putting 'costumed vigilante' as my occupation (tartanshell) wrote in vidding,
putting 'costumed vigilante' as my occupation

On POV and context of clips

Hi everyone,

I'm working through some big-picture issues with my latest vid, and I thought I'd toss some questions out to the community and see what you all think.


From what I've read in some of the memories for this community, it sounds like a lot of people think vids should be from a particular character's point of view, and that, as in good writing, you should stay tightly to your POV character and not jump into someone else's head. For example, say you have a vid about Harry Potter and Hermione, and you have the song lyrics, "You say you're gonna leave me; I know it's a lie/ 'Cause that'll be the day when I die."

If the vid is from Harry's POV, telling his story, you wouldn't want to show a clip of Harry leaving, right? Because the "you" is Hermione, and the "I" is Harry.

Another example--you're vidding to the Barney song "I love you/ You love me...", with Arwen and Aragorn. If it's from Arwen's point of view, and you show her face on "I love," then go to Aragorn on "you," you wouldn't then want to go to Arwen's face on "You love" in the next line, because she is the first person (I and me), and not the second person (you).

...Right? So, like, that'd be a tight first-person vid. In a tight first-person vid, you would never (from what I've gathered) want to put a character other than your POV character on an "I" line or part of a line ("I can see clearly now," "I can't breathe"), and you would never put your POV character on a "you" line or part of a line ("You are the bearer of unconditional things," "Your love is better than ice cream").

So, I can see how jumping around with POV could be very confusing, just as it is when an inexperienced writer starts to write in first person ("I went to the store and saw Joe, who was eating an apple") and then jumps to another POV ("I went to the store and saw Joe, who was eating an apple and thinking about monkeys.") WTF? How did the narrator know that Joe was thinking about monkeys?

But. In writing, POV shifts can and often are pulled off well by writers who make the conscious choice to shift from one viewpoint character to another. Can the same be done in vidding?

What if a vidder looks at a first-person song not as a single viewpoint narrative but instead as a dialogue? Of course both speakers would refer to themselves as "I" and to the other person as "you." That's how conversations go. (You could see it, in a vid, as either dual-first-person POV, where we are in both characters' heads, or as a more objective third-person "window" on the conversation.) In fic, it's not confusing:

"I want to go to the store," Hermione said.
"I don't," Harry replied.
"Oh, you're impossible!"
"And you aren't?" Harry grinned. "You make me think of monkeys."

There wasn't a dialogue tag on that third line, but did anyone doubt it was Hermione? Reading fic, we know by line breaks and dialogue tags who's speaking--who is "I" and who is "you" in each line. Or sometimes, in artsy fics, we're never told which lines belong to which character, but that's (in my opinion) because the writer wants us to figure it out and interpret the conversation our own way.

So...my question is, is there anything "wrong" with doing this in a vid? In the example I gave above, I said that a tight first-person Harry vid, using the lyrics, "You say you're gonna leave me; I know it's a lie/ 'Cause that'll be the day when I die," you shouldn't put Hermione on an "I" line because the vid isn't from her POV.

If these lines were seen as dialogue, though, it would be a different story. If Harry said, "You say you're gonna leave me; I know it's a lie," and Hermione replied, "'Cause that'll be the day when I die!" You've switched POV characters, but (I think) it could still work. The meaning would be different, but that's kind of the point.

Sometimes you might have a song in which many (but not all) lines are just perfect for Character A. Instead of banging your head against a wall trying to figure out what they would mean by the lines that aren't things they would think or say, could it not work to have those lines "said" by another character?

How confusing would something like this be to the audience? I think using the song-as-dialogue option would require the vidder to either make the changing POV abundantly clear somehow (consistently using an effect for Character X's lines, or making sure to shift from a shot of Character X to Character Z every time the POV changes), or for the vidder not to care (that is, leave it open to interpretation) which lines belong to which character. If the line is, "Say you'll never leave me," and the vidder wants the audience to guess which character thinks/says this, then I guess it wouldn't matter if it's a little unclear.

What do you all think? Is shifting POV in a vid something that should never, ever be done? Or is it okay if it's a conscious choice on the part of the vidder?

Obviously, (and perhaps unfortunately, depending on how you ship), Frodo and Pippin never declare their undying slashy Hobbity love onscreen. Luke never asks Han to date him, and Hermione and Harry don't spend all of the HP movies totally pining over one another. But. This kind of stuff happens all the time in fanfic and in vids.

My question is, how much does the original source--that is, what's actually going on in Star Wars or LOTR--matter when you take out a clip and stick it in your vid? If Luke is actually yelling "NOOO!" when he finds out Vader is his daddy (a pretty big moment in the SW films), and you make that anguished look mean "NOOO! WHY can't we make out in the Falcon?!" in your vid, is your audience going to do a double-take and say, "Hey! Why's the clip of Luke-needing-therapy in a Luke/Han vid?"

If we're assuming that other fans (particularly other vidders) are just as familiar with the source as we are, how many people are going to know that Harry's smile was actually directed at Ron, not Hermione? That Aragorn swinging his sword there (which, in your vid, happens at Helm's Deep) was actually in the forest with the orcs?

How much does chronology matter? If you stuck "Return of the King"!Frodo in an early verse of your song (amidst a bunch of clips from "The Fellowship of the Ring"), or season three!Lex in a mostly-season-one!Smallville vid, are people going to be thrown out of the vid?

Are we (that is, vid viewers) supposed to go in pretending that we haven't seen the source before, ready to accept a totally new reality? (In which Luke's smile is actually because of what Han just said, and not because he just mastered a Jedi trick?) And if so, what happens if the vidder chose to put a certain clip at a certain moment because of the moment in the source that clip represents?

...Or are we just supposed to take each vid individually and figure out whether the vid is pulling something meaningful-but-already-there out of the source or if it's constructing a new story out of the existing footage of the characters? Is it up to each vidder (with each vid) to decide what is more important: preserving the original "meaning" of each clip, or using the perfect clip (regardless of its original context) to convey the message they want to get across?

I know there's probably no set-in-stone "right way" and "wrong way" to vid, but I'd love to hear other people's opinions. :)

...And wow. Vidding is fun, but I think it's going to make my head explode one of these days. *g*

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