01 January 2006 @ 01:03 am
You Got Fandoms? I Got Vids. (Part One)  
Okay, see, here's the deal. I am the last person you should be trusting for vid recs. I deal with visual media pretty much by pretending it doesn't exist, because generally speaking it makes no sense to me. You know how most people come to fandom and fan fiction from TV shows? I came to TV shows from fan fiction, and the people who had to get me through Buffy, my first real TV watching experience (primarily Best Beloved and fanofall, who can still show you the scars), can relate to you that TFV/TV was an unnatural pairing right up there with Dementor/Wraith/Ringwraith. (Although. Hmmm. You know, actually, that's a way more natural pairing, in at least one sense.) It took me two and a half hours to get through the Buffy pilot. I still didn't understand it, mind you - I was just so exhausted that I no longer cared.

Seriously. TFV + TV = total disaster.

And yet I watch vids. They might be hard, but on the other hand they're only three minutes long, so I can watch them a whole bunch of times without bonding permanently to my couch. And they have songs, and they have themes, and just in general they are more approachable than the shows themselves. Which doesn't mean I'm good at watching them, mind you; just that I watch a lot of them. So, really, you might not want to take my advice.

We clear on that? Okay. Moving on.

In my recent poll, I asked all y'all to tell me what you love in fandom (and in my LJ). You were very helpful. To be specific, as of this writing, 372 of you were very helpful. (Given that this poll was posted on Christmas Eve, and that 200 people had answered it before the night was out, I have to ask: is it reassuring that so many people share my relative lack of a life? Or is it more concerning? Discuss.)

I was not expecting that many people to answer the poll. So at some point early on, I said to Best Beloved, "Hmmm. People want vid recs, do they? Hey, I know! I'll rec vids for fandoms that get at least 150 votes!" At the time, only two fandoms had that many votes, so that was, you know, a nice big number. It got to look like, um, a somewhat smaller number as the poll filled up, but I stand by my word.

Or I sort of stand by it. Some of the 150+ readers fandoms are vidless for the very good reason that they are books, which are notoriously hard to vid. Others are simply vidless because I haven't seen many for them. And I'm breaking the recs up into sets; otherwise this post would be long, and when I say long, I mean "an epic film by Peter Jackson" style long. It's amazing how many fandoms you people read. Yet more proof that you are fabulous.

So. On to part one. (This is not in any specific order, by the way.)

Jossverse


The Great Fannish Work of Absolute Love and Total Commitment. Scooby Road, by Luminosity, aka sockkpuppett.

Note: If that link doesn't work for you, try here. Right-click and save, please, and thanks to z_rayne for the mirror.

Availability: this one is gigantic, and it sucks bandwidth like a Sci Fi Channel original movie sucks, so it comes and goes on Luminosity's website. She's promised that it will be available from January 1, 2006 until, you know, the bandwidth situation starts looking dodgy. Get it while the getting's good; you won't regret downloading this one, no matter how long it takes you.

And if she ever opens up the orders for DVDs again? If you plan to get even one set of vids on DVD, make it this one. I cannot tell you how neat the package is (although in that respect - vidders are visual people, and so their DVD sets are almost always shiny and cool, which would have been less of a surprise to me if I was remotely visual) and how wonderful it is to see this TV-screen-sized.

Oh my god. How do you describe a project like this? How...just...see... Okay. What Luminosity did here, she vidded Buffy to Abbey Road. All of it. I have this on DVD, because I am just that cool (and yes, by certain definitions that is extremely cool, so don't even), and I've watched it bunches, and I have no shot at describing this. I haven't even managed to process it. It's an experience, not just entertainment. And I say this as a person who has seen roughly one season's worth of episodes of Buffy, spread out over the first three seasons. I don't know the context of most of the clips in here. And even so, I get snuffly near the end, and I'm pretty much awe-struck through the whole thing. (Except for Maxwell's Silver Hammer. I love that one. It makes me chortle. I am laughing through that vid.)

Scooby Road is intended to be presented as one piece, but you can watch each individual vid by itself. One of the most impressive things about this is that it is visually and tonally consistent, if that makes sense; it all works together and looks right together. But every vid is different, and every vid can stand alone. But, really, watch it all together if you can. It's just, the sweep of the thing, the scope of it - and, Jesus, I sound like I'm writing a freshman comp paper. Okay. Back to basics. You may think that all of Abbey Road is too much Beatles. You may think that all of Abbey Road is too much Buffy. You may think that this whole concept is completely insane. You are quite, quite wrong. This vid is riveting and stunning and maybe in the wrong hands it would be a grandiose mess, but my point is that it is very much in the right hands here. And there are advantages to watching something as long as this. Like, you know how, if you see more than about four Jossverse vids, there are certain shots you get very very tired of seeing? Well, you'll see some of those shots here. But only once or twice in 45 minutes, rather than once in 3. It's amazing how that brings meaning and effect back to those shots.

