Ghost (Doctor Who vid)

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Vid
Title: Ghost (Doctor Who vid)
Creator: Morgan Dawn
Date: August 2005
Format: DivX .avi
Length:
Music: "Ghost" by Live
Genre:
Fandom: Doctor Who
Footage:
URL: streaming version at AO3; download version (password required)

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"Ghost" is a Doctor Who vid by Morgan Dawn. It was reviewed on August 29, 2006, by chasarumba at the reel vidding community. The vid premiered at the 2005 Vividcon convention.

Reactions/Reviews

  • "Ghost" (Doctor Who): "I'm thrilled I'm not reviewing this. Objectivism would fly out the window. There would be gushing, it would be unpleasant. That's not why you should download the vid, although it may be a fairly good reason. You should download the vid because it's beautiful. Visually absolutely stunning and narratively touching, without losing subtlety. Plus, the music was actually written about Nine. Okay, it wasn't but the vid will make you think it really should have been. Get it for the fantastic use of repeated imagery and construction, stay for the hand porn. And the other stuff. In conclusion, why are you still here? Go! Download! " ~halcyon shift, Doctor Who Rec - Ghost, dated September 4, 2005.
  • "Ghost" (Doctor Who):"I finally got around to downloading this and oh. my. GOD. *loves* Absolutely gorgeous! I've seen footage from that promo used before in DW vids but never this brilliantly. The way it was woven so well throughout the vid, throughout the narrative, just... wow. I really want to see if I can't find and view it for myself now. Anyway, the sequence starting around 1:26 made my heart ache. The way the music built and then exploded with The Doctor's cry and "Where did I go wrong", gah, soo powerful. Oh and the overlays were fantastic as well. I especially love the one around 2:30 with the Dalek sequence. Anyway, yeah, this is definitely a keeper." ~ ooglymoogly, Doctor Who Rec - Ghost, dated September 17, 2005.

From the 2006 the reel review:

Overall impression: This vid has been previously been recced here, and for good reason -- it is haunting (no pun intended!) and lonely, with a well-communicated narrative about the Doctor and Rose's respective ghosts. Very smart audio editing decisions were made, and they were absolutely critical to the cohesiveness of the vid.

Titles: No opening titles. There is an end credit screen with simple flickering text next to an image of the Doctor.

Music choice: As mentioned up front, I think the audio editing decisions made for this vid are critical to its success ("success" defined here as how much it makes me squeeeee :)). I've never heard the original version of the song (which apparently clocks in at about five minutes), but after reading Morgan Dawn's notes about the vid, I looked up the full lyrics. One cut is of a repeated verse about a boy losing a rib in New Orleans (and he's under a bridge and there are also, apparently, whores involved)...I can't even imagine how that verse would have worked in the context of this vid. That's far from the only cut. The end result is a song that is very distilled and serves the story. Too often, vidders take the song as a given and try to work around awkward verses, structure or length...rather than tailoring the song to work for them. This is a great example of making the song work.

Narration, Tone and Movement: The vid begins with the Doctor's POV and his ghost -- the Daleks. Rose is frequently spoken to from the Doctor's POV, with the "yours is not like mine" lyric, and then the POV eventually shifts to her for the last verse. I love the connected way in which the narrative moves along, how the "ghost" keeps shifting. The Doctor is haunted by Daleks; he brings Rose (who is haunted by her father) into the narrative; Rose and the Doctor connect, and she ends up haunted by him. It's like a dance where the partners keep changing.

Cuts, Transitions, Effects & Colouring/Coloring: Largely straight cuts and crossfades. I like the faster, rhythmic cutting on the "yours is not like mine" lyric. I don't notice a lot of flashy effects or transitions. There are a couple of instances of compositing (two, I think?), both handled very smoothly. Some coloring/color correcting is done, but a lot of it I would not have noticed if I hadn't read the vidder's notes, so I'm not going to just regurgitate the info!

