thuvia ptarth (thuviaptarth) wrote,
thuvia ptarth

DVD commentary meme

Slightly updated from the comments because I thought of more things.

[personal profile] kiki_miserychic asked about "Origin Stories": This is what they make you take the medication for

I like to start at the beginning... If it's not too big of a section, would you talk about Origin Stories because I'm still in love with this section:

I crawled down to the basement
When the weather got cold
Like a lost lamb returning to the fold
And when the outside world recedes from view
It's just a year's supply of make-up
And memories of you
1967 Colt 45, holding back the vampires
Keeping me alive
There's an envelope with some cash in it
Out by the front door
This is what they make you take the medication for

You would have to ask [personal profile] giandujakiss about clip choices. All I did was say that I wanted the final verse to focus on Dana from "Damages", ending with Wesley and Angel shooting her, and that the final clip in the vid should be Robin's beaten, bloody face. It was Gianduja Kiss' idea to end with Spike putting the coat back on. Brilliant stuff like the paralleling the Watchers' box with Dana's box and paralleling Dana's blood face paint with the First Slayer's face paint was also all GK. (Actually, I have checked my notes, and I also suggested carrying the Robin/Spike fight through the Dana section. I am so glad GK ditched this.)

For once, I do not have a huge long explanation for something! It was just obvious to me from the beginning that the section should be about Dana. This is what they make you take the medication for: the rage, the rebellion, the defeat. Dana getting shot down by Angel and Wesley, Robin getting beaten up by Spike.

I have a love/hate relationship with "Damages" (Dana's episode), because it's a refutation of Spike's narcissism regarding the Slayers in "Lies My Parents Told Me" (I have a hate/hate relationship with "Lies My Parents Told Me"), but it also ends up being Spike's story. Dana is driven crazy by the patriarchy -- the medical establishment, the vampires who killed previous Slayers -- and then she's taken down by a vampire and Watcher in collaboration. The ostensible enemy and the ostensible ally/mentor both have the same desire to control her, subdue her, destroy her. She tells the suppressed stories of the Slayers and is violently silenced. Dana and Robin's stories are both points where the narrative brings up the oppression of women of color and then repeats the initial silencing and erasure: Spike kills them; the narrative uses their stories simply as a prop in the stories of white people. Even when Spike and Angel are supposedly rehabilitated, they're still destroying women of color. And the stories they're in are still letting them get away with it.

I guess that is a huge long explanation, after all.

[personal profile] oracne asked about "Hey Ho": I privatized world peace

The first "Iron Man" section. How you chose clips, the concept, what gave you ideas.

Usual caveats about my intent not superseding other readings, etc.; I just got tired of typing "I intended" over and over again. This is what I thought I was doing. Whether it's what I actually did is up to other people to decide.

I'm not sure whether you wanted to include the credits section; I think of it as a prologue, rather than part of the Tony section per se. Anyway, that section summarizes the vid in miniature: science, soldiers, childen contributing to the war effort. The World War II footage primes the viewer for the later introduction of Steve Rogers and the Howard Stark/baby Tony footage foreshadows the indoctrination of children at the end. The home movies framing initiates the critique of media narratives as part of the military-industrial complex, although this won't become clear until the end.

The Tony section itself depicts Tony Stark as serving the military-industrial complex whether he's wearing a business suit or the Iron Man suit. Either way, he's a war profiteer. The Iron Man suit is another weapon (a plastic gun); the single Iron Man suit becomes an army of Hammer drones; the proliferating missiles of Iron Man 1 become the Iron Man drones of Iron Man 3. A canon fodder soldier throws up a peace sign; Tony throws up two. (I picked it for both the visual echo and the context: it's from the scene where he says, "I privatized world peace.")

The first chorus sets up a bunch of lyrical associations that will continue throughout the vid:

  • The point of sale: weapons, soldiers' bodies, comics

  • The puppet show: soldiers, soldiers, children

  • The merchant kings: Stark Industries, Stark Industries, Marvel Comics

  • Labor: Iron Man blowing things up (war), Stark Industries' R&D (profit and scientific development), drawings of Iron Man (comics/movies/entertainment).

"Someone's dread and darling boy has fallen on his saber"doesn't map as tightly as the other lyrics; I figured I could leave the association looser because those lyrics basically end up applying to the entire vid. Also, I hoped that strongly associating the line with weapons in the first chorus would carry over, reinforcing the idea that the superserum in the second verse and the Captain America uniform and the Iron Man suits in the second chorus are also weapons.

Miscellaneous notes:
  • Figuring out that I could associate the lyrics about kids with visuals of adults and then bring up literal kids in the end was the realization that made the vid fall into place in my head.

  • I went through a lot of possible scenes for Tony to be ignoring in the intro, only to settle on one that's only a few seconds off what was showing on the screen in the first place.

  • It was really important to me to include the scene where Rhodey/Iron Patriot menaces Afghan civilians for laughing at him. The vid is solipsistic in that it focuses on the damage the American military-industrial complex does to Americans. I think that's a legitimate topic in itself, but I wanted to get in at least a token acknowledgement that harm is being done elsewhere.

