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Silver and Gold CPs

 
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Hobbes
Council Member


Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 11209
Location: Vancouver, BC

PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 8:28 am    Post subject: Silver and Gold CPs Reply with quote

Silver and Gold CPs - What it Takes


"Why did my video not get a ____" The question asked by many vidders nowadays. That's good though! It means they have the drive to do something about it and improve their videos. I've always said that all a vidder needs is a drive to be the best, and they WILL be the best. LVI tries to reward the vidders who show this drive and put all that extra work into their videos with awards like the CPs. However, there are always those that are left out. And if we don't tell them why they're left out, then it doesn't matter how great their drive to succeed is, since they'll never know what constitutes these awards.
Therefore, this guide is here to completely outline what I myself see as the difference between a Gold CP, a Silver CP, and no award at all. I won't lie, there really isn't much separating a lot of them, and each judge has their own opinion on just what it takes to get each, but I believe I can generally outline just what factors constitute each award.

The major areas we look at:

1. Originality - A video with a unique idea, even if not that well-done, can still do great. Just look at some of the humor vids on LVI. While many of them are definitely not what one should consider 'well-done', many have a hilarious idea, and that's sometimes all it takes. Originality is a hard thing to define, but it's easy to see. A video with something unique to it, even as little as a song that fits particularly well to a certain character in Lost, could be considered originality, and it's what we all watch videos for in the first place. A video that makes you say "Wow, that feels like it was meant to be! It fits the lyrics so well!" is INFINITELY better than a montage of random clips. If all you want in your video is some nice random Lost clips to one of your favourite songs, then get out now and just turn on the TV while listening to your iPod, it gets the same effect done. Believe it or not, but vidding, at least to us, is an art.

2. Viewer Attention - A video is defined by how much the audience likes it. It's made to be played while they give their full attention to the vid. This is a big deal; your video has every person who watches its full attention. Your job is to earn that attention, and keep it on the video.
    A) Length - Since everyone's life is governed by time, so are your videos. Your goal in a vid is to keep the viewer interested and eager-to-watch throughout your entire video. The longer it is, the harder this ends up being. Keeping an audience captivated for a minute is much easier than 5 minutes. If you don't think you can do that, then maybe it's time to choose another song, or cut down this one in an audio editor.
    B) Story - What is your video trying to say, if anything? Every video has to have some sort of story, or there's no point to it at all (see my 'go watch TV with an iPod' remark). This can be as simple as an outline of a shipper's relationship, or as complex as an AU (Alternate Universe) story which you've completely created by arranging clips the right way. In each, it comes down to just how much of the video was planned, and how much was just thrown in to make up space. Random Clips, as we call them, are anything that looks like it was just thrown in to fill space, and often consists of a bunch of random shipper scenes in many vids. RANDOM CLIPS ARE YOUR WORST ENEMY - they are almost ALWAYS the main reason a video will be turned down for an award. A video that has scenes for no other reason than to fill in space might as well just leave those spaces black, because they're just as useless. Clips have to have a point in a video, or the whole vid is meaningless. You have to try and tie in a clip to the lyrics, the beat/feel of the song, or the story of your video. A story comes in handy because it can provide a structure to put clips in at parts of the song where you have no lyrics or anything to hang onto. If you add a story, and then go through it with clips in chronological order (or whatever you wish) it can look good and still fill space. An example of a story would be Jack and Kate's relationship, which started as a friendship in desperate times (like the first few eps of Season 1, when they faced the monster), and gradually grew, little by little, to a point when they kissed. It was not always one big happy love connection, it grew, and thus your vid could portray this too. Just a bunch of random Jate clips from everywhere looks like nothing, and could bore even a die-hard Jater within a minute. Once more, RANDOM CLIPS ARE YOUR WORST ENEMY.
    C) Audio Cues (Beats, Rises, etc.) - These are excellent tools in keeping a viewer's attention. Take full advantage of the song, and listen carefully for when the song changes pace, or has some big dramatic moment, and harness it! A video that uses the song and cuts at just the right places is pretty-much guaranteed to keep an audience happy. Don't let these cues slip through your fingers, because they're practically gold as far as making your vid good goes. Even a slow song still has many audio cues that tell you when you should switch scenes, and when you should add in effects. Ideally, every single clip in your vid should fit the feel of the song. On a fast beat, you should have many cuts, and quicker scenes (like Kate running, etc.) while on a slow, piano solo you should have a touching, slow (but still cut often, just less abruptly) scene. Likewise, songs are often divided into stanzas, which you can use in your video to determine when to switch from one aspect or scene of the vid to another. A vid that jumps from, say, Jack in the water to a sudden cut of Charlie shooting Ethan, on a whim, without a audio cue like the end of a verse, is going to look awful and will likely be thought of as a random clip. Also watch out for "Talkie Clips", which I'll talk about more below. They heavily interfere with the mood of the video.
    D) Climax - In every story there's a climax; a point that it builds to and lets loose where you just say "Wow". The best stories have the best climaxes, and thus so must your videos. If you hope to have a lot of comments on your video that aren't just "That was good, good job, lolz" and actually sound like you've really impressed the viewers, then a climax is the most important thing in your video. Listen to your song for when it builds up and has its moment, and harness that point with your story, beat use, and originality to bring your vid to a crashing climax that should leave the viewers speechless. These things are pretty-much vital to a good vid, so if your song does not have one, it's time to either change the song or create your own climax with your story alone. You can have the cleanest, nicest vid ever, but without a climax it can never get any better than "pleasant" or "nice".

