The Vidding Empire

This post gets the public service tag. :D

If you’ve read this blog for more than a few pieces, you know how rabid I am about fan videos, which I’m defining as videos set to music and starring the object of a fan’s attention — someone or something. They got me started on Richard Armitage, and my love for them has become so intense that I’m wondering when these things will gain much more notoriety than they currently enjoy. For now they are not really acknowledged much by the mainstream media, and a good part of the reason is the history of their illicit nature. In my search on the web, I found one piece from a mainstream media source discussing the significance of fan videos, and that was from 2007. Maybe there are a few more, but the key word would be few. However, at some point soon I think fan videos will have more formal recognition. So far for most people who don’t peruse videos sites and are over the age of 25, there has been no awareness these things exist, but that’s changing as more and more people (even your grandmother) are starting to surf YouTube.

Heck, SO’s almost 80 year old parents get on YouTube regularly, and my mother, who by the way, is considerably younger :D, also gets on YouTube. So if you’re 60 and you don’t ever get on YouTube? What planet are you on? ;-)

Actually, I’m assuming most reading this are the choir. So why did I even say that? Maybe there is one out there among you who has not ventured onto a video site for fear it’s just stuff like this:

and you got your fill of this kind of thing on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Oh, you’ve never seen that show? LUCKY YOU. Really wrestling here with the temptation to go on a rant about why I hated that show when it was on, but one rant a week is enough. The show is still on?! God help us.

Of course this is a cute video, and it’s understandable why it’s in the top ten all-time watched videos on YouTube, but c’mon, after you’ve watched it 300 times, you would think it would get old. FYI: a few weeks ago this video passed its four year anniversary, and I can see its lasting effect with the eventual publication of How to Pay For College: The Advantages of Being a Mischievous Teether in the Digital Age by Charles Davies-Carr. ;-)

Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah, fan videos. Well, if you’re new to them, and I’m assuming you’re a Richard Armitage fan since you’re reading this blog, there is only one place to go, and my friends, it’s not YouTube. No, it’s a little place on the web hosted by one of the most intriguing fans, Elvira Sweeney. Here are some things I know about Elvira. She is artistic, prolific, a bit perfectionistic, and definitely industrious. Oh, and she likes RA. :D He was the inspiration for what I now think of as the RA Fan Video Empire, or just The Empire. So what is this place? It’s called RAfanvids, and if you have never been there, oh my are you in for a treat. Now the only proviso I will give you is that you must prep the storage on your computer so you can download to your heart’s content when you get there. You’re not sure about this downloading? No, you’ve got to change that notion. You can’t really enjoy some of these videos without watching a download. YouTube, Vimeo, et al will not give you the quality of a 1080 vid. You can only get the real impact of it by downloading and watching on your system or possibly your tv monitor.

Take this video for example:

You can watch it and love the music and the clips, but you can’t get the full effect of this unless you download and watch. It’s the eyes. You almost fall into them. Can’t get that from watching on YouTube — even in full screen mode. Oh, it’s better than the little window, but not nearly as good as watching your own copy.

Or consider this one:

Want to really feel like that leather is within arm’s reach, download! And of course the eyes are also compelling. By the way this video was done as part of Elvira’s “Vidding on the Cheap” series for all those people who think making videos with an old Mac isn’t possible. Guess again.

This is one of my favorite montage videos, and for good reason. I really feel I’m in the room with RA and he’s looking at me when I watch the download:

This was the video that convinced me I needed to watch everything I could from a download copy. Once I got this one on my computer and started watching, I realized that I had missed so much on YouTube, and if a video is not in a large format, putting the player in full screen doesn’t really cut it either. So I downloaded this one and was blown away. I also realized something about Elvira. She can read people. Anyone who puts as much emphasis on people’s eyes and expressions is focused on reading them. I would love to know what she really thinks of RA other than just liking him so damn much. LOL!

And the next two you haven’t really seen unless you’ve watched a download and especially in 1080. You watch these like that, and you will never be satisified with them on YouTube again.

If you still don’t want to download, you can just watch the videos on that site, and there are quite a few that are not on YouTube. So check it out.

One more thing. If you go over to RAfanvids, you may notice something is absent. But no worries, ’cause Elvira’s got it covered over here. :D (note: the link is an archive page and not all pages linked within it are available).

Candid shot from, uh, I’m not sayin’.

Top Ten Fanvids

Okay, I should say these are MY top ten fanvids.

For anyone who’s been following this blog, you already know I lamented the difficulty of making this post and mainly because there are so many RA videos out there. But I had such a good time trying to watch as many as I could to be fair. These things are almost like my children. I didn’t realize I had it in me to love so many. All the more to make it difficult to highlight only ten. But what a great problem to have! And I scrapped my in-depth criteria. The post would have been too long, and it may be already! Quite simply the ones selected are the videos I find myself going back to again and again.

I put them in an order, but hey, this order could change tomorrow or maybe later today. LOL!

I’ve embedded all of them below which shouldn’t be a problem, but if enough people experience problems, I may change how I’ve configured this post.

#10 — the ethereal quality of the song and the editing make me accept this AU (Alternate Universe) story as canon! Very soothing on a lot of levels. LOL!

#9 — considering it’s Thornton’s longing we mostly see in North and South, I love this take on Margaret pining.

edit: this video is no longer on YouTube, so the creator of the video, ATFrancis, has given me permission to upload here, and if you would like your own copy, you can download at FoolishPassion, one of Elvira’s sites.

#8 — this was one of my first Guy videos, and it captures his angst over Marian perfectly. At one point it disappeared from YouTube, but then it came back. Yea! I’ve never gotten tired of watching it. I love the editing, and it was my introduction to Shinedown.