    That's the only time in the entire Iron Man trilogy that the US military intentionally threatens civilians, by the way.* It's a joke. The audience laughs at it.

    *Unless you count the Hammer drones.

  • The first draft had some Incredible Hulk clips to fill out the military sections, but three separate betas hated them for three separate reasons, so I pulled them.

    Except for the one stealth Hulk clip I left in.

  • I got huge delight from putting flashes, salutes, and theatrical Tony Stark gestures on the beat.

[personal profile] chaila asked about "Riot Act": I want out

The instrumental section from 1:55 to 2:09 of Riot Act, because it is one of my favorite vid sections ever. I love it lots!

Oh, man, "Riot Act" was so long ago I don't remember much of what I was thinking. I know I'd originally planned for the bridge to be the really quick repetition of the previous clips, and then ditched the idea, except where I didn't. I probably would either eliminate the repetition or make it more regular now, but to be honest I still love this section.

Basically, the idea was to convey a sense of urgency, of Riley fighting, which is one reason it's the fastest-cut section in the vid. It's everything that culminates in the fight with Jesse. That includes the betrayals by John and Jesse, which is why the moments of apparent tenderness are there. (Riley putting back her own hair always makes me so sad: like it's a self-comforting gesture, a gesture she copies from Jesse.)

The clips from the fight with Jesse are supersaturated to make them stand out. The fight is the center point; everything else in the bridge ends in the fight or is fall-out from it. (The extreme visual cue to make a particular subset of clips in montage pop is a trick that I carried over from my first vid.)

Here, even Riley's suicide attempt is an attempt to fight her circumstances. So she dances with Death, she breaks free of John, she picks up candy skulls; terminators are everywhere; everyone's a threat; doors close; the future/past runs down the drain and fires go out. I was really proud of messing with the clip of Jesse in the tunnels so that the camera move was the same abrupt jolting pan as in the clip of Cameron. I still really love the sequence of Jesse aiming the gun at her -> Cameron in a threatening stance -> Jesse in the tunnels in a threatening stance. I wanted the relatively still images right before the end fall like hammer blows. And then the hair stroking to make the sudden smash down of the vase -- and the next section, where Riley dies -- more terrible.

[personal profile] kore asked about the openings of "Etheric Messages" and "No Skin":

Everyone I see

My #1 takeaway from the opening of "No Skin" is that it's a bad idea to make your credits 12 seconds long. Especially when the entire vid is only 1 minute and 44 seconds total.

My goal for this section was: Spooky feel, feel of danger, Rebecca as victim, Rebecca as voyeur, voyeurism, being seen, being the seer. The voyeurism of the abductor as danger; the inner eye of Rebecca reconstructing the crime.

This became the opening of the vid fairly late in the process. Originally, I was going to open with tinted and decaying clips of Rebecca, Web, and Paul (Is his name Paul? I can't even remember anymore). I wanted to figure out how to incorporate effects to emphasize meaning. Sadly, [personal profile] elynross pointed out that that set up a vid as equally about Rebecca, Web, and Paul, and it's not. I needed an intro that focused on Rebecca.

(At least I got to do lots of effects work for the credits, splicing Rebecca in and making the footage look like TV footage.)

Those clips were over silence; the audio came later, and at first I was planning to put the text credits over the profiling billboard, with Rebecca's face replacing the face of the profiler before her. But it made her seem too much of a victim. She probably looks like too much of a victim still, but at least with contextual knowledge you know that's not the whole truth: She identifies with the victim, she's seeing what the victim sees, she's reconstructing the crime.

The audio for that bit could come late because I did massive reconstruction work on the song -- not just cutting stuff, but rearranging things so much that the structure of the song is completely different from the original. I wince at the one part where the volume's messed up, but I do still feel proud of the rest of it.

Messages from another world

Taking the first 19 seconds as the intro -- you don't even get a clear picture of Olivia's face yet, huh. Contributes to the feeling of unease. I picked the first place where you see Olivia's face deliberately, but I hadn't realized or had forgotten that it took so long.

What I wanted: A sense of strangeness, mystery, beauty, underlying threat. A sense of entering a strange world. Visual eerieness a contrast to ethereal music. (A lot of people have commented that the music is eerie, which is not what I thought when I first listened to it; I just thought the sweetness of the music would make the spookiness of the visuals more intense.) Alchemy (fire, water, air, unsuccessful attempts to find earth), because science in Fringe is alchemy: pre-scientific, really, pseudo-science, lead into gold, transmutations. One of the things that interested me in the first season of Fringe was science as mythology: all the science is terrible as science, but that season does have a lot to say about science as a social object, and what scientific ethics are, and what it means for science to become corporatized.

Floating, with Olivia. Then preparations for Olivia to undergo an experiment, a journey. I wanted to start with Olivia floating in the tank because that's the first step, the first submersion into the other world. I knew it might make people think the entire vid was a hallucination or dream, but, well, I liked the opening enough that I didn't care. I would use a different clip for the end credits now, though.

Typeface selected to match the music, not the source, and I'm still fine with that.

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Tags: commentary track, meme, my vids: commentary, vidding
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