Media Cannibals/Tape3

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Vid Collection
Title: Tape 3: Partners in Crime
Vidder(s): Media Cannibals
Date: 1997/1998
Format: VHS
Fandom (s): Multifandom
Media Cannibals Songtape 3.jpeg

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Tape 3: Partners in Crime was probably the most popular of the Media Cannibals vid collections, covering 1997/1998.

The initial runs of the tape were copied manually; later, when Tape 5 was sent to the duplicating house, tape 3 and tape 4 were sent as well for smaller print runs.


The tape contained:

Vid Fandom Vidder Comments
What I Like About You Multimedia Sandy, Alex, Nicole, feochadn, rache, Gwyn
Call It Love Professionals Gwyn, Alex, Sandy, rache
Code of Silence Highlander Katharine
Scarborough Fair Highlander Katharine Katharine actually made two vids, one for each of the two songs in the Canticle, and then faded back and forth between them, "live," to capture the final vid.
Ice Babylon 5 Katharine an early femmeslash vid featuring Talia/Ivanova
Only Happy When It Rains XFiles Gwyn, Sandy
As Girls Go XFiles -ish Gwyn, Sandy Genderfuck
Change the Locks Highlander Jo, Sandy, Nicole
Hear That Voice Again Highlander Nicole, rache, Sandy, Jo
Hippie Boy The Sentinel Jo, rache, Sandy
Similar Features The Sentinel Sandy, rache, Jo, Nicole Stories where one slash BSO falls for a woman with a marked similarity to the other BSO have been a regular slash theme since K/S. This is the only vid treatment of the idea we've ever seen.
(Don't You) Forget About Me Highlander Lynn C., Kay
World We're Living In Highlander Lynn C.
Love Shack Multimedia Lynn C., Kay
Don't Stand So Close To Me Buffy Lynn C. *Very* early Buffy vid
I'm the Cat Highlander Nicole, rache, Sandy
Us Highlander Sandy, Nicole, rache, Jo
Fall In The Light XFiles Gwyn, Sandy
The Chain XFiles Sandy, rache, Nicole, Jo
Sleep to Dream La Femme Nikita Rosa, Randy Early computer vid
The Man Song The Sentinel Sandy, Jo, rache
Still the Same Highlander Megan
Theme Song Highlander Megan, Charlotte
The Next Voice You Hear The Professionals Gwyn, Alex, Sandy
Deep As You Go Highlander Katharine
You Don't Believe Highlander Katharine
Tainted Love X-Files Katharine, Pam
Allies The Professionals Katharine
Detachable Penis The Professionals Alex, Sandy, Gwyn, Blackbird, rache

A Contemporaneous Review

In 1998, Shoshanna posted a review of the songtape collection to the Virgule mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.

Wow. This tape is *big*. Twenty-nine vids: an hour and forty-five minutes of fascinating watching. If this were a zine, it would be the size of the proverbial phone book, cost a hell of a lot more than the $10 plus postage the tape costs, and be worth every penny.

The first thing I noticed is that this thing hasn't got liner notes, it has a freakin' liner *booklet*: a beautifully put together collection of info on the vidders involved (Media Cannibals, Cultural Revolutionaries, Katharine, Lynn and Kay, and Megan and Chloe), individual notes about each vid from its creator(s), a guide to the various types of equipment used, and contact addresses for more info on vidding. Vidding really has matured as a genre of fandom!

Then I looked at the playlist. I recognized about half of the titles from convention shows and from the MC draft tape #2.5, and it was immediately obvious to me that somebody put real thought into what order the vids should go in. They complement each other nicely and have an overall flow.

Then I invited four friends over and we watched it. It took all night, because we stopped the tape after each vid, to discuss it. I don't think there was a turkey in the batch, although there were a few that didn't work very well for some of us; but even then, the ones that didn't work for me were mostly interesting in the way they didn't work, not merely dull. And the ones that did work -- which was the vast majority -- oh my god. Some of them are just amazing.

The following comments on some (not all) of the vids are *not* reviews. I would need to watch the vids several more times, carefully, to make review comments. These are off-the-cuff remarks, and my memory may fail me in places. Also, nothing should be concluded from my failure to mention some vids; I didn't mention some of the ones I adore and some of the ones that didn't work for me. Please don't give my opinions more weight than they're worth. On the other hand, people who like my opinions may find that these are the sort of opinions they like...

