet songs (but not always), build up from the bottom (which clips support this lyric, this point) or interpret from the bottom (this clip + this clip + this clip --> what is the point the vidder is making?) rather than easily grasping the overall concept, need to have a method and plan in place (complete with tables, carefully organized clips and occasionally spreadsheets) and need to complete my projects, even if it takes a while.

And of course people reiterated that types aren't rigid or all-encompassing.

Vid Your Id with sisabet and Barkley

I... may have trouble letting go of my inhibitions. :) You may know this about me; that I tend to take myself and my projects too seriously and am concerned about people thinking I'm silly or stupid because I've made something silly or superficial. It's the same for writing and vidding and other endeavors. I've gotten better in recent years about posting id fic mostly without shame, but apparently I still feel the need to include author's notes with explanations about how really I know this stuff is not of the highest whatever quality.

sisabet does not have these problems, and she is proud of that. I looked forward to hearing tips from her and Barkley about how to overcome them!

Panel started with various definitions of what the id is, according to rambly, jargon-filled articles pulled up on their phones and iPads. "If our ids were running around, that'd be a problem. If our ids were a vidshow, I'd watch it." Superego: "No, don't do this." The enemy of id vidding. (I add mentally: Shut up, forebrain, bane of my creative life.) "Who here is a thinking person? Don't do that. Bad." They (especially sisabet) were funny presenters and the whole panel was enjoyable.

Make the vid you frikkin' want. It comes from your gut. Birth is messy. You can clean it up later. "If it really gets to me, it'll connect with others."

Being an S, ha, I wanted concrete advice. It took a while to get there, but get there we did—what I found most useful was someone's comment that most of us are already making id vids, we just couch them in intellect. Hello, self. That ought to help the next time I feel self-conscious about posting a vid about a topic or pairing or kink I like a lot. Someone else offered: Consider: "Id" is not *not* thinky. Many vids are id vids but have *other stuff* so they don't always get labeled as such.

Find an excuse if you need one: It's for X person, I only had a limited time to make it, whatever. You tend to see id vids in Lord King Bad comms, little challenges, Club Vivid. Thank you for the Lord King Bad category a few years ago; it's freed us up (and now maybe we don't need the category anymore?); it's brought the bar back down.

How do you balance sincerity with awareness that the vid may be funny? (How do you make something iddy that you don't want people to laugh *at*?) It's a joyful indulgence. If you vid your id and you *mean* it, you feel kinda naked.

Someone said, seems like id vids mostly ship vids? A few counter examples from audience. I offered that Starships (which hadn't shown yet) was basically an id vid, though I hadn't thought of it that way until this panel: "Guys, I just really love space stuff!" (And lo, sisabet was right: when you vid something you love, it shows, and other people feel it too.)

Challenges sometimes make you try to connect with other people's ids. Sometimes you're in the characters' ids. Others hit on fandom's id, even if it's not yours.

If you have shame, it'll be a painful process to make and to rewatch (you'll relive that shame over and over).

Remember: Deadlines help. Remember: You don't have to release every vid you make.

So, inspiring and optimistic, even though I'm still not as open about my "guilty pleasures" as sisabet. We'll see how it pans out!

Typography in Vids with Killa

First panel on Saturday, and nicely presented as you'd expect from someone who's interested in (who is a professional at?) graphic design. Started with why we use text in vids and what text can do for a vid.
  • Give context/genre/tone
  • Elucidate lyrics
  • Translation
  • Design element
  • Signposts
  • Title/credits
  • Deal with existing/embedded text, like in Sherlock or Scott Pilgrim
  • Comedy/humor
  • Trailer-style
  • Silent movie title cards
  • Vidder's voice
  • Author's voice, like in zulu's Written by the Victors vid
  • Recontextualze/constructed reality/tell a story that's not in source
  • Genre: Kinetic type
We then went through some typefaces and talked about the emotional connotations and historical or geographical associations they have for us. Examples included Gill Sans (modern), Trajan (Roman), Rosewood (Western), Garamond (Victorian/museums), Helvetica (default), Sparkly (vintage) and Universe Condensed (Killa's fave). She also showed examples of where each font has appeared, like a 1920s ad or a movie trailer. Point: The typeface you choose matters; put some thought into it. Fun stuff.

She defined and discussed terms and concepts like leading, kerning and tracking, stressed the importance of keeping anti-aliasing turned on, and bemoaned that people use straight quotes instead of smart/curly quotes in their vid credits. That's never bothered me before, because I'm used to web standards, but it's something I'll consider going forward if others care.

We watched several clips from several vids (and one or two videos not by fanvidders) to sample the breadth of possibilities. Sometimes the type sells your concept ("SPN Flying Circus" uses Monty Python-style credits; "Disarm" Harry Potter vid uses Warner Bros. HP font to immediately establish the mood and genre). Sticking with one type face and then changing to another at a specific moment/word can have great effect. Use size and placement for purpose as well. Layout example where Moriarty's head appeared in frame through the "o" of MORIARTY text that the vidder added. Can use text to convey an impression or a phrase rather than people needing to read the whole thing.

