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27 September 2008 @ 09:06 pm
Vidding chat: Planning vids  
My thanks to everyone who expressed interest in my idea about vidding chats and who completed the poll. I am quite overwhelmed by the response! I was particularly pleased that people began chatting in the poll post itself--even if it's just sharing the feeling that it can be intimidating and hard to discuss these things with others.

I plan to post chat posts weekly, usually Sunday mornings my time, which means Saturday afternoon in the US. But I'm popping this one up a bit early.

Guidelines
Ok, boring things first. In participating in these chats, please bear the following in mind:
1. No strings! Please feel free to drop in without friending my journal. I'll tag all Chat posts as vidding_chats so you can find them easily.
2. Wherever you are is perfect: there's no prerequisite experience for talking about this stuff. While some topics (like this week's) will be more geared towards people making vids, others will be more geared towards vid watchers. Either way, anyone is welcome to share their thoughts, ask questions or otherwise participate.
3. Respect other chatters: I encourage you to comment to each other (not just me! I'm not that big an egotist, really!) in the comments, but please, please bear #2 in mind when doing so and respect that while some chatters may have made more vids than others, for the purposes of these conversations we are all created equally. I am sure we will all find them a lot more comfortable if we adopt this attitude.
4. It goes without saying that any actual attacks or flaming of others in the discussion will not be tolerated.

Vid planning

I picked this as the first week's topic, in part because of this exchange with chaila (I hope she does not mind me spotlighting her!). It seemed to me to sum up one of my goals--to reach other vidders and make them feel less alone or ashamed of their own methods.

My second reason for picking it is pure curiosity on my part. I want to know how other vidders plan their vids! So this week I'm inviting vidders to tell us a bit more about how you plan. How do you get from the idea phase of vidding to the laying-down-clips-in-the-timeline phase?

If you aren't sure where to start in describing how you plan, consider these questions:
- How long do you think about a vid before beginning it?
- How long does it take you from idea to finished vid?
- Do you 'picture' your vid in your head? All of it, or just some of it?
- What is the very first action you take in making a vid (before you even lay down a clip)?
- Do you use a physical medium (e.g. pen/paper or a notebook) to plan your vid and if so, what form does that planning take?
- The term 'storyboarding' gets used a lot when discussing vid planning: does anyone actually draw a 'storyboard' with boxes?
- What other ways of 'storyboarding' are there?
- Do you use the same method of planning for every vid?
- What do you think about first: how to use the lyrics? how to create a mood? how to develop a theme? or something else?
- What keeps you on track and motivated as you plan a vid?
- Do you wait until you have a full 'storyboard' or can visualise the whole thing in your head before starting?
- When do you know you've 'got it' and feel confident enough to start?
- What have you learnt about planning?
- What do you like/dislike about it?

Some questions specifically for those that don't formally 'storyboard':
- How do you remember what goes where if you don't write it down?
- Have you ever in the middle of vidding, decided to write things down?

I'm also really curious about how the planning phase translates into the construction of the vid. What happens once you've got a plan (either in your mind, on paper or in some other form)?
- Do you ever find that once you start vidding you stray from the 'plan'?
- What keeps you on track? What can lead you in other directions?
- Have you ever started vidding and realised that your plan didn't work? How did you handle it? Did you have to formally go back to planning, or did you vid your way through it?
- Have you ever felt your vid was too scattered or not saying what you wanted? What did you do then?
- Have you ever made a vid following your plan to the letter but felt dissatisfied with how it ended up looking/feeling? Have you changed your planning process at all as a result?

My planning process
I've seen the term 'storyboarding' thrown around a lot, but I'm never honestly sure what it means. As a self-taught vidder with no natural background in technology, or visual media, all I had 'going in' to vidding was an idea, a strong inner vision of what I wanted to make. I've varied my method of planning only slightly through 12 vids. All I know is, it works for me.

There are six stages:
1. Idea!
It usually creeps semi-formed into my subconscious accompanied by a few images and then I listen to the song obsessively again and again as the idea grows. In some lucky cases (e.g. Southside), this has been 90% of my planning process. I find walking or bike riding while listening to the track very useful. While I do sometimes think consciously about specific lyrics or musical moments in the track during this phase, more commonly I find that images or ideas arise naturally.

2. Gestation period.
For a lot of vids, I find that I do have to let them kind of 'percolate' in my brain for a while before I begin them. For one thing, I want to be sure that they are worth the time and effort! So I'll think about it a bit while driving to work or before going to sleep, and then I'll store the idea away again. I'll 'pull it out' every so often in my mind, take another look at it, maybe listen to the track again and kind of 'toss it around' in my head to see what sorts of ideas and associations arise, what pros and cons I can see for the idea. Generally I'll want to feel some kind of progress being made--more ideas or images arising naturally, excitement growing, the vid idea starting to feel like a 'whole', not just a couple of cool lyrics linked to a dramatic image. This phase has been known to last for over a year. ;)

3. Writing/lyrics check
An entirely optional phase for me, but I do often grab a copy of the lyrics of the song and sometimes, maybe in about a quarter of cases, I jot down ideas around them. For some very lyric-driven vids (e.g. Like a friend) this has felt necessary in order to move forward to vidding. I find it quite torturous though, because I can get 'stuck' easily. Generally some lyrics or parts of the vid are a lot easier to visualise than others and I can get very trapped in feeling like a failure for not having the whole vid laid out yet.

4. Clip the bejesus out of the source.
Yeah, I'm a clip whore. Clipping makes me feel in control. I grab everything even remotely applicable to the vid, and I generally do a LOT of my brainstorming while clipping. I scroll through the source with the sound down and think about the ways I can use the visuals. I reconnect with the source this way and it helps me know that I'll be able to do what I want to... if I don't find the clips I was hoping for I either let the vid go in another direction or I rethink the whole thing. Either way, I usually find this phase very productive.

5. Define the concept.
It may seem odd that this comes so late, but I find the idea has to gestate first. It's amazing to me how hard it is to define some vid ideas--so many of them begin as 'awesome song that makes me think of XXX'. A lot of hard thinky work is done in exploring exactly why and finding out how deep the connection lies. The more complex the vid, the harder this is, but if I skip it I get into trouble. It was very important, for instance, with Middleman to remind myself constantly that what I was vidding was the many ways in which the character was internally and externally torn between conflicting interests/ideals/agendas. The concept gives me a way to constantly check the vid in progress: does this clip support my overall concept? does this sequence support it? does the whole do justice to it?

6. Continual planning.
Um. This is where I confess the truth. I don't really ever stop planning. I am a very, VERY organic vidder. I rarely (*cough* never) have a complete 'map' or 'storyboard' (even in my head) before beginning. I have found I am far more confident in my vidding if I don't. It is very hard to describe how it works, but I sort of feel like I 'listen' to the vid as I'm vidding and I try to find the truth in it, I try to find the form that it wants to take and I follow it... that sounds very mystical! The nuts and bolts of it is that I try a lot of stuff out (and consequently vid very slowly). Generally I vid the big moments I feel sure of first and I build everything else around it. For instance, if I know what I want to do with Verse 1 and Verse 2 but not the chorus, I'll vid the verses first and then play them back and think about what I need to transition between the two, what I haven't covered, and how this could possibly be incorporated in the chorus... While that may sound hopelessly fuzzy, I have never really found that it's failed me. As long as I've done steps 1-5 first and got a solid concept then something will arise! So you see, I never really stop planning.

