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 (!Adorkable)
[personal profile] shati and [personal profile] chaila asked: Is there a genre or style you've yet to try your hand at, but really want to?

Yes! On a small level, I realized with my last few vids -- basically since I switched to Premiere and discovered the film dissolve and different blend modes -- I'm in danger of relying too much on dissolves and overlays. So I decided my WIP would have NO dissolves and NO overlays, which I thought fit the song and the vid well anyway. Then I discovered one spot where a dissolve really did work well and made the moment 100x better, so I went with it, but it's the only spot!

More broadly, I would love to make a stream-of-consciousness type of vid that is all about motion, or perhaps some other visual aspect. I'd still need some sort of additional common denominator and I don't yet know what that would be. It would be a fun use of one of my "I'd like to vid this song but I have no ideas for it" songs.

Also I have plans for an Orphan Black kink vid and possibly a Xena kink vid. That's pretty new territory to me and I'm very excited about them. The Xena kink vid was originally my plan for [personal profile] kiki_miserychic's femslash vidshow at VVC this year, but then I ran out of time and also got insecure about the idea and didn't want to premiere it at VVC. (Not because it was kink, but because I worried it would be criticised as a boring "they're so doing it" slash vid.) Though I don't want to under-emphasize how much the running out of time bit played a role as well.

[personal profile] chaila asked: If you were to revise one of your older vids from start to finish, which would it be and why?

I am planning to do this! Well I hope to anyway. For [personal profile] elipie's Take 2 challenge! Anyway, I would revise my first vid, The World is a Very Scary Place. It's a pretty terrible vid (aspect ratio! what are those fast fades doing in there! what does half of this even mean) but I still love the concept of a fun Buffy S1 vid to that song, focusing on the "High School is Hell" metaphor.

[personal profile] chaila asked: Share three of your favorite vidders and why you like them so much.

Eeeee, questions like this are super hard for me, so I'm going to use this as a chance to give a shoutout to three vidders who do a lot for vidding community. (Not that other people don't! See why this is hard for me?)

First, [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24 played a huge roll in my early vidding, and not just because she made the first vid that made me say, "I want to do that". She set up vidpub, which was already losing steam fast when I joined in 2012, but those discussions gave me my first sense of vidding community, the first time vidders talked to me and the first time I got feedback from any of my vids by other vidders. Nicky also offered kind but honest criticism to two of my early vids when I was absolutely dying for concrit and couldn't get it anywhere else because nobody knew who I was. Sadly my conversations with her have fallen off since I don't really do LJ anymore, but I'm forever grateful to the ways that she contributed to vidding discussion and community at a time when I didn't have any.

Speaking of defunct proboards sites, Elvira from Foolish Passions wrote up incredibly detailed tutorials that I treasured when I started vidding. Look, I know for some people she might come off as a bit snobbish in terms of codecs, where you get your source, etc, but for me, having incredibly clear, no-holds-barred instructions for the technical aspects of vidding was a complete lifesaver. I am a pretty impatient person with tech stuff, and I already deal with shit that doesn't work and has no instructions for 30/40 hours of my work-week, so there's a pretty good chance I would have given up on vidding altogether if it weren't for these tutorials.

Finally, a shout out to [personal profile] lithiumdoll for doing the web stuff for both VidUKon and Festivids. That's just awesome, and I imagine a pretty hair-pulling job at times.
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 (BtVS: Badass Buffy)
[personal profile] chaila's prompt: three of your favorite vids by other people and why. :)

To make it easier to narrow it down to three, I'm going to interpret favorite as "vids I watched obsessively in 2013".

[personal profile] charmax's Devotion (Xena: Warrior Princess; Xena/Gabrielle)

MY FEELS ALL OVER THE SCREEN LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.  This is a beautifully made vid that has made it impossible to not think "Xena" when I hear Amy Ray sing, and "Gabrielle" when I hear Emily Sailers.  I probably watched this, teary-eyed and all, every day for like a month after finishing Xena.  Because basically I was like OMG OTP I FINALLY UNDERSTAND SHIPPING IS THIS HOW FANNISHNESS FEELS TO OTHER PEOPLE? 

