beccatoria: (we are the cylon vidding machine!)
[personal profile] beccatoria
So, I'm not sure that this is a proper con report, more a sort of, I came, I saw, I didn't freak out and run away! story, but I figured I should write up some stuff about my first vidding convention (almost my first convention generally) and my first experience of premiering a vid somewhere (and somewhere I was too). This is vaguely chronological but it's also as much about parsing my own reaction to the con as about What Actually Happened, so you know, fair warning for rambling. :)

On Friday, we all had dinner at Terra Nova and I felt vaguely incompetent because some people I didn't have on my list turned up but in a fortunate turn of events, other people I did have on my list didn't turn up and we ended up under the booking number with a few spaces to spare. Service was slow, on account of it being Friday in the Bay but I think generally it went well and people liked the venue (it's a crazy labyrinthine place inside with fake crows nests and indoor bridges intended to evoke a ship, I think) if not the speed. Which was a relief since that was my call.

Saturday was a reaaaaaaalllllly long day when I watched a lot and it's starting to blur together a bit now. I ended up missing a panel for the River Song room party and another panel or two just due to the fact I wasn't sure how much longer I could sit in those chairs (not the fault of the con; try sitting in any upright chair for many hours!) and wanted to do some socialising. I did end up going to almost all the vidshows though. I think if I went again, I might try and mix that up a bit more because I feel like I don't have a good grasp on what a panel is or can be? But I do think that it was the right choice to take it slowly and pick up the programming that appealed to me at the time rather than trying to kill myself seeing everything.

Anyway, I had some thoughts about the vidshows and the panels.

Basically I have never really subscribed to the idea of vidding being my fandom, entirely, simply because I think it's more accurate to say that vidding my fandoms is my fandom. I'm bad at watching vids for sources I don't know; even when I can tell they're impressively constructed, I often feel I lack a true appreciation of nuance and context and that frustrates me. In my own vids, too, I usually vid for an audience that is very familiar with the source. I also don't watch all that much TV.

So I was worried, honestly, that I'd be a bit bored during the vidshows which were largely shows I don't watch. But actually, while I won't say that I'm suddenly converted, I enjoyed them much more than I thought I would. There's something about the convention atmosphere and the fun of watching on the big screen that made me enjoy those vids much more than I would have, just watching on my own laptop screen. So that was nice.

It was also interesting to watch the progression of the vidshows and the way they were put together and the way that affected the flow of the videos.

The panels I had a more mixed reaction to, which isn't a criticism of the panels themselves, but rather, I think, a realisation about the way in which I engage with vidding, which, [livejournal.com profile] chaila43 will attest, I kept hilariously attempting to deny and trying to like anyway. So with the very clear caveat that I'm only writing this up as a piece of interesting realisation about the way I respond to things, rather than any belief that that way is better (in fact I think it's arguably based on a fairly odd and hair-splitting definition), I present to you, Becka's Thoughts On Panels:

I definitely find the technical aspects of vidding interesting - as anyone who's seen my slow increase in terms of technical effects in my vids, and also my current obsession with making tutorials for my vidding software will attest. Indeed, I enjoy going looking for information so that I can learn new things; it was other tutorials that taught me enough to work out how to achieve those effects in my own vids after all.

But I think the technical types of panels I like best are demonstrations - i.e., are those tutorials. When it comes to just talking about vidding, I think I have less attention for discussing the process of vidding. I find learning whether someone vids linearly or nonlinearly, whether they use effects for the sake of them or only when there's a narrative reason, to be interesting, but not things that I feel I need to discuss for a long time? Like, these are the sorts of things I like to glance over on someone's LJ and go, "Huh, I hadn't considered that before," or "Oooh, cool tip!" But I don't wanna chat about it for an hour. I just wanna go off and maybe try it sometime and see if I like it.

So it probably makes sense to me that the panel I enjoyed best was [livejournal.com profile] such_heights' Robots panel that followed the Robots show. I really liked how they were linked, and we then used the vids as an illustrative tool to discuss robots, society, cyborgs, etc., in broader terms. The way that the vidders achieved certain messages through their editing techniques was certainly up for discussion but the messages they were sending were also up for discussion and that, I think, is what tipped it from mild interest to OMFG AWESOME for me?