While I'm a little awe-struck by people that are super-organised in their vid-planning, I actually like my own process a lot and have no desire to change it. I love the discoveries I make along the way--my vids would be way WAY less interesting if I had to construct them only out of what I had in my head when I first thought of them. I love the continual questioning and perfecting, I love the flexibility, I love it when it comes together despite the odds, and I love the results.

I am, however, insatiably curious about how other vidders do things. So... share? :)
 
 
Current Location: sofa of comfiness
Current Mood: nervousnervous
 
 
 
bradcpubradcpu on September 27th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
My process is very similar to yours through your first four "stages." For me, it basically comes down to

1 having an idea;

2 thinking about it for a while. Usually because I have no time to actually vid for weeks or months after that, but lots of time to think in the car or in the shower or whatever.

3 spending weeks gathering all of the materials I might need. This would include fandom sourcing, secondary sourcing, and possibly constructing some custom audio or effects. About 75% of what I do in this stage never gets used, and it takes me longer than any other step - including the actual timeline work. But I feel like it's really valuable because, through the course of all of the sourcing, the themes start to connect and it becomes obvious what the vid wants to be.

When I finish that stage, I have a big toolbox filled with things I could use in the vid. So at that point I go through it all and take inventory, condensing it down to the most effective/prominent themes and connections that apply to the narrative; keeping the ideas that look like they're going to work and trashing the rest. Then - looking at what I have left - I do a rough (text) storyboard, just jotting down notes for how I expect the vid to flow from image to image or theme to theme, using lyrics and musical movements as a guide.

Sometimes this last step is a very detailed, involved, process, like with Song of Truth. My inventory/storyboard notes for that go on for like 15 pages. Other times this step takes surprisingly little time and I'm into the editing right away.

Speaking of which.... I should be editing right now. :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Faithbop_radar on September 27th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you for taking time out to respond!

through the course of all of the sourcing, the themes start to connect and it becomes obvious what the vid wants to be
*nods* that's what I find too. It is incredibly time-consuming but I really can't imagine doing away with it.

An inventory sounds very organised. I think I'm too impatient! The only vid I've sort of done one for is Paranoid Android--I did take pages and pages of notes about the clips I was using. 7 seasons of footage kind of demanded I do that.
daybreak777: help me plan this opdaybreak777 on September 27th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
Yay, first vidding chat! Yay! I like the responses already. I was starting to get the idea that no one else wrote things on paper. I like lists and paper, but was wondering if vidding was a paperless and wordless medium! I wondered maybe I was too compulsive or something, but maybe not. :-)

I have to admit, as a new vidder, I am still scared about vidding technology. So when I first got an idea, a friend told me about using a notebook. A notebook! How ingenious! I had never used one of those for fic writing. So I went to the drugstore and bought a notebook that could lie flat. So began my ‘storyboard’. No pictures, because I can’t draw worth anything. Words, I work with words, primarily, and then images.

I first write out all the lyrics. Or the important parts of the lyrics. I write the entire song out on two pages of a notebook that I can open flat. This is my favorite, favorite part of vidding right here, besides watching the completed vids. Here is where the magic is for me, here is where I make my story which is not the story seen on screen. I sort through my brain, thank the gods for having an excellent memory, and think of a clip that works with each lyric. Sometimes I have to change the POVs to make it work, so I cross stuff out. Sometimes some lyrics lie blank for a couple of days with no clip chosen for them. Poor lyrics. (Here is a scan of a page from my two notebook page storyboard of my vid, Broken. Half-page/full page. Sorry, my scanning skills aren’t lovely. Again, not a techy person. This page is a bit neater and darker in real life. ;-) )

At the end of my notebooking, or storyboarding as you will, I have the entire vid laid flat before my eyes on two pages. This I refer to through the entire vidding. If it doesn’t work on paper, I haven’t mired myself and frustrated myself with tech for no reason. And it’s my story. I can take it with me. I don’t have to be chained to the computer to ‘vid’. On the bus, waiting on line, I can bring my vid with me! It’s lovely. I have six vids storyboarded like this in various stages right now. Not all filled in, but there for when I’m ready to start clipping.

Does it change? Sure, but not a lot. The basic structure is there. I’m pretty literal with lyrics but not so literal. And I have a theme or a narrative in my vids. It really depends on the song and what I personally want to say.

Sometimes the clip I want isn’t there or I can’t obtain it. This is of woe. Especially when you are vidding secondary characters. So little source. I’m not so good in the moment of thinking on my feet and pulling a clip out of nowhere. But sometimes, you have to. After I make the storyboard, I go look at the episodes/movies. No clipping yet. I do not like the clipping. I avoid it. But I watch the raw scenes. See what I can make mine. See what’s there. This is how I begin. But the beginning, ending, and everything in between is all written out on paper for me.

It takes me a day or two to do this notebook 'storyboard'. Takes me about a month to think about a vid idea (this is like Bop’s step 2). I am so glad that other vidders have a “gestation period” too! As a new vidder, I am in such a rush to just see the thing, but the idea does need time to marinate in my brain. Some ideas, like Bop’s, have been marinating for a year. It has taken me about three weeks for me to clip and put the vid together. Somewhere in there at vid draft (actual real vid draft) number 531, I need to take 5-7 days off looking at the vid. (This is when I am convinced that the vid sucks, WMM sucks (which it does), and I’m insane to do all this. So some distance and encouragement is usually needed and gotten at that point.) Then I come back, edit, and voila, I’m done. Well, not quite that simple, I’ve left out a lot of flailing. :-)

That’s basically my process for now after two vids. I’m curious as to what others do!

Edited at 2008-09-27 03:06 pm (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Faith darkbop_radar on September 27th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
This is my favorite, favorite part of vidding right here, besides watching the completed vids.
Really!? That's fascinating!

I sort through my brain, thank the gods for having an excellent memory, and think of a clip that works with each lyric.
I don't think I'd be able to do that straight away. Your memory is better than mine!

Sometimes some lyrics lie blank for a couple of days with no clip chosen for them. Poor lyrics.
Hee hee hee. Try weeks for mine!

I love your scans! Thank you so much for sharing them!

Sometimes the clip I want isn’t there or I can’t obtain it. This is of woe.
Awww. :( *hugs*

I am so glad that other vidders have a “gestation period” too!
I kind of thought it was important to mention it, especially for people wondering how we know what to storyboard... without that phase there wouldn't be so much of an idea!
aychebaycheb on September 27th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
My process has changed or more likely evolved since I started and how it works depends a little on how well I know the fandom and how much source there is – vidding movies is different from vidding TV shows because I can clip the whole thing and to an extent develop the vid as I clip.

It starts with an idea, which may be as basic as “this is a Laura Roslin song,” but often includes some images to fit to a particular line. Then I’ll listen to the song obsessively but initially I tend to be thinking about the structure of the song and what it’s about rather than the vid. Music is hard. At this stage I might play around with audio-editing and I have quite a few songs on my hard drive that only got that far before stalling. If it doesn’t stall then I’ll start to figure out the structure of the vid, beginning-middle-end, what each ‘verse/chorus/instrumental bridge will be about and often whether there are particular types of image or motif the vid will need a lot of, for example pieces of paper for Safe. Because it takes so long I usually start to clip about this stage - like you I clip anything that might possibly be useful probably an order of magnitude or two more that I’ll ever use.

