The Vexercises

The core of this class is the vidding exercises. These were inspired by the “videographic exercises” featured in Chris Keathley and Jason Mittel’s The Videographic Essay book and affiliated course. But for this class, the vidding exercises, or vexercises, as they are affectionately known, were designed to teach the fundamentals of fan video aesthetics and to help us think analytically about fan video aesthetics and practices. I designed these vexercises in collaboration with other fan video creators and students/scholars of fan video.

There are six vexercises due over the course of the semester. Keep reading for the details on each vexercise.

Source: You should limit your audiovisual source as much as possible to be able to create these vexercises fairly quickly, without being overwhelmed by having to sift through too many hours of footage. I recommend choosing a single source (film or TV show) for the semester, and then, if you’re using a longer source such as film series or TV show, narrowing down further by choosing a cluster of related episodes or particular story arc. Ideally you would be working with 2-4 hours of footage throughout the semester, and if you are new to editing entirely, I strongly suggest that you limit yourself to 2-4 hours of footage throughout the month. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can switch sources over the course of the semester at your own discretion, but keep in mind that navigating a completely new audiovisual source could be labor and time intensive, and in the end could keep you from concentrating on the creative process.

Vexercise 1. (Due 2/28) Vidding Pechakucha. Create a video edit of exactly 60 seconds consisting of precisely 10 video clips from your chosen source text, each lasting precisely 6 seconds, assembled with straight cuts. Make two versions of your pechakucha, with 1 minute excerpts from two different songs as audio. Fade in and out on your audio at the beginning and end of the audio clip as appropriate. Word to the wise: Most six second clips that you use are bound to have in-clip cuts–you don’t have to go looking only for clips that have no internal cuts. But you can make those internal cuts work for you rhythmically or thematically etc! This first vexercise is inspired directly by the first of the videographic criticism exercises, but modified here to be vid/fanedit focused with the inclusion of music from an outside source

Vexercise 2. (Due 3/14) Rhythmic Matching. Produce a 1 minute video edit with your selected source, emphasizing match-on-action and graphic matches throughout, while also keeping in mind rhythmic editing. As much as possible, motion of each shot should seem to continue into motion in the following shot. For your audio, choose a track that has a clear rhythmic pattern or interesting rhythmic progressions to make your editing experience easier. Reference the wave visualization of your audio track to help guide your editing choices. Bonus challenge: Try your hand at time remapping at least once in this video.

Vexercise 3. (Due 3/28) Lyrical interpretation 2 Ways. Produce a 1 minute video with your selected source, in which lyrical interpretation guides your shot choice. You could interpret the lyrics literally or metaphorically. Once you have completed this video, choose selected lyrics to incorporate creatively as text within the video. Then make a version of this video with the text, but substituting the original audio with a different piece of music that has no lyrics.

Vexercise 4. (Due 4/11) Short Form Influences: Aspect Ratio & Framing. (Up to 1 minute video) Create a new vid or rework a previous vexercise for instagram or tiktok. Not that you need to post it there, but create it with the appropriate aspect ratio for the platform you choose, and then consider the best framing of each image for that aspect ratio. For TikTok also keep in mind the looping nature of the format. These videos can be shorter than a minute if it feels right to you, since edits on Instagram and TikTok often are quite short. Bonus challenge: try using Capcut rather than Premiere for this assignment.

Vexercise 5. (Due 4/25) Genre Choice. Produce a 1 minute video edit with your source, working within the norms and expectations of one of the following fan video genres: ship vid, alternative narrative/AU vid, AMV, FMV, metavid, multifandom vid, effects-heavy short form edit, genre shifting vid, side character study vid, multivid, audio-edit. (Another genre you’d like to work with? Email me to check in.) 

Vexercise 6. (Rough Draft due 5/2; Final Draft due 5/11 ) Free Vid. Deploy any and all of these techniques to make the fan video edit of your heart, including but not limited to your chosen source, length entirely up to you! Try to deploy some combination of the various techniques you explored in the vexercises along the way. No time limit.

Note about copyright and fair use: As works of transformative remix created for educational purposes, the vexercises/creative work of this class fall under fair use. Do not share or use your video source files beyond the limits of this class. For more information on fair use, see “Measuring Fair Use: The Four Factors.” To get a sense of the conversations around and history of fair use for fan video specifically, see “Test Suite of Fair Use Vids.”