Dear Vidders: Why not YouTube?

  • Aug. 10th, 2010 at 11:05 AM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
I'm considering writing a post about vidding for Symposium Blog this week in honor of VividCon, so I thought I'd toss out a question:

As I'm eagerly devouring all the new vids that are coming out, I can't help but notice that for vidders who post streaming versions of their vids, most aren't hosted on YouTube. I see stuff on various Ning vid communities, Vimeo, a couple others, and occasionally self-hosted, but YouTube seems pretty rare, at least as a first choice for streaming vids.

So here's my question -- why not YouTube?

Is it because of:

Video quality?
Concerns re: greater vulnerability to takedown notices from copyright holders?
Privacy/obscurity (e.g. having some control over the audience that sees your vids, rather than anybody potentially stumbling across them)?
Something else?

I'm curious! And also hoping to use responses as fodder for a blog post -- if I get enough answers to write something up, I'll link back to this post but quote from comments w/out names ["one vidder said, 'YouTube killed my parents!'"] unless you explicitly give me permission to use your name. And of course you can also comment anonymously, or ask me to screen your comment.


There's no kindness in your eyes

  • Jul. 7th, 2010 at 9:52 AM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
Hypothetically -- and I should stress very hypothetically, because with the heat lately I cannot imagine making a vid in my under-airconditioned apartment, but --

Good idea, bad idea, or worst idea: making a Pretty Little Liars vid to Hilary Duff's Stranger? (music video below the cut)

I mean, it wouldn't work with a straightforward/literal interpretation of the lyrics -- that's really more suited for, I don't know, something like a Smallville Lex/Lana vid or an AU/constructed reality SPN vid from Dean's POV where Sam's gone evil.

But still! It could work, right? And if I've accidentally got the song stuck in my head anyways, I might as well do something with it, right?

If you don't know the song:click for the music video )


Voyage into vidding of the damned

  • Aug. 22nd, 2009 at 2:54 PM
crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
 I think I accidentally started to make a vid last night. With a song choice inspired by watching wrestling this week *facepalm*. Oh, and it's a shipper vid *headdesk* [nothing against shipper vids, it's just that I'm a total failure as a shipper so it's not exactly a "vid what you know" scenario for me]. So I ended up staying awake until 5:30 am. I have zero clips to show for it so far, but I did manage to edit the song down to two minutes! Which is still probably 90 seconds more ambitious than my concept, but maybe I can just string together a 30-second sequence of clips and repeat it a few times, right? Especially since I've now got a track with 2 verses and what feels like 8 repeats of the chorus. But it's a great chorus!

See, I've been thinking about trying to vid for over a year now. By now, I've got at least seven or eight Works in Progress Solely Existing in My Head, because the software seems so daunting. And it is! I started off by trying Windows Movie Maker, figuring that it couldn't be that hard to pick up. And it looked pretty straightforward, until I imported an .avi of an episode and discovered that it only recognized the audio and not the video. I tried to figure out what was going on, via Google searches and looking through the tagged entries of the LJ vidding comm and making sure that I'd downloaded the right codec, and -- still nothing. I contemplated converting my avis to another format, but figured I'd see if I had better luck with another program.

So I, er, acquired Sony Vegas and couldn't get it to install. Next stop: Adobe Premiere. I got that to install easily enough, and it handled the avi files fine, but refused to import the mp3 of the song I wanted to use *sigh*. Which, okay, I could handle that, and I wanted to edit the song down anyways for a) length and b) wildly inappropriate lyrics. So I opened up Audacity for the first time, and it all went pretty smoothly (I hope? I cut a section out of the middle, and I think the resulting splice works but, hey, 5:30 am). Audacity let me export the edited song as a wav file that Premiere was now happy to import.

So I guess the next thing to do is watch the episodes and jot down scenes to clip? The Premiere interface is absurdly intimidating -- did I mention that I needed to choose an aspect ratio before it would even let me start a new project? -- and certainly overkill for my immediate needs, but so far it works. Maybe I'll play around with it a bit or go to a bookstore and find a Premiere for Dummies-type book. I still have no idea how I'm going to do stuff like match beats -- the waveform for my song basically looks like a solid wall, due to the heavy guitars.

Well, there goes my weekend. I'm posting this to keep me motivated -- it would be all too easy for me to give up, especially with the absence of instant gratification. Also my cat was really upset that I was ignoring him last night (or maybe he was just sick of hearing the same song over and over while I was fiddling around in Audacity). I'll have to come up with ways to reward myself for incremental progress and reward my cat for his patience and understanding.


Vegas week for YouTube vidders

  • Jun. 19th, 2009 at 2:05 PM
crypto: actor glynn turman (glynn turman)
Because I'm basically watching So You Think You Can Dance on a torrent time delay, I occupied myself last night by checking out the semi-final round of the second "season" of So You Think You Can Vid on YouTube. The judges had selected 80 vidders from the 420 entries in the audition round, and assigned them one of five songs to vid (entries had to be at least 40 seconds). I watched the entries for three of the songs: Queens of the Stone Age's "No One Knows" (playlist of semifinalist entries), Utada Hikaru's "Sanctuary" (semifinalist playlist), and Frou Frou's "Let Go" (semifinalist playlist). I haven't seen the other two batches yet for Muse's "Plug In Baby" (playlist) and Radiohead's "How to Disappear Completely" (playlist).