Often about halfway through clipping I’ll open FCE, import the song and mark out the beats so I can start laying down some of the key visual ideas often the end or the beginning just to see if they work - whether they look anything like what they do in my brain. If they do work out it’s usually a big incentive to finish the damn clipping.

I did write out a clip inventory for my Gilda vid with notes on who was in each clip, motion and shot length and that helped a lot but I don’t think I could face it for a non-movie vid. Other than that I’ve never written down any notes or storyboard ideas. I find actually words more difficult to process than images or it’s difficult to translate images into words or something. I do have a good visual memory so if I can’t remember a vid’s worth of images it’s a sign that I haven’t figured it out and I find it easier to figure these things mentally or by actually vidding than by writing stuff down.

So then vid. Lots of trial and error, some parts going smoothly others not so much. Once there’s a complete timeline, resisting the temptation to post, finding a beta. I actually enjoy the post beta side of things most in some ways – you learn to love criticism as an academic and there’s a definite thrill to killing your babies, chopping something up and re-formulating it, it comes much more naturally than generating material from nothing.
daybreak777: sunrisedaybreak777 on September 27th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
there’s a definite thrill to killing your babies, chopping something up and re-formulating it, it comes much more naturally than generating material from nothing.
Hee! Chopping up your babies! Maybe this is why I stick to the notebook so rigidly sometimes. I don't want to chop up my vid baby! (That and the initial effort is still a task for me.) But editing is a must, and sometimes you do get a better, rescrambled baby. I want to grow more comfortable with reediting. That probably goes for fic writing too. I get so attached to each little clip. But thanks for calling it a baby. Then I don't think I'm so crazy to be attached. :-)
(no subject) - aycheb on September 27th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on September 27th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - bop_radar on September 27th, 2008 10:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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canadiangirl_86 on September 27th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
I'm sort of excited to see that many so far have similar methods to me.

Like you, the song hits me first. The visuals generally need to come pretty naturally or I know it's not an appropriate song for a video. For the vids that mean the most to me (let's face it, sometimes we just need to experiment and the process goes a little faster) I can listen to the particular song for weeks before I feel like everything has 'clicked' enough in my mind. As well, I need to figure out what 'editing style' I'll be using for the video, i.e., what sort of tempo/pace I want the video to have, which beat/rhythm I want the clips to change to, etc.

I never have the entire video mapped out in my head, but usually key moments/lyrics that I feel truly define the song and which I will want to define the video. I have been known to write stuff down, either on paper or in Microsoft Word (which isn't quite as satisfying as working with my hands). Lyrics are the absolute most important thing for me, so I print out or write out the lyrics, and can then usually simply write the name of the episode from which my clips will come next to the specific lyrics or verse. By this point I've thought about the visuals to such an extent that that's more than enough to jog my memory.

When I finally feel like I have enough images/clips to get started and open up the software, I'll pull out the sources, in order and start pulling out the clips I had imagined in my head. This is usually the stage where I find more than I had anticipated and pull out more moments that I hadn't thought of to begin with, and the vid seems to organically fall into place for the blanks I haven't yet filled.

If I feel like this isn't happening and I get stuck or frustrated, I'll close the software and may not look at it for a week or two, until inspiration hits me enough again to have another look at it.

I often find that I tend to rush the final touches in my excitement to get the piece out and posted, and this is something I'm really trying to work on. Rushing sometimes messes with the final product and truly actualizing what I had originally conceived of. Taking my time has usually let to good results and me being satisfied that I've made what I set out to.

It's been very interesting reading about everyone else's process!

Edited at 2008-09-27 05:18 pm (UTC)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Aishwarya lanternbop_radar on September 27th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC)
let's face it, sometimes we just need to experiment and the process goes a little faster
Totally! I often find I make a 'light' vid between Big vids. And I love them--wouldn't be without them!

As well, I need to figure out what 'editing style' I'll be using for the video, i.e., what sort of tempo/pace I want the video to have, which beat/rhythm I want the clips to change to, etc.
That's true. I pay a lot of attention to the beat and rhythm when I'm listening to the track at first. Thanks for reminding me of that.

the vid seems to organically fall into place for the blanks I haven't yet filled.
I very much feel that happens for me too, even if I don't have a plan on paper. I have become quite convinced now that if the idea and my emotional drive are strong enough about it after that initial thinking period, the rest will come.

Taking my time has usually let to good results and me being satisfied that I've made what I set out to.
I so know that thing about rushing! My achilles heel is credits. They are SO BORING, omg! I hates them. I always leave them to the end, and then desperately want to post already and fling something embarrassingly simple up and am done with it. And then I look at other people's polished credits with envy. ;)
(no subject) - boom_queen on September 28th, 2008 04:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
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daybreak777: laura glassesdaybreak777 on September 27th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
Compulsively switch clips in and out of the timeline, rearrange the sequence of clips, and make Daybreak watch 17 versions of the same vid
Hee! You know I love it. It's like getting a new episode, "Cathedrals: Chapter 7.0." I love seeing what changes you have made this time. We both learn from it.

Though it’s actually quite interesting how often I end up back at what I instinctually vidded in the first place.
I'm not an instinctual vidder in the clipping stage, but this makes me feel better about my notebook. I stick to my original vision, though details may change. I was pleased when certain sections of the vid come out exactly how I envisioned. But with my second vid, I was pleased with a revamping of the entire ending.

My “storyboard” reads in its entirety: “New Caprica/Earth.” Some very impressive storyboarding there.
Hee! Well, it's a start! But you don't seem to need storyboading. I get so lost in clips sometimes, even so much that I start watching the episode again in the middle of clipping. Oops. My notes keep me focused. Like, what scene was I looking for again?

:-)

Edited at 2008-09-27 09:06 pm (UTC)
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(no subject) - daybreak777 on September 28th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - bop_radar on September 29th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
hazy: fly freehazyshade on September 27th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
Yay! :)

I've mentioned motivation being 99% of the battle with me, so I need inspiration to strike bloody hard in order to carry through to the actual vidding stage. I have so many half-finished ideas lying around it's depressing. :/

I agree with everyone that's mentioned the song being foremost at this stage. In nearly all of what I would consider my successful vids the marriage of subject matter and lyrics has happened like a lightning strike. I'll just know that this has to be a vid about so-and-so. Like you said Bop, I'll often listen to it on the way to work and storyboard it visually in my head. My brother on the other hand will decide to do, say, a 30 Rock vid (he's working on one right now that i can't wait to see!) and then hunt around for a song. He's much more methodical than me and relies less on that spark of inspiration as motivation. I'm really envious of that at times!

If I don't start planning and vidding pretty much straight away then i lose impetus (hence all the half-finished scraps lying around). My favourite vids have all been completed in less than 2 days. I'll then print out the lyrics and mark down a few key clips for my theme/study matched to a particular lyric or musical tempo change etc. I find I need this as I tend to meander otherwise! Plus I often vid 'journeys' so it helps to make sure I've got it all balanced out.

Getting clips is where I often fall down because I have very little patience. ;) Luckily I have a lot of stuff ripped by now (and J shares all his, thank god) so if I'm really lucky I can get started straight away.

I like to work linearly on the vid; I know some people prefer to fill in bits here and there so as to avoid getting too stuck, but I generally have to work through blocks. I hate leaving something unsatisfactory or incomplete - it's the perfectionist in me, I think. I remember leaving Seven Nation Army for 6 months because I'd got stuck and refused to work around it. I have a vid about New Caprica sitting on my hard drive which I did over a year ago and I'm so proud of 95% of it, but I still haven't come up with an end I'm pleased with so it sits there getting more and more irrelevant LOL.

