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[personal profile] flummery
Over in Margie's personal journal, [personal profile] marycrawford asked for a "making of" for Handlebars for Three Weeks for Dreamwidth. Which is sort of nifty, as we don't have a vid that we can post for the fest, but hey, vid commentary! So Margie is writing most of this, but Seah is making assists. *g*

We hadn't had any real plans to vid Doctor Who; the way we work, one of us hears a song, makes the other listen to it, and if we both agree it's a vid song, between us we try to figure out what fandom fits best. Sometimes it takes years (like Big Red Boat - we had that song for about five years, taking it out and holding it up to every new show we fell for to see if it would fit, then regretfully tucking it away to try again the next time, until we finally hit on Joan of Arcadia and started vidding).

This time it took about ten minutes total. I heard Handlebars on the way home from work one day, and sat there gobsmacked as it kept building and building - what a gorgeous, smart song! When I got home I bought an MP3 off Amazon and made Seah listen to it that weekend, and she had the same reaction I did. More importantly, she immediately went to Doctor Who, specifically Ten, and I was sold. The CD wasn't even available commercially yet; we ordered it directly off the Flobots' website that day.

We're both long-time Who fans, starting out with Tom Baker in the 70s, so the idea of him as a happy-go-lucky megalomaniac who leaves havoc and destruction in his wake was nothing new to us, but there's no getting around the fact that Ten embodied that better than anyone (with the possible exception of the Seventh Doctor -- but Ten's footage is prettier to vid with). So even though we spent a lot of time talking out the structure and details and approach, we knew from the get-go exactly what kind of vid we were making.

We weren't at all sure how it would be received, though; we expected people to hate this vid. We were looking at vids like [personal profile] fan_eunice's Moons of Jupiter, in all its joyous celebration, and wincing at the thought of making a vid that started out in a similarly joyful place and then brought people to a very very dark place instead.

But that was the story we wanted to tell, because that's the Doctor we love - wonderful and terrible.

The song itself gave us our build: from cheerful, little-boy, innocent glee; to control and power; to drunk with power and destruction; then back to "innocent" glee, but now recontextualized by everything that's gone before. It's not just the lyrics; the Flobots do an amazing job with this, as the music builds and builds, layer on layer, slowly adding more instruments and complexity.

Once we had the structure, we had to make a decision: stick strictly with Ten, or work Nine in there as well as a more general Doctor vid? We decided sticking with Ten would make for a stronger vid, although there were times we were sorely tempted to at least grab some lovely explodey footage from Nine's season. We resisted, though! Every clip is from seasons 2-4.

From there, we roughed out an outline using the lyrics, writing in clip ideas if we had them and general tone if we didn't. We had specific ideas for a few sections, or at least lines, that never really changed (things like a countdown in the "metronome" section, Harriet Jones for "just because I don't like them", leaving companions behind in the bridge, the telescope from Tooth and Claw - and of course holocausts *g*); other specific ideas didn't make it past the very earliest versions. But mostly here we wanted to nail down the mood of each section and how they built, to be sure we'd match it right.

The outline was mostly just for solidifying our ideas in our heads and giving us a base to do a first pass through the timeline, filling in any specific ideas we had. Once we have some structure on the timeline, we get much more fluid and start going with what works as the vid builds organically, and only refer back to the outline if we get completely stumped and want to remember what we'd been thinking originally. But we almost always start out with ideas on paper.

Okay, so, we had our song, our fandom, and our plan. Time to move on to vidding. This was, I think, the last vid we made on Premiere Pro; we switched over to Final Cut Pro after this. Because of the way the PC was set up, we couldn't capture directly into Pro, we had to capture into an old copy of Premiere, then import the clips into Pro.

(Yes, capture. Ripping and/or converting from downloaded source is strange and bizarre and has never brought us anything but pain, at least on PC. We have a DVD player that will read divx off a flash drive, so in a pinch we can just pop a drive in and capture like we're capturing off a DVD. Which is what we did for this.)

The upside to this two-step method is that you really focus on capturing, and you can sit there for hours doing nothing else, so you stand a good chance of getting most of what you need, and you and your vidding partner have lots of time to talk out the vid as you're scanning for clips, adjusting your ideas as footage appears and scribbling new ideas down next to the old ones in your outline to look at options later.

The downside to this method is you can sit there for hours doing nothing but capturing, and by the end of it you are punchy and cranky and have eaten all the goldfish and M&Ms in the house, except your vidding partner ate her half plus some of yours. And your clip-naming style has gone from "RunBride - Ten and Donna laughing on Segways" to "ship go boom yay" and the ever-useful "yet another holocaust" (bonus points for misspelling it so you can't find it later).

But one of the more nerve-wracking things about vidding this was that for once we couldn't actually do all of our capturing up front: fourth season was airing as we vidded. In fact, the schedule was so tight that we don't have any clips of the very final episode in there because it aired after our Vividcon deadline. We've never vidded a show that live before; usually we have at least a month of completed footage for the season before a deadline, so we can make considered choices. For Handlebars, though, after we clipped through the first two seasons and got caught up to live, every flipping weekend we'd vid for a while, watch the new ep, capture off the new ep, and vid more.