"What I Like about You" (MM: Sandy, Alexfandra, Nicole, Jo, Rache, Gwyneth) is a rollicking bit of fun. What makes it really special is the mirroring clips from each show -- parallel scenes of each couple riding on a bus, one partner whispering to the other, and so on. The danger in a vid that uses a song without a plot is that the vid will only have one idea, one point, and will keep making that point without ever going anywhere, which can make it dull. It doesn't always make it dull, of course; a mood vid can be very effective. Here the energy and precision of the cuts, plus the cross-show connections suggested by the mirroring, make the vid the opposite of dull, and a wonderful kickoff to the tape as a whole.

(Having mentioned energy and precision of cuts, I'll say in general that I always expect to find sharp, quick, well-timed, and effective cuts in a Media Cannibals vid, and this tape does not disappoint -- including in the non-Media Cannibals vids!)

"Call It Love" (Pros: Gwyneth, Alexfandra, Sandy, Rache). Watching this directly after "What I Like About You," I was struck by how much context determines the meaning of a clip (and, by extension, many other things as well). Both vids use the shot from "Wild Justice" of Bodie hugging a muddy Doyle from behind, and Doyle throwing him off with a laugh. In "What I Like," this clip represents joy in each other: "That's what I like about you, you hold me tight." In "Call It Love" it represents fear, staying in the closet: "Do we tell the truth, or do we live a lie?" Both uses work, and they're diametric opposites. Fascinating.

"Code of Silence" (HL: Katharine) is stunning. The song might have been written for Methos; but then again, what's stunning is the way that Katharine highlights, by her selection of clips, a Methos to whom these lyrics belong. I still gasp at her pairing of the line "You still have a rage inside you that you carry with a certain pride" with the close-up of his face, nodding, as Duncan challenges him against the jeep in "Comes a Horseman." "My God," I said to myself, "I never thought of it quite that way, but she is *so* right." The editing that makes one continuous motion out of Methos's first parry of Silas's axe and the stroke with which he beheads him is wonderful.

"Ice" (B5: Katharine) is a view of the Talia/Ivanova relationship. It's an effective mood vid, but I couldn't follow it to a deeper level. That may be because I don't know the show as well as some. The first clips of them looking at each other in this vid are some of the slashiest things I've *ever* seen.

"Only Happy When It Rains" (XF): Gwyneth, Sandy) Mulder's depression and his relationship with Skinner. In the liner notes Gwyneth says, "I don't consider this a slash vid at all, though many people do"; I found that I could see it either way. If I looked at it as a slash vid, it made Mulder even more twisted (and I don't mean that in a good way!): it seemed to show him manipulating Skinner into hurting him because that's what Mulder wants.

"Hippie Boy" (Sent): Jo, Rache, Sandy) This was the first thing I ever saw that interested me in Sentinel. All the fanfic I had read up 'til then (no, I don't have to be interested in a show to read the fanfic, why do you ask?) seemed to derive its passion and angst from sickly sweet arguments over who wuvved who more; I went "ick." This vid suggests emotional angst, insecurity, that rings a lot more true and a whole lot more interesting to me.

"World We're Living In" (HL: Lynn C.) Another stunning Methos vid. Another view of the character that is so perfect the song might have been written for him, except that I wouldn't have thought of him that way if Lynn hadn't made this vid and made it so smoothly. I remember watching it at Escapade and gasping at the last sequence of the song -- "my girlfriend is not my girlfriend, my neighbor is not my lover," etc. -- wondering at each line how Lynn could top the incredible appropriateness of the previous clip-line pair, and feeling each one like a gut-punch when she *did*.

"Love Shack" (MM: Lynn, Kay) Take a breath between these two vids. From heavy angst to riotous silliness; another of the multimedia vids that search out and highlight some absolutely odd parallel between them all. This was the only vid the bunch of us rewound and watched again, because we wanted to try again to follow and *recognize* all the incredibly speedy clips from so many different fandoms. I'm pleased and proud to say that I recognized all of them except Sharpe, and now I recognize Sharpe too; I'll be expecting my Fan Slut badge in the mail any day now.