Basically, once I've started vidding things are always open to change and 'happy accidents'. I can't stick too carefully to a plan; there've been a couple of vids where I've tried that and I wasn't happy with the result.

I've struggled through a few vids but others have flowed easily off the brush, as it were. When I made Set the Fire my emotions about the loss of Kara drove the vid and gave it a cohesiveness, I think. I barely storyboarded that one at all; it was mostly intuitive. If only all my vidding experiences were like that!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Ameliebop_radar on September 27th, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
Even with (some) time, I have many unfinished ideas too.

My brother on the other hand will decide to do, say, a 30 Rock vid (he's working on one right now that i can't wait to see!)
He is?! I will look forward to that very much!

I often vid 'journeys' so it helps to make sure I've got it all balanced out.
Huh. Yeah, that makes me realise I too do tend to map a little bit more when vidding a 'journey'.

I remember leaving Seven Nation Army for 6 months because I'd got stuck and refused to work around it.
Yikes! *quakes at the thought of that vid never getting made, because it is, you know, FAVOURITE* and oh no! NC vid is languishing! *worries for it too*

I love the intuitive vidding experience where it all flows... but then I've also loved ones where it's taken a great deal more time and heartache. It's good to know other vidders have such a range in their vidding.
(no subject) - hazyshade on September 28th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - boom_queen on September 28th, 2008 04:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - daybreak777 on September 28th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hazyshade on September 28th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
indigo419: Lee porn in progressindigo419 on September 28th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
Love reading these process-of-creation posts, even though I'm a writer not a vidder! :0)
daybreak777: help me plan this opdaybreak777 on September 28th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Yay, I'm so glad you are enjoying them! Someone should host discussions on writing. My process for writing is so different than for vids!

(no subject) - bop_radar on September 28th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
hoolia gooliaboom_queen on September 28th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)
Wow. Thinking about this has really made me realize how variable my vidding process can be depending on both the project and the cooperation of my muse.

Most of the time I have the idea while listening to my ipod. Sometimes a certain lyric will catch my attention and make me think about how it could be used for a certain character or pairing or theme. Or sometimes I just like the beat or the humor or the particular flavor of angst of the song, and then I shuffle through all my fandoms in my head searching for someone or something that it would work with.

It usually takes several weeks from when I get the idea, to when I start hunting for clips and thinking about narrative flow, to when I start actually compiling and editing.

Actually editing ALWAYS is the shortest part of the process for me. I definitely tweak things around a bunch, and switch out clips, or change the flavor of things if something seems to be organically moving in a different direction than I originally intended.

But most of the time, I do the thinking/planning in the prep stage when I'm looking at the lyrics or the beat/song structure and making clips from my source footage. A lot of the images and transitions will pop into my head on their own, but I spend a good chunk of time scanning through source footage looking for as many clip choices as possible to work with so that I'll have more options once I get to the editing part.

I've never literally story-boarded, like with little story panels and stuff, but I almost always write down the lyrics and the rhythm structure during the planning part. I'll think about phrases or beats that I want to draw attention to, and then what clips would work best with that.

Arguably one of my biggest struggles is getting over the tendency to be too literal with my interpretation of lyrics, or the rhythm pattern I originally envision, to make the overall tone and flow of the visual narrative work. I wish I was more patient with revising and re-editing beyond my original ideas for things.

Sometimes my energy/love/muse for a vid fizzles out. Sometimes I realize I just don't actually have enough source footage for the idea that I had. Most of the time I finish my vid projects though. (pay no attention to the three unfinished vids behind the curtain...). Usually what keeps me on track is a desire to see the finished project and share it with others.

Have you ever felt your vid was too scattered or not saying what you wanted?

One of the aforementioned unfinished projects definitely fits this description. I had an idea for a funny ensemble piece that was just way too scattered and the connection from clip to clip, or between lyrics and visual choices, was only really making sense in my head. Still haven't figured out what to do with this project: not sure if it's not working because I lack sophistication/creativity or because the idea just isn't good enough to be a cohesive vid. *shrugs*

Have you ever made a vid following your plan to the letter but felt dissatisfied with how it ended up looking/feeling?

Another unfinished one like this. The idea was hilarious in my head! I followed my ideas and planning perfectly but it just doesn't look as funny as it should be. And I can't get over the dissatisfaction enough to finish it yet.

But most of the time I don't get too side-tracked or disappointed, and the vid flows pretty smoothly. I've usually got a pretty good sense of urgency too: "I need to get off my butt and finish this project so I can start on the next vid bunny!" That helps too :D
hazy: doorways by mehazyshade on September 28th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
I think we have similar battles with motivation and inspiration!
I also agree about the battle against being too literal with certain lyrics; it's sometimes so tempting if you've got the perfect clip to match it, but yeah, that can often end up jarring against the rhythmic and thematic flow. This is where a beta comes in very handy! *hugs betas*
(no subject) - boom_queen on September 29th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - bop_radar on September 29th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
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Nickyobsessive24 on September 28th, 2008 07:28 am (UTC)
I only plan heavily when I'm doing more conceptual vids (e.g. Climbing up the Walls, Jesus for the Jugular, Change). Sometimes I just fly by the seat of my pants on the strength of a few visualisations I have at certain moments in the music (e.g. Freestyler, One of a Kind). The latter requires minimal planning and usually gets done in the space of a weekend. So it's the other ones that I primarily want to talk about when it comes to planning.

If I have a vid idea that's properly idea-based rather than just a piece of shiny, it'll take me anywhere between two weeks to three or four years to ponder the idea and make sure it's conceptually sound from start to finish before I begin. I usually know what I want to say in each segment of the vid, but I may not know the particular clips that I want to use.

Usually I can picture certain parts of the vid where I know a particular clip goes, and then the vid builds itself around those parts.

"Storyboarding" for me means having a giant piece of paper on my wall with the lyrics written out line-by-line, and me noting down the particular scenes/clips that I want to use where. It doesn't have boxes of drawings, but I do go to clip-by-clip detail. I try to have as much planned as I can before starting, but that rarely means every clip is planned out. As long as I know how each segment of the vid contributes to the overall narrative/theme, I'm happy enough to start.

My first issue is always to develop a coherent narrative, something that has a beginning and an end, development in between and some sort of core message to deliver. I have to make sure the lyrics will support what I'm trying to say. Only after all that is sorted out do I think about more execution-type issues such as mood, movement, colouring etc.

What keeps you on track and motivated as you plan a vid?
I find that I can only be motivated if I know there is a "hole in the market" out there for this vid, i.e. I personally think that no vid out there has quite explored the same issue in the way that I plan to explore it. The need to see this vid out there is what keeps me motivated when planning.

I think I plan well conceptually, though sometimes I get frustrated at the lack of detail in my notes where I know I need a certain type of clip and I can't find it. I would ideally like to have everything in my head - every single clip and transition - before I start, but for me that's a bit unrealistic because I just don't think that way.