I guess it makes sense though. Because I got into vidding because I wanted to use songs and images to say things about the show - or rather I thought that was the coolest possible outcome I could achieve. And yes, also because it looks pretty! But it's the possibility of commentary and meta that really intrigues me about vids, so I think I will always come down on the side of enjoying discussing that more than discussing the vidding process itself.

Which is lazy in many ways because I might be better at the messages bit if I had a firmer grasp of the technical side, but I suppose that's why I prefer that to be in tutorial form. I want to learn that stuff, but I don't necessarily want to talk about it a lot?

I get this is a tangled web of interrelated topics, it can be a pretty fine line. And it basically just goes back to the fact that vidding itself isn't my fandom, vidding my fandoms and using those vids as parts of a big discussion on said fandom is my fandom. Trust me, I feel a bit absurd delineating this in this way because I understand exactly why others would feel differently to me.

But. There's that. Anyway, on an objective level, I did think there was an interesting range of panels and I liked that the style of running the panels was varied.

One of the things I loved about Saturday was the River Song room party! It was awesome! I ended up impromptu VJing a mini vidshow on my laptop, and felt vaguely self-conscious that half the vids were made by either me or [livejournal.com profile] chaila43. YOU HEAR THAT VIDDERS? SORT THAT OUT!

It probably makes sense though, given my recent navel gazing about the fact I love vids in context and like the robots vidshow, I was sharing both a love of vids AND the fandom(s) in question with the people in the room.

Plus they were awesome people. ;)

I was then tragically shafted TWICE during the so-called muffin break. There was much consternation from the general crowd that we were not given muffins in the first place but Welsh Cakes. Now, I like Welsh Cakes, but they're not as fun as muffins. BUT. THEY WERE NOT EVEN PROPER WELSH CAKES. They had no sugar on them. I fixed this by pouring sugar from the packets by the hot water for tea, but even that only half fixed it. And I think I managed to terrify several other poor con attendees with my sugar-waving insanity. WELSH CAKES ARE SRS BSNS. [livejournal.com profile] cosmic_llin understood my pain, though, for which I was grateful, and she then informed me that apparently as a teenager I totally missed a welsh-language X-Files rip-off that was unbelievably awful?! I am heart-broken. It doesn't appear to be available anywhere.

Premieres was a little terrifying actually which I wasn't really expecting because I'd been totally fine about my nerves until a day or two before? When suddenly it kind of sunk in. And then it kind of got worse once the show started... But I was told by several kind folks that this was normal.

I don't actually have much memory of the vid playing because I spent the WHOLE THING convinced it was way too dark (which I think it slightly was, just because I had done some colour-correction and the projector displays it differently to how it looks on TV), though I was later reassured it wasn't a problem. But yeah, I was totally convinced no one would notice the colour changes or that it looked crap and really have very little memory of it, which is slightly embarrassing!

But it seemed to go down well, which was a real relief to me and very gratifying. My recs from premieres are at the end of the post.

On Sunday I was shattered but it was totally worth it to get up early for the femslash show which included [livejournal.com profile] chaila43's premiere, Angie, which is a glorious BSG/TSCC crossover of awesome violence and love and has so many tiny moments of reflected motion and parallel action that it makes my heart hurt.

In the afternoon was the Robots show and panel which I've already talked about at length so won't repeat here, suffice to say it was one of the highlights of the weekend.

The closing Q&A discussed a few issues with the con and making it happen again. I was relieved to hear that mostly people were happy with the hotel space, since again, that was kind of me and [livejournal.com profile] brokenmnemonic's call to go with that hotel out of the possibilities. [livejournal.com profile] buffyann and [livejournal.com profile] bop_radar made it clear they can't do it again unless there's another core member of the organisation team who lives in the UK, and that's like, such a good point. Because seriously, I had a quasi-inside view of how hard those guys worked (I was just doing general gopher work here and there, nothing big!) and they are both heroes! It's amazing that you made it happen and you deserve massive, massive props, guys.

The plan seems to be to try for one in two years? Although with a lot more involvement it could be next year. The thinking seemed to be that it would either stay in Cardiff for continuity and because a relationship could be built with the hotel, or move it to Oxford since there seems to be a big network of fans there, which would definitely make sense.

