I was an obsessive vid watcher long before I became a vidder myself, and I really wanted to convey my love for vids to the vidders. But I found it hard at first to put that into words--and that's despite being a very word-oriented person! There was something about vids that felt 'new', that felt like they were a world of their own, that felt at worst a bit exclusionary. I imagined the people that put them together were creative and technical geniuses who would look down on my little remarks as naive and silly. Ultimately, though, I took courage and commented a LOT. I found that as I commented, I learnt--through the process of having to answer 'what do I like about this vid?', through reading other comments, through reading responses from vidders and hearing what they particularly responded to in the comment. I became more conversant, but more importantly, more comfortable commenting.
Now, looking back through a vidder's eyes, it seems hilarious that I feared commenting: didn't I realise vidders are just thrilled to hear from their audience? And yet, I admit there are still times when I dither about feedbacking--principally for vids that really blow me away. I don't know. There's something about them that still silences me. I feel my comments have to 'level up' to the vid. Yet when I make a vid myself, I treasure every comment, even just 'good vid!'.
As a vidder I've been able to observe different styles of commenting--firstly there are the comments that 'just' acknowledge enjoyment of the vid. Then are the comments that mention a personal, emotional response to the vid--I enjoy these a lot, maybe because as a vidder I'm always interested in 'reaching' people emotionally, but maybe also because that's the way I tend to comment myself.
Some vids spark 'meta-y' comments on the show or character or issue. Sometimes I think this can actually deter some people from commenting. For instance, if you see a vid being recced as a meta vid and you go there and see lots of people commenting with detailed meta feedback, you may feel it's not worth leaving a 'I really enjoyed this!' comment. But there's nothing wrong with leaving that, if that's the level at which you engaged with the vid--it still lets the vidder know it reached you.
There are comments which focus on the construction of the vid--that mention an effect or the use of motion or a certain moment in the vid that they liked. These aren't always 'technical' comments, though I myself feel anxious about commenting on effects I don't know the names for. But as a vidder, I'd say: don't be afraid to say 'I love the whirly thing at 3.31!'
Which brings us to the people who take the time to leave time stamped feedback. I think this is a real joy to vidders--and in general, seems to be something vidders leave for other vidders. It needn't be though! Time stamped feedback is a great way of giving someone a quick running commentary on the moments you enjoyed most in a vid. It does take a little longer to give than 'regular' feedback and that's part of why it's especially appreciated. The vidder will think 'wow, you cared enough to rewatch and pause at the bits you liked!'
Sometimes a very special vid will warrant even more detailed attention--and that's where vid_commentary and the idea of 'commentaries' on vids come in. Vidders giving their own commentaries on their vids seemed to become popular a year or two ago--and they're very interesting as an insight into the way vidders view their own work. However, as a vidder I'm more interested in finding out how my vid is seen by others than talking about it myself: because that's what I really don't know. Comments give me that insight in little glimpses. Even the most 'obvious' comment may be a revelation. For instance, if someone says 'hilarious!' about a vid that I thought had a few funny moments but that was it, I get an insight into what it's like to watch the vid if you haven't poured over every shot fifty times. ;)
So to spark discussion, here are some questions about commenting for people to reflect on. They're by no means 'compulsory'--feel free to respond to them or more generally on the topic, as you wish.
- Do you comment on vids? Why or why not?
- If you don't comment, what stops you?
- Are there circumstances where you find it more or less difficult to comment?
- What sorts of comments do you leave?
- Have the sorts of comments you leave changed over time?
- How diligent are you about leaving feedback?
- What do you enjoy or dislike about leaving comments on vids?
- What about older vids? do you still leave feedback on them?
- Where do you leave feedback? Comments on LJ? on YouTube? other streaming sites? Email? If you can't immediately find a channel, how hard do you look for one?
- Do you get annoyed if vidders don't reply to your feedback?
- On streaming sites, do you use stars to rate vids? Why or why not? If you do this, do you also comment?
- What's the most 'insane' comment or feedback you've ever left: the longest? the most random?
- If you became a vidder, did you find (as I did) that the type of feedback you leave to other vidders changed as you became one yourself? Did your attitude towards commenting change?
If you are a vidder?
- How do you feel about comments?
- How actively do you share your vids? (e.g. cross-posting, posting at a strategic time, making a banner) And do you feel this influences the number of comments you get?
- Do you respond to all comments on on your work? Why or why not?
- Are there certain kinds of comments you don't want? Do you make that public knowledge? (e.g. 'no crit please' statement)
- If you get a lot of comments on vids, is there a point at which comments seem redundant? (I ask this out of personal interest since one of the few remaining blocks I have about commenting is for 'big' vids that already have had the life recced and commented out of them. The mouse in me asks 'what could I possibly add?')
- What have been your 'favourite' (sorts of) comments?
This topic has been extensively discussed elsewhere, and vidding's memories section contains some great links. Among them:
sdwolfpup's Vid Feedback 101
gwyn_r's thoughts on the hesitance of non-vidders to comment
thefourthvine's On reccing vids (reccing is a whole other topic, really, but it's a great post)
As a counterbalance to this obsession with comments: thefourthvine's genius Why aren't people commenting? post--which I recommend all vidders keep bookmarked. ;)
Hijacking this post to pimp a couple of recent vid-related posts:
- For the lolz: vidding anthem
- There's much discussion of streaming platforms at the moment. Personally I'm trying out BAM vid vault. Helpful links: here and here.