This is a basic recommendation: "I liked this. [link to vid announcement]"
That's all you do. You post to your LJ or other fandom-associated location. You say: "Hey! This vid is good!" And you provide a link.
But, okay, I understand only too well how hard it is to say nothing but that when you rec; I've never managed it with anything ever.
You can also say lots of other stuff - what you liked specifically, who it might appeal to, why you think it appealed to you. You can say what fandom it's in, what the song is, who the characters are, what the point of it is. The world is your oyster. You can type four words ("Jack hot. Panties wet.") or you can type until the post limit runs out ("And I think the crucial symbolism here is found within the overall color scheme, or, more specifically, the color scheme's progression from red to green, thus revealing the manner in which the relationship..."). Your choice. Whatever comes naturally to you, really. (If the latter comes naturally to you, I am so nicknaming you the Professor. Or maybe Doc.)
So. Are you convinced? Are you ready to rec? Then you can skip all the rest of this, though you may wish to check out the list of vidders who basically volunteered to be meat for recommending purposes (provided said meat was treated with basic fannish good manners).
If you have objections, though - in short, if you are not going to go right out and rec like a good little carrot-fixated bunny, thus averting what will be, I promise you, a terrible case of pouting on my part - read on. (And if you don't find your objection covered here, let me know. I am happy to add to this list pretty much eternally. I want everyone to rec at least one vid, people. I am very very committed to this concept. Also, I am stubborn. Best just to state your objections clearly so we can get them out of the way.)
"I don't know what to say."
I said this myself for quite a long time. Because vidders have special terminology, right? They have, like, all special words and secret chants and mystic prunes1 and they will mock you ceaselessly and mercilessly if you use even one single intonation incorrectly, right?
Wrong, actually. There is indeed some technical jargon that vidders know. Much of it relates to specific programs. (Although, frankly, from what I've seen, that is often more obscene than mystical, all: "You evil fuckware, I do everything you want, everything, and now you won't fucking load? Give me vid or I kill with FIRE, you binary Satan that the damned call Premiere!") Some of it is from the film industry and can be learned from any film school. Or book. Or documentary.
But here's the thing: You don't need to know that stuff. (You'd better not need to, because I sure don’t.) Vidders will know what you're talking about no matter what term you use, and are actually more likely to get descriptive terms ("Camera goes swirly! Watcher goes YAY!") than technical ones, since mostly they didn't go film school, either.
More importantly, your readers, your actual recs users, will almost all be non-vidders. They don't need to know about the camera going swirly, no matter what you call it, and they probably don't know the right term for that anyway. For them, you focus on the watcher going YAY. That's what they need to know.
So don't bother with the detailed critique of vidding technique. (Unless you just want to, in which case it's a review, not a rec.) You wouldn't do it for fan fiction you recommended, either. Talk about how the vid made you feel or what it made you think. Mentioning the swirliness of the camera is totally optional.
"I don't watch a lot of vids."
Okay. But how about a vid? Have you seen a vid? Good. Did you like it? Excellent. (In all fairness, I have to warn you that the ratio of watched:liked will not continue at 1:1 forever. Appreciate it while you've got it.)
So where's the problem? You don't need to be an expert in all of vidding to rec vids; I am the living, breathing, recommending proof of that. I started recommending vids when I understood absolutely nothing about them, and I have progressed all the way to not knowing much, but knowing what I like. Do I let this stand in my way? I do not. Do I look like an idiot some of the time? Almost certainly. But you know what? I would anyway; it's my gift. And, you know, I've been called an idiot for recommending various stories, but no one has ever said anything nasty to me because I recommended a specific vid, or vids in general.
And, let me remind you - most of you had at least one vid to rec to me in the poll. (And may I just say, you people have excellent taste.) Why not rec it in your LJ, too?
"But if I haven't seen a lot of vids, how do I know I'll always like it?"
Maybe you won't always like the vid you like right now. So what? If you like it, odds are good that most of your friends list will, too - after all, they generally share some of your interests or tastes or they wouldn't be your friends list. So tell them about it. Later, if you decide it sucks, you can look back all ironically and marvel at your naiveté. You can even wear a beret. It'll be bags of fun.
"But why bother?"
Well, because it's a nice thing to do for your friends. It's hard to find recs of vids that match a specific interest; vid recommending is much more in its infancy than fan fiction recommending. So if you find a good vid, letting everyone else know it's good - that's nice.
And, hey, it's content. Are you telling me you don't occasionally veer into the toenails, GIPs, and pictures of cats type of LJing? Well, here's something to reward your readers for giving you advice about that toenail fungus. (Note: To the best of my knowledge, no one on my friends list actually has a toenail fungus. My friends list is 92% fungus-free. That's just a general remark, because even if someone did have a fungus, I would likely suppress that knowledge.)
And it's a nice thing to do for vidders, to let the world know they did something cool. (That goes double if you encourage your friends list to leave feedback for the vidder.)
And it's important. Because, okay, perhaps you have the fastest internet connection in the world and a million billion trillion gigabytes of hard drive space, but not everyone does; they can only download so many. How do people know which vids are worth downloading and which aren't? Recommendations. If you took the trouble to download it, you might as well let that effort pay off for your friends. And how do people who are new to watching vids know where to start? Yup, that's right: Recommendations.
