frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (BtVS: Power)
[personal profile] beccatoria asked: Which vid was the hardest to make?

Definitely Tightrope! It was my biggest learning curve technically, especially with the speed changes and freeze frames. (OMG, my favorite thing about Premiere as opposed to Final Cut is how *easy* the former makes speed changes.)

The one thing that wasn't difficult about Tightrope was clip availability. On the other hand, one of my biggest issues with Become You was the utter lack of clips available to say what I wanted to say, especially about M'Lila. I also really struggled with the bridge in that vid, because it had a lot it needed to accomplish in terms of getting the viewer from point A to point B and frankly it was too much, at least for my current ability. So in that quite different sense Become You was also difficult.

frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (Xena: Lao Ma)
[personal profile] beccatoria asked: Point to a section from one of your favorite vids you've made and explain why you're proud of it.

I'm gonna be a big ole bragger (we vidders don't get enough opportunities to boast) and pick four.

1. The third verse in Tightrope, from 2:06-2:27, where I put in a lot of effort to get the blocking and motion to match up between clips and kept the energy high all in the service of a strong narrative focus on Buffy challenging authority figures and taking an egalitarian approach instead of an authoritarian one. I'm especially proud of how I worked in Quentin Travers around 2:15, stutter cutting across 4 seasons and matching the blocking with Buffy's horrible test in Checkpoint. And the final clip of this section, where she walks away from Wesley, is possibly my favorite in the vid, both because of the lyrical matching and what I did with speed changes and freeze frames.

2. The bridge in Everywhere, from 1:49-2:06. The first verse is Xena's pov, the second Gabrielle's, so part of the task of the bridge was to move to a dual pov. Relatedly, this section of the vid was all about them coming together as a team/couple. So I started with how they are different, by juxtaposing Gabrielle dancing with clips of Xena fighting. And because this silly show has a Footloose episode and two musical episodes, I was able to gradually bring them together by showing Xena go from trying to stop Gabrielle dancing to joining in, and by showing Gabrielle's dancing look more and more militaristic, until at the end of the section they are dancing and fighting side by side.

I also love the montage of OTP feels in the last chorus, around 2:47-3:23. This part wasn't particularly difficult to make, it more felt like the payoff for harder work I did in earlier sections of the vid.

3. The section of Become You where Lao Ma is watching Xena, around 0:42. Also a bit later in the vid I ran a clip of Lao Ma stepping backwards and looking serene in reverse, so she is stepping forward with an expression of desire, at 0:58-1:01. I wanted to show her agency and desire for Xena and those sections are particularly successful at doing that.

Also in that vid, the section paralleling Lao Ma's execution with Xena's near execution, at 2:22-2:38. This almost feels unfair because the source did so much of the work in terms of visual parallels, and for some reason the clips of Xena fighting blended beautifully with the execution scenes so the whole thing is just pretty.

More than any recent vid of mine, this one has sections I love and sections I'm deeply unsatisfied with. I suppose that's not surprising since it is the most ambitious vid I've made yet in terms of argument. Anyway it was nice to share a bit of the former with you all, since I've been fairly focused on the latter since I published the vid.

4. I'm really proud of the ending of Starkville, from about 3:49 on. Again, the show provided me with easy visual parallels and metaphors, I just had to put them there and play with blending modes a bit. The most complicated thing I did there, besides the fire overlay, was to put a reddish gradient overlay on that entire final section and faded it out a little more slowly than I did the last clip, which makes her bloody and brutal facial expression fade to red before it fades to black. I was quite happy with that.
frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (Xena: Gab determined)
I'm doing that vidding meme! And am happy to take more requests.

[personal profile] violace asked: Is there a genre or style you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole?

I don't know that I'd call it a genre or style, but anything with a lot of graphic violence -- or, more accurately, certain specific types of graphic violence. I can't even stand to watch that stuff, much less vid it. I also probably wouldn't do much with explicit sex/porn, but I won't say never. Actually the more I think about it the more it appeals to me as a challenge -- some day.