3. Aesthetics (Colour, Cleanliness, etc.) - I don't think these are very important; a video can look bad but have a great story and it will still be good. However, I see them as what controls the subconscious of a viewer and attracts them to (or puts them off of) your video. A vid with many messy clips and bad quality problems, even when done well, will still never quite feel as good as a vid that looks gorgeous. In addition, for anyone who doesn't know much about vidding, aesthetics are the first and foremost thing they'll recognize. Thus, if you want a crowd of fans, even if they aren't all that experienced themselves, making your video look pretty is a good idea.
    A) Picture
      1. Quality - Picture and Sound Quality, while we always try to be lenient and try not to let them sway our votes, still have a big effect on a video's popularity. This makes the biggest difference aesthetically, and should be one of your primary concerns when rendering your vid. There's a balance you must make, because people aren't going to want to watch a vid with a large file size, nor are they going to like a small, bad-quality vid. Use your instincts.
      2. Brightness/Contrast/Colour - In some cases this is really important, like in dark scenes, and in others it just makes the whole video look a little original and new (which is, of course, a good thing for you). Unfortunately, this largely measures how good your editing program is, not your actual skill - In Vegas, it's as simple as a bit of an increase in the Levels, while in WMM you're pretty much stuck with what you have, unless you can download a plug-in that works well. If you own WMM, please do not add brightness effects to your dark scenes to make them more visible, it doesn't help; all it does is make them look gray, and that is much worse.
    B) Editing
      1. Effects - These can look beautiful in a vid, and you can use them to tell the story, play at the beat, or build to a climax. However, once again the best Editing Program wins this battle. Although WMM does have some okay effects too, and a truly dedicated vidder can always use frame-by-frame animation to make their effects (I did this in "Your Horoscope for Today" and Aislynn has done it in MANY of her vids, to great results. Just remember, effects are there to emphasize certain parts, NOT to play throughout the video. That looks lame, and then it's a lot of hard work for nothing. Likewise, a film effect like the "Old-style" effect in WMM, when put on the entire video, or all the flashback scenes, looks lame. Don't do it.
      2. "Talkie Clips" - When you see a vid where Kate's mouth is flapping all over the place, but you can't hear anything, it REALLY screws with the mood of the video. This one is tough to explain, because it's really about the feel of the music more than the video itself, but it's definitely something you want to try your absolute best to avoid. A Random Clipper vid full of "Talkie" scenes might as well put a gun to its head, because those could, and SHOULD, have been avoided.
      3. Audio Editing - If you choose to include audio clips from the show,, remember a few things: #1) the audio of a vid is usually the one place you can't screw up, it is your friend, so don't go messing it up by putting in a very bad-quality sound file unless you HAVE to. #2) Audio clips help you tell a story, but if you want people to pay attention to them, use them sparingly, like at key places throughout an instrumental video. #3) Do NOT, under any circumstances, have an audio clip that jumps in at an awkward time, that is way to loud, or come in while important lyrics are still playing! If you don't know what you're doing audio-wise, then don't do it! It's not worth the risk! Any audio that makes someone cringe can do more harm than pretty-much anything else in this entire guide. Likewise, if you want to switch between songs in a vid, you better damn-well know what you're doing, or it's just as bad. The entire mood that has been built up throughout the vid is completely wiped away. So be bloody careful.
      4. Messy Clips - Avoid these. They are when a frame or two gets trapped between scenes (or sometimes in the middle of one of your clips) due to your editing program screwing up. In WMM, you can avoid this by always cutting about a second before and after a scene change in the source material. In Vegas, these sometimes show up in the middle of a clip, so cut them out if you see them. Messy clips make a vid look amateur, and you don't want that.
      5. Aspect Ratio - This is such a stupid thing to get all worked up over, but it can make a vid look bad. Aspect ratio is the shape of your screen. When using clips from different sources, some may be widescreen, with black bars across the top, and some may be full screen, where there are no black bars. Transitions between these two look really weird, and pull attention away from the video. Thus, you should try to avoid them as much as possible.
      6. Credits - Another attention-grabber. Those credits for J.J. Abrams and the like that pop up at the bottom distract a viewer from the vid and the song, thus should be avoided.