Specific vid & music notes (time marked points of interest): 0:49 -- "like a world tattoo" -- the nanogenes surrounding Nancy and Jamie in a cloud, analyzing Nancy's DNA so that they can correct the imprint they have made on everyone...this clip choice just breaks my heart 1:03 -- love the impact of the Doctor pulling the lever to accent the riff

I'm not going to give time marks for these, but starting at 0:20 (and then woven throughout) is the use of clips of the Doctor running down a burning hallway, taken from a trailer. If the audio editing is one "key" to why this vid works so well for me, then the use of these clips is the other. These images of the Doctor being pursued, running, of his footsteps literally being haunted...well, they just plain work. And the clips are so flexible because they don't come from a particular episode and therefore have a set context. The way they are woven in repeatedly reasserts the vid's theme. They absolutely nail what this vid is about and I don't have a more eloquent way of saying that.

Final notes: I first watched this vid about a year ago and I'm still riveted by it. I hoped that maybe I could put my finger on the "why" of that when writing this review and I'm not sure that I have (and dude, I suck at writing these things...it's HARD). But definitely a huge part of the why is that it's all meat, no fat. You can't afford to look away.

Vidder's notes

I actually had to scroll through my mailbox to help my overtaxed memory, but thanks to the following who were my betas/collaborators: gattagrigia (for crucial help on reshaping the song into a more narrative structure), laurashapiro (color, color and more color!), and permetaform (beats are our friends). And a special thanks to xlorp for patiently walking into the room every 15 minutes when I called out: "oooh, look at this clip. And this clip. And this clip....Oh look! Another clip."

Some random technical comments. I’ve never offered any comments before on a vid. It seems time consuming, somewhat self-reflective, and boring. But never let it be said, I was afraid to be boring. Or self-absorbed.

On Song Structure "Ghost" by Live is a 5min song, with several repeated choruses and stanzas. I knew I needed to cut it. After my first cut, I contacted gattagrigia (a fellow vidder and Dr Who fan) and asked her what else needed to be cut. She suggested we take out all the choruses except the last one. I also trimmed the beginning and snipped off the instrumental bridges and the end. Don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize the song – after editing, it comes in around 2 min 53 sec. But it makes a stronger narrative. Go betas! (or collaborators – I just cannot think of people as fish. They are more like partners in crime – oops, vidding).

On POV The vid starts off in the Doctor’s POV. In the last stanza, I shifted the POV to Rose - now the Doctor is her "ghost." POV's shifts are tricky - particularly when you don’t evenly divide the song into sections. Here, I reserved only the last stanza for Rose - matching the female singer's voice with Rose's POV. I hinted at Rose's presence (as a possible POV character) earlier when I used a matte frame image of the Doctor & Rose holding hands and superimposed it over a long shot of the Dr, Rose and the Tardis. This is the first time in the song that the female singer's voice bleeds through clearly and I wanted to make her presence known.

On Color A few people commented on the color of the clips. I used the same source as the rest of the world - the wonderful avi files from bittorent. I did do some color correcting - the most dramatic changes are the clips using the Daleks, where I applied what I call the "copper" filter - it turns metal more bronzy and adds a greenish undertone. This was to match the show's use of green for the Dalek's weapons. I also (with Laura’s help) used the color corrector to change a ceiling panel and its lighting to blue to match the surrounding clips. I washed out a few clips & added a "glow" filter to soften one of the Rose clips. And that was pretty much it (besides the normal lightening/darkening I do for every vid).

I was fortunate that the clips I selected carried their own built-in color scheme - blue and gold. And once I picked up on this, it helped me in the final selection of clips.

Clip Choice Not much to add there, except the scenes with the Doctor running down a burning hallway are from a BBC trailer. Unfortunately, the BBC logo is a huge boomingly loud red thing, so I needed to do a lot of matting, shifting, zooming etc. I was not completely successful in eliminating the logo - but in the end, allowed the 80/20 rule to kick in. I could not physically afford to spend another 3 days trying to remove a smallish 2x2 area. Bad BBC.

Aspect Ratio Woes. I listened to fans moaning about aspect ratio issues and thought – oh that will never impact me. Ha ha. You can hear the universe laughing behind my back. Since my external capture card no longer imports, I was stuck with DVD ripping. I had almost completed the vid, before I discovered that my aspect ratio adjustments were still off (even using the ones recommended by other editors.) I resorted to the low tech method - placing post-its on the screen to mark the 4 corners I wanted. And adjusted the ratios step by step. And they match nothing known to man. More evidence that the BBC is not of this earth.