Do you ever find that once you start vidding you stray from the 'plan'?
Sometimes I get carried away by the visual flow and follow that instead of my plan, but I ALWAYS find later that it's to the detriment of my vid. While I'm editing, I'm too close and can't see the bigger picture - I get lost in the details and forget what relevance particular segments are supposed to have to the bigger whole. I need the plan in place to constantly remind me exactly what message I'm saying in the vid and how I'm supposed to say it. That way, even if I don't "feel it" when I'm doing each chunk of the vid, it always ends up better than if I just scrapped the plan and went free-rein. I felt this most acutely when I was doing Climbing up the Walls. I used so much source that it's so easy to get lost in the quagmire of source, but I just stuck really solidly to my plan which said "this part needs lots of shots of chains and handcuffs, the next part needs shots of the siblings as children", etc. It was a particularly chunky and rigid way of planning, but I don't think the vid would have turned out as well if I didn't force myself into a straitjacket like this.

Have you ever felt your vid was too scattered or not saying what you wanted? What did you do then?
Defer to my trusty beta bradcpu, who kicks my arse when something doesn't make sense, and then I change it to what he suggests. :)
hazy: Buffy: Restlesshazyshade on September 28th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
I find that I can only be motivated if I know there is a "hole in the market" out there for this vid, i.e. I personally think that no vid out there has quite explored the same issue in the way that I plan to explore it. The need to see this vid out there is what keeps me motivated when planning.

This is really interesting; I hadn't considered this aspect of motivation. It's certainly been the case for a few of my vids now I think back on it.
(no subject) - daybreak777 on September 28th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on September 29th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
brokenmnemonic: Satriani - Time Machinebrokenmnemonic on September 28th, 2008 09:01 am (UTC)
I spend a lot of time thinking about the music when I'm looking at putting a vid together. I can't vid with a lot of songs - they just don't grab me. I have to like the song, but more than that, the song has to make me feel something I associate across to a show, or a character, or an idea.

There are a lot of songs I like, but which I won't be able to vid with - they just don't connect with anything in my head. More than that, I can really like a song for the idea of a vid, only to find that my headspace where a show or a character sits don't match. BSG is the best example of that - after all, almost every vid I've done has been a BSG vid. When I first started out, it was easy for me to do shippy Lee/Kara vids, because that's how the two of them seemed to me; now, I can't produce something that's simply upbeat and shippy for the two of them - the path they've taken in canon is full of angst and destroyed hope, and that's the headspace they occupy for me - producing something upbeat would feel dishonest.

If I find a song that I really like and that evokes something I can connect to a concept I feel like vidding, I'll listen to that song a lot for the next couple of weeks. If I find that int he course of listening it, I'm seeing a visual map of the vid for portions of the vid, then I'm a lot of the way towards being able to vid. I tend to vid the same way I tend to write - I create the image of what I want to describe in my head, and add detail to it. If I can "see" clearly what I want to do, with maybe a third or more of the length of the audio track mapped out in my head clearly as images and clips from the show or emotions and moments that I'm sure I can connect across, then I'll start looking seriously at actually trying to make the vid. I've abandoned far more vids at the concept stage than I'll ever make, because I can't populate enough of a timeline in my head for it.

First stage where I'm actively doing something rather than passively doing something is when I start populating the spreadsheet of doom. I've got an excel spreadsheet set up that converts time into number of frames; I'll sit down with a programme like Creative Wavestudio that lets me look at the waveform of the audio track, zooming in to about 1:32 resolution, and then I time the song out. I go through the song, listen and mapping everywhere I think a clip might start - distinctive beats, repeating chords, start and end of lines of lyrics, points of emphasis within those lines... I try and map out a framework for the vid from the audio.

At this point, I'll be making lots of little notes to myself as I go through the timeline - points where there are no clear transitions but something changes within the audio that would indicate a clip change I'll mark up for using a fade transition, where two images blend together rather than a hard transition. I'll indicate where I associate the music with something going up or down - descending chords, for example. I'll look for patterns where the same number of frames comes up a lot, because the vast majority of songs are very regular in composition - there's usually something keeping time within the song, a bass line or a drumbeat or something, that the song and lyrics work around. If you go against that without a strong reason too, the vid jars as people watch it; there's something subconscious that says "this isn't right." On the other hand, if I know what that timing is and can work with it, then clips that follow it and follow the lyrics and the more variable parts of the music seem to fit, transitions often going unnoticed as people watch... and then when I choose to break that regular pattern, the fact that I've been following it up to that point makes that sudden break more shocking or more noticeable, which is often the effect i'm looking for.

It'll take three or four hours as a minimum to go through the timeline, but I'll have a good idea what the maximum number of clips I'm going to use is - and I'll have broken the lyrics up along that timeline.
daybreak777: help me plan this opdaybreak777 on September 28th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
Wow! I love this discussion. It's like seeing into other vidders' brains. You use an Excel spreadsheet! Wow!

A couple of things in your process struck me, like transitions. I can see you understand more about music than me. I work with songs I usually know pretty well. Most I've known for 10 years or more. But I don't even think about beats and timing. I do later, but not in the planning stage. My planning with songs goes a little like this, "What are you going to do with that long instrumental part?" :-)

I was so intrigued about your comment about straying from canon being dishonest. (I'm paraphrasing, correct me if I misunderstood.) I am AU girl in fic and will probably be in vidding. I kind get your point, though. You have to be true to what you feel in a vid and if you're not feeling Lee/Kara the same way anymore, that would certainly come through the vid. I think it would be hard to stick with a vid idea you didn't believe in.

Goodness, I am so off-topic! I've strayed into 'Narrative Themes' and 'Inspiration'. We could do separate chats on that. And probably will!
(no subject) - bop_radar on September 29th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - brokenmnemonic on September 29th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on September 29th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
brokenmnemonic: Satriani - Extremistbrokenmnemonic on September 28th, 2008 09:01 am (UTC)
I then sit down and listen to the song again a few times with the spreadsheet open in front of me, and concentrate on the lyrics and the feel of the music, and make little notes - usually just two or three words - of what I think should go where. "Kara breakup." "Lee emo." "Something explodes." "Staring." "Hurt." "Moving fast." That sort of thing - if I've found that there's something that makes me immediately think of a particular clip, I'll make a note of the episode or event so I can go back and get it later.

When that's done, I'll sit down and look at the spreadsheet again, see how much I've got mapped out, and chart out how I think the vid's going to work - usually in terms of what I think I want the message to be in each verse, each line, where the start and end points of the journey or piece of meta I'm working with are, what I want to lead people through.

Then I sit down and actually open Premiere Pro :P Or at least, I will if it's BSG - if it's another show, like Firefly or FNL, I'll spend a week or so scanning through the episodes at speed with no sound on, looking for visually arresting clips, making lists of what happened in which episode - again, in just a few words. If I can't describe something in five words or less from looking at a clip, then I don't think what I'm looking for comes across in that clip. At the same time, if I look back and those five words aren't enough for me to remember what happened in that bit of the episode, then it didn't make enough of an impression on me to feel honest in the vid.

I then start assembling the vid - I'll bounce around, clipping directly from the episodes, saving the clips as individual clips with a filename that indicates whereabouts in the vid they are, what episode they came from, and what I want the clip to do. 154 - 2x06 - Lee happy see Kara, as an example; I know that's the 154th clip in the timeline, it's from BSG ep 6 of S2, and it's about... well, Lee being happy to see Kara. When I put the clip in the timeline, I colour in the bit of the spreadsheet that corresponds to show that it's done - that way, when I'm working I can zoom right out on the spreadsheet and see visually how much of the vid's been done, and where. I also have a seperate copy of the lyrics typed out line by line, and I colour in each line as it's complete - that way I can spot where the vid isn't working or flowing, the hard bits that I haven't managed to get my head around. Those will often be the bits that I end up working with on the train on the way to and from work - I'll take a hard copy of the lyrics, listen to the song, and just scribble ideas.