Because not all of the semifinalists submitted vids (or else some were posted privately?), and most vids were shorter than the full length of the song, you can watch each playlist in about 25 minutes. It's pretty cool to see over a dozen vid responses to the same song, though it can get repetitive. I can't say that I saw a lot of wildly divergent interpretations of the songs, but then I didn't know a lot of the sources (which skew heavily towards movies overand I wouldn't describe the ones for the batches that I've seen so far as lyrically meaty.

What does emerge really clearly is a certain YouTube vidding aesthetic (albeit not the only or even necessarily dominant YouTube vidding aesthetic). I'd describe it as rapid cutting and lots of effects, with a tendency towards heavily working over the clips through tweaking elements such as color and saturation. I'd also mention the frequent (or at least, significantly more frequent than in the vids that I see posted on LJ) use of text (generally fragments of the lyrics) and audio from the video source (lines of dialogue).

against naturalism )

Either way, in the meantime, I'll be rooting for elekta to advance into the next round.


crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
Via [personal profile] giandujakiss and [community profile] otw_news , [ profile] swanswan posts about going to a gallery show in Ireland which included "a video installation - it had its own special darkroom, and a wall-sized screen - which contained clips from the original Superman movie with Christopher Reeve, set to the music of the band Five for Fighting. In other words, a fanvid."

The video, "It's Not Easy" (2004) by South African artist Ed Young, doesn't appear to be online. Though admittedly my Google Fu was challenged by the discovery that he shares a name with an evangelical pastor who runs a megachurch in Texas and challenged his flock "to strengthen their unions through Seven Days of Sex" last November.

Monday lacks a snappy cut link text )

In the case of Young's video, I doubt that what's being specifically lauded is its viddishness -- that is, his use of the music video format per se with reedited clips from a mainstream media source -- much less its technical merits relative to those of vidders. Rather, the video's place in the show reflects its relative success in using the established tools of appropriation art in the service of an established thematic interest in representations of masculinity. In other words, Young succeeded in making something that recognizably looks and works like an art video that happens to take a form extremely similar to vidding. And again, that's almost predictable to the extent that many of the core practices of vidding arguably date back much further than the '70s. This blog post from an Australian film course even explicitly makes an interesting case for Joseph Cornell's famous Rose Hobart (1936) as a proto-vid.

It seems obvious to say that the vids that do things and the vidders that say things that the art world is able to recognize as congruent with its own interests, values, histories, aesthetics, and discourses will be the ones most likely to achieve recognition from the art world. Then again, the art world is nothing if not insular, narcissistic, and tautological. It's more difficult to imagine how the art world might take up vidding as a form and community with its own interests, values, histories, aesthetics, and discourses deserving of recognition on its own terms, rather than cherrypicking specific works and creators as artworthy with at best a semi-condescending nod to their roots and traditions. One potentially instructive historical comparison might be how the art world has absorbed other forms originating outside of its orbit such as graffiti art.


crypto: Amy Pond (Default)
[ profile] tishaturk just posted the text of her talk from the recent IP/Gender Symposium on "Female Fan Culture and Intellectual Property" (see additional links at her post). The whole event sounded really interesting, with a lot of great talks and discussion.

Tisha's presentation explored how narrative theory could contribute to understanding vidding as fair use in the context of copyright law. She argues that:

What this means is that even if a vidder doesn't change the story of a show -- even if her vid is mere recapitulation -- she is changing the narrative by changing the discourse; she is always re-narrating, re-telling. Sometimes "retelling" means telling-against-the-grain; sometimes it simply means telling-again. Either way, a vid is always a transformation of the narrative on which it's based.

I like this insight, though perversely I can't help but wonder if there are counter-examples. Are all vids automatically transformative? cut for -- wait for it -- tl;dr as usual )

I certainly wouldn't argue that the latter genre of vids don't warrant protetction as fair use viz. the song, yet the case here for transformation seems significantly weaker. To assert de facto transformation of the song by sheer virtue of a novel juxtaposition with video clips feels a bit torturous if not disingenuous. And making the concept of "transformative" so elastic and all-encompassing for the purposes of legal advocacy surely dilutes its critical value: if virutally everything is transformative, then tranformativity itself becomes banal and uninteresting.

So basically I wonder if the strategic embrace of transformativeness and fair use has some pitfalls or potential unintended consequences. Not that I have any better suggestions! Just -- reservations which I'm still trying to tease out.

[In the meantime, my first ever poll is currently open on my Dreamwidth journal. I'm still proud that I restrained myself from making a poll about what kind of poll to make. Though I do kind of want to use the poll feature for a Garden of Forking Paths "vote on what happens next!" story.]