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   Vidding Resources
TMPEG Basic Tutorial
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VideoElite: Tips & Tuts
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Vidding, Part I
Vidding with Ceridwyn2

The first thing many folks will ask when they hear the words fanvid is, "What is a fanvid?" Essentially, it is a video made up of compiled still and/or motion clips mixed with music. Sometimes also referred to as a songvid, it is often simply abbreviated to 'vid'. Throughout this article, I'll be mentioning various terms referring to the art of making fanvids. The individuals making the fanvids are referred to as vidder(s). Other terms will be explained as you read through.

There are a lot of vidding styles out there. Hopefully, I'll be able to give you a rundown on the history of vidding, along with some software available for PC users and Mac users. Given that I work on a PC, most of what information I give you will be for PCs.

I got interested in vidding during my first exposure to MediaWest*Con (held annually in Lansing, Michigan during the [US] Memorial Day weekend). My first attendance at the con was in 1997. The fan-run convention has a long history of running fanvideos. One of my favourite group of vidders is Apocalypse West (many of whom I've met in person at either MediaWest or VividCon, a vidding convention annually held in Chicago, IL.)

There are many resources out there for newcomers to vidding, and as it is a continually evolving medium with ever increasing technology, even folks who have been vidding for years are learning new methods and styles. There are some folks who like to do more thematic approaches to vidding, while others prefer to do a more literal translation of the lyrics.

One of the main things you want to keep in mind when making a fanvid is having lots of space on your hard-drive. And if possible an external hard-drive to store/back-up your files on. Trust me on this. Vid files take up huge chunks of space. Also you'd want a good speed processor to make things run smoothly.

A History of Fanvidding:
The first songvid was made by Kandy Fong in the 1970s, wherein she put together still clips from Star Trek and played music from a cassette player. Since then vidding has become vastly more diversified over the time, using two or more vcr's to play, dub and record, while laying in an audio track from an outside source, to digital editing on computers. The FanHistory Wiki has a good reference to the history of fanvidding. Many fanvids were created to rework ideas and themes not presented in the original context, or to develop and explore the characters in different ways, altered history, and/or focus on particular relationships. Multi-fandom vids produced vids that usually had a similar theme across different tv shows/films.

There's a wonderful article about vidding and the process and history available online: The Vidder: Luminosity upgrades fan video., where in she talks about the history and development of fan vidding, and a group called the Organization for Transformative Works, that's working towards protecting fans with the rights of fair-use access to materials (see also below under 'Legalities').

Analogue versus Digital:
Analogue vidding refers to vidding with analogue video source material--in most cases, VHS video. Digital vidding, which is becoming increasingly more common, uses a variety of digital video source material instead. These digital video files may be acquired from DVDs, downloaded from the Internet, or captured using a videocapture card.

This is entirely up to the vidder. The best explanation I've seen for the analogue method is by Perri, Kiki and Abby of ApocalypseWest. Dianne & Val (also of AW) also provide amusing and yet helpful commentary on producing vids in digital format (Val on a Mac, and Dianne on a PC).

Keep in mind that the original source material (whether they be the video clips or the audio files) you are using was created by someone else. Fan videos and its sister artform of fan fiction use the original text to pursue ideas and characters in a different format, a different agenda, an alternate universe, what-if situations, and other ideas. While your approach might be different to the author/creator's approach, you need to be aware that not only is it the property of its creators, but also owned in part by the studio for whom those creators work. For years, FOX and Paramount and Universal have been clamping ("Cease & Desist" orders) down on websites and social networking sites that air fan videos.

Fair use is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. It is based on free speech rights provided by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The term "fair use" is unique to the United States; a similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright. [Fair Use]
In Canada, there are some differences when it comes to the legalities of Fair-Use. See Fair Dealing in Canada for more specific information. There's also been discussion regarding developments by fans in producing webisodes, such as the Star Trek: New Voyages. See Star Trek DIY: Fans make their own 'Webisodes'. An interesting article is brought up in LiveJournal by Laura Shapiro: VIDDING META: You Can't Stop The Signal, wherein she talks about the legalities of vidding and control of access to vidding in order to stay under the wire of the copyright holders (the studios/production companies). In Julie Levin Russo's blog, she disusses the use of Videomaker versus vidding in an article entitled The Shape of Things To Come: There Are Many Copies - Videomaker vs Fanvids wherein the Sci-Fi channel opened up selected clips and audio files to be used by fans to created limited 'fan videos' using their software, Videomaker and limited used of video clips for producing videos, for their series Battlestar Galactica,. and Sci-Fi would subsequently own all videos produced with that software for BSG.