I suppose there is a style of vid to cheesy love ballads (e.g. Celine Dion) and whatnot that I can't really imagine making because I can't stand the music. I do genuinely appreciate the earnestness of such vids though. And I had to talk myself out of including Power of Two as a candidate vidsong for Xena Vid Series From Hell, so even that boundary is apparently squishy.

[personal profile] thirdblindmouse asked: Is there a section of canon above all others that inspires you just a little bit more?

So, since TBM asked, I'm going to talk about Xena canon here, because it's a shared interest and because that's the fandom where this question is easiest to answer. Because as much as I enjoy the camp and the slash and the fun of Xena, there is basically one thing that has inspired my intense fannishness for the Xena/Gab pairing and for the show overall, and that is Xena and Gabrielle's ongoing debate about How to Fight the Good Fight*.

For me, the two parter "The Debt" from Season 3 and Gabrielle's pacifism arc which is a focus of season 4 (but resonates throughout the series) are the center of this debate. In the early seasons of the show, Gabrielle is generally shown to be -- and believed by the characters to be -- the one with a more developed moral compass.  "The Debt" tears this apart by showing Gabrielle how much more complex the world is, and that a knee-jerk "killing is wrong" position can cause more harm than not. It is forever to my dismay that the S3 Rift Arc focuses so much on Hope and leaves Gabrielle's betrayal of Xena in "The Debt" as background, but I choose to read it differently, and that is an important part of both my XVSFH vids so far ("Become You" and "Starkville").

As Gabrielle spends more time with Xena and her worldview grows more complex, she finds that her love of Xena and her wish to not commit violence are irreconcilable. For a while she tries to practice non-violence while accepting that this is not an option for Xena, and tries to make it work. But it doesn't. It can't. So ultimately she chooses Xena, and I think breaks a little bit of her heart doing so.

I continue to be blown away by this arc, because I so often find the presentation of pacifism on shows to be obnoxious, heavy-handed, or dismissive. Xena takes pacifism seriously, and it also takes the violence of the world the characters live in seriously, and it integrates those themes into the characters' relationship -- it makes it deeply personal. And that is why I love it.

(OK, the other main reason I love Xena/Gab is because those two are always telling each other how much they love each other. That kind of open, honest communication is my relationship catnip, see also my love of Friday Night Lights.)

*This is also like 80% of my love for Angel the Series, and Gunn's character arc in particular, the other 20% being Lorne.

frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (Xena: Lao Ma)
I made another Xena vid! And sent it to Wiscon!

Title: Become You
Song: "Become You" by the Indigo Girls
Source: Xena: Warrior Princess
Characters: Xena, Lao Ma, M'lila, and Gabrielle. Caesar and Ming Tien also appear.
Length: 3:51
Content notes: Fast and stuttery cutting. Institutional and relationship violence (at the same level as depicted on the show). Spoilers through mid Season 5.
Summary: "I won't stop short for common ground/ that villifies the trodden down"

Thanks to [personal profile] thirdblindmouse for incredible beta feedback.

Download | Youtube | Vimeo

Captions should be available on the youtube and vimeo streams. They are also included in the downloadable zip file. If you don't want captions, just delete the .srt file.



Notes )

Song lyrics )

frayadjacent: drawing from hyperbole and a half: cartoon girl at laptop at night, text says "vidding" (!vidding)
There is a very cool discussion about vidding -- process, tech, tips, you name it -- at [community profile] wiscon_vidparty's vidding workshop.  Check it out!  This is such a great idea and I hope it keeps happening. I would have *loved* to come across this when I started vidding or in my first year as a vidder.  I love coming across it now!