When I am laying clips down, I tend to work intensively - I like to just sit down and take the clip, embed it in the timeline, colour the spreadsheet and grab the next clip quickly. I'll often spend a week of leave just sitting down plugging clips in, because I find that if I have top spread it out over lots of nights or weeks, I lose focus on what I was doing - I can map out how I think it's going to work over a long period of time, but once I'm actually taking clips and making the vid itself I have to work quickly.

Then I dump the unholy mess on my beta and say "how does this look?" because I'll have spent so long working in milliseconds that I no longer have any idea if what I've made is coherent :P
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clex here with youbop_radar on September 29th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
At the same time, if I look back and those five words aren't enough for me to remember what happened in that bit of the episode, then it didn't make enough of an impression on me to feel honest in the vid
Oh, that's an interesting insight into your sifting method. I had something similar for 'Paranoid' ... And even if I'm not jotting things down, I do tend to believe that if it doesn't stick in my mind after I've specifically searched for it with the vid in mind, then it's not meant to be there.

colour in the bit of the spreadsheet that corresponds to show that it's done
That's my favourite bit of your process! But I guess I get the same overall effect from seeing my timeline fill up... I know I've been staring disconsolately at the blank spot in the middle of my current vid for days...
Becka: crossbonesbeccatoria on September 28th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
Hi! Saw the link to this discussion at daybreak777's journal and thought it looked really interesting. Hope you don't mind me chipping in.

My process is quite similar to yours in early stages.

The first thing - like most other people it seems - is to get inspired by a song and then think about it while listening to it on repeat like crazy. I pretty much "storyboard" the whole thing right there. Which usually involves imagining the clips I want on the lyrics I want, or at least thinking "okay, something from that scene where..." Usually I get most of the vid down like this organically then have to put some thought into the rest of it. I'm working with the music at this point, so I with also think things like, "on that crescendo, I want..."

I've been vidding on-and-off for three years, but it only really became a primary method of fannish participation for me in the last year rather than something I do on-and-off sometimes. That change in frequency and interest coincided with me ceasing to use an actual formal note-taking system most of the time.

The second stage of my process used to be opening a spreadsheet, typing up the lyrics line by line and marking out instrumental bars, and then typing whatever I was gonna vid next to them. Now I keep all that in my head. I guess I remember it because while I'm vidding, I think about it all the time on some level. I tend to make vids quite quickly - a few days of obsessive listening, and then I just...make it as fast as I can. Usually about a week or so of editing and then a week of haggling with my beta. I think that's how I know which vids to make. If it doesn't force me to make it right now it doesn't get made, period.

There are exceptions to this rule - my most recent full-length vid - 'there's a war going on for your mind, laura,' - had such dense, complex lyrics with so many clips I wanted to use that I did stick the lyrics in notepad with brief notes on who and what was going to be used for each one.

At this point, I start vidding. I notice a lot of people say they rip the source, then clip the source. I don't. I still use WMM. Partly because I'm stubborn and it's familiar and I can now achieve reasonably complex things in it through sheer force of will, and I fear change. Partly because every other vidding program I've tried is more glitchy than WMM, which is, I think, the result of vidding on a laptop without spectacular specs. I import an entire episode at a time usually (though sometimes I'll only rip specific chapters from a DVD), and then clip it in WMM because it actually 'pretends' it's a separate clip once you've 'split' it and doesn't simply make a marker in the original file. So clipping has no advantages.

Often I can pretty much start vidding as soon as I finish my "okay I've thought about it for a few days and the idea won't go away," phase of the project as I have a lot of episodes on my HD. A benefit of being monofannish right now!

I follow through with editing largely according to plan, but there's usually something that sneaks in and changes it at some point! The desire to see the finished vid is usually motivation enough for me to make it through to the end.

As to stylistic choices, I do put some thought into that before hand, but frequently it's vague, so for instance, I knew with 'war for your mind,' I wanted something very fast and choppy, but the style developed as I vidded. I knew with 'Tricks' I wanted something where the people moved to the beat and the whole thing felt very synchronised and choreographed but the time-toggles were something that I decided to play with when I actually opened the program.

One interesting thing that I'm doing at the moment is trying to make a vidlet for each of thearchive2's BSG season 4.0 challenges, roughly one a week (so far). For the first time I'm having to think up a vid without this powerful "OMG I MUST VID THIS SONG!" response. I have to think up an idea from the source first and then come up with an audio track.

Anyway, I've rambled enough, and thanks for the opportunity to share and find out such fascinating information about other vidders!

Edited at 2008-09-28 02:41 pm (UTC)
daybreak777: help me plan this opdaybreak777 on September 28th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Hi glad you made it over here! I am amazed you keep everything in your head while planning. But you also vid quickly, it doesn't have to stay in your head very long! But still, wow.

How has it been coming up with idea before song? I have a couple of bunnies like that, but finding the right audio to fit an idea is tricky. Do you find the audio quickly? Scrap the idea if you don't have audio, or do you just keep thinking until a song finds you?
(no subject) - beccatoria on September 28th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - daybreak777 on September 28th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - beccatoria on September 28th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - daybreak777 on September 28th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - beccatoria on September 28th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on September 29th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - beccatoria on September 29th, 2008 01:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
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Be cool, Gail. Be cool.: bsg: new capricaamathela on September 28th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
I start with a vid idea; sometimes it's a song that jumps out at me, but other times I might decide I want to vid a certain fandom/character/pairing, and look for a song from there. I have a vidding playlist on iTunes where I put any song I think might potentially make a good vid; when I'm hunting down songs to fit ideas, it makes a good starting point.

The next thing I often do is work on the song. If it's longer than I need, I'll sit down and edit it - I actually really enjoy this bit, and I've edited quite a few songs I think I might want to vid; even if I never end up vidding them, it's good practice. Then I'll sit down and mark out the beats; usually, I'll import it into my editing software and tap out the beats by ear, then go back and use math to confirm it. And then, because I like to write stuff down, I'll write in a notebook how long each beat/bar is, how many of them are in a line/verse/song, etc.

When I first started vidding, I would storyboard at the very beginning; write out a copy of the lyrics, note down specific clips or general ideas I wanted in each section. This turned out to be a huge mistake. My writing is fairly organic - sometimes I'll work with an outline; more often I won't - but I'm not a natural vidder, so at first I thought I needed to have everything planned out. Poring over the lyrics and matching them line-by-line, however, mostly just resulted in the vid feeling disjointed and way too literal; individually, everything was solid, but the overall effect was a big old mess. So now, I think the most important part of any vid is letting the idea percolate. I need time to sit and think about my vids, and to let ideas start to come together on their own. The best work I've ever done on vids, all my major breakthroughs, have been while I'm not actually vidding, so I've learned not to rush the sitting and thinking stage. When I do storyboard, it ends up being mostly in my head; I find it useful to have snippets of lyrics jotted down for quick reference and writing down ideas, but if I do any major storyboarding before the idea has had time to come together in my head, I'm just going to end up having to redo it.

Clipping usually happens in between all of this (mostly because I start getting impatient, and if I'm not ready to start editing yet, clipping is a good compromise). Which is really a good thing; I'll watch through the episodes with the sound off, and it helps me get some more solid ideas in my head, and start making connections between clips/ideas/etc. Most of the time, I'll run across some things I wouldn't have thought of on my own, and depending on how much of an idea I have about the vid at this point, I'll usually end up with a vast overabundance of source. Which is okay - I don't mind sifting.

