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StephenT [userpic]

(Vid) It's Not

21st July 2008 (00:29)
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I've created a new vid! Or rather technically, I've completed a vid I actually began back in February of last year, and which sat uncompleted on my harddrive for months until I finally kicked myself into finishing it. :-) 

Credit goes to elisi for originally suggesting this song. Well, either this one or 'The Moth', anyway.

Music: 'It's Not' by Aimee Mann
Source: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6
Rating: 12 (Warnings for angst, depression and general season-6iness)
Length: 3.25
Format: WMV, 640 x 352, 31.2MB
Characters/Pairings: Buffy, Buffy/Spike

Summary: A look at Buffy's mindset in Season Six: the world is moving on around her, but she's still stuck in the same old spot.
"And I believe it's you who can make it better... But it's not."

Download Link - Right-Click and 'Save As'

Lyrics and comments below the cut.

The main challenge in vidding this song was that it has a very slow tempo, which didn't fit many of the clips. I came up with a couple of solutions: some clips were deliberately slowed down by as much as 50%, so the people seem to float across the screen. With others, I stopped the clip on a freeze-frame then zoomed slowly in on a key element of the picture - usually Buffy's eyes. The idea was to show how the world feels to her in Season 6: every action takes effort, and she feels frozen there and unable to affect or respond to what's going on around her.

The three verses are each based on Buffy trying to work her way out of depression - with her friends, by getting a job, and through her relationship with Spike, respectively. None of them work.

I keep going round and round on the same old circuit;
A wire travels underground to a vacant lot,
Where something I can't see interrupts the current
And shrinks the picture down to a tiny dot.
And from behind the screen it can look so perfect:
But it's not.

The image of water circling down the drain was chosen to fit the lyrics 'going round and round', and there's also an attempted parallel there between underground wires and underground pipes. :-)  The scene where Buffy and Willow simultaneously turn away from each other on "something I can't see" was a lucky find; I think it's a very symbolic image. This verse ends on a device I'll use again: using a lens-flare effect on the scene of Buffy being hugged by Willow, to give it a false air of glamour. This is Buffy as her friends see her; then we cut to the reality.

So here I'm sitting in my car at the same old stoplight;
I keep waiting for a change but I don't know what.
So red turns into green turning into yellow,
But I'm just frozen here on the same old spot;
And all I have to do is to press the pedal:
But I'm not.

The line about the traffic lights changing is one of my favourite bits. Although confusingly, Amber is wearing green not yellow. :-)  

People are tricky; you can't afford to show
Anything risky, anything they don't know.
The moment you try - well kiss it goodbye.

Poor Buffy. The moment she opens her mouth to tell Tara her secret, she can kiss goodbye to all her friends. I know, it didn't actually work that way on the show itself. :-)

So baby, kiss me like a drug, like a respirator;
And let me fall into the dream of the astronaut,
Where I get lost in space that goes on forever,
And you make all the rest just an afterthought;
And I believe it's you who could make it better:
Though it's not.
No it's not...
No it's not...

So Buffy seeks solace with Spike. I rearranged the video just before I finished it to make the two of them fall through the floor just as the lyric says "fall into the dream" - also, the grey, dusty background of the scene after that does look dream-like. The following scene really is Buffy's dream (from Dead Things), of course - I did consider putting some sort of effect on it to emphasise that, but I think it works better without. And that's Dawn's dinner she's dropping when the song says "you make all the rest just an afterthought".

Finally the song ends with a triple repetition of 'It's not', during which I put Buffy through more and more mounting misery until by the end the poor girl's catatonic.  I almost felt like adding some text to the final screen saying "Don't worry, she gets better!!" but I thought that would spoil the mood. :-)

So there we go. Feeback and criticism welcome!


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Posted by: slayerboy2009 (slayerboy2009)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 00:38 (UTC)

As a fellow vidder I enjoyed seeing it even thou i am not a big fan of season 6 or a shipper of spuffy. I am assuming you used ulead to make it because of the spacial affects. I like that you took time to think story wise alot of times things like that dont show in the video but when I make one I cant help but establish more of a story more then the basic plot.

Good Job! I would like to see some more of your vids.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 01:08 (UTC)

Thanks! Yes, I'm using Ulead 11.0. And the page with links to all my vids is here:


Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 01:19 (UTC)

Great job! Really nice portrayal of s6 Buffy.

I always appreciate that you give us your thoughts on your vids. A lot of times, I see vids with no commentary or anything, and my reaction is mainly just, "Oh, pretty." I don't know if you focus on symbolism more than most, or if I just need it explained to me, lol. Either way, I always feel like I get more out of your vids than others.

The lens-flare effect was really cool. At first, I wasn't sure if it was like that in the actual episode or not (haven't seen s6 in a while), but I think it works well the way you used it.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 12:41 (UTC)

Thanks! I enjoy writing down my commentaries, so it works both ways. Although to be honest, I could have written smoething twice the length detailing why I chose every single clip, but i'm not sure people would have the patience to read it...

And no, the lens-flare wasn't in the original scene.

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 07:02 (UTC)
Alley-scene Buffy by Anna


*flappy hands*

I can't begin to describe how much I adore this! (Which is probably good, because I have to take the kids to school v. soon...)