Seriously. I could talk about Scooby Road all day, but the bottom line is: this is something everyone who watches vids at all should see. I mean that. Download it now and watch it when you can. This is fucking masterwork.

I plan to have my copy bronzed.

Due South


The One That Hast Slain Me, and I Mean in the Most Emo Way Possible. (I Get Emo, for the Record. The Vid Is Totally Not.) Icebound Stream, by sisabet.

Availability: pretty much all the time.

Okay. Take a deep breath, Fraser lovers. Actually, no. Take a deep breath, everyone. Because this is Victoria and Fraser ripping each other to pieces, and I think after you see the vid you'll realize exactly how literal that is. Vidders generally don't use material from outside the source or sources in question, but, um, Sisabet does in this one, and I cannot imagine a better time, place, or application of non-canon footage.

So. Let's get the OMGWTFPOLARBEAR jokes out of the way right here, shall we? There are polar bears here. And they have never been less funny or more - you know, it's strange. I'm forbidden to watch most animal documentaries these days, but back in my high school years I watched many. (Burned out Biology teacher. Long story.) None of them ever conveyed the sheer brutality of predators the way the few polar bear clips in this vid do. And nothing has ever conveyed the sheer gorgeous cruelty of the Fraser/Victoria relationship the way this vid does. Even if you have never watched a minute of due South, even if you are one of those (really peculiar, but I love you anyway) people who said they were totally uninterested in this fandom in my poll, download this. I truly believe you can get everything you need to know about this relationship from this vid, even if you're starting from zero. And from a vid perspective, what Sisabet does here is intense and amazing and rare and just, you need to see this. There are frames I still can't see without flinching, and I mean that as a high compliment.

Of course, if you do know the fandom, you'll be bleeding a bit after you watch this. But, hey, I've got the poison and the cure, people.

The One That Takes the Naughty Emo Blues Away. Avalanche, by tiranog.

Availability: This vidder doesn't have a website. She will, however, upload it to YSI or MegaUpload at your request if you leave a comment on that entry. It's very much worth this extra step. Plus, trust me - after Icebound Stream, you are so going to need this vid.

Sometimes a vidder picks a song that is so absolutely perfect that I'm forced to make little squeaking noises while I'm watching. This is one of those vids, and I knew it would be as soon as I heard the line "Every since I met you, we've been tumbling towards destruction," because, well - I mean, Fraser and Kowalski have. It is pretty much their whole approach to life together. (And falling? This vid has more falling shots than I had realized were available in the canon. They, um. Spend a lot of time exploring the finer points of gravity.) And just as polar bears are the perfect metaphor for Victoria and Fraser, an avalanche is just right for Fraser and Kowalski. But it's the good kind of avalanche. This vid is happy without being sappy, which is nice, although in all honesty I have to admit that I'm, well, not entirely adverse to sappy in this fandom. (Shut up. I am in my happy place.) This vid - there's so many perfect lines and clips in here, and it fills me with joy, and I just. I love it. Some vids are wonderful because of how they unite lyrical and visual content, and this is definitely one such. (And, people? This song is vaguely country, I guess. Please do not rule it out on that basis, or rule any vid out based on song genre. There are great vids set to rap. There are great vids set to '70s power ballads. There are great vids set to country, and I would submit that this is one.)

Firefly


The Vid That Shows You How Much a Spaceship Really Costs. (Answer: More Than You Probably Want to Pay.) Hallelujah, by Bonibaru, aka boniblithe.

Availability: pretty much all the time.

Firefly is an unusually impenetrable fandom for me, at least when it comes to vids. See, I download vids for fandoms I wot not of all the time. If you post a vid for an obscure movie filmed in 1968 in a language I don't speak? One that has a single, 45-minute shot as the central portion of the movie, and is apparently about cheese making? I will download that vid. I will watch that vid, and if you mention the source in the credits (and, people, please - mention the source in the credits, because you obviously know who the cheesemaker - or any other character - is, but that knowledge is not automatically beamed into your viewers' brains), I will look it up in the IMDb and think deep thoughts about your vid. (And also about the kinds of drugs filmmakers were on in the '60s.) My point, though, is that the cheesemaking vid will probably be more accessible to me than your average Firefly vid, because you just. You really need to know the source to get these vids, and I really don't.)

