Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vidders: History, Heroes Of Media Fandom & How To Be One Too

In what's one of the more novel uses of github I've seen in a while, lim, a fan artist whose work was recently shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery has released one of the definitive histories of early media fandom: Videlicet.. Like much of early media fandom in sci-fi and fantasy, its early pioneers were women. Not only does the zine look back at the past with profiles of prominent vidders, it also helps forward the future by presenting a DIY guide for your own fanvids.

Let's back up a bit. What is vidding? Vidding began in the mid-70s, after the original Star trek series went off the ait. Trekker Kandy Fong synced Star Trek stills sold to collectors, projected them on a slide projector, and synced the stills with music from a cassette player. This was the earliest version of fan-made music videos, called "vids", and vidding was often done live. For years, vids were only shown at fan conventions. While the VCR's widespread use made vidding more accessible, it still required extensive technical skill, often requiring daisy chaining VCRs together, splicing in footage and audio from many different source on-the-fly and as you needed it. Even with the rise of broadband connections and media sharing sites like YouTube, vidding still remains grounded in smaller communities, curated experiences, and smaller, more intimate exhibitions.

Videlicet covers a LOT of ground, so while I encourage a deep dive, I want to share two of my favorite parts of this zine:
It’s the soundwork that emphasizes their physicality of the characters, reminding us of the opening lyric of flesh and bone; we are cued not to think of these superheroes as 2-D comic book cutouts but as real three-dimensional bodies. The sounds of human effort are layered into the music with perfect synchronicity, so that we hear grunting, the crunch of bone, the crack of gunshots – things that mark the collision of people and things in a way that makes the fighting feel real; we can feel it in our teeth.

Dissecting lyrical interpretation is making the brushstrokes visible. Picasso did not paint the world as he saw it. He painted it as he processed it in the same way that vidders do. Vidding is a lie that makes people see the truth. When working through a lyrical interpretation of a vidsong, aim to make choices that strengthens that truth you are trying to vid and let that drive the lyrical interpretations.
Readers, do you have any favorite fanvids? What was your favorite part of Videlicet? Have a fanvid you'd like to promote? Sound off in the comments!

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