Andromeda Streak--Fanish JMTorres

song by Three Doors Down
fandom: Andromeda, property of Tribune
vid by Juliette Torres
format: Quicktime movie, 10.3 MB (zipped)
description: ...Can I be honest and say I hate writing summaries? jcalanthe, building on a comment from bonibaru, suggested I call it "Highlander...! In...! Space...!" (Imagine you're watching Muppets Tonight.) But seriously. It's about Rhade. It's about a slew of epic things like loyalty and betrayal and tragic love. It's about Dylan trying to understand.

I think the technical word is doohickey.1
VCR (four head, stereo, NTSC, JVC)
Digital Camcorder (Sony DCR-TRV110 NTSC)
Macintosh G4 Powerbook (18.6GB drive, 256MB RAM, DVD drive)
(borrowed) Dell with CD-burner for four CDs worth DVD source in .dv format
Assorted RCA, firewire, and ethernet cables

DVDExtractor 0.9b
Quicktime 5.0 Pro
Adobe Photoshop 5.0

Kryptonite, by Three Doors Down
Andromeda "Under the Night," "Double Helix" (ripped from DVD); "Forced Perspective," "Home Fires" (VHS-->d8-->dv)

Video: H.263, 352x208, 15fps, key frame every 60 frames, quality 75%
Audio: MP3, stereo, 64kps/VBR

I made a few significant alterations to several pieces of footage, those being:
--I trimmed all of the 4:3 footage off the tapes to 16:9 to match the DVD footage. This resulted in lots of foreheadlessness, although some of them were already foreheadless because Andromeda likes its close shots. So somebody lost half an eyebrow at some point.
--I tried to reintroduce color to bronzed over flashback sequences, with some minor success.
--I did some frame rate changes. Um. A lot of frame rate changes. Actually, I should probably be shot for my abuse of frame rate change. I did a lot of it for convenience, stretching a shot an extra second or two to fill the space, but also to get things to work with the beat.

The audio, I trimmed by about ten seconds at the beginning. I also had to jump through a few hoops running it through different programs to get it in mp3 format (guess what format it was in originally?) for the sake of compression (trade 9MB in for 1.7MB--yeah, go with the mp3). This I do not understand: mp3 is one of the most widespread and best compressible audio formats, and yet it is not a standard option in iMovie or Quicktime. Why?

Inspirations have I none--just to touch the flaming dove...2

I have, on occasion, thought that my entire life was one big inside joke. This vid reinforces the impression.

Way back in the day when I used to talk about Smallville, I reviewed Smallville vids. (I made a few people mad at me, too, and I suspect some of them will be disappointed that I'm not putting out a Smallville vid for them to take apart in the same way I did theirs. Of course, they're welcome to do that to this one anyway, but I'm not sure how many SV fans also watch Andromeda and/or worship Steve Bacic. So they may pass.) Back to the story: there were a slew of Smallville vids to Superman songs. I am Superman, the one with the line about "I'm just a man in a silly red cape," Jimmy Olsen's Blues... no, I'm kidding. But I kept thinking, how lame is it to be using songs like these for Smallville vids? How--lazy? Let's be a little more creative.

Which was how the idea of "how about using a Superman song for oh, say, Andromeda" came about. And quickly developed several layers of irony, because the Nietzscheans of Andromeda consider themselves supermen in a more, well, Nietzschean sense, so the idea is more original in the sense that we're back to talking about supermen in the original meaning, and in the sense that it's more original to use a Superman song for something besides a Superman show.

And? I never thought Kryptonite worked for Smallville anyway, really. One, Clark's never really cracked for the "If I go crazy" stuff, just minor things, and two, Will we still call him "Superman" if we've never called him that in the first place, yet?

So that's how Kryptonite came to be about Rhade and Dylan for me. Rhade, the superman who apparently had gone crazy in a very complete and permanent fashion (damn it, no recovering from death) and Dylan, his personal kryptonite, the man whom he wanted to understand that it wasn't as simple as that, that his betrayal was not what it seemed.

And so, for the past couple of months, I have been slaving over a joke.

As I write this letter, send my love to you, remember that I'll always be in love with you.3

The following is an explanation of a fairly complex metaphor I was working with that I know is not easily visible to the casual vidwatcher, or even the obsessive vidwatcher, because there seems to be a swath of my audience who have the vid on loop merely to ogle Rhade...

