thuviaptarth: golden thuvia with six-legged lion (Default)
thuvia ptarth ([personal profile] thuviaptarth) wrote2014-12-23 08:44 am

Year in Fandom: 2014

Vids premiered in 2014

March
Hey Ho (MCU/multi)

May
She Knows (So Close)

November
Repetition (MCU/Iron Man)

I made a vid this year! I made more than one vid this year! I made kinds of vids I haven't made before! I repeated a vid fandom!

Since I mostly made auction vids this year, I'm skipping the favorites questions.

Most successful video

In reception: "Hey Ho". It may have outpaced "Etheric Messages" as my most popular vid, which is pretty good for a vid that I wasn't sure would have an audience outside [personal profile] some_stars, [personal profile] springgreen, [personal profile] laurashapiro, and me.

In construction: "Hey Ho". It does pretty much exactly what I wanted it to do.

Video most under-appreciated by the universe, in my opinion

None? I expected "Repetition" to be more popular, because Tony Stark vid, but I simultaneously expected no one to watch it, because yet another Tony Stark vid.

Most fun video

To watch: Tie between "Repetition" and "She Knows"

To make: "Hey Ho".

Answering this question has made me realize again that I don't think of vids as hard because they give me tech headaches. I only think of them as hard if I can't figure out what to put down.

Video with the single sexiest moment

Hong Kat (Karen Mok) licking the frosting off her fingers in "She Knows".

Biggest vid fail

Umm. Losing the momentum of "Hey Ho" in the beginning of the year, maybe? In the beginning of the year, I though I might be able to manage four to six vids. (Ahahahaha yeah no.)

"Repetition" has the biggest gap between what I wanted the vid to do and what the vid does. I am frustrated with it because, honestly and egotistically, I think some parts are great and the parts that aren't great drag the whole vid down. And there's a lot I wanted to include that I just couldn't fit in.

Hardest video to make

"She Knows". This is actually the vid that was in progress the longest; I have some builds from 2010. They are nowhere near complete drafts and they bear very little resemblance to the final version. I had a hard time coming up with a workable structure/focus for the vid -- I kept thinking I had one and then it wouldn't work and I would tear everything apart and try something different, and then that wouldn't work either. The bridge is the only part that had the same concept all of the way through, and even that needed to be taken apart and reconstructed to work better with the final pacing.

This is why there's such a big disconnect between the "She Knows" song lyrics and vid narrative. The lyrics fit the original idea I had better, but I just couldn't make that idea work.

Most unintentionally telling video

"Repetition": Hands are sexy.

(One of my early takes on the my repetitions part started off with nine close-ups of hands in a row. I knew I'd have to put a face in there earlier, but I just wanted to see it that way first.)

General notes

I tried a bunch of different things this year to get myself to vid more, and more regularly. I started off with a general vidding journal, though I ended up mostly reverting back to a single document per vid. I've almost always done outlines, but this time around, I included journal-type notes and daily to-do lists (instead of, or sometimes in addition to, one global to-do list). Probably the most helpful thing was starting to track the time I spent on each vid in a spreadsheet. It reminded me I was getting stuff done even if I didn't feel like it, and helped me project how long it would take. Different vids take different amounts of time, but I usually have a good sense of how much more work needs to be done as I'm approaching the end of the first draft, so if I know the hours, I can project how many additional hours it will take. For some reason, having a solid number like 30 hours inspires me more than "second draft will probably be one-third of the time spent on the vid".

I started experimenting with putting notes directly in the timeline in an invisible track in 2010. This year sometimes I put them in title cards and sometimes I put them as comments on the markers. I reinvented putting markers at significant points in the timeline -- reinvented because I keep forgetting I did this before until I realize I should do it again. Mostly the notes are musical cues, though sometimes they're theme, feel, or imagery.

I have been avoiding external deadlines because they make me very anxious, but this year it was motivating to have Winter Soldier as a cut-off date for "Hey Ho" and Age of Ultron as a cut-off date for "Repetition". It was also motivating to have the Wiscon deadline for "Hey Ho", but less effective, as I did not actually get it in by aforesaid deadline.

I've spent most of my time vidding worrying that I wasn't communicating what I wanted to. This is one reason why I always want a lot of betas. But my betas got the basics on all the first drafts I sent them this year, so I'm feeling like I've finally got that down.

Vid notes - Hey Ho

Things that I learned:

  1. Visual narrative overrides lyrics.

    This has the tightest lyrical matching of any vid I've made. And, paradoxically, what I learned is that visual narrative trumps lyrical matching every time. I mean, ideally you have both -- but when you don't have both, go with the visual narrative.

    There is a place in the second verse where the lyrics scream Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. In fact, I re-cut the song just so I could get those lyrics in that verse. And at least three of my betas asked why Tony was in that verse, it's not Tony's verse, it's Bruce and Steve's verse, hello.

