Disambiguation: This article is about the fan activity. For the 2008 short documentary series, see Vidding (2008).
Vidding is the act or process of creating a fan-oriented video or "fanvid" using live-action TV or movie footage set to music (or other audio). The people who make these vids are called vidders.
- VCR Vidding
- Digital Vidding
- Anime Music Video
- Songtape Collection
- Song Choice
History of Vidding: In the Beginning
The Slideshow Era
See Slideshows for more.
The VCR Era
- Main article: VCR Vidding
With the exception of Star Trek, where Gene Roddenberry's Lincoln Enterprises actually sold film clips, slides and other materials, very few fans had access to these. Vidding didn't really open up until the invention and commercial availability of the VCR, which gave fans a way to copy their source material from television, and a way for them to linearly edit their source to create music videos. That said, the technology was expensive, and as a result it became common for groups of fans to share technology and access to source materials (in particular, hard-to-find TV shows). Vidding was occasionally done at conventions as fun group behavior, as a way to teach new vidders, and probably a bit as a way to show off.
In spite of the huge number of fanzines being published at that time, Vidders had a difficult time communicating with each other. In the early 1990s, Tashery Shannon started a letterzine for vidders named Rainbow Noise, but the difficulty of explaining in text issues that were happening on video may have doomed it. Even after web pages and email made stories easier to pass back and forth, vids were still very rare on the web. Digital recording made the creation and sharing of these loving amateur productions much easier, and they are common today.
While vidding started in Star Trek fandom, some fans believe that the first non-slideshow vids were produced in Starsky & Hutch fandom. These first songvids were very simple. There is an early Starsky & Hutch vid by Kendra Hunter and Diana Barbour that is nothing more than a still frame of Hutch's face behind an entire song. Many others were only two or three clips set to music. See Starsky & Hutch Vidding Booklets by Flamingo for more information.
This isn't to say they were necessarily easy to make. Fans learned a great deal about film editing in creating these videos. You had to find a clip that was emotionally correct for the point you were trying to make, but that also had movements and actions on all of the important beats of a minute-long piece of music. Then you had to insert the clip at exactly the place in that music to make those actions and beats line up.  One example of such a vid is Barbour and Hunter's vid The Rose, which sets an entire scene from Starsky & Hutch to the song of the same name. Despite the limited technology of the time, the scene matches each line of the lyrics to an eerie degree, and the vid still works well today.
As the quality of commercial VCRs improved, so did the complexity of fan vids. By the end of the VCR era, most of the vidding vocabulary we use today had already been explored. Vidders such as Tashery Shannon (known for her use of unconventional music and command of the color palette), Deejay (known for her cutting precision, and willingness to step outside the clips available in a show to make a point), and many others were turning out amazingly tight and complex vids back in the early '90s.
Vids were watched either at convention vidshows or bought/traded on tape collections (which were often contapes, collections of vids shown at a specific convention). In the VCR era, clips were dubbed down sometimes four or five times from the original videotaped episode until the time it was copied to a contape master, and then to each person's individual purchased copy. Even with the best original-quality source, songtapes from this era were always a little fuzzy.
- Main article: Digital Vidding
The first digital or computer video in media fandom was a Star Trek/Blake's 7 vid set to In the Air Tonight by T'Rhys and shown at Virgule convention (2?) in 1994?. Considering the technical limitations, it was amazingly ambitious, including matte work that made it look like the Enterprise crew could see the Liberator (the space ship in Blake's 7) on their view screen. The following year T'Rhys submitted a Jurassic Park/Blake's 7 constructed reality vid which morphed the face of the villain Servalan into a velocoraptor. However the next digital vid did not appear until Escapade 1998 with Cultural Revolution's Sleep To Dream, a La Femme Nikita vid.
The ability to do non-linear editing and the end of dubbing quality loss were powerful incentives to go digital. With the bundling of basic video editing software such as Microsoft Windows Movie Maker and iMovie on new computers, the trickle of Digital Vidding became a torrent. In 2002, a computer vidder submitting to Escapade or Vividcon would have copied her vid from digital to a VHS or Beta tape to submit it to the convention. Then the convention transferred the tape back to the convention master DVD to show at the vid show. Then they would have made VHS copies of the show to sell to the congoers. Only in 2003 did broadband become common enough for vidders to start to upload digital copies of their vids directly to conventions.
Digital Vid Aesthetics: Feral Vidders, Vividcon and AMV
With vidding software easily available and source video now coming out in droves on near-flawless commercial DVDs, vidding changed again. Since a fan no longer needed to be taught how to vid by other fans, new vidders (sometimes called feral vidders with more or less affection by some vidders who came through the old network described in Rachael Sabotini's The Genealogy of Vidding) were as likely to be influenced by movie trailers, MTV, or indie films as they were by previous songvids. As web hosting space became cheap enough to make it possible to post vids to the web, media vidders and AMV vidders (who use the term editor to refer to themselves) have had a chance to see and be influenced by each others' work. Vidding was growing exponentially, while editing cohesion and stylistic norms seemed to be disappearing, although there were attempts to collectively improve basic and advanced vidding skills, for example the vidding bootcamp at We Band of Buggered. Into this potential chaos came Vividcon (VVC), a convention just for vidders and fans of vids, held in Chicago each year.
Vidding as a Fandom of Its Own
I've been in media and slash fandom for twenty years. I've seen slash go from being one aspect of the fandom of a show ("I'm a Pros fan, and I read both slash and straight"; "I'm a Robin of Sherwood fan, but I only like gen") to being a fandom in its own right. (This has also happened, more recently, with vids. Watching and making vids used to be a way one expressed fannishness for a particular show; now vidding is a fandom in itself. I wonder what the next offshoot will be?) 