Comics vidding has to work with (or against) text a lot, in addition to the "nobody moves" problem.

When your typography doesn't match the lyrics or the rhythm, allow extra time to read. Can play with that juxtaposition/mismatch. Can add value or contrast. Using music without lyrics provides greater flexibility for using text.

In conclusion, it is said, please don't just stick titles on after you've done your whole vid, and please please don't add them after the vid has been betaed.

Killa is going to post has posted a handout and links/resources; recommend checking it out.

Let My Lyrics Go! with rhoboat and cherryice

I hadn't gone to the vidshow that was paired with this panel, but having made three and enjoyed many more instrumental vids, and because the conversation was mostly general, that was just fine.

First, a discussion of the pros and cons of vidding without lyrics:
  • It's easier/harder on 1st viewing to follow what's going on (some people are word-oriented, some don't hear lyrics well, some find it hard to parse lyrics while also interpreting clips, some find it hard to parse classical ditto)
  • Easier to do text on screen if you don't have lyrics
  • Easier to use dialogue from source ditto
  • It's liberating when you're not constrained to match the words
  • Easier to pace at your own desire
  • Using an instrumental version of a pop song lets you draw on many viewers' familiarity with the words while not actually using them; but how true do you want to stay to those original words?
  • Instruments are voices
  • Instruments are characters
  • Why are so many instrumental pieces so long? And hard to edit with their slow builds, crescendos
  • Many genres: pop, classical, electronic, techno, covers, culture-specific, games, incidental, scores/soundtracks
  • Works for comedy—you're not laughing over the next line
  • You can play on associations—William Tell Overture used for Lone Ranger and then used for the horse in Tangled; or That's the same composer who did X
  • Parody, use music to show that a character's sense of him/herself doesn't match reality
Then rho and cherry played a series of very different instrumental pieces and the audience volunteered what emotions, images or fandoms they evoked. A super fun and illuminating exercise—at least, for those who didn't proclaim their utter lack of musicality.

Other points: Some canons have such distinctive music that it's hard to use anything else. Maybe you have to go totally opposite.

VSL (Vidding as a Second Language) with milly

Again missed the vidshow; again didn't matter. A thoughtful panel about vidding in one's native language when that language isn't English; vidding in English when that isn't one's native language; and vidding in a non-English language you don't speak.

  • The language you use changes your relationship to your vid. (milly, who is bilingual, had different reactions to the process when she vidded for the first time in her native French vs. all the vids she'd made up until that point in English.)
  • Do you match your music to your source's language or reason
  • If you choose a non-English song, people are more likely to look for Deep Meaning in the choice
  • If the source is foreign, you feel more pressure to match the language/time period/etc.
  • Relativity: all languages are foreign to somebody.
  • Even English-language vids for English-language sources will be interpreted differently.
  • If you ignore or don't know the lyrics, that is problematic. Do you choose for meaning or for aesthetics? Meaning is always a factor; we do our homework.
  • Complicated in that in many languages you can't do a line-by-line or literal translation into English (Bengali, Chinese), or if you do it sounds terrible/cheesy (French). Tone of music might help guide the vidder in understanding the tone and context that don't come across in a translation.
  • I give non-English vids an English title to help make it accessible.
  • My French-speaking parents liked vids, but it wasn't until they watched one in French that they really got into it. There was still a barrier there.
  • Respect the words. Show you thought about it. That goes a long way toward mitigating any misjudgments others might see in your work.
  • Helpful to include a translation; sometimes I do one that conveys the general meaning because that's more useful and accurate than a line-by-line
  • Cultural context can't always be conveyed. Sometimes the native speaker/citizen doesn't realize what others won't get (significance of poppies in Canada).
  • Pre-recorded video statement from… crap, her name is slipping my mind buffyann, from France. 'Your own language = feel. Other language = think.' You wish people could see that other layer that you can. There's always a bit of sadness.
  • Can be a gateway to helping people be interested in a song, in learning more about a cultural context or historical story. The vid isn't always the end. The watching has an afterlife in research.
  • Don't translate with Bing! :)
  • Can do a crawl/subtitles/typography of the translation or of some phrases, but beware that it may distract some people.

Shadows and Fog: Vidding Horror with Jetpack Monkey

Horror as source; horror as vid genre. Not always the same.

I went into this with mild curiosity as I'm not (I thought) generally a horror fan. Again, I'd missed the vid show, and many people came into the panel freaked out in more or less a delighted way; I'm still looking forward to checking it out, but, you know, not before bed. :) Then Jetpack Monkey in his fannish passionate intro reminded many of us that we do actually like horror, even if it's a subset of horror. Like me, having forgotten that Hammer films and vampires and Gothic castles and Poe and Hawthorne are horror too, not just Saw movies. Remember that the definition of horror is not gore but the uncanny, the unheimlich. The other, which threatens. There has to be an element of the unknown combined with an element of the familiar. Do, indeed, love being thrilled/scared by much of that stuff.

