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Name: cybel
Alias(es): cybel harper, cybelh
Type: slasher, podbooker, artist, vidder, fan writer and fan poet
Fandoms: Current: Avengers, Teen Wolf, Person of Interest, Supernatural, Stargate Atlantis, Leverage, Inception, Merlin (BBC), Sherlock (BBC), Welcome To Night Vale; Past: Star Trek TOS, Man From U.N.C.L.E., Blake's 7, Pros, Starsky & Hutch, Beauty and the Beast (TV) 1987, Miami Vice, due South, The Sentinel, X-Files, Highlander, Quantum Leap, and on and on.
Communities: amplificathon tagging mod from 2008-2013
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Cybel has been involved in fandom since the late 1970s, first as a poet and fanfic writer and later as a VCR vidder. Her gen and slash writings appeared mostly in fanzines, and her vids appeared in convention vid shows throughout the 1990s.

She is more recently known primarily for her fan art, and especially for her participation as an artist in the Spn_j2_bigbang and other BigBang and ReverseBang challenges (see her journal at More notably, she is known for her involvement in the podfic community, where, in August 2007, she compiled the first fannish audiobooks for various podficcers, soon after that coining the term podbook to differentiate them from non-fannish audiobooks. She has compiled more than 1,700 podbooks since then, creating cover art for many of them. She also recorded a couple of short podfics herself, the first of which was All Your Zombies by kestrelsan. Cybel was the tagging mod for the amplificathon podfic communities on Livejournal and Dreamwidth from 2008 to 2013 and was in charge of archiving podfics in the Supernatural and Supernatural RPF fandoms during most of that time as a volunteer at the Audiofic Archive. She stepped down from these posts in 2013 for health reasons. As of 2019 she is semi-retired from active fandom participation but still creates occasional artworks.

Early Years In Fandom

Like many fans, Cybel first began reading and writing in Star Trek TOS fandom. Below is an example of some of her fan poetry:

"I have sought you before in different climes and times, felt you in the back of my mind like a whisper of certainty even before we met. I have known you before in different places and faces, yearned toward you as a flower yearns toward the sun for light and life. I have loved you before, minds, bodies, and souls entwining round one another in an endless dance, reaching, teaching, feeling awe in the simple perfection of touch until identities merge and two become forever one." From 'Forever One', a poem published in The Naked Times #14.


One of Cybel's better known vids is Patterns, a Mulder-centric X-Files vid from 1996. Four of her Professionals VCR vids, originally made in the early 1990s, were remastered and made available on Nell's website (now moved to Morgan Dawn's site here): "Being Alive," "I Don't Mind the Thorns (When You're the Rose)," "It's a Sin," and "Not While I'm Around."

For a partial list of her vids, see Songtape Collection by Cybel, two multi-fandom collections from 1995.

Vidding Process

In 1995 Cybel posted an overview of her vidding process on VCRs to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.

Re: making song vids -- I'm self taught, which is why my earlier stuff is so rough.

The first thing is finding good equipment, which makes the procedure much easier than it would be otherwise. I use a Hitachi VCR with flying erase head, audio and video dupe, shuttle control and insert editing capability. I've always been happy with it. My second machine is also Hitachi, and since they can be linked with an edit cable, life is even easier. I also have a neat little video equalizer which makes it simple to lay down the audio track and the black screen between songs; I believe some VCRS do this automatically, but I've never really talked to anyone else about their equipment and only know my own.

I lay down the audio track first, over black screen. The bits of video are then put in bit by bit. No real timing is necessary except to note the number of seconds a phrase takes and make sure the scene is at least that long. My machine automatically stops the video dupe at 0 on the counter, so if I set the zero point at the end of the phrase I don't have to worry about taping over a scene which may already be in place later on.

As for the actual procedure, the most important thing to me is to find a compelling song that suits the fandom. A boring song, or one with lyrics the audience can't understand, generally makes a boring vid. Technique is important, of course, but less so to me than to many. I have no sense of rhythm and find it hard to edit on the beat much of the time. I work very hard to make seamless edits, otherwise I don't sweat over technique very much--it just isn't as important to me as telling a story or creating a mood.

I edit video like I used to write, helter skelter -- get an idea, put on a tape and fast forward over it until I find a bit that might work in the vid, then on to the next tape. Organization and planning are not words in my vocabulary.

Whatever idea I start with often gets lost in the process, and the resulting vid is usually better than the one I had in mind at the start.

Finally, of course, it is vital to have as clean, slow play copies of the shows you're working from as possible. And lots of time. Lots, and lots of time.

Podbook Covers

Cybel has made hundreds of covers for podfics in many fandoms. See her LJ podbook cover gallery and Photobucket podbook cover gallery.

Cybel has given blanket permission for her art to appear on Fanlore. Below is a selection of some of her work:



Other Fandoms