Joys of Fan Vidding or What Does This Button Do?

film strip colorHot on the heels of last Thursday’s post, I decided to continue making little films but quickly ran out of usable footage.  One of the big problems recording with an iPhone is making sure to shoot horizontal and not vertical.  Hence I wrecked a nice film recorded at a Japanese hibachi restaurant.  What to do? I don’t intend to make fan videos but it would interesting to learn about the process.  Interviewing other video makers about the how-to seemed the best way to go, until I realized that many of the main fan vidders had already been interviewed for the two Fanstravaganzas.  Great. 

Although the task seemed daunting, the only thing to do was read up a bit and jump right in.  It turned out to be not quite like that. So, hypothetically, if I were a new video maker interested in leaping into the fray, what exactly would it take?

First I would have to select the editing software. Being cheap, I would opt to use Windows Live Movie Maker bundled with Windows 7.  This program was not immediately intuitive. The idiot proof aspect occurred only after I watched the tutorials. However, producing the fireworks and bicycle videos were simple and linear. They simply required music and transitions if needed.  But how would you tell your own story in a fan video using footage from a series?

Second, I learned not to grab any kind of footage, so I had to read about ripping raw footage from a DVD. This would require downloading a small but powerful program, MPEG Streamclip. If I used clips, they had to be preferably high quality.  But I couldn’t edit that footage yet in WMM – I would have to “set up” the clips or my video would look like garbage.

film reelThird, I learned from nifty tutorials all over video forums how to setup clips, that is how to process and convert them to a format appropriate for editing. This meant I would have to know the resolution (i.e. 720×526), format (PAL or NTSC) and aspect 16:9 (letterbox)/ 4:3 (normal) of the footage.  Heaven forbid I didn’t know the right aspect or I’d have squished or squashed images.    If I had a mix of resolutions and formats,  I would have to convert the clips to be on the same page, as it were.  The tutorials provided the exact settings for using MPEG Streamclip.  Boom, converted.  Once I wrapped my brain around this process, which was the hardest in terms of a learning curve, my studies progressed. (If you’re curious, the answer in my situation was to convert to NTSC DVD DV AVI.  Aren’t you glad you know now?).  This may sound complicated, but as I said, once it mentally clicked, it’s smooth sailing.

Four, armed with a load of newly convert AVI clips, I would have to attach descriptive labels so they could be used again.  THEN I was ready to drag and drop them into WMM.  I would select a song, depending on copyright constraints which would be published on either YouTube or other more lenient sites like Vimeo.  With the song in place, I would use WMM to edit the clips I wanted and arrange them like a jigsaw puzzle according to taste, tempo and and the story I wished to tell using all the programs bells and whistles if I so chose.  Tutorials listed different things to do or avoid in making videos but from watching numerous pieces on the internet I would say it’s all down to viewer personal taste and what the vidder wanted to say.

Five,  I would add the title and credits (very important) and render my masterpiece into a file appropriate for posting on video sites and then upload it to that site.  That’s it.  The video would be out there for all the world to see.

So, after all that study, would I bite the bullet and finally make a fan video?  Well, if I did I’d probably select as a topic Sir Guy of Gisborne played by a certain Richard Armitage.  Or maybe not.

What do you think?



I Want To Know What Love Is – A Richard Armitage Fan Video

This is my first ever fan video. The actor in question is Richard Armitage by popular request. Of course I went to the Dark Knight, Sir Guy for inspiration. I’ve always loved this song and it seems to suit Sir Guy to a tee. This video is for personal use only.


My Psyche Breaks Out or I’m Ready for My Closeup, Mr. DeMille

As pointed out in my London saga when Winston loves his Happy Pills, my psyche flourishes. This is a very welcome development.  I started blogging in an attempt to jump-start my creativity which has lain dormant since law school.  Law school by its nature teaches to think inside the box and by the law; creative legal thinking could very well get your client 20 years to life. Over time, my right-brain hemisphere, the seat of creativity, has been very slowly awakening to the idea of returning to things I loved: writing and drawing.  I even darkened the door of an art supply store for the first time ever inspired by Zelda’s wonderful artist blog. Schools supplied my earlier tools, so this was a novel experience for me just to buy pencils, charcoal, knead-able erasers and sketch books.  I felt a sense of accomplishment walking out with my supplies.

So armed with writing and drawing tools I’m getting right to it, right?  Wrong!

Instead I entered the addictive world of video making!  For those of you who miss the daily chat room discussions (usually 8:00PM onwards CDT), the topic of video making arose.  Video maven BccMee explained the programs she used to make her great videos.   She pointed out Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 bundled with Windows 7.  (It also is downloadable for Vista).  Now, I’ve never paid any attention to this program for some strange reason, I felt compelled to try it.  I had gigabytes of video taking up space in my iPhone that needed to seen by somebody’s eyes.  So I downloaded it all and proceeded to make movies – for hours.  Now I understand the addictive quality of making fanvids.  This program is so elegant and simple, it’s almost – I repeat almost- idiot proof.  It’s fascinating watching the movie coming together piece by piece to create the finished product.   Finally I produced my first actually watchable videos.  Who woulda thunk it?  So for my 100th post, I’ll share them.

My first attempt is July 4th fireworks filmed live with an iPhone 4 in HD.  YouTube blocked it so I had to audio swap (which you can watch) but the original is now on Vimeo.  There’s also a short slideshow tribute to my dog Lance if you wish to view.


July 4th Fireworks 2011

Fireworks on July 4, 2011 at Ty Warner Park, Westmont, Illinois. Filmed up close and personal. Music is Star Spangled Banner sung by Sandi Patty. This video is for personal enjoyment. There is no monetary gain. No infringement intended.


I filmed the next videos at one of the most interesting places I’ve ever seen, the Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, Ohio.  I visited this summer with Trinalin who does the honor of correcting my lousy vision.  These videos are entertaining and informative especially if you remember the old days and love bikes.   Try to watch close to HD if you can.


Bicycle Museum of America – Part 1

Tour of the Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, Ohio. If you want more information, visit their website at: Music is Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two) performed by HelfieldWill. His YT site is:


Bicycle Museum of America – Part 2

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So, I know you’re thinking: does this mean you’re making fanvids? I don’t know, the idea is tempting.  However considering the quality of some of the fabulous ones I’ve seen, I will certainly take my time with the music and compilation.  The bar is so high in this area.

So what do you think about fan vidding?  Any tips, stories, recommendations?  Feel free to share!