"The Chain" (XF: Sandy, Rache, Nicole, Jo) This vid has been substantially revised since the version that was shown at several cons and included on tape #2.5. When I first saw it, I thought it had the best use of blackscreen I'd ever seen in a vid. (I now think it has the second best use of blackscreen I've ever seen, not because of the changes made to it, but because I have since seen Jessica's Buffy vid to "The Story Ends.") The older version had some longer clips, with a clearer distinction between past flashback) and present (time of narration); it also had a disappointingly weak ending. This version has a much stronger and very effective ending, but it also intercuts the past and present more, and I'm not sure yet which version I like more overall. I've seen the older version at least ten times and the newer one only once; I'm looking forward to really comparing them.

"Sleep to Dream" (LFN: Cultural Revolutionaries) I don't actually think home computer technology is quite good enough yet for vids, but this one *almost* works for me. Still, in clips with a lot of motion, enough data is lost to make the motion jerky, and I find it distracting. Nikita, which is a very visually stylized show already, is probably the right one to be experimenting with computer vids for; despite what I just said, in some ways the obviously digitized image actually fits the show. I think that Nikita may be a hard show to vid for, because the characters are such expressionless stonefaces; you've got a lot of violence, and a lot of cold-eyed staring, but not a lot of character interaction that can come across without their voices. Though that shot of Michael kissing her knuckles while she's holding a gun on him is certainly gripping, I'm not quite sure what this vid means to say about the character(s). It's unquestionably relevant that I don't know what the song means on its own, either, and don't really like it.

"The Man Song" (Sent: Sandy, Jo, Rache) Absolutely hysterical. And the way that Blair's gestures are *exactly* on the beat in the opening sequences makes it even more effective. This is the sort of song that would be funny against almost any clips, but paired with MC's meticulous timing and editing, it's brilliant.

"Still the Same" (HL: Megan) Some of this was just fantastic, and some of it didn't work at all for me. The cuts are sharp and well-timed, and there's some terrific pacing, following a lot of very short clips with a longer one. There's some very effective editing, drawing a parallel, for instance, between Methos's belting Cassandra in the Bronze Age and his coldcocking her with his swordhilt in the present; I had always seen those as opposites, callous brutality versus minimum necessary force (he could just as easily have killed her), but Megan draws a parallel and it works. But...point of view was unstable, which kept throwing me off balance. And the cuts against "There you stood, everybody watched you play; I just turned and walked away" don't work for me at all. Against the first line is the shot of Methos in the climactic fight in Revelation 6:8, crouched and momentarily frozen as he realizes that his and Silas's fight has burst in on Duncan and Kronos's; it's the moment at which he is absolutely committed to Duncan's side, and at which Duncan realizes which side Methos has chosen. Which fits "everybody watched you play"; but then against "I just turned and walked away" is a clip from earlier, when Duncan walks out on him in the churchyard. This doesn't fit what I see as the significance of that moment in the show, and the motion backward in time was jarring. Still, there's a lot of technical skill and a good eye for pacing and editing evident in this vid; ultimately it didn't quite work for me, but I'll be looking forward to more of Megan's work.

"You Don't Believe" (HL: Katharine) Here's a twist; Methos accusing *Duncan* of being a suspicious, manipulative bastard! But it works wonderfully. Another view of the characters I would never have had on my own, that seems utterly obvious once it's pointed out.

"Allies" (Pros: Katharine) It seems to have only one point to make, and having made it, it just continues to make it. It didn't give me a new view of the characters or their relationship, and it didn't build or progress, so by the end it was dragging for me.

"Detachable Penis" (Pros: Alex, Sandy, Gwyneth, Blakcbird, Rache) Another wet-your-pants funny vid. A great ending note.

Again, I've only seen these vids once, and I may change my mind on some things as I rewatch and ponder. But I certainly won't change my mind overall: this is a *terrific* collection of vids! Thanks to all involved. (And if any of the vidders are not on this list, I'm happy to have friends of theirs forward this post to them; it's basically a loc, but I decided to post it publicly rather than just send it to because there are so many vidders involved in the tape, and because I thought others might be interested as well.)