Silver:
About 80% of the videos we get are on the line between Silver and no award at all. Quite often they are shipper videos, and quite often they have very little originality to them that makes them stand out from the crowd. That's okay though! Because that's what the Silver CP is for! Originality, though a vital part of what makes a Gold CP, isn't needed to get a Silver (though it sure helps). But a video has to have everything else pretty-much just right. It needs to use the song it has to the best of its abilities, following the lyrics and telling a good story, with no random clips. It should also use the beat nicely, and looks fairly good aesthetically. Do all that, and even if the video is just a Jate shipper vid that's been "done" a thousand times, it will still get a solid Silver Council Pick to call its own. The difference between a Gold, a Silver, and nothing at all is very small, but it really is noticeable. If you're a good vidder and work really hard to make all you can out of a song or ship, even if it doesn't really have anything new to it, you should have no problem earning a solid Silver CP.

Gold:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Originality. That's what truly separates these from the rest. However, it's not just that. The entire video should be pretty-much perfect. The vidder should be keeping the viewer's attention throughout, and making the entire video seem like the song was written specifically to fit this story. The beats are used really well, and the whole video is intoxicating throughout. That is what a Gold CP is. Don't say that's impossible, because every time someone does, another video pops up that does all this and more. This award is, of course, very hard to get, and it's there specifically for those vidders who DO make absolutely awesome vids that just need some recognition. A Gold CP pretty-much has to be perfect, with little room for error. However, when you know what you're doing, and can listen to a song beforehand and know just what story you want to tell, how it's going to happen, and how big the climax is gonna be, a Gold CP isn't nearly as daunting a task. Thus, the best thing you can do to train yourself is to watch some other Gold CP vids, then listen to some songs you wouldn't normally listen to. At some point, one will leap out at you that just fits everything you're trying to say, and you will have the groundwork for a truly amazing video.

Final Notes:
-Awards aren't all that great. What's important is that you like the video. But those vidders that have earned awards have really put a lot of work into their vids, and we try to reward that.
-Just because you like a song doesn't mean it's going to make a great vid. Just like just because you like, say,. cats, doesn't mean your story about them is going to be great. Choose songs for the right reasons, not just because you like the artist.
-A video is a work of art that takes a long time to make. We may be using clips, and music, that belong to someone else, but we put a bit of ourselves into the vid when we create it. So show the judges that you can do this, show people that you can be artistic too, and people will love your vids. Simply throwing a vid together in a day has nothing to do with vidding.
-Have fun and comment on some other people's vids you like. We're a vidding community, so make some friends and enjoy yourself!
-Good luck!
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SuperKC
Expert Vidder


Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 3667
Location: On a Stick

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OMG Hobbes! A story about CATS won't be good? For shame! Have you ever SEEN CATS? BRILLIANCE!

If Andrew Lloyd Webber could hear you now!

No kidding. I've never read this tutorial before. Very informative. Thanks for writing it. I hope people are more observant than me and are using it.
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Di
Expert Vidder


Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 207
Location: So Paulo, Brazil

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great essay, Hobbes!

Quote:
4. Messy Clips – Avoid these. They are when a frame or two gets trapped between scenes (or sometimes in the middle of one of your clips) due to your editing program screwing up. In WMM, you can avoid this by always cutting about a second before and after a scene change in the source material. In Vegas, these sometimes show up in the middle of a clip, so cut them out if you see them. Messy clips make a vid look amateur, and you don’t want that.



Oooh Ghost frames... I hate ghost frames... You think you have a perfectly clean clip to use then BAM! a ghost frame jumps right across the screen and then it's another hour of rendering...
I.HATE.Ghost frames!!!
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Polarbear
Expert Vidder


Joined: 26 Jun 2005
Posts: 13684
Location: having a bowl of brown with Davos

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who you gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!!
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Di
Expert Vidder


Joined: 24 Jun 2005
Posts: 207
Location: So Paulo, Brazil

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lol I actually had a Ghost(Frame)Busters icon ready to use whenever I wanted to post about it on my LJ!
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Hobbes
Council Member


Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 11209
Location: Vancouver, BC

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL and another face of the vidding community is revealed!

Man, this thing is kinda outdated now! we even have a bronze already!

Oh well, thank Di!
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Wickedgal
Expert Vidder


Joined: 31 Jan 2008
Posts: 7149
Location: At a driveshaft concert

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think this is really helpful considering all my vids have been silver/no award!! i think ive come up with a unique idea, its original and its doable hehe
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