And then comes the actual editing. I've actually learned that I vid better from start to finish rather than jumping back and forward through the timeline; I can vid certain sections out of order if they're anchoring clips, and I know exactly what I want to do with them, but vidding chronologically really makes the vid flow better. Especially in my current vid - the song is short and fast, so I often find that each section takes up more of the song than I anticipated; if I vid too much of it out of order, I'll be back to the not-making-much-sense problem. Like with writing, too, I tend to edit as I go - I find that I usually have one session of tweaking what's already in the timeline to every two of laying down new clips. I've also learned that I have very distinct vidding "zones" - specifically, the zone where vidding is awesome and fun and good, and the zone where it sucks and is really hard. This is where sitting and thinking comes in handy; every time I sit down to vid and end up with a handful of clips I hate, or with nothing at all, it's time for me to take a step back and let it breathe. I'll think about it come more, maybe listen to the song a bit, maybe work on something else. A few days/weeks/months later when I'm feeling shiny and new, not only will I be back in the good zone, but I'll also probably have had four of five revelations about the vid. (And, if all else fails, restarting is always an option.)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Ericabop_radar on September 28th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
I have a vidding playlist on iTunes where I put any song I think might potentially make a good vid; when I'm hunting down songs to fit ideas, it makes a good starting point.
Snap! So do I. :)

So now, I think the most important part of any vid is letting the idea percolate. I need time to sit and think about my vids, and to let ideas start to come together on their own.
Ohh, that is really exciting to hear! I feel this myself but maybe felt a little ... guilty? about it. Like it wasn't real vidding. But I've had fabulous breakthroughs in the shower or walking my dog or elsewhere.

Your method of starting clipping and that leading to new ideas and the overall direction firming up sounds very similar to my own methods during that stage.

vidding chronologically really makes the vid flow better
Huh, interesting!

not only will I be back in the good zone, but I'll also probably have had four of five revelations about the vid
That is so true of my own experience of vidding too! And the 'bigger' the vid, or the more it means to me, the more likely it is that I'll go through these phases. It's great to hear from someone else who has that.
anarchicq: Boogiepop Phantom and Boogiepopanarchicq on October 7th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
First off, I get an idea.

And then I find the lyrics of the song and copy them into a notepad file. Under each line, I write a clip or scene idea.

Then I find the song and get the footage, and open them up with my editing program. Usually song first.

Save.

Then I start splicing, usually I have a few key scenes-to-music scenes in mind and focus on those first.

Render.
Save.

Once I have my key scenes worked out, then I just fill in the gaps.

Render.
Save.

Once the gaps are filled, then I do the transitions.

Render.
Save.

Finally, I add the credits, save, render and export.

Upload, promote.
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Nodame rockbop_radar on October 8th, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)
How very methodical of you! :)
Dusk Petersonduskpeterson on October 13th, 2008 07:36 am (UTC)
Heavens! What a lot of interesting questions you ask.

I'd better start by saying that I do alt vidding - i.e., vidding that falls outside the vid community's traditional parameters for a vid. My vids are pan-and-zooms of still images, mainly taken from historical art and photographs, used to introduce my original slash, gen, and het stories. Over at the Vidding group at IMEEM, we agreed to call these fictrailers.

Anyway, on to answer your questions:

"How long do you think about a vid before beginning it?"

About five seconds? Honestly, I do try to show self-control, but . . .

"How long does it take you from idea to finished vid?"

Depends on whether I already have the proper images on hand. Sometimes I do; whenever I see a public domain image I might use in the future, I grab it. If I don't have the images, it may take me anywhere from one to three days to find them. Finding the right music (it has to be Creative-Commons-licensed) usually takes at least a couple of hours.

Once I've put the images in order, the vid itself usually takes an hour, except for fiddling.

"Do you 'picture' your vid in your head? All of it, or just some of it?"

I'll know the text that will accompany it, but I can't envision the art and music till I have them. I'll have a vague sense of what sort of pictures I'm looking for, based on the storyline I'm working with.

"What is the very first action you take in making a vid (before you even lay down a clip)?"

Usually I write the text - that is, the captions that appear between the images, my equivalent of a voiceover. This is usually based on a blurb I've already written for the story, but sometimes I make up a new text, and in one case, I used a quotation from the story.

"Do you use a physical medium (e.g. pen/paper or a notebook) to plan your vid and if so, what form does that planning take?"

I'll type up the text, and then, once I have the music and images, I'll begin figuring out where the captions should go in terms of the music, and how much room I have between each caption for images. I used to write down every single image in the script, but now I simply place the images in the order I want, through an image viewer.

How much I prepare beforehand depends on the vid. I might decide every single image ahead of time (though even then, I'll usually find I have to drop images), or I might say, "Okay, I'll throw a bunch of images in between these two captions and see which ones work."

"The term 'storyboarding' gets used a lot when discussing vid planning: does anyone actually draw a 'storyboard' with boxes?"

Not with boxes, but I have a script.

"Do you use the same method of planning for every vid?"

Pretty much.

"What do you think about first: how to use the lyrics? how to create a mood? how to develop a theme? or something else?"

I think of the text first, but once I have the images and music, they may inspire new approaches.

"What keeps you on track and motivated as you plan a vid?"

Um . . . total addiction to vidding?

"Do you wait until you have a full 'storyboard' or can visualise the whole thing in your head before starting?"

See above.

"When do you know you've 'got it' and feel confident enough to start?"

When it reaches the point where I know that the questions I have will be better answered by moving the images around in relation to the music.

"What have you learnt about planning?"

Not to worry too much about the images till I know what music I'm going to have.

"What do you like/dislike about it?"

See above, concerning total addiction. The only thing I dislike is that I cannot, for the life of me, get Photo Story 3 (the slideshow software I use) to do what it's supposed to do, namely allow me to watch the vid-in-progress at any given point in the vid. Every time I try to do that, the music is out of synch with the images. So I end up having to watch the vid from the very beginning every time I make a change that I want to check. This means I end up watching the vid dozens of times when making it. (I always choose music that I really, really like.)

[Continued in the next post.]
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on October 13th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, how interesting! I confess I had not heard of altvidding before but I had a look at some of your videos to get an understanding.

I'll know the text that will accompany it, but I can't envision the art and music till I have them
Mmm, text first! How interesting.

Um . . . total addiction to vidding?
Hee! I guess that's universal ;)

When it reaches the point where I know that the questions I have will be better answered by moving the images around in relation to the music.
Ohh, that's an excellent description. I know that point! But I've never thought about it that way before.

means I end up watching the vid dozens of times when making it
I know that feeling! Even with my very good software, I find I rewatch to see things in context and I dread to think how many times I watch a vid before it is done.
Dusk Petersonduskpeterson on October 13th, 2008 07:39 am (UTC)
"Do you ever find that once you start vidding you stray from the 'plan'?"

Oh, yes.

"What keeps you on track? What can lead you in other directions?"

Images can have a powerful effect on how the storyline goes - so powerful that I sometimes hold off creating the text till I get a sufficient number of images to know what sort of story I'm going to be creating. To a lesser degree, music can shape the script - I may need an especially powerful image at a particular point in the music.

"Have you ever started vidding and realised that your plan didn't work?"

Yes. I have three vids that, for one reason or another, I wasn't satisfied with. I'm still trying to figure out how to reshape them.

