Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thoughts on "This World" vid by Buffyann

I first saw this vid at VidUKon, a vidder's convention in the UK, back in October while I was doing my fieldwork there. It played as part of the "Unexpected Choices" vidshow, due to the unusual selection of the nouveau-jazz / trip-hop song "This World" by Zero 7 (confession: it's a favourite band of mine) to scenes of violence, destruction, warfare, and general angst from the early seasons of Battlestar Galatica.

What struck me was just how much the musical choice can affect the interpretation of the vid. I noticed about 3/4 into last year that I was putting way too much theoretical emphasis on the visual aspects of vidding, and was forgetting entirely that this is an AUDIO-visual medium. At VidUKon many of the editors patiently explained to me that the idea for a vid tends to grow out of a SONG first - that the music somehow reminds them of a certain aspect of their favourite television series. The music is the instigator for most vids, from what I was told (there are, of course, exceptions but this seems to be the trend.)

Back to the vid in question, then. Consider how different this vid would be if we traded the cool beats and mellow voice of Zero 7 and traded it for a punk rock song? Or an operatic aria? How differently would we interpreted the intention of the editor in such a case? To me, at least, this particular musical choices makes this vid a thoughtful meditation on these humans of the Galactica and the fleet and their struggle to survive.

But I'll let the vidder herself describe to you how she understands the show both conceptually and aurally:

"The idea for this came very early on from watching the pilot of BSG and whenever the opening credits came in, there was just something about them that totally marked me then. It wasn't the usual SciFi music, it carried so much more, so much pain and hope as well. it was clearly established then for me, how the show was not about scifi, but about this lost civilization looking for a meaning and a way to survive. It's always been what dragged me to BSG. And so this vid is suppose to mirror this idea. The lyrics tell you the rest better than me."


For Buffyann, who I had the pleasure of talking to in the UK, the lyrics of the song describe the story she is trying to tell. The song is the backbone that ties all the visual scenes together and knits it into a narrative rather than just a clip show. Have a look, and let me know what you think.

BSG - This World - Buffyann

Monday, February 02, 2009

sowing misconceptions

One of my mailing lists pointed me towards this documentary on SL by the CBC. You can watch the entire video online through the website.

I was so struck by the misconceptions and sensationalism in the doc, even from the very beginning - it continually refers to SL as a game and never brings up the term "virtual world" or "online world" at all. I was also disappointed in how SL was blamed for the problems in these people's marriages when I suspect that those problems already existed, and SL was an escape bringing some happiness to them. I don't like to see the platform scapegoated for ruining marriages. Also, it made me really angry when the doc kept saying that these women had fallen in love with "fantasies" - there are real people using those avatars, communicating with them and listening to them. Also quite tickled to see the scenes framed as being of an "unhappy household" of the woman in Pennsylvania showed the husband cleaning up around the house, doing the shopping, and spending time with the children while the wife got some time to herself. I personally think she took it too far, but I still strongly disliked how the doc made it seem that she should be the one doing all these things while her husband got to leave the house and be "breadwinner". Last time I checked, CBC, it was 2009, not 1952.