Ten Things I Know About Vidding

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Title: Ten Things I Know About Vidding
Creator: Lim
Date(s): January 18, 2008
Medium: online
Fandom: vidding, meta
External Links: Lim's original "Ten Things I Know" post to the vidding LJ community
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Ten Things I Know About Vidding is a meme started by lim in January 2008. It builds on similar Internet memes "Ten Things I Know..." but asks vidders to discuss their stylistic choices and the editing rules and guidelines they've learned - either on their own or from other vidders.

Lim's "Ten Things"

  1. Don't make things you don't care about.
  2. Don't think you always have to top yourself; make exactly what you want.
  3. Rules are useless. Techniques for specific purposes are useful.
  4. To smooth transitions: Cut like to like. (Someone walks across the camera: cut on the most amount of black to another almost completely black frame.
  5. For smooth motion: Match subjects' velocity.
  6. To follow circling melodies: Oppose camera movements.
  7. To support building chords: Match and increase light sources (candle to sun in same place, frex).
  8. To hard cut similar scenes: Flop scenes with abandon if it keeps your people on the same side.
  9. To stay interested: Don't get bogged down in clipping or encoding or distributing or anything that isn't vidding. It's too boring to be care about.
  10. To stay interesting: Don't just watch vids. Watch TV, films, adverts, motion reels.[1]

Sandy Herrold's "Ten Things"

  1. Know and use the point of your song. Play your song for someone who doesn't know it, and ask them at the end for the 'repeated line' or chorus phrase, or what line they remember. You don't have to make every lyric match something in your vid, but *That* line needs to be what your vid is about.
  2. Don't be afraid of an occasional meaningful long clip. Even in these days of shorter and shorter clip length, a longer one from time to time lets people's eyes rest, and gives them a chance to catch up.
  3. It's as important to pick interesting songs as songs with 'perfect' lyrics -- look for compelling changes of tempo or intensity. It should *pop* off your iPod even before you add a vid to it.
  4. Especially for comedy vids, build to peaks. Better to have C clips followed by an A clip, than to have B clips for the whole vid.
  5. Don't be afraid to make a vid that just says, "man, I love this show/these guys". Your audience will feed off of your emotion. (This, of course, doesn't mean, 'you can be sloppy as long as you do it with love', it means, it doesn't always have to be complicated and deep.)
  6. Your credit is part of your vid. If it isn't making your vid even better, you're doing it wrong.
  7. Never be afraid to cut your song shorter.
  8. Collaborations can be a blast.
  9. Don't make too many vids in a row in the same fandom. Even if you're monofannish, take a break and do a Disney movie or something. Your vids will thank you.
  10. When two clips don't seem to work together, keep cutting them shorter and shorter. Sometimes magic happens.[2]

Other Vidders

With a few exceptions, responses to the "Ten Things" can be found archived at Lim's original "Ten Things" post.

The meme at six months: talitha78

Some six months after Lim's original post, the meme was still circling through vidding fandom:

