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Alternative vids
Why this community exists 
13th-Oct-2008 09:47 pm
A vidder asked me some questions at her LJ about what altvidding is. I thought you might be interested in my answers.


If you do a search on "fan fiction" and "fanfic" at YouTube, quite a lot of cases will show up of folks vidding their own fanfic. Sometimes someone will vid another person's fan fiction, such as this vid (not work-safe) that I stumble across at IMEEM. What I haven't been able to figure out (because it's hard to do an appropriate keyword search) is how many fandom-based folks are vidding original fiction or litfic or historicalfic. "Originalfic" and "original fiction" do turn up a few vids at YouTube, and I've seen vids occasionally at a historicalfic comm I watch.

I started doing altvidding without knowing whether anyone else in fandom was doing it, but I assumed that any problems I had with other vidders would arise from the fact that my vids were about my own originalfic. It wasn't until I started hanging out with vidders that I realized that the fact my vid was about literature was the biggest problem. The dawning point for me came when a vidder asked me (obviously trying to check out my credentials as a slasher) whether I'd written any fan fiction, and I said cheerfully, "I've written some litslash." The vidder replied, "Um . . . yes, but have you written any fan fiction?"

That's when I went off and started altvidding. But most of the vidders I've met have been very friendly when discussing this topic.

A second reason why I started altvidding was when I realized that Western-based vidders require that vids be live action. I suppose they might accept documentary footage as "live action," but even there, problems would likely arise. What this meant, then, was that any fan person who created a vid about literature or history would have to use footage from fictional movies or television programs, or they'd fall outside of Western vidders' definition of vidding.

This seemed to me to be overly restrictive, from the point of view of the historicalfic and litfic communities, whose canon material is not necessarily fictional movies or television programs. The same might be true of a vid about fanfic; the fanfic might be about history or literature rather than a movie or television program. And where originalfic was concerned, the canon material was definitely literature, so there seemed no reason why originalfic vidders should have to restrict themselves to the techiques used by vidders in media-based fandoms.

(It hadn't occured to me till I wrote this, but bandficcers and other RPF fans might encounter problems too. Would a vid based on a music video or documentary footage of the people qualify as a traditional vid?)

[The person I'm exchanging posts with asks whether the community of altvidders is small.]

There isn't any community for altvidders currently (unless you count the tiny handful of folks who have signed up for my comm, and I know that at least one of them is a traditional vidder who simply wants to learn more about altvidding). I suspect that, in the Japanese-based fan community, there's no need for an altvidding community since, as far as I can tell, the Japanese-based fan folk regard both anime and manga as legitimate subjects for vids. I doubt that even a vid about originalfic would cause any raised eyebrows, provided that the vid used anime or manga-style art.

Outside the fan communities, there's a lot of Western-literature-based vidding going on - it's a hot topic in certain profic communities at the moment, such as the gay romance community.

Western-based fan folk sometimes produce vids about literature or history, but all of the ones I've seen use live-action, fictional clips. For example, when someone I knew decided to produce a vid about their original slash series, they used clips from a fictional movie. I think most people from the Western-based fandom community are so used to seeing media-based songvids that it doesn't occur to them to use nonfictional clips (say, documentary material) or still images. Whereas the Japanese-based fan community is heavily steeped in professional manga images and fan art images, so, to them, there's nothing strange about creating a vid based on professional art or fan art.

The ironic part about it is that, if you get a historicalfic reader talking on the topic of historical art, chances are good that they'll gush at length about their favorite artworks, often in relation to the stories that they or others have written. (The Mary Renault writers will talk about their favorite classical sculptures, the Arthurian writers will talk about their favorite Arthurian art, and so on.) And of course there's a long tradition within the Western fandoms of fan art. (Note, for example, that the vid I linked to above slips in a few erotic fan art images.) I actually discovered slash initially through slash art.

Um . . . I strongly suspect that's TMI. I didn't actually plan to come onto this blog to talk about altvidding; I just figured that my working methods would be inexplicable if I didn't explain that I was an altvidder.
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