"But I don't recommend stuff."
You don't have to be a formal recommender, with a recs journal and an obsessive organization scheme and a backlog of stuff to rec, in order to provide the occasional link to an excellent story or vid or piece of art. It's part of what we all do in fandom - we link our friends to stuff we liked.
(Yes, some of us do it more than others. We have a disease. It's very tragic and sad. But I don't think you can catch our Recommending Obsessively Disorder through casual recommending. You can't even catch it by being around those who have it, for which thank god, or we'd be forced to ring bells to warn people we were coming. It's just, you know, something that some of us were born with. We try not to let it get us down.)
"But vidders are scary."
I totally acknowledge this. It's the mystic prunes, I think. It makes them special and different and weird and smelly.
Also, I hear they sacrifice kittens.
No. Look. They are fans, just like everyone else in these parts. Some of them are probably jerks, although not any of the ones I've talked to. Many of them are very nice. Most of them are forgetful and overcommitted and totally convinced that certain people are So Doing It. They squee and flail and headdesk regularly. See? Just like the rest of us.
Some of them will even share their mystic prunes if you ask nicely.
"I don't know who did the vid I love, so I can't figure out where the vid announcement is."
Allow me to direct you to the brand-spanking-new community vidfinders, which is for "Have you seen this vid?" type posts. norah recently asked for vid recs, and loads of people rec'd vids without credits, so they knew only the source and the song. Every one of those was rapidly identified by someone else reading the comments. Lost and unattributed vids can be found.
"But my friends list is very small and they've already seen everything I have. I mean, I've only seen the really well-known stuff, anyway."
They have not. Truly. I know it seems that way, but, honestly. There is a fangirl somewhere out there who has not seen Boom Boom Ba (by charmax) or Failed Experiments in Video Editing (by E.K.) or Heart of Funkness (by absolutedestiny) or Hello (by merryish) or Holding out for a Hero (by marycrawford) or Jolene (by z_rayne) or Loaded Gun (by gwyn_r) or Moving Right Along (by sdwolfpup) or Pretty When You Cry (by lierdumoa) or Take Me Out (by barkley and destina) or Whatever (by the extremely holy duo of sockkpuppett and sisabet). Odds are good that you can reach that poor fangirl simply by posting a link. Won't you help her out? (Picture a waif, here. With big ol' sad eyes. Staring pathetically at an empty computer screen. Or maybe a puppy staring pathetically at an empty food dish. Whatever gets the guilt flowing.)
Also, recs have a cumulative effect. Somebody might say, upon first seeing a rec, "Oh god no I am not watching an Apocalypse Now vid set to disco. I still have some sanity left to me, and by god, I treasure it." After two or three recs, that person might very well break down and see the Apocalypse Now vid set to disco (Heart of Funkness, linked above, and "Apocalypse Now set to disco" works as both warning and summary for it), and fandom will have brought the crazy (the good crazy) to one more soul.
It makes you feel all warm and happy inside, doesn't it? And you can be part of this glorious fannish cycle.
"But it's work!"
This was my objection until very recently. But now that we know we have Freedom to Rec, vid recommending is as simple as making a link and typing some words. Are you seriously telling me you weren't going to do that anyway at some point this month? Or this year, even? So make one of them a rec. One. Pretty please?
Otherwise, there could well be whining. Or pining, even. From me.
You won't like me when I'm pining, people.
These vidders give permission for anyone to link to their public vid announcements. Do not link directly to their files. Also, as a general rule, when you're linking to or recommending vids, be a good person and a good fan.
So. Don't share these with people associated with the source (and actors do count), don't share them outside of the general sphere of fandom (MetaFilter, TWOP, etc.), don't (for the love of all that is holy) mention them to the RIAA or the music label or anyone with a lawyer on retainer. Don't steal the vid or clips from it. Don't burn it and sell it for money. Don't give out passwords for password-protected vids. Don't distribute vids or upload them to YouTube or anywhere else (that does require the vidder's permission). Don't post them as your own work or without correct attribution.
In short: don't be stupid, don't be an asshole, and you'll be fine. Now go ahead and rec, okay? And if you're wondering where to start, well - these people did volunteer to be test cases.
abby_i (Her vids can be found at 4minutewarning.)
aka_arduinna (She co-vids with therienne as flummery, also known as Seah and Margie. Vid site.)
flummery (See also: aka_arduinna, therienne, Seah and Margie. Vid site.)
laurashapiro (All her announcements are under her vids tag.)
sherrold (She co-vids with wickedwords. Tagged vid announcements. Vid site.)
sockkpuppett (Her vid announcements are here. Her vid site is here.)
therienne (She co-vids with aka_arduinna as flummery, also known as Seah and Margie. Vid site.)
wickedwords (She co-vids with sherrold. Tagged vid announcements. Vid site.)
If you're on this list, I suggest you update your user info with a link to your vid page, the vid section of your memories, whatever - basically, make it easy for people to find your vids, since I, at any rate, will be wandering through this list and looking for ways to see the vids of people on it.
If you are a vidder and you want to be added to this list, leave a comment on this post. (You should also consider taking the poll here, but please comment to say you have, as I don't check back that often.)
If you are on this list and you want off, leave a comment or send me an email and I will remove you as soon as I can.
1 Terry Pratchett. Gotta love him.