So as we went along, there were spots left empty that we just crossed our fingers and hoped we'd get footage for, and other spots that were solid that we wound up ripping apart because we liked newer footage better. Seriously nerve-wracking - we still had a couple of empty spots going into the deadline weekend, hoping for footage from the penultimate ep while scrambling for emergency backup existing footage just in case.

And to give you an idea of how long it takes us to make a vid: when we started, fourth season hadn't yet begun, and we were talking about vidding basically seasons two and three, and leaving any Donna bits for some vague, unspecified part of the vid, as a sort of "and then Donna came along" thing (seriously, it was vague). Then season four started and we realized that no, this was as much a vid about her season as the others, and we readjusted our thinking.

But, that said, this was never meant to be a vid about the companions. To a painful degree: Seah had made a gorgeous opening sequence, with Ten linking arms with Rose, Martha, and Donna in turn and stepping forward, in basically identical motions, and much though we both loved it, it had to come out, because it set up the vid wrong, suggesting that it was about the three of them and their relationships with the Doctor, rather than being about the Doctor per se.

So instead, after the opening shot of the TARDIS flying peacefully we went for a brief clip of just the Doctor, alone and smiling by the console, to establish that first and foremost, this is about him and his travels/adventures. Then once that's there, still on the intro music, we swept through not just the three "big" companions, but an array of his "companions" - Rose, Martha, Donna, Mickey, Astrid, Reinette; he attracts a lot of people with his charm and quirky, childlike glee, and that was what we were really going for there.

(One of our betas wondered about the choice for the Rose clip, thinking that something more close up would be better so she was more visible, but we loved the TARDIS light slowly blinking in the foreground sort of saying "come with me, come with me", and also the context of that scene, as Rose says goodbye to her mum and Mickey to leave again with the Doctor, still happily seduced by his charm and energy. And we felt that at this point, Rose was iconic enough in New Who that people would have no problem recognizing what was going on.)

(True story: originally we hated the blinking light, and Seah spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to paint it out in Photoshop. But the frames wound up being the tiniest bit jittery as a result, which drove us both bonkers, so we plunked in the original footage in frustration and realized... it worked, and we liked it better that way. *facepalm*)

... I seem to have moved on to talking about clips. Okay. With the caveat that we don't vid linearly at all, we work on sections as we have clips or ideas for them: So, then we hit lyrics, and things take off.

The opening "no-handlebars" section had to be completely about the Doctor. We wanted fun, happy, silly things here - he's a boy off on a grand adventure, and he loves it, and even when things go wrong it's just all in good fun. We both loved the idea of opening this with him leaning back in the TARDIS, feet up on the console, and then cutting to the TARDIS crash-landing - no handlebars! And then more silliness, and laughter, and playing, winding up with the wonderful ridiculousness of him declaring "I'm armed!" as he brandishes his water pistol, and the joy of his whoop as he spins the Titanic's wheel.

For the first verse, we wanted to expand on that grand adventure, bringing in some of the people he sweeps up in it -- but already it's always "look at me, look at me", because he needs to be the center of attention. So we opened the verse on him pretty much literally saying "look at me", from The Christmas Invasion when he first appears. The clip we used wasn't his actual first appearance, but it's him opening the doors and announcing to the universe that he's arrived, followed by a clip of him holding up a sword and looking around to make sure that everyone's attention is on him where it belongs.

From there we had to go to Rose - we both loved the finger-wiggling for "hands in the air and it's good to be" and Rose's joyful leap into his arms as he swings her for "ALIVE". Once again, even though we never clearly see her face here, it was just so obvious to us that this was her it didn't bother us; the emotion in those clips shines through, a pure celebration of life and togetherness.

Then it's on to the wacky, with the 3-D glasses and the Keystone Kops routine in the hallway, then balancing Rose we've got Martha being all wtf as the Doctor "do si do's" in the lab, and Donna at his side as he "scratches a record".

[ETA because it's driving me crazy to have left it out]: This whole section is about lightheartedness, but we had to be careful not to overdo it; the scene we used for I can tell you about Leif Ericson starts with the Doctor going into a memory, complete with traditional wavy lines of TV sitcom memory, and although it cracked us up, we had to take the wavy bit out - it was the wrong tone for the vid, even though it was as lighthearted as all get-out. We couldn't go for anything that would hint at crackiness. [/eta]

I know all the words to De Colores and I'm Proud to Be an American: Man, that was one of the toughest lines to match. What the song is actually saying there is that the singer knows both a classic Mexican folk song and a classic patriotic American country song (like the other "I can do this and that" lyrics here - square dance and hip-hop DJ, etc.) That is sort of hard to get across in visuals, especially with "American" being in there, argh. And it isn't clear that "I'm Proud to Be an American" is even a song, given the context (I didn't know it was until we looked up the lyrics).

