Help Me Understand

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Title: Help Me Understand
Creator: Recycled Media Station
Date: 2002
Fandom: Starsky & Hutch

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Help Me Understand is a Starsky & Hutch songvid created by Recycled Media Station.

Reactions and Reviews

[A 2013 review]: It's an experimental vid, where the vidder incorporated a fair amount of show dialogue into the vid. I don't know if I'd ever seen anything like that before in 2002. But these were the early days of digital vidding, and people were experimenting with all kinds of effects to see what they did, and I think that's what was happening here -- why not use the show's audio as well as the video, to tell the vidder's story?

In 2002, this didn't work for me at all; in fact, it was sort of painful to watch, and I think I started tuning it out pretty fast.

In 2013, it still doesn't work for me, but I'm a lot more intrigued by what she did and how she did it.

On the down side, the audio is often hard to understand. The song is always present, even under the show dialogue, but the levels are off when the two are combined - the song isn't lowered enough, so the dialogue sounds like incomprehensible mumbling. It's clear that I'm supposed to be paying attention to the words, but I can't hear them -- and I also can't hear enough of the song to get any clues from that. This is a particularly big problem because the vid starts off with this sort of dialogue, setting up the entire vid.

On my first viewing this time around, as in 2002, I missed the verbal setup completely, but was so intent on trying to catch the audio that I was ignoring the visuals, so also missed the visual setup. By the time the music came back up to the foreground, I was lost, and stayed lost. Making things more difficult is the vidding style: it's an old-fashioned vid in that it doesn't concern itself about talkyface, so there were lots of scenes of Starsky and Hutch talking to each other for fairly extended periods that I would strain to hear any dialogue for (sometimes it was there because the vidder wanted the dialogue to push the vid forward; sometimes it wasn't, because the vidder just wanted the visual).

In 2002, this frustrated me no end, and I never managed to hook into the vid as the music rose and fell apparently randomly to showcase some bits of dialogue but not others. I had no idea what she was doing or why she was doing it.

In 2013, despite missing most of the words, the structure made much more sense to me even on the first watch. But weirdly, not because it feels more like a vid than it used to; it's specifically because it doesn't really feel like a vid. It feels more like the modern industry does with soundtracks, where they'll swell music with lyrics under emotional scenes, then tone it back down for the characters to talk, then swell the music back up again.

It didn't succeed at that, either, for me, because of the muddy audio levels, but it was just fascinating to realize how much I now recognize and respond to that type of presentation.

And once I'd realized that, I went back and watched again, which did the trick; I finally managed to catch the audio at the beginning, which let me hook into the visuals, and the whole vid fell into place on a visual level. It helped to know S&H, and the episode the vid is about, even though I haven't seen it in probably 15 years, but even without that, if the audio at the beginning had been clearer (and maybe shorter), I think it would have succeeded better overall. [1]