Modern Vidding Genres
- Constructed Reality
- Fic Trailers
- Garbage Can Vid
- Living Room Vid
- Lord King Bad Vid
- Recruiter Vid
- Story Vid
Song Choice and Re-use
See Song Choice.
Controversies and Challenges
Traditionally, because of fears of copyright infringement for both our music and video, most vidders have preferred to stay out of the press or Hollywood eye, but this has begun to shift with the recognition that the sheer numbers of fanvids and the cultural shift to remixing or re-appropriating and transforming popular culture has made vidding more visible and more socially acceptable. Recently, Luminosity's vids were showcased in New York Magazine, and Reason Magazine published an article on vidding as well.
In early November 2008, the OTW released Vidding (2008), a series of short documentaries on vidding for MIT's New Media Literacy project. Made by Francesca Coppa and Laura Shapiro, the videos feature interviews with many prominent vidders on subjects ranging from their personal motivation to vid, to the hardware and software they use, to the vidding communities they belong to. Excerpts from several well-known vids are also included.
In February, 2009, National Public Radio's Neda Ulabi did a segment on vidding for All Things Considered called Vidders Talk Back To Their Pop-Culture Muses. Vidders Rachael Sabotini and Lim were interviewed, as were OTW board members Francesca Coppa and Rebecca Tushnet.
Accessibility and Audience
Warnings and Labels
Meta About Vidding
- Structuring Your Vid: Knowing Your Audience, an essay by Sandy Herrold that talks about canon, con vids and living room vids (1995)
- The Future of Vidding (1995) (1995)
- Structuring Your Vid: Knowing Your Audience (1995)
- Lynn's List of Aesthetic Vidding Reminders (to Herself) - essay that captures some of the transition from analog (VCR vidding) to digital vidding (2002)
- The Life Cycle of Vid and Vidder - tongue-in-cheek essay by luminosity (2002)
- Lynn's List of Aesthetic Vidding Reminders (to Herself) (2002)
- Changes in vidding from 2000 to 2004; Archive (A VCR vidder posts: "It's amazing what we accepted for source then. in 2000 people were vidding from what had to be bootleg copies of Phantom Menace, several generations down copies of Wiseguy, and lousy UNCLE source...But even more than the really lousy transitions between vids ("stop" and "play" artifacts, blue screens, etc...) what shocks me is how much edgier vid topics have become. The bar has definately been raised regarding what makes an "interesting vid". Vids I used to think were really clever and cute just don't comapre to what we see today." -- "A very long ramble about a great many things" by thefannishwaldo (May 22, 2004)
- Vidding: Connecting With Audiences, a series of panels and essays that talk about structuring vids to reach a specific fan audience (2004, 2005)
- The Genealogy of Vidding - notes from a Vividcon panel discussion (2005)
- So You Want to Be a Vidder: Five Not So Easy Steps; Archive by sisabet - essay on how to start to vid (2005)
- Vidding: the next generation; Archive, essay by jarrow (posted to the vidding LJ community by a relatively new vidder about how poor vidding source and other technological challenges in older vid interferes with her vid appreciations. She asks "what other aspects of vidding can make or break an experience for someone?" and the worries that she lacks appreciation for the previous generation of vidders.) (February 1, 2007)
- Women, "Star Trek," and the early development of fannish vidding, Archived version, article by Francesca Coppa at Transformative Works and Cultures (2008)
- Title Cards On Vids (2008)
- Ten Things I Know About Vidding (2008)
- What's your favorite vidding-related meta?; Archive, Tisha Turk, Oct. 21st, 2009
- Some observations about race, gender, and accessibility, post by Laura Shapiro (2009)
- On inclusion and exclusion in vidding fandom: personal reflections, post by bop radar (2009)
- Vids about fandom: How we interact vs. what we say, an essay by chaila that compares 4 recent vids and states that: "...these vids don’t make me feel powerful as a fan, they just make me wonder why more people don’t just watch/vid/write Sarah Connor, Olivia Dunham, Aeryn Sun or Kara Thrace... Why don't we walk away from the shows with shitty media representations, especially now that there are better ones, instead of creating the biggest, most enduring fandoms for them? Even if the way we interact as creators and rewriters of canons is revolutionary, why do we choose to interact around these things, specifically, which often do so poorly with regard to sex, race and sexuality?") (2011, requires a log in to Dreamwidth)
- Vidding discussion, LiveJournal created on October 18, 2002-
- LiveJournal Vidding Memories
- Tea at the Ford, discussion (2003)
- Tea at the Ford, discussion (2003)
- The Vidder Weekly (created on 26 November 2005, last updated on 9 April 2006)
- - Vidding Forum 2005
- A bit of vidding meta -- cutting and synching (2005)
- Metafandom's Delicious tags, 5032 posts (2006-2011)
- Meta Vidding Newsletter (2007-2012)
- The first home VCRs appeared in 1972 and began to gain popularity in 1975. 1976 saw the introduction of the VHS format.
- The SHareCon 2010 panel on vidding history advanced this view, for example.
- See Fan History Vid Panel 2008, Vividcon, a pdf copy of the panel notes can be found here .
- Sexuality and slash fandom (2007 post), shoshanna (2007)
- New York Magazine
- Remixing Television: Francesca Coppa on the vidding underground. Reason Magazine, August/September 2008
- Organisation for Transformative Works, November 2008 Newsletter, vol. 21
- OTW videos at MIT TechTV