Alas, this was the only Xena vid I could find that really resonated with my love of this pairing.  Which is part of why I had to make another one.  :D

[personal profile] chaila's Keep the Streets Empty For Me (Twilight; Bella/Vampirism)

I don't think I've ever seen a vid that so fundamentally changed the way I thought about a source before.  And I've never watched a vid on repeat that wasn't one of my main fandoms, except this one.  First off, I love the use of Bella's eyes and her gaze.  I love how often she's just LOOKING, WATCHING, so intently.  There are a few moments where she's looking at Edward and he's looking back and I expect her to look away and SHE DOESN'T.  I LOVE THAT.  The use of text, illustrations, and nature imagery in the vid is also fantastic.  It's a really effective way to convey the message without feeling even slightly anvilicious.  Plus the editing and musicality is super pretty and well-done, but what really excites me about this vid is that those qualities aren't just ends in themselves: they're used to make a super interesting point.  And it makes that point so well.

[personal profile] shati's Boulevard of (Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Slayer Ensemble)

My favorite Buffy vids are the ones that explore what it means to be a Slayer, and I love this one's emphasis on relationships between slayers.   I almost die of happiness at the second "my shadow's the only one that walks beside me", which completely reinterprets that line just like a spoilery thing that happened ).  (Also can be interpreted as a femslash vid, though I don't think of it that way.)

Lately I have become totally obsessed with the editing techniques shati uses, especially the intercutting and repeated returns to the same or similar clips throughout the vid.  It's super effective at drawing out themes that connect different characters, and showing how they change over the course of the series.  The really frequent intercutting between a few different scenes -- e.g., the Kendra section that intercuts between Kendra & Buffy NotHugging and a spoilery thing that happened ) -- are really powerful, and so different from my own vidding style.  I LOVE it, and I've been studying it a lot lately and trying to figure out exactly how it works so I can STEAL IT.

I still have plenty of days left if anyone wants to prompt me.

frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (vidding!)
Day 26: What is the oddest (or most fun) thing you've had to do for a vid?

Well, I can't think of anything odder than the act of vidding itself (that I've done for a vid, that is), so I'll go with "most fun". 

I'd say it was learning to do jump/stutter cuts, freeze frames, and time-toggling* for "Tightrope".  Actually, I learned to do jump cuts in an as-yet unfinished vid, but I had no idea how to do freeze frames or especially time-toggling.  I ended up watching [personal profile] giandujakiss's "Origin Stories" over and over, trying to figure out what they did and copy it.  That vid just has so much style, and I really wanted to emulate that, even though the mood and point of the two vids are totally different.  It was really cool to figure that out a bit.

I'm not sure I'd say the process itself was always super fun, but I was pretty darn delighted with the results.  One of my favorite clips from "Tightrope" uses all three.

Day 27: Where is your favorite place to vid? Where would be your perfect vidding spot?

At home, for starters.  I'm way too self-conscious to vid in public. 

If I could fashion a perfect vidding spot, it would have:
  • A super ergonomic desk, keyboard, and trackpad set-up.
  • Pretty good speakers.  (I actually don't think it'd be a good idea for me to vid with a great sound system, since most people are going to be watching the vid with just their computer speakers.  I might be too tempted to match the motion to elements of the music that are hard to pick out under those circumstances.)
  • A nice tray where I can put food and beverages without risking spilling them on my vidding system.
  • A good way to block excess sunlight. 
  • No intruders!  What I need most of all for vidding is to not be distracted.
*Eh, I have no idea if that's what it's called.  What I mean is that thing where you change the speed of the clip partway through so that the motion matches the music. 

30 Questions )

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