So what we wound up going for, after many, MANY attempts at filling that lyric in, was the Doctor singing (like an idiot *g*) because he knows the words, and a shot of Gallifrey as an image of sort of overblown patriotism for the Doctor; it was the only thing we could think of to match the implied feeling of the lyric (and it only works if you don't think of it as referring to a song, but rather just to pure patriotic pride). Seriously, hardest lyric in the entire song; what we came up was just the best we could do with it. It's problematic for some people because if there's one thing Doctor Who isn't, it's American, but the rest of the song was too perfect not to use because of that one hiccup.

Me and my friend saw a platypus: When we first heard this, we weren't sure what to do with it, other than to find something appropriately alien/exotic. I was thinking Ood from the get-go, but Seah was less sure. So the first clip we had for it was the Doctor and Donna standing in the TARDIS's open doorway looking out into space, with the Doctor pointing at a nebula or something. But then the fourth-season Ood eps aired, and we had lighter-hearted footage of Ood to suit the tone of the verse, so I seized the day and put one in (still keeping the Doctor and Donna in a different clip for "me and my friend", because we really wanted her on that line). Plus he had tea! \o/

Me and my friend made a comic book: The drawing was there from the beginning, and was Seah's all the way; I was less sure because it felt almost too literal, but she was as taken with it as I was with the Ood, and convinced me, and she was right. So now that whole section makes me grin like a loon.

And guess how long it took / I can do anything that I want cuz, look: This part is all Seah; she wanted him running in place, and gleefully robbing the ATM, and it totally works; he really can do anything he wants, and the reaction is indulgent amusement because he's so awesome and charming and fun.

I can keep rhythm with no metronome, no metronome, no metronome: We didn't want to overdo the musical bits here, but we loved him settling in to produce his own dramatic soundtrack on an organ as we headed into this.

We had captured what felt like dozens of clips all called "countdown clock #"; we knew we wanted to use them in this section from the very beginning, and had originally planned a more comprehensive thing, with a variety of clocks all counting down the same measure. When it came down to it, though, using just three working together as a countdown did the trick.

The final section itself is things going progressively more wrong - he's still at the point where that can happen. So with different countdown clocks counting down, first he's running with things trying to knock him down, then an explosion does knock him down, then the TARDIS console explodes as the clock hits 00:00:00. We had this section put together pretty early on, and it stayed basically the same other than tightening up for timing as we went along.

And I can see your face on the telephone, on the telephone, on the telephone: Oy. This section was harder than it should have been; we kept changing our minds about what tone we wanted it to have, from light-hearted to darker to literal to metaphorical to... lots of ripping clips out and arguing discussing. I don't think a week went by that we didn't poke at this at least a little.

The reason it was so dicey is that this is a full minute into the vid, and we needed to do something to give some warning that darker things were ahead, without completely going against the tone we'd created so far. So the one clip we were positive we wanted was the one that wound up at the end, of Rose on the monitor behind his head calling his name; we took it out and put it back in probably half a dozen times, in different places, before it finally settled there at the end. We'd always wanted that to be our first bit of visual foreshadowing of what was coming, a bit of creepy "wait, what?" in the the middle of the cheerfulness.

The problem was deciding how light to make the rest of this; originally it was a lot lighter than it turned out, including a longer, flirtier bit with the Doctor on the cell phone. Eventually we settled on starting out with him on a monitor and talking on the phone, but then shifting to people urgently trying to contact him however they can to start ramping up the tension - and in the end, he doesn't even notice, too busy being the center of attention.

We were working on this section right up till the very end; the call going up the pole in "rings" aired on deadline weekend, and was one of the last clips to go into the vid.

Look at me, look at me,: Time to ease off the warnings and foreshadowing; the Doctor's all charm and winsomeness here, still totally appealing. The wink was something we wanted to put in somewhere but it wasn't quite strong or obvious enough to go anywhere else. We both liked the feel of it here, though - and the softer yellow color palette, matching the "okay" sign in the next clip, which we also wanted.

Just called to say that it's good to be ALIVE: Seriously, nothing says ALIVE like a good toe-wiggle. (For that matter, nothing says "say that it's good to be" like the doctor making an okay sign and saying "fanTAStic!") We tinted the toe-wiggle clip just slightly yellow to match "good to be" clip; the original scene was too blue. That worked out really well as a lead-in to the next section, where the opening clip has yellowy bits but the rest is bluer.

in such a small world, I'm all curled up with a book to read: The Doctor's human life in Human Nature was a natural for "Such a small world" - that was the smallest world he'd ever inhabited, and he did love it while he was there. We also wanted to get Joan in - Joan is awesome. The "curled up with a book to read" started out with them standing, John Smith reading over Joan's shoulder, but sitting intimately on the couch is a hundred times better, and totally fits the cozy feel of the lyrics. This section was pretty solid right from the start, as a sort of peaceful interlude, and all we did with it was tweak it once it was in.