Here's the thing. This is what I intended in the vid, knowing full well it would not be easily conveyed. You know what they say about how a work should stand on its own and you shouldn't have to explain it? Well, I'm explaining it. But you don't have to read it, and in fact, I encourage you to watch the vid at least once without having read this.

It goes like this: the vid is Rhade POV. He's the "I" in the lyrics, the narrator. And yet, he's dead, and to me, the words indicate he's speaking with the knowledge of his own death. So how is he speaking? Rather than go for the Sixth Sense jokes, I started thinking of it as a letter Rhade had left behind: he knew he was going to betray the Commonwealth, sabotage the ship, try to kill Dylan. He planned to fail at this last objective, and he expected to die. He knew Dylan wouldn't understand his motives at the time, so he left this missive behind for Dylan to someday find.

So it's a letter from Rhade's point of view, but with the reactions of Dylan, the reader, overlaid on it. In the middle of the vid, there's a bridge with ten seconds of Rhade shots, and then he passes the ball (literally, basketball) to Dylan, and you get ten seconds of Dylan, reacting to Rhade and thinking about him. And then, with an upraised hand, Telemachus Rhade redirects Dylan's train of thought, and Telemachus stands in for Gaheris for a chorus. Dylan, it seemed to me, refused to treat Telemachus as a separate entity from his ancestor in "Home Fires." Dylan conflated the two and treated Telemachus poorly for it--but Telemachus's redemption in Dylan's eyes in turn meant Gaheris Rhade's, also because he couldn't differentiate the two. So Telemachus makes Dylan reevaluate Gaheris and have flashbacks like crazy, so Dylan's back to remembering his final battle with Gaheris for the final chorus--and we close on Dylan in his contemplation from the end of "Home Fires."

And here's the scary realization I had: this is not necessarily slashy. If you wanted to you, you could see it as straight from the text. (Of course, jcalanthe complains, "They do not touch like straight men are supposed to...") But as I was saying. It is about the textual betrayal and Dylan's textual doubts and realizations. Is it also about their subtextual sexual relationship? I think it's all in the eye of the beholder.

jcalanthe suggested I market it as gen and see what happened. I said everybody would call me on it. Hell, he called me on it. The bit from "Forced Perspective," where Dylan throws his head back in pain, cut away to exploding ships? jcalanthe refused to believe I hadn't deliberately been working on orgasm imagery there...

The battle's done and we kind of won, so we sound our victory cheer... Tell me, where do we go from here?4

So what's next for me? I have a whole lot of things half planned but I can't decide which to work on. I do know that for the next two weeks I'm taking a break from vidding to work on the lyric wheel of the Andromerotica Festival--I haven't done any writing for that challenge yet.

After that, I have the merry merry month of December to do something with before I go back to college (There's whoo... and hoo... but also uh-oh, and why now?5) and have to restructure my schedule around that. December will, of course, be very busy with the holidays and the weekend trip back to see some old friends so I'm counting on maybe 18-20 days of actual getting-work-done time for vidding it. I'm thinking I should choose a fairly focused vid that I don't have to run all over the place for source (though this one was only four episodes worth and still took me a couple of months) so I'm leaning towards one of the movie vids, Labyrinth or Utena, not even anything as major as the s1 Witchblade vid to "I Want You," even though I did want to get back into the Costello Collection...

I think I'm probably going to work on the Labyrinth vid, to the Bowie song "Hallo Spaceboy." Some of it's going to be a bit complicated--I blueprinted myself into a corner with visions of effects--but I do know exactly how it's supposed to look, so that's a plus. I'm hoping it will all fall together, and I'll have it out sometime in the middle of January, after I get all those people I respect to look at it and tell me what they think and I tweak it leisurely like in between homework assignments.

Or at least, that's the plan... we'll see if I keep up...

Pithy Quotes Referenced Here:
1. ~Tar Gibbons, Aliens Ate My Homework by Bruce Coville.
2. ~Soul Love, from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust And the Spiders From Mars by David Bowie.
3. ~P.S. I Love You, from Please Please Me by the Beatles.
4. ~Where Do We Go From Here, from Once More With Feeling, the Buffy Musical.
5. ~Willow, New Moon Rising, Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

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