Media Cannibals/Tape4

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Vid Collection
Title: Preaching to the Converted
Vidder(s): Media Cannibals
Date: 1998/1999
Format: VHS
Fandom (s): multifandom
Media Cannibals Songtape 4.jpeg

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By Tape 4: Preaching to the Converted, The Cannibals were not only getting their tape duplication done at a standard production facility, but they were also purchasing hard-sided cases and generating cover art for the tapes, giving the collection a real 'album' feel. Tape 4 ran out early in its existence as the group didn't expect such a run on obtaining it; it was reissued a couple of times and almost always sold out, and is currently completely out of print. The vids on it were produced in 1998/1999.

Looking back, this tape clearly marks the beginning of the end for the collective. By this time, Guilty Pleasures had been sold, and the group used that money to buy a second editing VCR--but rather than wait for the traveling VCR to come their way, by then, some of the members had purchased their own VCRs. Vid productivity was amazing, and this collection represents only one year of output, rather than two years, like previous tape collections. However, in looking at the vidders list, it's clear that while productivity increased, collaboration decreased, and the group simply wasn't gathering together all that often to vid.


The tape contained:

Vid Fandom Vidder
Handle Me With Care Due South Sandy, rache, Anagi, Jo, Anna S, Nicole, Gwyn, Alex
The Rest (Will Take Care of Itself) Due South Alex
Only Talking Sense The Sentinel Jo
Cymbeline The Sentinel Jo
Real or Not Brimstone Jo
Suite, part 1 Highlander Sandy, Nicole, rache, Alex, Merry, Jo, Michelle
Shame Highlander Megan Kent, and the whole fandamly
With or Without Reason Highlander Alex
She Cries Your Name La Femme Nikita Gwyn, Sandy
I Am a Rock La Femme Nikita Gwyn
There's No Way Out of Here La Femme Nikita, XFiles, Buffy Gwyn, Jo, Nicole
Nobody Takes Me Seriously XFiles Gwyn, Sandy
Turn Around XFiles, Buffy, The Sentinel rache, Sandy, Jo, Gwyn, Nicole, Anagi
Same Thing In Reverse The Sentinel rache, Sandy, Jo, Nicole, Anagi
Crucify Homicide: Life on the Street Pam, Katharine
Losing My Religion Homicide: Life on the Street Katharine
Keep Your Distance Highlander Alex, Michelle, Jocelyn
Just to See You Highlander Alex
Love Is Blindness Highlander Michelle, Alex
Searching for a Heart Highlander Alex
Trouble The Sentinel Sandy, rache
Walking on a Wire The Sentinel Sandy, rache, Jo
Trust XFiles Gwyn
Where is My Soul XFiles Gwyn
West End Girls The Professionals Katharine
Nearly In Love The Professionals Katharine
Witness Easy Streets Jo
Prison Sex Oz Jo
Until The End of the World Highlander Alex
Keep the Light Alive Highlander Alex

Contemporaneous Reviews

In 2000, merryish posted a review of the songtape collection to her recommendation page[1] and to the Vidder mailing list.

Blazingly Positive Review: Media Cannibals Tape 5.[2] Let me just say to start that I'm in complete and utter awe of anyone who can do this. I've watched vidding happen in front of me and I just shudder in fear at the thought of ever trying it myself. Before I met the Cannibals I thought it was pretty cool to be able to write. And vidding is kind of like writing, only you do it racing down a tightwire at sixty miles an hour while juggling flaming swords and whistling a jaunty tune. It's like the don't-try-this-at-home version of writing, and anybody who can do it -- anybody with the balls to even try -- is someone to just gape at in amazement.

That said, I have to go a step further and say that people who do it really well are all that times a zillion. And the Cannibals do it really, really well.

I may be somewhat biased. I have Cannibal friends. But even if I didn't, I'd still be one hundred percent behind them based on their skills and talents alone. So, since I haven't seen a really decent discussion of these vids and since I'd really, really like to... <g>

First, the bad news. Those of you who thought Tape 4 (Partners in Crime) was a little heavy on the Highlander vids will also think Tape 5 (Preaching to the Converted) is a little heavy on Highlander vids. If I had to pick one thing that bugged me about MC5 it would be the long stretch of Highlander in the first quarter of the tape. And the third quarter of the tape. And the last quarter of the tape. There are ten HL vids out of 31 vids total, and that's just a few too many for me. I think gathering so many on one tape does a kind of disservice to the viewers and the vidders, in that after a while, all the Duncan and Methos clips start to blur together. Which isn't to say there weren't some damn fine Highlander vids on this tape -- they just tended to drown each other out a bit.