A lot of people are talking about their vidding process, most of which are similar to mine in the finding/discovering song --> re-watching and/or clipping --> song editing --> vid editing --> beta process, but I've discovered (and rediscovered) that it really helps me to combine the clipping and video editing.  Because clipping is so boring!  I.e., I set myself a goal for a number of episodes to clip, then once I finish I reward myself by laying some of those clips on the timeline!  It helps with motivation.  Plus, I usually get a lot of ideas when I clip and it helps to enact at least some of those ideas right away rather than writing them down or taking mental  notes that don't get acted upon for days to months. 

Also, according to [personal profile] heresluck, an initial rule of thumb for matching motion to a beat is to have the explosion, fist-hitting, etc happen three frames before the beat (then adjust as needed).  WHOA.  I usually line these things up on the same frame as the beat, and I wonder if this is part of why I often feel like my timing is a bit off-looking.  I am definitely going to try this out.  If it works I will be glad to have a solution/bitter I didn't realize this ages ago.

I haven't been around DW much, and my fannish mode has generally been a bit different lately. Cut for navel-gazing about recent non-participation on DW )

Anyway, I'm honestly considering just clearing out my inbox and starting fresh, with sincere apologies to people who left comments for me and never got a response.

In other vidding news:  I've been vidding like mad the past week or so.  I'm making a Xena vid that is really trying to explore moral and thematic questions -- and take positions and make arguments about said questions -- more so than probably any other vid I've made.  I've been really digging the process of making it.  I think because, unlike with my Buffy vids, Xena is still quite fresh and new for me and I feel really excited about what I want to say about it.  Also, with Buffy vids I have the constant feeling that every idea I've ever had has already been done, and probably better.  But to be honest I haven't found even half a dozen Xena vids that I like.  I'm sure there were tons back in the day but they seem to be gone or at least beyond my ability/motivation to find them.  So I actually feel like I can make a contribution? Anyway, one of the cool consequences of my vid farr is that I'm finally learning how to use After Effects a teensy bit because my excitement for the vid is overpowering my laziness.

*Yes I am watching Farscape and one of the zillions of DW posts I've written in my head the past 6 weeks is how utterly I've fallen for Aeryn Sun, and about my predictable lack of response to John and the Aeryn/John pairing.

frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (Vid all the things!!!)
I spent the last 12 hours vidding.  And now my lower back and legs ache, but damn if I didn't have fun, and I've got a near-full timeline to boot!  And the wrists are fine -- a lot better than they'd typically be after a day of work.  I don't think I've ever vidded this long in one stretch.  I'm feeling quite pleased with myself -- we'll see how I feel about the vid itself in the morning.  In the meantime, time to step out of the apartment for the first time in 24 hours.

I don't want to jinx anything, but I think I might be figuring out how some people manage to make more than a few vids per year.
frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (vidding!)
I listened to some of my current & future vidsongs on my run today, and had a couple of revelations:

1. My Angel WIP, which I'd nearly given up on because the song doesn't build and I was starting to feel like the vid doesn't go anywhere, is totally salvageable.  I just need to edit the song!  At 3.5 minutes it is too much song for what I'm trying to say, but at ~2 minutes it will work fine.  And now that I attended [personal profile] heresluck and [personal profile] nestra's audio editing panel, I'm more confident I can!  (I'd already edited the audio some to get it down to 3 1/2 minutes, but now I'm ready to get in there with a mf-ing chainsaw.  First chorus and second verse will likely not survive the Wrath of Fray.)

2. I worked out some point-of-view issues I'd been struggling with in visualizing a Xena vid that I hope to make but haven't started yet.  I knew I wanted multiple points of view, but I wasn't sure how to go about it.  But I listened to the song once and really focused on that aspect, and it became totally clear how to structure the POV, thanks in part to [livejournal.com profile] greensilver and [livejournal.com profile] sweetestdrain's "A Matter of Perspective" panel. ([personal profile] kass's panel notes.)  \o/

Now I just gotta make the damn things.  :/

(Also, I am posting this in part because of the discussion during joyo's panel on motivation.  I'm thinking maybe if I post about my works in progress I'll be more motivated to finish them?)

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