This kind of makes my decision about whether or not to attend super easy though. Because I will go if it's in Cardiff (obviously). If it was anywhere except Oxford, I'd probably feel all sorts of conflict based on kind of wanting to go vs finance vs whether I want to travel vs how far I'd have to travel vs wanting to support the event. But I actually can't go if it's in Oxford (for personal reasons that aren't worth going into; it's sort of unfixable but certainly no comment on Oxford itself!), so my choice is simple either way, and I'm sure that the slightly more central location would enable a few more fans to go than would make fans (such as me) unable to go, so I won't have to feel bad about sinking the con with my non-attendance, and I could still support with a non-attending subscription or whatever it was called and get the DVD, etc. I definitely think I'd try to do a premiere whether I was able to go or not.

In sum, I'm glad I went. It had a nice chilled out atmosphere, it was big enough it felt like an event but small enough I felt I at least got to say hi to everyone, and that I had time to really spend some time getting to know some cool folks from on my flist and off it. Parts of it I enjoyed more than I was expecting, parts less (though that led to interesting points about myself as discussed earlier), but I was curious about what it would be like and would always have regretted it if I hadn't gone. And like I said, if it's here, I will go again, if it's not I probably won't, but I still have a desire to support a proliferation of vidding events so I think I would want to support from afar in some way.

So, yes. I think I will call it a Success.

RECS:

From the premieres my favourites were (in order of their appearance in the show, not preference):

This Is The Lullaby by [livejournal.com profile] chaila43, which is a Damages vid that has a fantastic sense of creepy, building atmosphere.

Blue Caravan by [livejournal.com profile] such_heights, which is an Amy Pond (Doctor Who) vid that is eerie and beautiful and feels slightly like a shiver in your spine.

Monster Hero by Franzeska Dickson. It's 90 seconds of pure Gozilla-induced HILARITY but unfortunately it hasn't been posted yet, so that link goes to her DW page in case she posts it sooooon. :)

Fascination by [livejournal.com profile] charmax which is Billy Elliot Dancing Joy.

Hug My Soul by [livejournal.com profile] bop_radar, which is also not posted yet and to a Japanese drama that I have never seen but is so surreally adorable I defy you not to watch it and...be uncertain whether to boggle in confusion or melt from delight.

When I Fall Asleep by [livejournal.com profile] buffyann which is Doctor Who but you don't need to know anything about Doctor Who to love this. It's just beautiful and I'm worried if I say much more I'll wreck it, but trust me, YOU NEED THIS IN YOUR LIFE. It is uplifting, adorable, inspiring and visually stunning. Probably my favourite vid of the con.

Date: 2011-04-13 04:12 pm (UTC)
ext_2208: image of romaine brooks self-portrait, text "Lila Futuransky" (Default)
From: [identity profile] heyiya.livejournal.com
That Robots vidshow/panel sounds like JUST HOW I WANT TO TALK ABOUT VIDS OMG. I don't think I would be much into the kind of deep involved process-type panels you're describing... The way you describe feeling about vidding rings very true to me, though I would be more pretentious and say I'm interested in how vids make new meaning out of the footage rather than the aesthetics and process of editing itself. This is very much how I've been approaching getting vids to WisCon...

Date: 2011-04-14 10:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beccatoria.livejournal.com
IT WAS VERY AWESOME I'M NOT GONNA LIE. ;)

Yeah, I don't think that's pretentious really because I also feel that way at points. Like, I don't think that every vid I make makes new meaning or makes a meta point, but like I said I think that's the part I find most potentially interesting and so it's the part I want to discuss? The editing and the process are a means to that end? Which isn't to say I don't care about them, but that I'll probably always prefer vids that say interesting things, even if they're less technically proficient. (Although yes, I'd be lying if I said I didn't care about technical quality at all, massive aspect ratio distortion or pixelation, etc., do bother me, but you get the point!)

I'm super excited you may have a WisCon vid! Did I mention that arleady? ;)

Date: 2011-04-13 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chaila.livejournal.com
I think in some ways I typically am a bit better than you at watching vids for shows I don't know, just because I'm slightly more apt than you to do it in the usual case. And I definitely enjoyed the vidshows more than I thought I might, though reflecting now my response was fairly typical of my usual response to vids about shows I don't know, in terms of appreciating the shiny or the cutting or the emotional punch or that something was just well done. But when I watch vids on my laptop in my living room, that response feels superficial and thus unsatisfying because in that setting I usually want vids that demand multiple rewatches to get everything it's saying about the text. Yet in the con setting, those kinds of responses felt totally appropriate and enjoyable. I suppose it really all does come down to context, which I knew in theory, but was still interesting to experience.