The rest is good news. And the good news is, this is one of the best collections of vids I've seen. I'd bronze it, but then it wouldn't play. Highlander aside, the fandoms are pretty evenly distributed. 5 vids from Sentinel, 3 from The X Files, 2 from Due South (one per Ray), 2 from La Femme Nikita, 2 from Homicide: Life on the Streets, 2 from The Professionals, one each from Oz, Easy Streets, and Brimstone, and 2 multimedia (LFN/BtVS/XF and XF/BtVS/TS). And one stunningly appropriate clip from Sports Night at the very end.

I can't talk about the technical aspects of these vids; I don't have the knowledge-base. So, I'll leave that up to the folks on Vidder. What I can say is that the tape, overall, was surprisingly clean. By that I mean it was mostly sparkle-free, the cuts were crisp (to my untrained eyes, anyway), and the presentation was just awesome. The vid-titles are some of the best I've seen, and I really like having them at the beginning of the vids. One of my pet peeves is having to wonder, all the way through a vid, where I've heard that song before and who sings it. Katharine always does an excellent job with the photos and colors for the titles, and it just gives the whole thing a really professional look.

As I said earlier, I felt like the quantity of HL vids somewhat overshadowed the quality. Still, the quantity had to work at it. One of my favorites was "Suite, part 1". When I first saw this one, it didn't really make a huge impression -- but over time, I've found myself watching it more and more, and liking it more each time I see it. I love the song, and it really worked with the fandom, which was kind of unexpected but cool. The infamous truck scene was the focus of a few lines in the chorus that fit perfectly -- "I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are" playing over Methos and Mac throwing one another against the side of Methos' Jimmy. It's the kind of vid that makes you think, and sticks with you. "Shame" is another one I can't say enough good things about, a really absorbing study in Methos. There's one particular combination of line and clip that blows me away every time I see it. It's a shot of Methos in a Quickening, and the line -- "Funny, in a certain light, how we all look the same" -- it just shifts my brain into neutral, there are so many cool implications. I've raved to Jenn about it for months. For sheer *fun*, I really loved "Searching for a Heart", which is a light -- but amusingly snarky -- riff on Methos waiting for Mac to get with the program.

There were no Sentinel vids on this tape I didn't like. <g> All five were deeply cool, and yes, I do intend to mention all of them. My two absolute favorites were "Walking on a Wire" -- the only vid to ever make me cry, and "Only Talking Sense" -- the only vid to ever make me want to write a story entirely devoted entirely to the beautiful melancholy of Jim Ellison's soul. (Sue me). "Walking on a Wire" is a song so perfect for Sentinel that I really have no idea what it's about, if it's not about Jim and Blair. It brings a major conflict between them to the surface and *plays* with it in a way that yanked every single heartstring I have -- and some of those are really hard to find. The timing of the clips was, in my humble and uneducated opinion, absolutely perfect. "Only Talking Sense" is absolutely beautiful visually. The angst inherent in being Jim Ellison has inspired a lot of fanfic, but in my opinion, there's not a story out there that reveals as much of Jim's heart as this vid does. "Cymbeline" is in a beautiful piece of music of which I understood not a word, but the tone and pacing of it combined with a slow, steady lead-in to the fountain scene at the end of Sentinel, Too gave me shivers. Another visually stunning vid by Jo, whose sense of such things is really kind of uncanny. "Trouble" is another one that plays strong on the tension between Jim and Blair and the differences in their lives, and what it means to them -- kind of a Sandy-theme going there, in case nobody else noticed. Like "Cymbeline", I found that the music was perfect for the story of the vid. And the story itself -- well. Let's just say I'm fond enough of that particular story to be way biased in any discussion of the vid. Sandy knows where to hit me. Finally, "Same Thing in Reverse" -- an exercise in constructed reality that worked beyond my wildest imaginings. The story is immediate and intense, and the cuts -- fades -- clips -- all of it's perfect. They do this thing where a clip of Jim sitting next to a woman fades into a clip of Jim sitting next to Blair, in almost the exact same positions, and the transitions are breathtakingly cool. It happens again and again, and there's no way to describe how well it works for the vid. You just have to see it.

My favorite of the XF vids is actually a combination vid with LFN and BtVS. "There's No Way Out of Here" follows Scully, Buffy, and Nikita -- basically into hell. Not a vid for the faint of heart. It's very intense, and it holds together beautifully, and it makes you really think about the similarities in the situations of these three women. This is a vid that's beautiful to watch, beautiful to hear, and good for your brain, too. And I laughed my ass off at "Nobody Takes Me Seriously", a Mulder vid that just drips with self-pity and morbid self-absorption. It's an image of Mulder I won't be forgetting any time soon.

