cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

Swancon report -- vidding stream

I've been campaigning for more space to talk about fan vids and fan films at Swancon for a few years now, and this year we actually had a mini vidding stream. Yay! It kicked off with the vidshow on Saturday morning, and ended with an in-depth review panel on Sunday afternoon. Along the way, we also talked about the politics of vidding, and had an instavidding party.

It was better attended than I expected, and Ash and I had so much fun brainstorming it and doing the panels. I'm calling it a big win, and I'm hoping to run another mini-vidding stream next year.

Behind the cuts are links to the vids we watched, and my thoughts on the panels.


My goal with the vidshow, as it has been every time I've managed to get one scheduled at Swancon, was threefold: show some of the very best vids; give a sense of the wide range of genres fan vidders are working in; and raise awareness of the art of vidding so that we can move away from simple show-and-tell style vidshows and try some more interesting things.

Ideally, I'd like to have a premiere show within the next two or three years, and maybe some themed vidshows too. For that to be worthwhile, we really need to have enough Aussie vidders to make up a solid part of the show, and as far as I can tell we're not quite there yet. There were more self-identified vidders at this year's con than ever before though, so I'm hopeful.

And while I'm dreaming, I really want to hold an Aussie vidding mini-con within the next two years too. :)

In the hour we had scheduled for the vidshow, this is what we watched:

As you can see, the Russians were the stars of the show this year; they are doing such amazing work.

We didn't get to these, but they were also on my playlist:

The role of fanvids

In this panel, I wanted to discuss the politics of fan media works, ranging beyond the politics of copyright (as interesting as that is). I also wanted to cover lots of different types of fan media works, from fan films and AMV to songvids. The panelists did a good job of this, bringing a lot of perspectives and experience to the discussion.

One issue we talked about was that remixing was no longer one-way borrowing (if it ever had been), which can be seen with the rise in the commercialisation of remix culture. We watched some examples of this in advertising (see below). We also discussed how some fan vidders were transitioning into careers as remixers.

More lightheartedly, we talked about some the genres of remix, such as the "fake trailer" and constructed realities of various stripes; and how the rendering power of current computers made things possible in minutes which used to take months, and the impact (and heartaches) that had on amateurs making things in their free time.

We watched another vid too -- an AMV that Andy used to demonstrate how fans could completely change the tone of a source through re-editing. I don't have the details for it so can't link it. If anyone knows it, drop a comment and I'll add it to the list.

Insta-vid room party

This was a trial run to see if Ash48 and I could run a simple vidding workshop which actually made a vid in a couple of hours -- an idea I got from reading discussions of joyful shenanigans at American vidding conventions.

The short version was that yes, we could, and we did indeed make the fastest vid in the world -- about 3 ish hours of vidding, and four participants (Capsikin, WonderingElf, cupidsbow, Ash48), to produce a vid 1:07 minutes long.

Let's not beat around the bush -- it was a crummy vid we made, but also huge fun, and a feat of vidding ingenuity, as we had to overcome several technical issues (all of which I'd foreseen, but couldn't fix prior to the event). We ended up using Ash48's laptop with FinalCut on it, and my hard drive, which contained pretty much my entire media library.

I short listed a few songs, and the participants picked their favourite. We cut it down, brainstormed a sketchy concept (basically: space!), and then started clipping and editing.

Apart from the technical issues, we could not have done this without two vital ingredients: familiarity with the editing and clipping software (Ash48 in this case), and a good knowledge of where to find specific clips on our theme (me).

With a few tweaks, this could be a really successful program item. Note to self for next time:

  • Ensure the exact specifications of the hardware available beforehand. This was an issue this time around, as the laptop available didn't have the grunt needed, but it was largely because my previous hardware plans fell through very close to the con.
  • Install all the software needed on a hard drive, along with an archive of media. This worked well.
  • Shortlist three songs. Worked.
  • Have a limited number of sources (6-10) with visual themes that would suit the music. We had too many this time -- if I hadn't known the sources pretty well, we would have been swamped by choice.
  • Have at least two experienced vidders, so that you can do some multi-tasking. :)
  • Bring extra stuff like powerboards, flashdisks, etc. I did this, and we did use some of it, although not everything I brought.

We premiered the instavid at the Review Panel, and it actually made a great counterpoint to the other vids we reviewed. The instavid was so obviously weak and unrealised in comparison, so it drove home just how much time and effort goes into making really good vids.

I'd totally do this again; it was great fun to have a chance to just hang out and vid, and spread the love to some new people.

Review panel

I floated the idea that we have a vid review panel which talked about just a few vids in depth, because I really wanted to talk nuts-and-bolts of why a vid works technically and/or emotionally.

Then I got really lucky, because Ash48 was just as interested in the idea, so we began the session by talking about one of her vids, At the Movies. I kicked off with why I loved it as a vidder (its clever use of genre, commentary on violence, use of humour, the colouring, the framing with the meta movie posters, the sequence, there's so much to love). Then Ash talked about making it -- the inspiration, the planning process, editing and effects, collaborating, beta, reception. Really interesting, and I got to ask all the nosey questions I've been burning to ask.

Then we talked about the showstopper from the vidshow -- Norlack's constructed reality, Doomsday. We talked about how much work it must have taken, and the effects used (below, I've linked to an image of his/her timeline for the vid, which gives some idea of the scope of it), and the different ways people read it. Most people mentioned they usually played "spot the source" on first viewing of a constructed reality, which could make it hard to see the whole narrative. I found this fascinating, because one of the things I love about constructed reality is that it invites you to read it on multiple levels at once: spot the source, recognise the original context, discard the original context if no longer relevant, look for the newly constructed context. It hadn't really occurred to me that some viewers kind of stalled out at "spot the source", at least on first viewing.

And that's why I wanted to have an in-depth review panel -- it was worth it for this insight alone.

We then segued nicely into a discussion of how much work editing a vid is, with one of the participants from the Instavid panel, WonderingElf, talking about how he hadn't realised there was so much happening behind the scenes. We also talked about video editing programs, and it became apparent that there were a few other vidders in the room, although they aren't known to me.

(Hi fellow vidders! I didn't get a chance to catch you after the panel, but would love to see your work -- please link me. :)

This panel was really successful, and way better attended than I expected. I'd love to do it again.

Questions, feedback and comments welcome, especially if you have ideas for next year's convention.

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Tags: discussion, recommendations, swancon, vidding
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