We come out of that interlude with him starting to be more core-competent than boyishly charming - still appealing, but he's not a little boy here anymore, bumbling happily around; he's an adult, doing grown-up things.

I can make money, open up a thrift store: Do you have any idea how hard it is to match "I can make money" for the Doctor? *wry grin* The clip is Queen Victoria tossing him a giant diamond; it was the best we could do, and at that, we cheated: it's a reversed clip, with him originally doing the tossing. (It was impossible to see what it was before we reversed it.) The thrift store pretty much had to be the wardrobe.

I can make a living off a magazine: We were lost on this one at first. The idea was clearly somehow storytelling about his adventures, but the best we had was John Smith's journal, which we'd already used in the "small world" section, where it worked perfectly. So we were debating instead using clips from the scene where the Doctor, Martha, and Jack are sitting around and the Doctor is discussing his past in The Sound of Drums, but it wasn't really working.

Then the Library eps aired, and boom, there it was - River and her journal about her life with the Doctor, which we overlaid with the title of John Smith's journal. The overlay was tricky to get right - too opaque, not opaque enough, too long (making River and the turning pages hard to see), too short (making it hard to read).

I can design an engine 64 miles to the gallon of gasoline: We had tons of clips of the Doctor building/creating things, but really wanted the scene where he chases the car down the road. It wasn't really working until we added him flying away at the end, which we wound up having to speed up a lot.

The music and lyrics have been building this whole time, and here's where we start to tip over; he's not just confident, he's cocky and starting to swagger.

I can make new antibiotics: We knew from the outset we wanted something to do with the scene in New Earth where the Doctor cures everyone with the plague. We started out with him touching people to cure them, then realized we wanted that later in the vid, so switched to him "making" the medicine instead, mixing that scene that with a scene from a different ep (with the beakers) that matched it visually.

I can make computers survive aquatic conditions: We had nothing literal here we could use; the only clip we knew we wanted was him hitting the monitor to try to make the computer work. So it took a while to fill this bit in, and eventually we just went with the sense of him fiddling with machinery using his sonic screwdriver to make things happen.

I know how to run the business: We went back and forth on this one, not completely sure which approach to take with it, but finally settled on the scene where the troops are applauding him, and he goes from "hands up" to smugly accepting the applause as his due - it's the right point in the vid for his smugness to be ramping up.

I can make YOU want to buy a product: This was one of the earliest lines to be filled in, and it stayed put other than some tweaks for timing. We loved the looks on the Doctor and Rose's faces when that door opens; they totally look like door-to-door salespeople ready to sell this guy a new vacuum cleaner, or something.

Movers, shakers, and producers: We could not resist. This is Queen Victoria (movers), Queen Elizabeth I (shakers), and Shakespeare (producers -- well, he produced a lot! *g*) We also started to speed up our cutting here, to build tension and pull attention in tighter as we ramp up to the next major shift a few lines ahead.

Me and my friends understand the future: We basically had two choices for this: Jack, or the Master. And we had other plans for Jack, so it had to be the Master. Except we specifically didn't want John Simm's scenes in the vid (so non-Who fans wouldn't be suddenly thrown out by wondering why Sam Tyler had shown up), and also, most of the Doctor's scenes with the Master aren't very friendly.

But even better than Simm, we had Jacobi's almost-Master, before he returned to being the Master, when he and the Doctor were bonding over their mutual understanding of everything. We both loved the bittersweet sense of that for "me and my friend", and we wanted to tie into Gallifrey and the Time Lords for "understand the future" - the pocket watch and the baby Master were perfect.

I see the strings that control the system: We had the idea for this early on, and put it in thinking we'd wind up changing it because it's a little literal to have the clockwork men collapsing like marionettes whose strings had been cut after the Doctor figured out what they were. But it worked, and the more we watched it, the more we liked it, so it stayed put.

I can do anything with no resistance: Oh, the psychic paper. We landed on that early on as the theme for this line, as he convinces anyone and everyone that he can do whatever he wants to do. And then, at the very end, he blows up a door with a casual touch to his sonic screwdriver. Because he can. Also because it's a lovely touch of violence blowing the vid into the next section.

'Cause I can lead a nation with a microphone, with a microphone, with a microphone: And here the music shifts again, adding a deeper, stronger note with a bass - things are getting serious now, and our cutting slows back down again. We start out with the Doctor being saluted because he is leading things - he's trusted, he's in charge, even in the midst of battles and danger. We tried a lot of combinations here, but decided that we wanted him looking intense/grim on screens, with an uplifting feel around that - the cars rising to freedom. He's a hero, leading a nation.

And I can split the atom of a molecule, of a molecule, of a molecule: We needed science-y things here that started out awesome and ended scary. We did a lot of adjusting for the middle of this, swapping clips in and out, but the opening clip of the Doctor tapping keys to show Donna the universe on screen, and the ending clips of the Doctor and Rose running away from the boom-Boom-BOOM of the mushroom cloud went in almost immediately. We knew we had to end on that mushroom cloud - it's pretty much the definition of splitting the atom.

