Deus Ibi Est

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Title: Deus Ibi Est
Creator: charmax
Date: August October 2007
Format: digital, DivX AVI
Length: 2:51m
Music: James Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
Fandom: Supernatural
URL: vid announcement page; streaming Youtube version

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Deus Ibi Est is a John Winchester character study vid by Charmax.

screencap of titles at the start of the vid
screencap of titles at the end of the vid

Vidder's summary:"John Winchester single minded soldier."

Vidder's Notes


I’ve been leaning more towards simple ones lately and I really wanted to flex some of my muscles in After Effects. I did a lot of playing around with cameras in 3 dimensional space for this vid. Most of the ones in the body of the vid are meant to be invisible but the titles are supposed to be a nod to the fact that they are there.

Narrative I felt it was important to get John’s back-story out of the way as soon as possible so that we know where he’s coming from without having to go over it all. So the intro is a montage of misery for poor old John, leading to him becoming a single minded man with a mission. Find gun! Get gun! Kill YED! If ever anyone were “Leaving Salvation” it’s John (the sign even has his initials) His sons are reminders of the past and also have become hunters in their own rights, something the sad man holding his kids close to him would not have wanted but he made them soldiers anyway. How can those not be sad shores?

There really isn’t “an unknown force” as such. He always knows what he’s doing and why even if it is against his will. The colt was made for demon hunting and over the years bullets have been used by John’s “ancestors”, his predecessors. The colt as the key to the Hell Gate is kind of a leap in logic that frankly, I still don’t really buy it but what the heck, it looks cool.

Even before he’s dead and in Hell, John is underground in the darkest, dankest places, trying to protect his sons from the worst that can happen whilst still being fully prepared to put them on the frontline.

The montage of mythology shots leads us to the colt as the solution. And here we have Dean looking at the gun with greedy eyes but its Daddy’s gun and he can’t have it, not yet. There are other hunters and they have families and they get killed and that’s really not John’s concern because there’s only one death that really mattered to him. Dean is surrounded by dead things and yet he’s still better off than his dad because yet again John is in the bowels of the earth trying to fix everything on his own.

It’s around the line “soldiers come and soldiers go” that John’s attitude to Dean changes he will sacrifice himself for his son so that he can complete the mission. So now Dean gets the colt. A gun and a mission isn’t much of an inheritance but it’s all the eldest Winchester son can expect. Sam is not necessarily to be trusted and certainly is not the right man for this job. John’s not there, in fact he’s never there he’s in a tatty old photo, a reminder of a life that got burned away.

The deal is struck, Dean is saved and John is damned and yet when you make a deal with the devil for the right reasons “God is present” or at least John thinks so. (I think Bobby would disagree.)

So it’s time for John to bow out and leave his eldest son to fight the battle. He leaves with a sense of calm, not so the YED who seems to wonder if he’s made a mistake. History repeats itself so Dean will sacrifice himself for Sam even though he knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of that particular chunk of guilt.

John breaks out of Hell and uses that one last chance to do just enough to give his son time to complete the mission. Dean learned love and sacrifice from his dad and now it’s payback time. The fact that the YED never saw it coming proves that John made the right decision that Dean was the man for the job. And we get the nearest thing to a happy ending that the tragic Winchesters are ever likely to have.

I think the decision to not show Mary but to choose clips that showed her absence was the right decision. She has left a void in their lives and so she is kind of the same in the vid, she’s a tombstone, a photograph, an empty space.

So this is a vid about John the soldier as much as it is John the father. The marching beat of the song emphasises this as does the matter of fact, determined delivery."[1]

Reactions and Reviews

"So let’s start with the easy stuff, shall we? You’re credits are awesome; they fit perfectly with the style and music and just look extremely cool and sophisticated. Two seconds in and the audience will know they are dealing with a pro. Eight seconds in and we have Johns back story spread out. YED, John dumbly stumbling into his own downward spiral of obsession. Burning home, no, he is among those who can never go back and live with blindfolds which is poignant and the reason for this kick-ass show in the first place. His dedication to the boys and a lost loved one. This succession is important, because I don’t think that John would sacrifice Marys sons to get his revenge. Something we learn much later. So John being lost in Missouris home with the evidence he found that links one of his boys to some evil scheme of world-ending significance.

Yeah, he shatters with grace, must be in the genes then.

Anyway, the lyrics kick up. I mentioned they are too perfect for words for John, right? Anyway, I will mention this probably a lot from now on, so bare with me and I will excuse myself from using ‘the singer’ or ‘the song’ and instead take them as Johns initial words of wisdom and let him tell his story in peace.

The street to salvation is a long, lonely and winded road and it’s important that he takes this journey against his will. Against what he thinks is best and instead let fate tug his strings and make him just an instrument of something larger. Soldier of a silent war. Just a tiny gear in a well-oiled machine. But that comes later. First he drags his sons into this mess and gets them in the frontline of this war to grow up there on the battle field of fleabag motel rooms and credit card fraud. They are well-prepared and still unguarded to some things. And they look really good sleeping peaceful for once after get some of their anger issues about their daddy out of the way.