But - I just wanted to say that this was just stunning. I've always thought this one of the most perfect S6 Buffy songs, partly because it'd be mostly metaphorical, and you've just done an incredible job!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 12:43 (UTC)


Glad you liked it, especially since it was your suggestion in the first place. I'm not really sure you can call this a Spuffy vid, though, (or pro-spuffy, anyway) because the overriding message is that Buffy is making a mistake by hoping Spike will lift her out of her depression...

The song really is appropriate to the season's storyline, though!

Posted by: Mrs Darcy (elisi)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 15:14 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 22:06 (UTC)

Posted by: petzipellepingo (petzipellepingo)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 08:06 (UTC)
buffy and spike animated by buffypurple1

Excellent video! And oddly enough I was just thinking about you yesterday and wondering how you were.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 12:46 (UTC)

Really? I'm fine, thanks. :-) And I have been posting a few things recently - like my review of Megan Gogerty's 'I Miss Buffy' CD that I've been listening to a lot - perhaps you missed them?

Glad you liked the vid. :-)

Posted by: Beer Good (beer_good_foamy)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 10:17 (UTC)

That was excellent (as always)! I love the intercutting between happy glossy lens-flare-y Buffy and the blank despair underneath... And I especially love that you started it on that scene from "Flooded", I always thought that was a great little scene.

(Damnit, I need to do another vid...)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 12:49 (UTC)

Thank you. :-) I'm glad that contrast worked - it was inspired by the line in the first verse ("From behind the screen it can look so perfect... but it's not") and then used it as a motif in the following verses. It's actually quite disturbing how closely Season 6 resembles an Aimee Mann song, or vice-versa... (And of course, she actually had a speaking part in one episode in Season 7...)

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 15:26 (UTC)

Great video. Interesting special effects and very inventive use of season 6 footage, especially when you illustrate triple line "no it's not".

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 22:11 (UTC)

Thanks! The last sequence was one of those things that work really well in your head when you think about it, but I had to tweak it and change it around lots of times before it came out the way I wanted it...

Posted by: yourlibrarian (yourlibrarian)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 17:31 (UTC)
It's Not

Wonderfully put together, I think it captures Buffy's state of mind well.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 22:11 (UTC)
Re: It's Not

Thanks! Though I hope she wasn't quite as depressed as I paint her here...

Posted by: the_nite's_gurl (the_nites_gurl)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 18:38 (UTC)


Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 22:11 (UTC)

Thank you!

Posted by: Lidia (beloved4always)
Posted at: 21st July 2008 22:39 (UTC)

It's a beautiful and well made video Stephen. thanks for sharing it!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 22:49 (UTC)

You're welcome. Thanks!

Posted by: lilred26x (lilred26x)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 01:31 (UTC)

Very nice! I especially like the commentary that I can read just after watching the video. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 22:56 (UTC)

All part of the service. :-) Thanks!

Posted by: Naomi (frelling_tralk)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 01:32 (UTC)
Spuffy Chosen by effulgent_girl

Wonderful video!

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 23:03 (UTC)

Thank you!

Posted by: caffeine-addled brain of smurf (purple_smurf)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 12:19 (UTC)
Buffy » The Gift

Aimee Mann's Lost in Space album as a whole has long been my touch-point for season 6. I'm downloading this as I type, so I can't leave feedback on that part... but the very fact that it has been made makes me very happy indeed.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 23:05 (UTC)

The mood of depression and quiet desperation on the album fits the season so well, doesn't it? ;-)

Hope the vid was worth the wait!

Posted by: caffeine-addled brain of smurf (purple_smurf)
Posted at: 23rd July 2008 09:35 (UTC)

Posted by: Kathyh (kathyh)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 17:08 (UTC)
Kathyh Buffy2

Just wanted to say what a terrific vid I thought this was. Perfectly chosen clips to match the song and I think you perfectly caught Buffy's mental state in Season 6. "Don't worry, she gets better!!" probably would have spoiled the mood, but I think I'm glad I know that after watching this *g*.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 23:15 (UTC)

:-) She'll be all happy and everything, honest. She hugs Dawn and cries happy tears and watches the sun rise over a pretty garden.


Posted by: Shapinglight (shapinglight)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 18:08 (UTC)
Road to redemption

Oh dear!


ETA: because sorry, that was inadequate f/b. That was beautifully done, especially the freeze frames. As usual with these two in season 6, I felt terribly sorry for both of them.

Edited at 2008-07-22 18:10 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 23:18 (UTC)

*Passes you a hanky*

I'm glad it sseems to have worked so well; with things like this, I've watched it so many times over and over again I tend to lose sight of how it will appear on first watching. (And also, I'm hypersensitive to the bits I know aren't quite right)


Posted by: candleanfeather (candleanfeather)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 19:04 (UTC)

Brilliant. I'm not a specialist at all, but from what I remember as a simple viewer of your firt attempts it seems to me that your skills at vidding have improved: neat choices of sequences and cuts, additionnal technic skills...As for the song, (apart the lyrics) the fragility of Aimee Mann's voice is really fitting to the theme. A very well executed vid that certainly conveys what you wanted to show about Buffy state of mind in S6.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 22nd July 2008 23:23 (UTC)

Thanks! It's interesting what you say about my skills developing, because I actually started this vid a long time ago then put it on the shelf for a while. Things like the still images, pans and zooms were ideas I was experimenting with here, but actually used first in other vids I managed to complete earlier. (Like the Angel one, 'A la volonté du peuple').

I do like the Aimee Mann song - which is just as well, considering how many times you have to listen to it when you're vidding...


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