Many of the counter arguments to that of the large media corporations is that fan videos, especially when shown at a convention, bring new fans into their creations. Or they bring folks interested in music that was used in the video. A good collections of songs on my computer(s) were purchased post exposure to particular fanvid. The same could be said about television show dvds. I wouldn't be as hooked into shows like Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, or Stargate without some fan-videos. By admission, I was late to these three fandoms. The former and middle examples got me hooked by the interpretation of the fanvid.

Software Products:
There are many different programs used to create fan videos. Video editing software has gotten more and more diverse, but I've personally found that just because you CAN do something with a vid, doesn't mean you SHOULD if it detracts from the message you are trying to convey.

If you're working from DVD source, then you need a program to copy the material to your computer's hard drive. There are several programs available to do that. The one I use is Corel's (formerly InterVideo) DVD Copy Platinum version 5, and thus what I'll be using for demonstrations.

Once you get the source files to your computer you will need a program to edit and clip the files to the specific scene or part of scene that you want. These products mentioned below are just some of the ones out on the market. Wherein I've mentioned 'see also' below, it refers to links at Wikipedia, there is more detail about the product in question.

PC Users:
Microsoft's Windows MovieMaker (comes with any PC with Windows XP/Vista platform) - See also, MovieMaker information.
Sony Vegas Pro 8. See also.
Ulead Video Studio. See also.
Adobe Premiere Pro - See also.

Mac Users:
Final Cut Pro - See also
Adobe Premier for Mac

How To Get Started:
This is by no means the be-all and end all of making vids as I've only been at it a few years. One of the first videos I ever put together was a women-centric view of the television series, ER, called, From Where I Am. Herein are some tips. Along the way, I may point you in a particular direction or another, depending on point of view, etc, as a guide or resource.

Vid ideas can come from a simple idea or a song that pops into your head that you hear once and think, "That song would be perfect for a vid for this couple/show/film," etc. The idea comes up and smacks you upside the head at two in the morning and you must jot down some ideas on paper lest it get away from you. Vidding is my form of crack. It gets you addicted to the point of shelling out lots of money for DVD source (or finding other methods), so you can make said vid with the best quality source material. Seriously. You can create vids from downloaded tv episodes - folks have been doing so for years, and occasionally you have to grab stuff from downloads unless you're lucky enough to have a Digital Video Recorder, or better yet an HD DVR [the latter of which I don't have :( ].

There are things to keep in mind when you're making your video (or more specifically before you make your video):

  • What is your target audience? (the internet at large, specific fan groups, fan conventions)
  • What message do you want to convey? (aiming at a specific relationship, review of show, an ideal, theme)
  • Take frequent breaks. It is a long process. Save your eyes and back a lot of strain. Go watch something else or listen to something else at times or you'll drive yourself nuts.

    If you are looking at your target audience for a fan-run convention, such as VividCon, MediaWest*Con, Bascon or Escapade, make sure to check out their requirements for their vidding panel submissions. VividCon has a page on their website that sets up the specifications for the file format they require in order to submit for the dvd release of the fanvids (both for the panels and for the con DVD). You can be a bit less picky on source input and output if your submitting to streaming online video sites like YouTube, iMeem, Veoh and others such as social networking sites. Keep in mind you can adjust your output size and level as you go, depending on what you're aiming for. There are some commercial-run media conventions, that will accept fan videos, but for the most part they tend to steer away from them due to legal stipulations in contracts signed with the media guests they contract for the convention.

    Also, be realistic in your goals. Don't expect your first video to be *THE BEST EVER* and then be disappointed when it doesn't get lot of traffic/viewing. Start small and you can build upwards. Do some test runs. And don't be afraid to ask questions. There are resources out there. I've put in a sidebar to the left of this panel some resources which have links to other valuable resources, including working with other video editing products and more. LiveJournal, an online blogging site, has numerous fanvid blogging communities (168 listed). Some more specific to a particular fandom, others are dedicated to the specific art of making the fanvid. Lots of questions are asked with regards to help with particular software quibbles, or help to find a particular scene.

    In the next few steps, I'll be splitting into two sections: Vidding with Windows Movie Maker, and Vidding with Sony Vegas Video Pro 8.

    Next: The Process (WMM) or The Process (SVV).

    Editing assistance provided by Techservlib.