#7 — too much to write about why I love this one; maybe it should move up. No, I’ve got to stop somewhere. Thank you, DB for editing MJ’s song. It was way too long. Your timing is perfect.

#6 — this is a masterpiece and probably should be #1. It’s the shortest video on the list, but the impact of it is enormous. I’ll stop there or this post will be so long it won’t load.

#5 — the quality of this video is stunning. Please, please, please if you like it, download it in the 1080 format. It’s RA like you’ve never seen him. Oh, and it’s Shinedown again. Love it!

#4 — whatever “it” is, Nat has it. I’ll sum up this video in a word: brilliant. Also, great thanks to Heather for her wonderful inspiration!

#3 — this is one slick video. DB just gets better and better and she’s already great. Oh, I would love to go back and completely rewrite the post I did on this one!

#2 — it’s scary how many times I’ve watched this and not just at the normal speed but slowed down as well. I notice something new every time, so I can’t seem to stop analyzing it. The video is a feast.

#1 This video may be a 10.

Most of these are available for download. Check their YouTube descriptions to find out how.

More Strike Back Love — SPOILERS

Yeah, I guess there are some spoilers.

DelicateBlossom has outdone herself. I love this video, and no, I don’t love every RA video. I don’t dislike any of them. I actually like a lot of them and really appreciate the effort. But I don’t love all of them. I love this one. DB said in her comments that she had fun making it, and it shows.

She nails the feeling of the show. Love the ending!

I also noticed in her comments that she has been sitting on that song for a year. It was worth it.

Oh, and it’s already up at RAfanvids, so I got my HD big format copy, and that kind of definition is spoiling me. LOL!

Some Get It — SPOILERS

Spoilers galore for ‘Strike Back” in the video below

Notes to self:

Mantra: this show is a ride. DelicateBlossom gets it. Somehow I knew she would. Let’s hope the producers don’t mess it up by making an identity crisis where there should be none. The whole point of an action flick is to appeal to the viscera and not so much about thinking. It’s about going along for one helluva ride and feeling things rushing at you as you go. Don’t think so much; feel. I realize this is hard for some of us, but give it a chance. You might like it, and it might lead to a deeper meaning than all the thinking can derive.

Yes, I say that despite the lyrics to this song.

Coming up: my take on JP’s identity crisis.

So I Took A Breather

WARNING: Spoilers in this post — specifically in the video.

The sane side of me reared its ugly head and came up for air.

Last week I feasted steadily on the interviews for Strike Back. Oh, it was good, and I felt really satisfied at times, but the hunger was back the next day. Finally, at the end of the week, I was sick from consuming so much. I needed time to digest.

This is helping me get back to my crazy self:

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember having quite so much press hype to gorge on with Spooks 8, and I was darn near starved to death with Robin Hood 3. Plus, RA seemed to be merely doing his duty promoting those shows, but I wanted to hear more of his take on character development, his personal development, and life in general. There was only one interview during Spooks 8’s promotion that stands out (more on that later). This time around I didn’t know which one to consume first and they’re still coming fast and furiously. Throw in some titillating comments from RA about possibilities, and it’s enough to make me pass out. A Guy of Gisborne spinoff?! I think that was either a crack or a crumb. Not sure which yet, and I’m not really sure it was for us fans anyway. I tend to think it’s for potential producers. He does mention a lot that he likes to work. Is there a producer crazy enough or creative enough to bring a Gisborne spinoff to the telly?

On a more serious note, I love Maria’s treatment of some of the interviews. I’m still digesting.

But what I know today is RA reveals a lot about himself to the point that I feel like a voyeur and a child. Sometimes he has a childlike quality in his discussions that evokes that response from me. Oh, I don’t mean he’s immature. If anything, he articulates his observations as an old sage, but it’s couched in terms of childlike wonder and a candidness that is seldom seen in adults, and certainly not in adults who are in the media. Again, the media types only seem to spin themselves for our consumption, so any childlike quality is designed merely to endear us to them and not because they really love to discover things about life. Maybe that’s what’s happening and I just like RA so much I don’t want to believe I’m being played. See what a cynic I am. I can’t just enjoy this. I’ve got to analyze it to death. I’ve got to question my reaction and his motives. SO has said many times that I question everything that moves and if it doesn’t, I kick until it does to the point where I beat the joy out of it. Maybe he’s right.

Oh, and my apologies for so many food analogies. I started a new eating regimen to accommodate my new jacked up exercise routine. I’ve returned to eating six meals a day, and it seems I can’t stop thinking about food even when I want to.

Next up: my thoughts on Episodes 1 & 2 of Strike Back, which I really am writing for myself. If you guys get something out of it, then goody. Otherwise, it’s placed here so the family doesn’t have to listen to it. LOL!

You Intervention

I was inspired to do this blog from a video done by DelicateBlossom. It’s called 4 Minutes (unfortunately the sound is now muted on YouTube[see update below]). I watched the video a long time ago but had forgotten exactly how it went. So I downloaded a copy and was stunned by how well it describes the obsession! Especially starting around 1:32. LOL! Oh, yeah, that’s it exactly!

Definitely puts a grin on my face.

So if you need a grin:

DelicateBlossom, you do great work!

Note to everyone else:

Since this video is not embedded from YouTube, DelicateBlossom’s hit count will not go up. So could you go over there and watch some of her wonderful videos to compensate for this one not counting? And if she has a problem with me putting this here, she is certainly free to let me know, and I’ll do something else. But I hope all of you flood her account with lots of hits so she won’t have a problem. :D

Update as of 5-1-10:

DelicateBlossom did get back to me and has now pointed me to a copy of the video I can embed.