Sad shores indeed and also the only home harbour he knows since that night."[2]
"The odd song choice is so perfect, it's distrubing. Very cool titles too. The layering and movement is beautiful. Your use of stillness, like in the hospital basement and the use of objects, is wonderful. It's great to see still objects used to come together to paint a picture of John. The transition over to Sam from John with the parallels is skillful and so is the way you brought in Dean."[3]
"I was really tired when I posted last night. I wanted to tell you more, like how much I loved the comparison of symbols ie when you showed Sam's mobile hanging over the crib, that just blew my mind, I'd never thought about it that way, but whoa! And I liked that it felt like we were sorta watching John's journey which is impressive considering we never really get much of that in the actual show. And most of all, what I should've said is that this is not just one of the best John vids I've seen, but one of the best SPN vids period. I love when people look deeper into the show and come out with something that really gets to the heart of what the characters are going through. This did that. Really great job."[4]
"Your vid really impressed me. You see, I'm not exactly the biggest fan of John Winchester. I get that John raised his kids the best he could under the circumstances, but he made a lot of mistakes in the process, so I'm not too keen on seeing him celebrated as a "great" father because he wasn't, IMHO. Dean was more of a father to Sam than John was. And Dean never really felt like he had a father or he woudn't be so desperate for his dad's approval.

Don't get me wrong, I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan's portrayal of John. If John wasn't flawed, it wouldn't be right and I wouldn't be so disappointed that John didn't do a better job at raising his children, especially Dean who really had to grow up too fast.

So under the circumstances, it's awesome that your vid spoke to me the way it did. It really is worthy of repeat viewings. You really choose your songs well and the editing is expertly as far as I can tell. No need to hide from the crowd. I'm sure everyone will love it. :)"[5]
"You just knocked me flat on my ass, that's what you did. Wow...This is, in my opinion, your best work so far.

The titles are gorgeous, I dream of the day I can do anything even ressembling that. And then when the singing picks up, it gave me chills, because that voice sounds just like John, it's insane.

0:16 'my ancestors before me' with the colt is brilliant
0:20 The combination of the gun pulling back, the repercussion and the railroad tracks glowing is so visually striking I had to pause and go back on the first watch, which I really very rarely do.
0:36 Was that the other 3D work you mentionned? I noticed it on the first watch more in a 'I don't remember that footage at all', then I read your notes. If it is...whoa. And if it's actual footage, then you used some kind of Charmax magic trick on it cause, again, whoa O_O
0:53 ending with dead and the beautiful voice, constrating what we should saw both in sound and lyrics, picking up on flowers, but especially, love. I don't know if it was your intention, but that first chorus felt a bit like a doubtful read on the lyrics, that 'Where there is tender care and love, God is present', with Dean's pain while looking at his mother's grave. And before even reading your notes, I felt it was Mary's absence that had more space than who she was in the vid, which in truth, is also the same as in the show. John's quest was not because of who she was, but how she went.
1:15 The rosary on John's shoulder is just *gorgeous*, then picking up the motion of the bullet by completing the rotation to the other side...
1:26 I love love love how the position of the shadow through the window is the same as the following shot, and then he turns and the door opens
1:33-1:37 I really like that sequence, and the lamp flashes on the beat!
2:05 Listening to a man narrate his own death (and I like to think, challenging God to take him on, in a way) is out of this world, but this is really the impression you left me with. Especially with the woman vocals over the man's words.
2:19 'There's nowhere else to run', with the grave overlayed with the fire is so gorgeous beyond words, in such a sad way.
2:30 That 'Deus Ibi Est' sounds like such a cartharsis, with Dean shooting the bullet that finally kills the YED. Then followed by the various shots of Dean and John through time, Dean becoming his father in a way and completing he's father's quest.
I can only imagine how batshit insane the people at WC became after watching this, because it must look so effing incredible on a big screen.[6]
"An older piece, from way back in 2007, focusing on John Winchester's role in the first two seasons. The song choice is brilliant, to the point where it could have been about John Winchester and I wouldn't find anything out of character about it. Charmax is an accomplished multifandom vidder, and it shows in her editing choices here: nothing too showy, but a little big of movement to help with the pacing and keep you interested until the end."[7]
"This is great. You captured the essence of his character. Lonely, hard, driven, obsessed. I'm impressed."[8]


  1. ^ vid announcement page
  2. ^ Vid review by astarte dated October 20, 2007.
  3. ^ comment at the vid announcement page
  4. ^ comment at the vid announcement page
  5. ^ comment at the vid announcement page
  6. ^ comment at the vid announcement page
  7. ^ review at rocksalt-recs dated Oct 2012.
  8. ^ comment at spnvidrecs dated Oct 2014.