"Handle Me With Care" and "The Rest (Will Take Care of Itself)" both drive me nuts. The first because it's so perfect a tribute to the kind of dorky and yet oddly attractive vulnerability of both Fraser and Ray Vecchio, and the second because I love everything about it except for the fact that it's a Ray Kowalski vid. Sue me. <g> I can't help it, I like both of these a *lot*, and I've got a hole in the tape to prove it.

Taking the fandoms I really have no clue about as a whole... The LFN vids were heartbreaking even though I have no idea who those people were. Gwyneth really knows her angst vehicles. I picked up on the loneliness and isolation of the characters even though I barely know their names -- and I found myself thinking about borrowing some LFN tapes. "Witness" was another one I knew next to nothing about, and yet I still followed it and of course, there was Jo's typical, boring-by-now (NOT) utter mastery of the visual arena. "Real or Not" is a Brimstone vid, and while I've never actually seen a Brimstone episode, I knew enough about it from friends to recognize the characters and recall a little of their backgrounds. I knew, for instance, that the guy unscrewing the lid of the saltshaker and leaving it on was Satan -- and I knew enough to *die* for the combination of that shot with the lyrics -- "They say the devil's in the details". Ho, hum, another great vid from Jo.

Which brings me to "Prison Sex". I was once part of a funny little conversation about whether the Cannibals should have had a warning on the tape specifically for this vid, and my response to that is pretty simple. It's called "Prison Sex", and it's by Jo. If that's not enough of a warning, I don't know what is. <g> This was either coolly disturbing, or disturbingly cool -- and perhaps both. I haven't seen the show, but man, do I *want* to now.

There was a time when I knew nothing whatsoever about Homicide: Life on the Streets, but that was a time before I lived within five miles of both Katharine Scarritt and Pamela Rose. Three days of indoctrination a la Clockwork Orange made me a solid fan of the show and primed me nicely for the utterly voluntary three weeks of continued viewing that followed. By the time they were done with me I was madly in love with Mike Kellerman and Tim Bayliss, so both "Losing My Religion" and "Crucify" hit me hard where I live. "Losing My Religion" contains one of the niftiest climactic moments I've seen in a vid, and the story of Mike Kellerman's fall from grace is very easy to follow. The clips are dead-on and the flow of them is clean and just fast enough to keep you drawn in for the whole song. "Crucify" is a great choice for a Bayliss vid and makes me hurt for Tim like you wouldn't believe. The relationship between Tim and Frank is dark and dysfunctional and yet, for all that, kind of sweet. "Crucify" lets you see all of that.

The Pros vids. I got to watch these being put together, and I have to tell you, you haven't lived until you've seen Katharine obsess about getting *just the right clip* in *just the right place*. I must've seen these vids about a hundred times over the course of the summer and I never got bored. My favorite of the two is "Nearly In Love", which fits in nicely with my theory that these boys are *not* doomed and are actually quite capable of having quite a lot of fun. It's upbeat and fast and snarky as hell and if you can say a vid has great characterization, you have to say it about this one.

And I think that brings me down to the remaining combination vid -- "Turn Around". XF/BtVS/TS. And just, *wow*. The first time I saw this one I missed half of it because I was laughing so hard. Part of the fun is seeing the perfect literal clip matched with the perfect line, part of it is realizing you really had no idea how many times people in these shows whipped their head around, looking surprised and shocked, and part of it is just that the song is stupid and senseless and *hilarious*. This is one I forced my friends to watch with me over and over just because it's such a good time. And the Sentinel bit at the end still kills me.

Okay, I warned you I was biased up at the top. But I have to say, the bias comes mostly from these people being amazing at what they do, and putting out consistently superior work, and just generally doing great things with songs and shows I love. I've had so much enjoyment out of this tape, and written so much with it playing off to the right of my computer screen, and used it so often to show non-song-vid people just how cool song-vids can be, that it would be a total injustice for me not to rave a little.

Overall, it was a really *intense* tape. A lot of the Highlander vids were lighter in tone and not so heavy on the pain and suffering, but the rest of it was pretty much wall-to-wall angst. And I tend to really like that in song-vids, so it worked really well for me on that level. Even the comic vids had a sharp edge to them that I really liked.

I kind of really liked the whole thing. (I hope nobody notices).[3]

I also have a thing for the Sentinel vids on the Media Cannibals' fourth songvid collection, Preaching to the converted. I don't know what's up with this Sentinel theme... actually, I blame my roommate at Connexions, Cindy, who kept waving Sentinel zines in my face. I'm brainwashed. [4]


  1. ^ radio free mc4 - review, via Wayback. (Accessed 24 December 2011)
  2. ^ Although it says Tape 5, the review is actually for Preaching to the Converted, which is Tape 4.
  3. ^ merryish, posted to the Vidder mailing list Jan 27, 2000. Quoted with permission (25 March 2011)
  4. ^ the flambeau factory: recommendations 2000