"Seven Things I Know about Vidding

  1. Love, love, LOVE the song you're using. It makes everything so much more enjoyable, especially when you consider that you will be listening to that sucker over a hundred times during the course of vidding it.
  2. When it comes to storytelling (I distinguish between "storytelling vids" and "narrative vids"), keep it simple. If you want to tell a story visually, you have to be very, very straightforward. If it seems overly simplistic and obvious to you, then you've got it about right. Even at that, you will have people who interpret the story differently from what you intended. But that's cool; that's art. As with all rules, you can deliberately break this one if you want to add an element of uncertainty to your vid. Sometimes I will throw in a clip without overthinking where it fits in the story simply because it works visually or tonally. I know that the viewers will bring their own reading to it and make it work to their satisfaction. Or I'll lose them. I'm willing to take that risk.
  3. Canon is not necessarily king. As a slasher, I have to be able to abandon canon at the drop of a hat. Maybe this is a special hazard of being a Smallville fan, but I find that I absolutely must be able to divorce the clips from the dialogue and plot of the show. I use clips out of chronological order, place character clips side-by-side to create new scenes, flip to my heart's content, and recontextualize like there's no tomorrow. If the story I am telling is compelling enough, and as long as the clips make sense within the context of the vid, I feel as if I have free reign. The fans who are canon sticklers are not going to like my vids, but I probably never had a chance with them anyway, what with the willful slashing and all. :)
  4. Vid like nobody's watching. Sorta. Caring too much about what your audience is going to think can be paralysing. I'm not gonna lie and say that I vid purely for my own sake: I like attention as much as the next person. I do factor in audience response when I'm putting a vid together, but it is not the most compelling consideration. I strive and struggle through the sometimes grueling vidding process because I know that at the end of it, I'll have a finished piece of art that I can look at again and again. I get pleasure from my own vids (ahaha, it's kinda masturbatory in that respect).
  5. Find a beta you trust and respect. I am the first to admit I do not take criticism well. I have issues. But because I like and admire my beta a great deal, I can work through my issues when she tells me that something is not working. I am briefly bummed, but then I get back in there and try to make some changes. I don't freeze up with resentment, as would be my instinct with someone I trusted less. I suck it up, because a vid is always better for having gone through a beta process.
  6. Be prepared to deal with setbacks. Whether it be vidder's block, tech troubles, or not finding the perfect clip, there will be obstacles in your quest for vidding nirvana. That's why it pays to be stubborn and to passionately want to see the end product. That passion will carry you through the frustrating times. And on the plus side, vidding will turn you into a creative problem solver, which is a skill that will come in handy in other realms of life.
  7. Feel the clips and see the music. Feeling the clips is when you let your eyes take control and turn off the cognitive side of your brain. Let your eyes show you the beauty of the colors, let your eyes catch and track the movement, let you eyes tell you when the clip needs to be cut. Respect the wisdom of your instincts. Conversely, to see the music, you have to shut your eyes. Anyone who loves music does this already. Close your eyes and let the music suggest the colors you want to use, the emotion you want to evoke, the flow that you want to follow. It seems hokey, but it works for me."[3]

The meme near the one year mark: bradcpu

By the end of 2008, the meme had mutated slightly, narrowing its focus to a specific set of vids made at a specific point in time..

"Ten things I learned about vidding while making my three VVC vids:

  1. The value of great betas. Nothing they can say or do will make me satisfied during the process. But great betas always help me see the vid as it actually is (rather than as I *want it to be*); which helps me find the path to make it what I want it to be. It's only months later, looking back, that I come to appreciate exactly how they put me on that path.
  2. Other people should like my vids more than I do. It's OK if I hammer away on a vid until I completely lose all emotional attachment to it and HATE it, as long as it makes it a more effective vid in the end for the viewer. Beats the alternative, in which I love my vid more than the viewers.
  3. Not everyone is me. I tend to use clips that are meant to be seen in the orginal context of the show and ones that are meant to be seen out of context; and I just kind of mix them all together and expect the viewer to know which is which. I also connect certain images with certain emotions in a way that most people simply don't. I have to stop assuming everyone sees things the same way I do and be more straightforward and definitive.
  4. Don't get distracted by the pretty. Often - almost always - the prettier clip/image choice is not the best one for saying *anything* other than "look how pretty!", and my narrative will suffer as a result. (See No. 3)
  5. It's OK to put the thinky on hold and do something fun. Just do a silly video every now and then, Brad. Really. I don't care HOW many emo ideas you have in the pipeline. You'll feel so much better about vidding in general if you just have fun once in a while.
  6. It's OK for people to not like my vids. Nothing is going to appeal to everyone, and if you try to do that you'll drive yourself nuts. Individuality and personal style is a good thing. Listen to criticism and try to use it to improve, but don't beat yourself up about it.
  7. My friends are better than me. Don't try to be them, and FOR GOD'S SAKE don't judge yourself strictly through comparisons.
  8. Insanity can be good. Don't be afraid to do a vid just because the idea seems uncomfortably provocative or completely out of your comfort zone. If anything, that's a *better* reason to do it.
  9. Pacing and repetition are friends. In a fast-paced vid, don't be afraid to keep coming back to the same shot over and over to drive home your point, particularly if you can present it in a musical way.
  10. Not everything has to be complex. Always question whether that extra layer of narrative *really* needs to be there, or whether the vid would be more impactful without it. More complex doesn't always = more effective." [4]


  1. Lim's original "Ten Things I Know" post to the vidding LJ community
  2. posting in Sandy's blog, Jan. 27th, 2008.
  3. Seven Things I Know about Vidding, talitha78, June 3, 2008.
  4. What I Learned: My VVC vids, bradcpu, 28 November 2008.