Experimental Vids: Stepping Outside the Box (Vividcon 2002)

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Title: Experimental Vids: Stepping Outside the Box
Creator: Sandy Herrold
Date(s): August 20, 2002
Medium: meta
Fandom: Vidding
External Links:
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On August 20, 2002 Sandy Herrold offered extensive commentary on one of the Vividcon 2002 vid shows: Experimental Vids: Stepping Outside the Box. She posted the commentary to the Vidder mailing list. It is reprinted here with permission.

Begin Commentary:

This was one of 15 hours of vid show at the con -- and no, I didn't do comments like this for all fifteen hours.

The VJ for this one was Carol S, and the focus was on content and technical experimentation, rather than 'conceptual' experimentation, since we also had a constructed reality show later that same day.

First - fancreated video source:

Anything for Love (B7). Vidder: Leigh M.

Starts with a Lovett picture for the credit -- fan art is rare enough in title credits that it possibly existed as a subtle warning. Then the mere fact that having Avon say "I would do anything for Love" is as unlikely as a rain of toads is another warning, at least to most B7 fans. Perhaps unfortunately the initial clips are so good that that if you don't know Avon well...you could believe the vidder really believes those opening lines, until the first "But I won't do that." The explicit fanart clip on that line is funny, but best part is Avon's look of horror afterward. Only about 10 fan pictures - strangely I remembered more - and once or twice a clump of them. Liked the vid more than I remembered.

Shock the Monkey (SG). Vidder: Whimsy

Fascinating and confusing vid - or maybe two vids in one. There's a very serious vid about hard things happening to Daniel intercut with cute bits of a cartoon character "the Spacemonkey", sometimes just performing, sometimes reacting to the Daniel clips. On first viewing, at least, I can't make the two vids work together. Nevertheless, there's some really beautiful work in the transitions and tech choices; for example, the fades to white during the 'shock' shock bits were excellent. And the animated Spacemonkey was a very appealing character, one I think could work very well in a humorous vid as a third character reacting to the 'straight' clips in the vid. (I say this, despite the fact that overuse of the word "spacemonkey" in SG fandom has jumped up and down on my last nerve for years...). I would love to hear the vidder talk about why she made these choices.

Repurposing familiar stuff.

A Hero's Tale: The adventures of Kiltboy & the ROG (HL). Vidders: Suze and Lum.

Lum edited together sound tracks from cartoons to reshow the entire chronological story of Comes a Horseman and Revalations, starting right at the beginning of CAH., including the credits, much of it speeded up. So, rather than the music providing structure to the clips, as in most vid, here, the clips playing in order to constantly changing music - it was the clips that provided the structure. Many of the choices were hilarious: Dance music for the 4 Horseman, Ricochet noise for Kronos stabbing ROG, Idyllic music for Methos bringing Cassandra back to the horsemen the first time. I may never watch the Jimmy scene the same way again - it was hilarious sped way up, and repeated. Very funny 1 second intermission between CaH and Rev. And then the only words in the music: "Rabbit season, Duck season" - cutting between Duncan at the top of the stairs and Kronos at the bottom of the stairs. And Marriage music for them at the church at the end of Rev...Hilarious.

Cross of Changes - (TS). Vidder: Remi d'Brebant - Duality.

One of a few vids named something other than the name of the song. Kind of cool! Along with the slow wipe of scene across the screen, words slowly moved and faded: Good, evil, choices, light, darkness. Some very cool effect choices - Already slow moving clips slowing down to still frames in a way that could either seem to mean loss, or ending, or even the end of striving. Largely, I think I was looking for a story and not finding it, but it was very beautiful.

Waking the Witch (BtVS--Drucilla). Vidder: Apocalypse West

Many times, two versions of the same scene were running at the same time slightly off sync, or at a slightly different speed - nice feeling of being out of control, or getting a view of how the world looks to Drucilla. Also sometimes a still frame and the scene the still was from, would move over each other. Very strange song, which helps the out of control feelings. Another vid with cool uses of posterization. The connection of the music and the effects was beautiful - not just at a rhythm level, but really making the effects server the song. I need to see this one again.

Possession (TS). Vidder: Remi

Showed at Escapade. This is a vid that I liked better after someone explained it to me - but I don't think that's necessarily bad. In fact, that's part of what's cool about fandom, talking about the source, and about fanfic and vids and using that conversation to find our own meanings. There are some beautiful sequences in this vids. The transition speeds really vary - five clips in a one phrase to one in the next. We all use synecdoche in vidding, but she leans hard on it here, letting a short shot just of Blair's footsteps or the truck in the rain mean so much more. Again, very beautiful.

Language (SG). Vidder: Carol S.

I love this vid unreservedly. It also played at Escapade, so I remember it better. My only new thoughts after watching it again: The colors are very warm: oranges and pinks very close together on the wheel, and bright blues and fairly bright greens, set against all that black. The kisses (see conversation of this vid from Escapade reviews) are also bright and warm - contrasting with the gray of the language that gets in their way.

Permanent Smile (Angel and Farscape). Vidder: Dianne DeSha (Apocalypse West)

Some very nice transitions - in fact, they're reminding me (in a good way) how important it is in long transitions to have a way to see and grok both clips - i.e., either one needs to be close up, and the other far away, or one's got the action on the right, and the other on the left, or something. This vid did a much better job with this concept than most of them, reminding me it can be done well. Like "There's No Way Out Of Here", the vid started with clips of John and Wesley before settling into the first narrative Farscape chunk. Nicely handled transitions to Wesley, and then back and forth between Wesley and John. Nice use of black, including longer pieces of it to change POV, (which doesn't always work, but worked very well here --I think at least partially because the song had a very deliberate and heavy beat). I think to appreciate this vid on a story level rather than just a visual level, I'd need to see it again.

Adding non-fannish source:

Discovery Channel (SH). Vidder: Flamingo. This vid is underrated, I think - it's not just funny scenes of animals, it's the closeness of many of the animal scenes to what Starsky and Hutch were doing in the clip right before that really makes it.

Conclusion: All in all, Carol put on a great show - full of cool choices, and interestingly split between humor and serious vids, too.

And a general con comment: As with all of the other short shows except the retrospective, there was no mechanism for us to find why the VJ chose certain vids, other than snagging her in the hall afterwards. We all felt a bit of a time crunch, trying to see as many vids as possible, but next year if there's still not time to have the VJs explain at the show, maybe they'll be able to add comments to the playlists?