    I fought this and fought this, because it's not a Bruce line! It's a Tony line! It is so not a Bruce line! It is glaringly not a Bruce line! It is so clearly a Tony line!

    --and then I gave in and made it Bruce and it makes so much sense in the narrative at that point that even I forget it's a Tony line when I'm watching it.

  2. Relatedly: Even if you think the Hulk special effect looks ridiculous, sometimes it's so important to the story that you've got to include it anyway.

  3. When using multiple sources, introduce each source strategically (™ [personal profile] giandujakiss).

  4. I spent a lot of time thinking about when Steve should finally be wearing the full Captain America uniform.

  5. Credits should generally be 12 seconds or less. In most cases, 6 or less. (Twelve is pushing it and only works here because the credits are worked into the thematic intro.)

    (I'm sure there are many, many exceptions! Your vid with 20 seconds of credits is awesome! But my first takes at credits tend to go too long.)

  6. It's easiest to understand vids when the imagery is very literal, with relatively little visual-lyric metaphor, or when the metaphors or metonyms are so widely used they barely register as figurative (i.e., sabers = weapons, guns = war).

  7. Get the subtitles roughly in the right place for the entire song, then tweak. (I think I have learned this before and forgotten about it.)


Other:

  1. I was surprised and a little worried when the first comments I got focused on aesthetics. It's a MESSAGE vid! Did you get the MESSAGE? I really wanted people to get the MESSAGE! I tried to make the MESSAGE really clear!

    It soon became clear I did not actually need to worry about this.

  2. I was also surprised when people mentioned rewatching it, because I figured once you got the message, you were done. (Unless you were the vid's fond creator, in which case you could watch it endlessly.)

  3. I got some really great comments on this. Much more elaborate than I usually get from people who aren't my betas.

  4. I used external audio for the first time.


Vid notes - She Knows

Things I learned:

  1. There's only so far visual narrative can take you when the lyrics are too different from it.

  2. How to vid action!

    It was incredibly painful. I could not figure out what the criteria for clip selection should be. I reread Karen Pearlman on action, I poured over the action scenes in different sources (So Close, Winter Soldier), I watched and rewatched and rewatched [personal profile] rhoboat's M vid and [livejournal.com profile] talitha78's Problem.

    Things I painfully figured out:

    1. Paradoxically, perpetual action is boring. You need to build pauses into the action.

    2. Most action scenes build up tension or impact by showing a sequence of the same action repeated from multiple different angles.

    3. The action needs to have a narrative arc.


    If you have more tips on action, PLEASE SHARE. I still find it incredibly hard.


Vid notes - Repetition

  1. I'm trying to be philosophical about how "Repetition" doesn't do everything I wanted, because hey, having your reach exceed your grasp shows that you have ambition. But I would prefer to have ambitions and achieve them perfectly.

  2. So, at Vividcon every year, something like this will happen:

    SOMEONE: And the traditional thing, where you do three face shots in a row to establish the POV character--

    ME: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    or:

    SOMEONE: ... and that thing where you show people feeling same emotion that you want the audience to feel--

    ME: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    So for "Repetition" I wanted to do the kind of stuff that is apparently basic to vidding, but that I had never actually thought about. FACES. Deliberately building empathy. Conveying FEELS. Mostly using more faces, though.

  3. Oh, also I wanted to use dissolve transitions again before I forgot that I had options besides straight cuts.

  4. I think the pacing works really well. Most of this is due to the song, which has that fantastic crescendo in the final section, and has such musically distinct sections beforehand.

  5. I was thinking a lot about single bodies vs. multiple bodies for this one. Solitude vs. intimacy vs. crowds.

  6. And also thinking about flesh vs. armor. (The use of nudity in [livejournal.com profile] sisabet's Daenerys vid also influenced me here.) In my notes, I kept describing Tony as "naked" when he wasn't wearing the armor.

  7. I knew I shouldn't have watched other Tony Stark vids until I finished mine, but I did anyway. And, as I knew I would, I got stuck between picking the clips I thought were most expressive/iconic and the clips that hadn't been used one thousand times already.

  8. I also had problems with some of the images I'd used in "Hey Ho", because I couldn't make myself see them as free of those implications. In the end, most of the reused clips were from parts where Marvel's intentions and my interpretations lined up. One of my betas still read the arc reactor/suit as being more negative than I see it in the vid.

  9. There's a lot less Tony/Engineering than I originally intended, because I had a lot of structural constraints. The biggest ones were that I didn't want Tony in a functional Iron Man suit before "I think I hear him calling" and that I ended up having to save most of the engineering bits for the end, because including them earlier diluted the impact. But the end ALSO needed to include the emotional throughline, so I couldn't include all the engineering and UI porn I wanted. I could have done an entire minute each of building, flying, falling, catching, connecting, and different arc reactors.