Most of what's in there is at least genuinely science-y, but we were lacking one clip, which was driving us crazy. Finally I figured we'd have to cheat, and we plugged in what we call "fractal Ood" - that black-and-white shifting pattern is actually from Planet of the Ood and eventually resolves into pictures of Ood. But hey, it works!

Rose and the Doctor running - heh. Seah mocked me for this endlessly, but I flipped the clip so they'd be running to the right across the screen, away from the explosion, while they laughed, like they'd caused it and were having a great time; originally they were running to the left, and to me it felt like they were running toward it, and it skewed the mood of it for me. But for me, now they are looking back over their shoulders at the cloud and laughing as they run into the (musical) bridge.

Bridge! Oh, bridges, why so hard. Okay, so, we knew we wanted to use this as an actual bridge to get us to the megalomaniac; to this point, the Doctor has mostly been a hero in the vid, whether charming and quirky or intense and controlling. We built and rebuilt this bridge, trying to get it right.

We wanted to get in a feel for how much people, particularly his companions, love him - so we've got him and Rose running hand-in-hand into the bridge, where Martha leaps into his arms and he spins her, when Donna steps out on his arm twirling her purse, when John Smith takes Joan for a spin around the dance floor, and the Doctor hugs Sarah Jane - then lets her go, and vanishes, leaving her alone.

Which leads into the middle of the bridge, about how the Doctor doesn't just bring happy fun times, but also hurts people, and the dangers that follow him and put his companions at risk. The clip of the TARDIS vanishing behind Sarah Jane was always going to be part of this (we are both still pissy at the Doctor for leaving her behind 30 years ago), and him walking up the TARDIS ramp alone after was the perfect counterpoint - he's alone by choice, here. We build that up with the next clip, where he releases a hand he's been grasping in a clear "letting go" gesture, which is actually reversed; in the original scene, he's reaching out to take hold.

Then comes the danger and enemies at every turn, scaring his companions or even taking them away from him. This is a tricky bit; on the one hand, he sucks for seducing people into his marvelous life and then abandoning them, but on the other hand, he's doing it to protect them from these dangers - and it doesn't work, people won't stay away. And then they see what he can be like, and they start to get scared of him.

He gets increasingly frantic as things get more dangerous, shouting and gesturing and going so far as to aim a gun; we ramp up more with Davros (omg DAVROS YAY I'd been waiting since Rose for him to reappear!) and Sarah Jane looking petrified...

... and then the Doctor, calm and determined and really frickin' scary - he's made a decision, he's going to fix everything, and woe unto anyone who gets in his way. We needed something really frantic for the rolling drumbeats that led out of the bridge, so we put a strobe over those people pounding on the glass doors and matched the color to the orangey clips that preceded it, of the running feet and the Doctor's face. All those people are trapped now behind the walls of the Doctor's decision.

Look at me, look at me, driving and I won't STOP: We're into messianic Doctor here, right from the start, with him standing on the chair backs with his arms out. He's all about the anger, too - angry face, running feet, hammering on the TARDIS into darkness.

And it feels so good to be alive and on top: We put that clip of him just standing in the TARDIS staring coldly very early on - it's chilling, against "it feels so good to be". And now he's not hugging someone, or wiggling his toes, when he feels alive; he's shooting Cybermen down, five with one blow.

My reach is global: I forget what we had here originally; we saw the scene with the holographic planets and him walking among them on deadline weekend, and swapped it in as fast as we could capture it. Perfect.

My tower secure: Had to be the TARDIS, we just weren't sure which clip. But we really like the look of it solidifying around Donna and the Doctor, especially since it adds to the circular motion of this section leading up to the final line.

My cause is noble: Earth! He's going to save us (even if it kills us). (Still spinning in.)

My power is pure: As soon as we saw that clip in The Fires of Pompeii, we knew we were going to use it here; it was perfect, him standing so arrogantly amid all that pure light pouring out around him. Messiah, indeed. And here we've stopped circling in and are on a straight-line pull-in to the Doctor.

I can hand out a million vaccinations: This is where the Doctor literally curing people's diseases in New Earth had to play out, especially him standing alone in the elevator making "come to me (to be healed)" gestures. This section went in early and stayed put, other than tweaking.

Let 'em all die in exasperation: Totally context-dependent; people who don't know Who won't get that the Doctor is deliberately choosing to leave a desperate Jack behind, after Jack's waited a thousand years to see him again, all because the Doctor can't cope with being in his presence. We settled on this pretty early on, even though it hugely restricted what else we could do with Jack in the vid - it was worth it to have a moment this strong.

Have 'em all healed from the lacerations: We weren't sure about this one, but in the end went for the Doctor's life energy healing Jenny so she could go off and have her own adventures. (This is one of those moments when we were restricted by our decision to make this Ten-specific - "everyone lives" would have been a perfect clip here, if this were a wider Doctor vid. But it's not, so.)