But there are these very rare vids that come through loud and clear, unfamiliar source or no, and this is one. Hallelujah is an over-vidded song (to say the least; it probably is the only song with the distinction of being over-vidded in four different cover versions), and usually I cringe when I see it come up. But, here's the weird thing. In Boni's hands, the Most Confusing Fandom + the Most Over-Vidded Song = Brilliance of a High Order. I mean, I love Mal when I watch this vid. (Which, given that I had to look up his name just now, is rather impressive. Usually I need some kind of identifier before the true love takes hold.) I get his relationship with Serenity. I get this universe. I even get the story behind this episode. Because, see, this is an episode-based vid. An episode vid done right, in my opinion. Which means there's narrative, and there's character, and there's a purpose to this vid beyond just saying, "Hey! This is a great episode!" A large part of this purpose seems to be making me like Mal Reynolds no matter how much I totally don't want to, but you know what? I love this vid too much to care.

Stargate: Atlantis


The Vid That Makes It Clear That John Sheppard Needs Therapy in Bucketfuls. And Also That After Atlantis, He May Need More Help Than Any Amount of Therapy Can Provide. Requiem, by barkley.

Availability: this is a password-protected site; the username is hiro and the password is protagonist. (I have her permission to put that in here, people! I am not being rude!) The vid should be available all the time.

and

The Vid That Made Me Love a Character I Loathe. And That Is So Good That I Didn't Even Resent It. Welcome Home, by Kanzeyori, aka permetaform.

Availability: pretty much all the time.

I have to rec these two vids together, because in my mind they are indelibly linked. Don't get me wrong, they stand perfectly on their own, but - well, let me put it this way. I watched all these vids a number of times while I was writing this post, and watching Requiem and Welcome Home together inspired me to write some very bad FF about how Elizabeth and John differ, and about who they are and what they bring to Atlantis. Because that's the point of these two; Requiem is John's Atlantis and Welcome Home is Elizabeth's.

From a - I don't know, can I say "from a technical perspective" when I have not the first clue about vid-making? Hmmm. I vote yes. Yes, I can. And you are all welcome to mock me for so doing. So. From a technical perspective, what I adore about Requiem is the way Barkley used movement. Describing vids in words is just about impossible (at minimum, you need wavy hand gestures), but - watch the way the movement within each clip is designed to a) match the music and b) carry you through the vid. Watch how Barkley controls what your eyes do. It's just, wow. Really amazing, people. And also very helpful for those of us who would, left to our own devices, always put our eyes in exactly the wrong place in any given frame. (Many's the vid I've spent staring at someone's nostrils or some random patch of sky directly behind the subject of the vid. Really. If the vidder doesn't make me look at the place she wants me to, I will focus on the wrong thing.) And from the perspective of simple humble watcher of vids, I adore the narrative and tone of this vid, both of which are absolutely right for John's first year in Atlantis. Also, the ending is just - wow. Really quite the killer, and I mean that entirely literally.

And, okay. I suspect that if I were a vidder, I'd be a beat whore. So my technical love with Welcome Home is how it appeals to my retarded inner beat whore. Because of the retardedness, I can't explain to you why acknowledgment of the beat is so important to me, but it is. It's something to do with the way the music is supposed to take me through the stuff I'm seeing; beats suggest Something Happening Here to my hindbrain, and I look for what is happening on the screen. If nothing is happening? Or, in the worst-case scenario, if sometimes something is happening and sometimes nothing is? I can't figure out what I'm supposed to be seeing, and it makes me cranky. So a vid like this one, where the musical punctuation matches the visual punctuation so perfectly, is not just a thing of beauty; it's an inherently more enjoyable and understandable vid. And, frankly, I need all the help I can get in the understanding department. There's a narrative in this vid, too - it tells a story about Elizabeth, about who she is in Atlantis and what she does. (I'm trying to avoid spoilers for people who haven't seen Season 1. But if you have, you'll recognize the story pretty much instantly.) For me, this vid shows the Elizabeth I always hope to see in the canon and never do; I love that Kanzeyori managed to carve the canon to expose the good Elizabeth lurking inside it. And if that sometimes makes me want to sulk and kick the SGA writers for screwing up so much, well, it's small price to pay, frankly. If you love Elizabeth, download this. And if you hate her, definitely download it.

Still to come, assuming I live so long: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, X-Men Movieverse, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Sentinel, Smallville, Star Trek, and Stargate SG-1. Plus anything else I have vids for that tips the 150 mark before I finish posting these. It's going to be a very vid-intensive time, in other words, but I promise there will also be fan fiction. I have enough obsession for two fannish pursuits! At least! And possibly also enough time! We shall see.
 
 
( Read 33 commentsLeave a comment )
Morgan Dawnmorgandawn on January 3rd, 2006 04:41 pm (UTC)
the reel offers an all-vids rec journal, but you cannot just participate - you have to be assigned to a month (I think a comb of having assinged reccers and open to all works best). Crack_van does the same (assignment only) and offers vid recs the last Friday each month. Some vidders are putting together a weekly vidding newsletter that will link to individual recs and meta discussion. It should start in a few weeks.