I've seen several people describe the process-y panels (which I'd actually distinguish from technical ones? For example, I'd say coloring and textures is a technical subject, while vidding vs. time is about process and isn't really a discussion about technique) as "group therapy" and that's actually really kind of crystallized my thoughts on them. Because I can definitely see why that's useful and cathartic and stuff for people, but it's not something that I find particularly useful or feel particularly compelled to contribute to? I think at least partly because I feel like I have been through some individual therapy on that level (usually by yakking at you about it!), and I'm kind of at a place where I'm okay with my Vidding is Fun philosophy, with whatever ramifications that has on the vids I actually make, and don't particularly *want* to talk about the ways in which it can be Hard or force myself to make vids that prove to be unfun to make. Something like that! As for technical panels, I don't even have the patience for tutorials, so... :)

Which is why something like the robots show and panel DID work really well for me, because I felt like it was about vids and not about vidding. I mean, it was partly about vidding and the choices vidders made to make their points, but overall it was about what those vids said about those shows or about a larger topic, not about the mechanics or process of actually making a vid.

Aw, thanks for liking my Damages vid despite not knowing the show. *pets tiny fandom* :)

In conclusion: <3

Date: 2011-04-14 10:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beccatoria.livejournal.com
Yeah - I think it comes back to my weird aversion to New Stuff even when I think I might like it. I do it to shows too. I'm like, "I might enjoy watching that but it seems like...effort," so I don't and I know I do that to vids too using the justification that I don't know the source and I'm just not excited enough to click the link even though I might have a great three minutes watching it if I did. Cus I'm awesome like that... ;)

I think you have a very good point about the burden of reaction though because you're right about what feels appropriate at the con vs what feels appropriate at home and I hadn't thought of it that way before.

I also agree that we probably need a third category of panel by differentiating the technical tutorial type stuff from the group therapy process type stuff. In that context, I would probably enjoy the tutorial stuff more than you but...I would also enjoy it in a different way than I enjoy the meta discussion type stuff. As in, I would find it interesting because it could be useful and because I like learning how to do new things with video editing, but the quality of the interest is very different to the fannish squee joy intellectual engagement thrill I get from the more meta discussions?

I hadn't really thought of the panels as group therapy either but that does make a LOT of sense. And yes, partly I think we yak at each other when we need that but also I think the panels in question weren't areas where I did feel I need that? So it's a bit like going to group therapy for a problem you don't necessarily have? (YET?!)

Anyway. THOUGHTS.

In conclusion: your Damages vid is superawesome. <3

Date: 2011-04-13 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] frolicndetour.livejournal.com
Oh, I knew you were going to the convention but I didn't realize you had an organizing role! I'm so out of it. :) But it's really interesting to read your thoughts on vidding fandoms vs. vidding as a fandom, and I'm glad you had a good time!

Date: 2011-04-14 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beccatoria.livejournal.com
Ha, I didn't really have much of any of an organising role and I didn't talk about it here at all so that's why you missed it. ;) Basically it was in the city I'm from so I helped out very peripherally by going to check out a few hotels that the organisers had been in touch with and seeing the space in person, made a couple of phone calls on their behalf, booked a restaurant table, that kind of thing. It wasn't anything major, trust me! But it was nice to feel I was able to help a little in making it happen. And the actual con organisers were amazing.

I'm glad that you found it an interesting read though, since it felt kind of rambly and indulgent... ;)

Date: 2011-04-13 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a2zmom.livejournal.com
Sounds like an amazing time.

Date: 2011-04-14 11:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] beccatoria.livejournal.com
It was a weird mix of completely what I was expecting and not what I was expecting! But yes, I'm glad I went. Thank you! :)

Date: 2011-05-07 11:39 pm (UTC)
ext_218: (cylon vidding machine)
From: [identity profile] cyborganize.livejournal.com
But I want to hear about your visit with [livejournal.com profile] chaila43!!! /friendshipper

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