Have 'em all killed by assassination: He's doing his own dirty work here, actually, of spacing an enemy. We loved the finality of the door closing

I can make anybody go to prison: The Doctor sentencing another of the Family of Blood to eternal torment; it took us a while to figure out what to put here, and we weren't thrilled to be using a second clip from the same episode about the same general thing, but it works, and we love the cold, hard look on his face as the man falls.

Just because I don't like them: Harriet Jones. <3 IIRC, she was the first thing we decided to put in the entire vid, before we'd even laid the audio down; we knew we needed that moment, of him destroying her life just because he could, just because he was ticked off. This is one of those clips that depends entirely on context; to anyone who doesn't know the show, she's just a random confused woman. But it was totally worth the risk, because it's a gut-punch to anyone who does know the show.

And I can do anything with no permission: The music is so ramped up at this point; the Doctor is pure swagger and cockiness, so in control that he's becoming completely out of control. So he takes it on himself to negotiate with the Cybermen, nose to nose, then leads explosively into the next section by destroying the video screen.

And I can guide a missile by satellite, by satellite, by satellite: The lyrics here are almost a controlled scream - everything is being raised to a fever pitch of intensity. We were going to go with actual missiles, but that was a little too similar to what we'd already laid down for the telescope section that comes next. Then we found the tracking circle/sight, which, completely unaltered (except for opacity for the overlay) perfectly matched the music, and we went instead for that guiding in to explosions and fighting and soldiers and fire, with the Doctor standing above it all, looking down on the destruction. Once we had that in, we never touched it again - it was exactly what we wanted.

And I can hit a target through a telescope, through a telescope, through a telescope: One of the first sections we put in - we wanted the telescope from Tooth and Claw, with its fantastic light beam shooting out of it. And then we just needed things blowing up, looking like they'd been aimed at. *g* We played around with it a bit, but it stayed mostly solid throughout.

And I can end the planet in a holocaust, in a holocaust, in a holocaust, in a holocaust, in a holocaust, in a holocaaaaaaaaaust: OMG we reworked this section so much. We knew exactly what we wanted to convey, it was just the conveying part, and choosing the right clips - not just for holocausts, but to match the rising music and lyrics, which also meant speeding up our cutting again. (We were going to use a lot more of the volcano from The Fires of Pompeii -- because volcano -- but it turns out that volcanoes mostly put out dark ash that's sort of useless for our purposes.)

We didn't originally start with a shot of the Doctor (... I don't think), but realized we needed him right there at the beginning, causing everything. So we found the shot of him standing on the catwalk ready with a controller in his hand, ready to start blowing things up.

And then the holocausts start coming - first Dalek spaceships attacking, with flaming debris falling on a screaming woman; then Toclophane pouring through a rip in the sky and invading earth while Martha cries; then a flood of water and a shattering building, then Daleks and Cybermen, killing people on the street; then back to the Doctor, a quick flash of him with fire in his eyes, before he walks out of a fire looking grimly calm, then stands before the fire in his messianic pose, arms raised to his sides; then after the Doctor grounds us in fire, we ramp up to fiery holocausts: a volcano erupting and flinging blazing chunks of rock into the sky, followed by fire sweeping across and across and across the sky until there's nothing but flame, on a final clip that lasts longer than any other clip in the section.

This was another section we were working on and revamping literally till the last minute: those attacking Dalek ships were from the ep that aired on deadline weekend.

And then, after screaming the final "holocaust", the music drops back down to where it started in as we return to I can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars. The music here holds an underlying discordant note leading into it, and we wanted the visuals to be discordant, too, after everything that's gone before. So after he destroys the world, he makes a triumphant gesture as he closes the book on it and moves on to his next adventures, swinging his torch jauntily, giving a come-hither look as he rounds a corner, smugly swinging in his chair, feet up (largely mirroring a pose from the opening section) as his TARDIS takes off into space.

The final clips, of him snapping his fingers to open the TARDIS, then walking in - the instant we saw that scene air, that was our ending. It was such a moment of gleeful/joyful control in canon, and we knew that once we'd recontextualized everything leading up to it, it would come across as incredibly creepy and "I am a god"-like. (This isn't all from one scene; the shoes coming into frame on the wooden floor are from somewhere else, and he was walking the other direction. We flipped it to make it look like he was stepping deliberately in front of the TARDIS, because the actual scene wasn't quite working for what we needed.)

And then to end it all, we closed the frame of the TARDIS flying peacefully through space; it's the same scene that we opened the vid with, because this is all one journey that never ends.