  10. I worked with Illustrator for the first time.


2014 2011 goals

  1. Finish auction/challenge obligations. On time where this is still possible.

    Done! (Primarily because I gave up and refunded the auction payments for projects I didn't think I could do any more.) (Also, not on time.) (But done!)

  2. Do not take on new auctions/challenges.

    Done!

  3. Give more feedback.

    … Not so done.

  4. Finish the Supernatural vid.

    Nope.

  5. Continue work on color, vid structure, getting comfortable with After Effects.

    Color: Only if you count the focus on red, white, and blue in "Hey Ho". Which I knew would be there in Captain America, but was also more prominent than I expected in Iron Man.

    Vid structure: Done.

    Get comfortable with After Effects: Ahahahaha no.

  6. Stop stressing out about vidding too slowly.

    Done. Sometimes.


Goals for 2015

  1. Make female character studies.

    I miss vidding women, guys. I miss my depressing female character studies. I have postponed my Very Wiscon Vid Idea for another year so I can do a depressing female character study instead. It's a depressing female character study for a genre show, so it'll be fine at Wiscon. It's just not as quintessentially Wiscon as the postponed idea.

    And then another depressing female character study for Vividcon, which means postponing the Winter Soldier vid. And then Age of Ultron will probably make the Winter Soldier vid feel irrelevant, so it won't get done.

    Or this year's productivity experiment could be trying to work on more than vid at once.

  2. Make vids way before the deadline.

  3. Send feedback twice a month.

  4. Do recs once a month.

  5. I never end up concentrating on the aesthetics I plan to, but I like having them down anyway, so: I'd like to do more with dark/light contrasts, fades to black, and with stillness and slow movements.


Stealing this from kiki_miserychic:

If there is any question you would like to ask me about any one of my vids, then go ahead! What I meant by a particular clip or sequence, why I chose to highlight that characterization, why I chose that song, what crack I was taking and where you can get some...anything. Anything you might like to know about how I made a vid, I shall do my best to answer.

In the unlikely event I haven't already told you more than you want to know above.
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)

[personal profile] laurashapiro 2014-12-23 03:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Your vids were great this year! I loved them all. (: And it sounds like you learned a TON. \o/
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

[personal profile] kate_nepveu 2014-12-23 03:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey Ho:

1) I don't recognize the little black boy looking at Avengers figures in the window and then playing with them, is that non-MCU footage, a commercial or something?

2) I'm kind of weirdly glad it was pre-Winter Soldier, because it seems like the actual obviousness of that might paradoxically blunt the force of your argument? I don't know, I see you talking about a WS vid, what're your thoughts?
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

[personal profile] kate_nepveu 2014-12-24 02:56 am (UTC)(link)
1) Owwwwwww.

2) You should feel prescient! And bringing in HYDRA would have diluted the focus, so it was a good call not too.

Thanks!
starlady: (a sad tale's best)

[personal profile] starlady 2014-12-24 04:15 pm (UTC)(link)
My process with AfterEffects goes something like this:

1. Open AfterEffects.
2. Realize I've forgotten how to make it do things and/or the theoretically simple thing I wanted to make it do is actually really complicated.
3. Google tutorials. Read and watch them obsessively while pausing to try to replicate the same thing in my own project.
4. It's not working? Why is it not working? It should be working! I'll just change things around and maybe it will work?
5. It worked! Cool!
6. Not use AfterEffects for long enough that I forget all over again.

It's interesting to read your remarks on Repetition--I think I see what you mean about reach vs. grasp, but it's a really interesting and chewy vid even if it didn't do everything you wanted it to do.
chaila: Diana SWORDFIGHTING in a BALLGOWN. (top of the lake - robin)

[personal profile] chaila 2014-12-30 03:08 am (UTC)(link)
Oh wow, you make me feel so lazy and like I should do more of this legwork to improve on things! Your thinking about the mechanics clearly pays off, because your vids always look great. I would not guess, for example, from "She Knows" that you don't feel like you have action vidding down!

I expected "Repetition" to be more popular, because Tony Stark vid, but I simultaneously expected no one to watch it because yet another Tony Stark vid.

I have seen a couple people say something like this, and I have to say, I never really thought about vidding in big fandoms that way.

I support depressing female character studies!

chaila: Diana SWORDFIGHTING in a BALLGOWN. (tscc - erase/rewind)

[personal profile] chaila 2014-12-31 02:55 am (UTC)(link)
I didn't pick that vid to do next because it was in a big fandom; I picked it because it was the one I wanted to do most.

Oh, yes! I just meant that in my envious brain, I always assumed it was a big perk of vidding a big fandom that more people would watch and comment and stuff, and I never thought about the flip side, that there are already lots of vids for the fandom. The grass is always greener, and all that. :)

I think we are all greedy about vid feedback!