"Have you ever felt your vid was too scattered or not saying what you wanted?"

Mm, no, I've never had that problem.

"Have you ever made a vid following your plan to the letter but felt dissatisfied with how it ended up looking/feeling?"

See above.

One thing you didn't ask about: betas. Since I create originalfic vids, and there's no originalfic vidding community, and scarcely any fan vidders do slideshows, I have a strong lack of betaing advice, or even feedback once I've posted the vids. Since I depend heavily on beta readers for my stories, I feel uncomfortable about my lack of beta viewers for my vids. The few times I've gotten advice or comments, I've treasured them, and they've influenced my future vids. But that's something that I still haven't found a solution to.

Okay, a concrete example of me planning a vid:

Bard of Pain. This was a case where I used a story blurb for my storyline. It's part of a story series, so I'd been collecting artwork for it continually. In the previous vid in the series, I'd used a Creative-Commons-licensed version of some portions of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, so I used another portion of the same work for this vid, in order to unify the vid series.

To save myself work, I have a stylesheet for my captions which tells me the type of font I use. It looks like this:

* * *

Font: Goudy Sans Md BT
Parental guidance: 16 Bold
Intro curtain (duskpeterson.com): 20 Regular
Text captions: 22 Regular
Title: 16 Bold
Credit: 14 or 12 Bold
Final page (duskpeterson.com): 22 Bold

* * *

I always use the same typeface (font), the typeface I also use for my book covers, because it shows up well in small sizes.

The basic problem I had with this vid is that I had to be understated. The original story is about a torturer, and though the story passages are nongraphic, it's really difficult to find a way to be nongraphic in torture art. So I had to find a way to convey the horrific events in the story, but do so more by suggestion than by depiction, because images are much more powerful than textual descriptions.

I ended up deciding to focus on the war storyline, depicting the fall of civilization - which, conveniently for me, had been a favorite subject for artists, particularly in connection with Rome. Since part of my story has a Roman flavor, this worked out well for me. I also tossed in a few torture images, but - except for one image - kept them as brief as possible.

Then there was the "innocence" theme. The torturer in the story starts out semi-innocent, and his first victim is a complete innocent. So I tried to pick images that would contrast innocence with the voilence of war . . . and into this I tossed an image of the torturer himself, as a boy. (This is the same image that appeared on the cover of the e-book version of the story.)

[Continued in the next post.]
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on October 13th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
Since I create originalfic vids, and there's no originalfic vidding community, and scarcely any fan vidders do slideshows, I have a strong lack of betaing advice, or even feedback once I've posted the vids. Since I depend heavily on beta readers for my stories, I feel uncomfortable about my lack of beta viewers for my vids. The few times I've gotten advice or comments, I've treasured them, and they've influenced my future vids. But that's something that I still haven't found a solution to.
So the community of altvidders is small then? I was going to devote a chat post to betas (and feedback) which is why I didn't ask about it here, but it's certainly an interesting and important topic.

To save myself work, I have a stylesheet for my captions which tells me the type of font I use
A stylesheet seems like a great idea! I can imagine using one for titles/credits (which I am very very bad at personally). Thanks for sharing yours.

but do so more by suggestion than by depiction, because images are much more powerful than textual descriptions.
How fascinating that you had to deliberately control the images you used... often I find myself going for the strongest images in a vid to really make a point, but there is one vid I have made where I defintiely tried to use suggestion rather than the graphic depiction I could have gone for. I'm not sure if it worked but it helps me understand what you mean about it being important to suggest rather than show.
(no subject) - duskpeterson on October 14th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on October 20th, 2008 08:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - duskpeterson on October 14th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bop_radar on October 20th, 2008 08:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - duskpeterson on October 21st, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Dusk Petersonduskpeterson on October 13th, 2008 07:39 am (UTC)
Having listened to the music, I had a general idea of where I wanted the images to go in relation to the captions, so I began labelling them in order, grouping them in accordance with the caption that they illustrated, as such:

* * *

01
In the battle-weary lands of the Great Peninsula
02
only one fate is worse
03
than being taken prisoner by the Lieutenant:
04
being taken prisoner if you ARE the Lieutenant.
05

* * *

That isn't very informative if you can't see the images, so here's another example, from a vid I haven't yet released. The italicized bits are the captions; the rest are the images, grouped by which caption they relate to. All of the images in this case are from Gustav Dore.

* * *

A01 Orlando 017 - girl looking to the side.
A02 Paradise 034 - devil frowning as he thinks.
A03 Idylls 003 - king on horse, with head bowed.

In a world where war has lasted for generations
B04 Orlando 060 - knights meeting enemy in forest.
B01 Orlando 036 - Battle; pikes meeting in middle.
B02 Bible: The flight of Lot - City on fire.
B03 Orlando 070 - Battle, showing fallen bodies.
B05 Crusades: Louis VII - Noble under siege.

in which only the pitiless nobles who wage war hold power
A02 Paradise 034 - devil frowning as he thinks.
C01 Idylls 013 - Nobles toasting.
C02 Idylls 015 - Young noble with shield.

and those who cannot fight must suffer
D01 Paradise 026 - devil smiling as he looks down.
D02 Bible: Death of Agag - captive kneeling at feet of captor.
D03 Crusades: Richard the Lion Heart in Reprisal Massacres - beheading.
D04 Bible: Slaughter of the Sons of Zedekiah - boys being killed as nobles watch.
D05 Bible: Massacre of the innocents - woman protecting baby as weaponed men come forward.
D06 Bible: Virgins of Jabesh Gilead - rape.

* * *

And so on and so far. This is darkfic, obviously. And here's a script for a not-yet-released vid where I figured out ahead of time where the captions would go in relation to the music:

* * *

01
She has been driven from her barony
02 - :14
and seeks to escape her past
03 - :23
in a new home.
04 - :33
There she finds a boy who is headed toward danger
05 - :41
and a child-like baron
06 - :51
who may force her to betray her past.
07a - 1:01
07b - 1:45

* * *

Chances are good that those time numbers don't correspond with the final version, but they gave me a starting point.

I had easy music to work with in the "Bard of Pain" vid; it was quite obvious that the dramatic images needed to go with the points where the violins suddenly went crazy. However, the music offered other opportunities also.

One is that there's a bit in the middle where the violins are overwhelmed by beautiful flute music. I used this to underscore the "innocent" picture of the torturer as a boy. Then I showed him growing older. (All of the images of him as an adult are photographs and paintings of a single historical figure, Eugene Delacroix - I spent a lot of time tracking down every image I could find of him.) At the end of that sequence, the violins suddenly turn "chilly," and I switch to an image of civilians freezing in wartime, hinting that the gradual change in the torturer's demeanor as he grew older has contributed to the destruction of his society.

The other point that offered an opportunity was at the end, where the music suddenly goes down an octave or so. What I did at that point was take the initial image from the beginning of the vid - a Roman building in daylight - and do a slow fade into the ruins of Roman architecture in shadow, presumably the same building. Right before that, I put the "innocent" image of the torturer as a boy, hinting that he's looking toward his future. In the story, not so coincidentally, a Roman-style building plays a prominent role in the torturer's boyhood and at the end of the tale. Also, the story plays with time, shifting back and forth, so having the torturer grow young again in the vid conveyed that time shift.

Okay, that's enough babbling. :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on October 13th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
Wow! It's interesting to hear about such a different form of vid. You have such an informed approach to your vidding that even though I'm not familiar with the genre I can follow what you describe.