And that's how we made Handlebars. :)

It took about three months of steady work (mainly on the weekends, although we kick it up as the deadline approaches) and huge amounts of talking things out to keep ourselves on track as we kept refining it. The huge advantage to co-vidding is that you do talk things out like that all the time; you also learn to compromise, which we're really good at after all these years. If a clip isn't working for one of us, we work at it till we've found something we both like, or at least can live with, and the vid is stronger for it. The exception is one clip for each of us: there's almost always two clips in our vids that one of us loves too much to give up, and the other one doesn't like but is willing to let go. Once we hit that spot, we know we're done.

We did some major restructuring in the last few weeks before the deadline, although for the life of me I don't remember what, exactly, anymore. But last year we popped an unlabeled DVD in to see what it was, and it turned out to be version 48 or so of Handlebars (the final was version... 81, I think), and we were both boggled at how different it was from the final vid. Even when we have a really clear idea of what we're doing, we do tons of revamping along the way to tighten it up.

We had a few betas on this vid who helped us tremendously, but the person who helped the most was [personal profile] merryish, who is Seah's roommate and who got called in every weekend to look at whatever section we were working on, and who had to put up with our interrupting live viewing of new eps to discuss if we could use that shiny new footage for X spot, and who fed us baked goods and patient reassurance that the vid would not flop as a steady diet.

We will happily answer any questions or clarify things, too. :) We're always happy to talk about our vids!

Date: 2010-05-05 01:00 am (UTC)
watersword: Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones in Doctor Who (Doctor Who: Dr Martha Jones)
From: [personal profile] watersword
This is SO COOL. I love Handlebars, and I'm fascinated by your process. \o/!

Date: 2010-05-05 01:10 am (UTC)
kass: Rodney and his whale. (Rodney screen)
From: [personal profile] kass
omg, this is so cool to read! and you're making me want to watch the vid again. *g*

Date: 2010-05-05 01:35 am (UTC)
horchata: (ferris b. you're my hero)
From: [personal profile] horchata
I love that video SO MUCH.

There is a HECK of a lot of thought going into vidding, and it is so cool to see it all on the table like this. Thank you so much for posting.

Date: 2010-05-05 02:21 am (UTC)
kouredios: (10/Rose sky from me)
From: [personal profile] kouredios
It's been a while since I've seen Handlebars, and now I must watch it again.

Thank you so much for sharing your process! I learned a lot!

Date: 2010-05-05 02:39 am (UTC)
rivkat: Rivka as Wonder Woman (Default)
From: [personal profile] rivkat
Wow, this is awesome. I love knowing that you picked the Rose videophone clip first for that sequence, because that is exactly where the creepy starts to come in for me. And I physically shiver every time I watch Harriet Jones to "just because I don't like 'em." Very interesting stuff about I'm Proud to Be an American, too--I had no idea it was a song title either, and I've always read that as conceptual/patriotism, in interesting contrast to the Iron Man Handlebars song.

Thanks for explaining all this!

Date: 2010-05-05 03:16 am (UTC)
rhoboat: TARDIS (TARDIS)
From: [personal profile] rhoboat
Oooh, this is AWESOME. Thank you for the write-up and insight into your vid!

Date: 2010-05-05 05:00 am (UTC)
merryish: X - elephant tv (Default)
From: [personal profile] merryish
You guys are ridiculously awesome, and it was fun to preview bits for you! Also I forever have "I SAW IT FIRST!" rights for this vid! Totally worth it. Told you guys all along it was going to be amazing. *beams*

Date: 2010-05-05 05:02 am (UTC)
amalnahurriyeh: DW: Text: Your fandom could be a little more sonic. (sonic)
From: [personal profile] amalnahurriyeh

I love this video so much, and I love your process here. I do have to say, the final moment has actually colored my watching of the TARDIS-snapping every time I've seen it--it's a gesture that is terrifying in its intensity. And I appreciate that you brought that forward.

I'm on the cusp of thinking about learning how to vid, and so watching how these things get put together is useful for that, too, so. Thank you.

And now I will send this to my wife.

Date: 2010-05-05 05:44 am (UTC)
carrieann: Cardiff, Wales (welsh words)
From: [personal profile] carrieann
Wow, this is really cool! It's awesome to hear the process and background of this fabulous video. When I first discovered it, I don't even know how many times in a row I watched it. All I know is that it was a lot. :D

*goes to watch it again*

Date: 2010-05-05 07:09 am (UTC)
some_stars: (falls the eventide)
From: [personal profile] some_stars
This was a delight to read! I love hearing about other people's process, especially on a vid that I love SO MUCH. :)

Date: 2010-05-05 04:45 pm (UTC)
marycrawford: 13 hour clock icon (Default)
From: [personal profile] marycrawford
This is SO AWESOME. Thank you so much for putting in so much time to write all this up! I love this post, and I'm going to be returning to this again and again as I'm vidding, and rewatch Handlebars some more to see How They Did That.

I just had to rewatch, and oh, the cutting on "movers, shakers and producers" and "these are the strings that control the system" never fails to make me go Ooooo. I'm so glad you didn't take out the clockwork men!