What horror does well or differently than other genres:
  • Setting, atmosphere
  • Where the camera isn't looking
  • Certain emotions made manifest/dominant—confusion, fear, childhood fears mixing with adult fears
  • Somehow feel like you will be harmed or that things are out of control
  • Monsters are useful metaphors
Techniques to scare people.
  • Build tension. Build and build. If you don't break it, people leave feeling still-unsettled.
  • Music choice. No lyrics? I want to pull the vidder, not be pushed by lyrics. I don't like the typical genres of horror music. Alternately, lyrics can set a mood even if they don't match what's happening.
  • People know they're going to be scared; you can work with that.
  • Use the stillness.
Pros/cons of certain horror vids. "The Shining" vid did for some people what the movie didn't do. Some vids are (even) scarier if you know the source. Some vids are opaque if the viewer doesn't know the symbols/iconic elements of the source.

Try and scare yourself when you're making your vid.

Horror vids don't hit you where you live. They get into the walls of where you live.

Setting the Pace with jarrow

The panel I was most interested in attending! Having just finished a 4-minute vid to a steadily paced Dylan song and not being at all certain of its success, and with a languishing WIP set to (an edited version of) "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," I was keen to learn some more tips and tricks for creating engaging pacing for slow- to medium-speed vids where the song doesn't help you along (as stuff like "Starships" and Coldplay's "Cemeteries of London" have done for me before). Though disclaiming his exhaustion, jarrow was a very good guide.

First question: What is pacing?
  • Setting/varying the length of clips
  • Momentum
  • What rate you can maintain
  • Narrative segments/beginning, middle, end
  • Transitions
  • Tension
Good things to do:
  • Vary what you do on a beat (cut, action)
  • Continuity, leading viewers
  • Serve the vid/story
  • Maintain audience's attention
  • Match the song
  • Indicate awareness of changes in the music
  • Use/pay attention to energy and motion within longer clips
  • Build momentum—can use similar-length clips if there's more going on in them
  • Hit a wall
  • Break pace jarringly/briefly
  • Unintentional break in flow
  • All clips are the same length
  • Ignore internal motion
  • Always cut on the same beat in a phrase
  • Mismatch cutting to song type/mood (don't time things well)
We arrived at and discussed many of these points while watching some case studies from various accomplished vidders. Always useful to have examples.

At the end, since jarrow asked if anyone had specific questions, I asked if anyone had particular advice for my fondness-for-folk-songs issue, besides "don't use those songs" (advice that, for sure, I'm going to consider in the future). And people did, hooray! What I caught:
  • Use fades and interlocks
  • Vary the lengths and types of transitions
  • Mix long shots and close-ups
  • Mix objects and people
  • Add motion
  • Vary the emotions being depicted
  • Break the vid into sections; give it thematic or character or narrative structure
  • Create or make use of lighting changes
  • Take advantage of the fact that you have more time in a slower song to be clever/thinky about lyric matching
Thank you, anyone who helped who is reading this!

Forever Reblog: Vid Audiences on Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube, etc. with talitha78 and elipie

I was, as you can imagine, and as I imagine many others in the room were, exhausted by this point in the con—Saturday late afternoon, before dinner and Premieres—and while I'm of course interested to learn more about where people are doing what now that so many platforms have sprung up around LJ and DW and siphoned off a lot of fan activities, I don't spend much time on those platforms, so I don't have many notes. Nonetheless:

We brainstormed a list of platforms where people post and watch and host/download vids, then discussed the relative merits and downsides of several of them. YouTube allows you to reach different audiences than insular fandom. Some people don't care about non-fannish audiences. There are some tech accessibility issues, esp with mobile. Don't like how you can't download; others download immediately (with whatever additional software) because there's no guarantee the vid will be there the next day. Prefer AO3/LJ/DW for continuity of identity/links. "Dislike" button doesn't offer chance for concrit.

Some like the participatory/fun nature of entering passwords in embedded vids. Becomes part of vid experience.

Dropbox now lets you stream video. Still some issues. Might not last long if creators realize bandwidth usage.

There are some Tumblr vid aggregators. "I've never seen hit counts go up faster." What happens when vidders start mixing with Tumblr gif/slide sets? People are doing "Tumblr-length" vids of 1 to 1 ½ minutes. "Fanvid" is better Tumblr tag than "vid" (porn).

All of this, by the way, was said against a backdrop of talitha's Tumblr fanart folder set on random display, so more than once people cracked up during someone's comment because there was suddenly Kirk/Spock penises or whatnot.

Whew. And those were the panels. Coming up Thursdayish: Premieres, Vid Review, hopefully recs of other con vids I'll have watched by then…

p.s. I do fully intend to reply to comments on the vids etc. -- just want to get this out first before I forget or lose momentum.
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