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Synonyms: Video show, vid show
See also: vidding; vids, Contapes
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A vidshow takes place during a convention, and is a series of vids shown in succession, most often for one or two hours. These may or may not be brand-new ("premiering") vids.

Conventions that have premieres-only vidshows include Escapade, Vividcon, and Vidukon. These vidshows may later be distributed as contapes or, more recently, con dvds. Some cons like MediaWest used to have all-premieres vidshows but relaxed their requirements over time.

Other cons have shows that combine premiering and existing vids, such as Bascon, Revelcon, CON.TXT, Muskrat Jamboree, PacifiCon (aka Bitchin' Party) and Eastern Media Con.

Cons that are devoted specifically to vidding, such as Vividcon and Vidukon, also have vidshows based on themes, such as "Action", "Made in the UK", "Horror", or "Celebrating Fandom".

With the rise of the Internet, vidshows no longer are the primary method for vidders to display their work. In fact, the vast majority of online vidders have never even heard of a vid show. In the past, vidshows would consist of vids submitted by vidders eager to show off their creations. Now, most vidshows, with the exception of Vividcon's premiere vid show, are a combination of both submitted and solicited vids.[1] Vid shows that rely solely on submissions run the risk of attracting few vidders, even with widespread advertising.[2] With the world as your potential vidding audience, the idea of showcasing your fanvid to an audience of only a few hundred fans seems less compelling. Other vidders point out that the impact of a watching a fanvid live and in person is such a totally different and powerful experience that vidders who never submit to vid shows are missing out.

Early History

Extacly when vids began to be shown at fan run conventions is not clear.

Kandy Fong's slide shows were shown in 1975 at Equicon. The event was so popular that they were shown in rotation to accommodate the crowds. [3]

Diana Barbour and others report showing their Starsky & Hutch vids in their hotel rooms in 1980 at Zcon 2.

By 1984, Mediawest held its first "Film/Video Competition" - although exactly what material was being entered and judged is not clear.

By 1986, the "S&H song tape/blooper" was shown in the Zcon video room.

In 1987, Mediawest held a video show that included vids such as "Fade to Black," "Jackie Edwards Videos: Music to the A-Team, Outlaws and The Equalizer," and music videos set to The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

By 1989, Zcon was holding a "song tape contest":

"The Song Tape contest will be held Friday night, from 8:30 - 11:30, in Kitty Hawk. Why? It holds more people. You must register your sonq tapes ahead of time by filling out one of the cards at Registration Ballots for the contest arc included in this Program Book, so don't forget to vote...turn in your ballots to Karen by 2 pm Saturday."[4]

Vid feedback forms

For a couple of years in the late '90s, vidders, at Sandy Herrold's suggestion, experimented with vid feedback forms at Escapade and ZebraCon vidshows, asking people in the audience to scribble comments during, or directly after the show. The comments left on the forms were occasionally hilarious, but ultimately not very useful for the vidders ("good use of clips!", and the experiment was discontinued. They were also referred to as "comments forms" and "comment forms". For more information about the history of vid feedback forms go here.

poster advertising for the 2011 MediaWest vid show by Spaced Ponies, a vidding group

Vid show contests/awards

It used to be more common for vidshows to include awards. ZebraCon, RevelCon, MediaWest, Friscon, VirguleCon and others gave out varying awards, often including, "best slash vid", "best humor vid," and "best vid by a new vidder". Escapade made a point, back in 1991, that they weren't going to give awards, and yet managed to have a strong vid show for years, which may have led to the decline in vid awards at vid shows. In fact, in 2010, the MediaWest vidshow lacked enough vid submissions for them to host a contest that year. However, after fanvidders protested, the vid contest resumed in 2011.

Vid show reviews

needs more

Designing a vid show

In the first three decades of vidding, vid shows were not designed - vidders would hand their vids on videotape and the tapes would be played one after another. Copying vids onto a single master vid show videotape would create a loss in video quality and given that many vids were made from second or third generation videotapes or off-air recordings, copying would render some vids unwatchable.

In the case of mono-fandom vidders this meant the vid show audience was treated to multiple vids in a row set to the same fandom - and in some cases using the same clips. Even worse, a vidder's musical preference could mean that a series of country western songs would be followed by Broadway show-tunes which would then be followed by yet again more country western. Some vid shows would attempt to sort the videotapes by previewing them and then re-arranging the tapes to provide as much separation and variety as possible. But in general there was little to no intelligent design to early vid shows. [5]

As vidders transitioned to digital vidding, vid show organizers took on the greater technological burdens of converting submitted video files into a single authored vid show DVD. With this greater responsibility came greater control and shortly after Vividcon began in 2002, the terms "curating" and "VJ" had begun to be used in connection with vid shows. VJs can now arrange vids in any order they please, varying both fandoms, music, as well as length of the vid show.

Only recently however has greater attention been paid to the mechanics of curating a DVD vid show. In 2012, some fans called for a Vividcon panel on the art of designing a vid show. And in April 2012, sdwolfpup offered extended notes and commentary on her experience in organizing the 2012 Pacificon vid show.[6]

[insert general examples of a curated vid show - the intro vid, selecting the opening vid, arranging vids before and right after intense vids, variations in how to arrange the middle of the show, matching or pairing vids, picking the vid to open the second half and the final vid.


  • historically never needed/wanted
  • Escapade warning debate (and resulting vid response the followig year) - what year was this?
  • Vividcon warning debate - part of the overall shift in fandom for a customized fandom experience the result of less live interactions and more online interactions which are more controllable.
  • Vid shows that offer warnings (live before show, online before show, methods and challenges)


  1. ^ Solicited vids are when the vid show organizer goes to other vidshows or looks online and asks vidders to submit their vids to the convention. Often online vidders have no experience encoding their vids so they can be put onto a playable DVD. And, after uploading their vids to Youtube or their own website, many online vidders do not keep high quality vid files that have sufficient resolution to be shown on a large screen. This shrinks the pool of available vids and complicates the job of organizing a vid show.
  2. ^ For example, the 2011 and 2012 Revelcon vid shows had 15 vids, which is less than half of the number of the vids shown in the 1990s on average. Escapade and Bascon, with their solicitation based vidshows, consistently have enough vids to offer "Bonus" vid shows.
  3. ^ "I ended up taking it to the convention and they put us in this little room at the bottom. And [Bjo Trimble] says, "Oh, I'm sure this'll be a couple of people will want to see it." Well, it had only like thirty-five people I think that could fit into the room. So they ran it in a loop, for eight hours. People would see it, get out, go back in line again, and then stand in line for an hour and a half so they could see the seven-minute thing again." -- Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Kandy Fong and Marnie S
  4. ^ from the Zebracon 9 program guide.
  5. ^ In her Escapade 2000 con report Shoshanna made a point to compliment the careful arrangement of vids during the VCR era: "One underappreciated aspect of vid shows is the way in which the vids are arranged. Like stories in an anthology, vids in a show benefit from being well ordered. For vids, that means in a way that prevents jarring transitions between widely differing genres (comedy and tragedy, for instance), that doesn't allow the same few clips to be repeated over and over in successive vids, that doesn't clump too many vids of one fandom together, and doubtless does some other things that I don't even know about. Katharine (together with others?) did a terrific job. Bearing in mind technical limitations (tapes can't be cued back and forth during the show), the vid show was as well ordered as -- as -- as a really good Oblique Press anthology zine, and from me that's high praise, okay??"
  6. ^ WebCite.