Date: 2010-05-05 05:11 pm (UTC)
sdwolfpup: (duesouth: awesome)
From: [personal profile] sdwolfpup
This was fascinating, I'm so glad you did this! I love seeing what choices were made and why and what little tricks you used (like the other feet at the end) to help get your point across. Helps open my mind up as a vidder. Now I want to re-watch the vid with your notes at my side and go line by line to see how awesomely it all came together.

(You know funnily enough, the Harriet Jones thing is the reason I've never seen Doctor Who past "The Christmas Invasion"? I was so angry at him doing that to her that I just couldn't go on. Heh.)

Date: 2010-05-05 05:52 pm (UTC)
killabeez: (Default)
From: [personal profile] killabeez
It's reassuring to me that you really do work your asses off to create things that are this brilliant. :)

Date: 2010-05-06 09:33 pm (UTC)
killabeez: (kitties snuggle)
From: [personal profile] killabeez
You are silly people.

Date: 2010-05-05 08:47 pm (UTC)
the_wanlorn: The Doubtful Guest (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_wanlorn
Holy fucking shit. This vid is one of the most amazing vids I've ever seen, and the thought process behind everything makes it even more completely fucking amazing.

The entire thing is just amazing.

Date: 2010-05-05 11:41 pm (UTC)
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lannamichaels
I love the vid so much. It's so cool to hear about the process behind it. :D

Date: 2010-05-06 01:27 am (UTC)
laurashapiro: Close-up of the Doctor. Text reads "I used to have so much mercy" (ten mercy)
From: [personal profile] laurashapiro
It's a glorious vid, one of my all-time favorites. This post makes me appreciate it even more, which I didn't think was possible. Thanks for taking the time to write all this out!

Date: 2010-05-06 04:52 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
This is one of my favorite vids of all time. I just think it's brilliant.

Are other Flobots songs similar/good? Should I buy the album?

Date: 2010-05-06 09:12 am (UTC)
anatsuno: the ninth doctor, seen from behind as he opens the doors to a normal blue police box (sometimes a box is just a box)
From: [personal profile] anatsuno
Yay! It's great getting commentary for such a magnificent vid. Like many others here, Handlebars is one of my favorites ever. Thank you so much! :))

Date: 2010-05-06 01:22 pm (UTC)
ariadne83: danny is ridic (Default)
From: [personal profile] ariadne83
Oh wow, this is an awesome read. That vid made me cry the first time I watched it, and seeing all the work that went into it I can see why it elicited such strong emotion.

Date: 2010-05-07 02:34 am (UTC)
ordinarygirl: http://www.beyondtherift.com (black hole/little shop OTP)
From: [personal profile] ordinarygirl
This is AWESOME to see. I have a much more fast-and-loose approach to vidding (I go in with a general theme and maybe a couple specific clips to use, and then put it all together linearly - though the linear bit IS necessitated by my vidding software - iMovie is not the aboslute best), and it's really cool to see how other people fit things together.

Also, "Handlebars" is pretty much one of my favourite vids EVER (even inspiring a completely AU-from-Parting of the Ways fic, I Have It All Under My Command), for Doctor Who or any fandom, and it's always so fun to see how the artists made something you love so much. ^_^

Icon chosen because it seems fitting.

Date: 2010-05-08 03:42 pm (UTC)
ordinarygirl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ordinarygirl
Heh, seriously, it can be difficult. Especially when I decide to replace a clip, 'cause then I generally have to fiddle with the timing (though iMovie is much better in that respect than WMM, which I hate with a passion except for the fact that it lets you change the speed of the clips, which iMovie no longer does. Ugh.) to get everything to fit right again. Still, I think it's worked out pretty well for me so far.

Hee! Well, now you have. Hooray!

(omg seriously. That was a quote from an RPG I was in for a couple of years, to accurately describe... most things that happened in the game. XD But it's so perfect for basically anything involving the Doctor, too, so...)

Date: 2010-05-10 10:07 pm (UTC)
siegeofangels: A sketch of Atlantis, with hearts, rainbows, and jumping fish. (happylantis)
From: [personal profile] siegeofangels
This is amazing! I love Handlebars even though I've never seen a single episode of DW; it's such a beautiful clear emotional journey of a vid.

I was just thinking this weekend how I love hearing about rough drafts and things that didn't work and the process of rejecting stuff that people go through when they make art--it's really interesting to hear about the clip choices that you made and the things changed your minds on, and all of the versions you went through on your way to the finished product.

SO great.

Date: 2010-05-11 05:52 pm (UTC)
heartequals: natasha from the avengers against an orange and yellow background (Default)
From: [personal profile] heartequals
This was already an amazing, powerful, great video but your write-up made it a thousand times more (this coming from someone who only made it through the first three seasons of the new series.) This is so wonderful, thank you for sharing!

Date: 2012-01-08 09:24 pm (UTC)
lorem_ipsum: (candyfloss dalek by lipsum)
From: [personal profile] lorem_ipsum
This is one of my all-time favorite vids. Thank you for the interesting write-up!

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