Tinker, Tailor, Soldier…vids.

It’s no secret that I’ve loved fanvids, both watching and making them, for a long time, so it’s inevitable that when a film or TV show catches my eye, I end up googling fanvids for it. In the case of TTSS, I’m so glad I did, as the sheer beauty and quality of what I found has inspired this post. I wanted to share a few really good examples of fanvids, and take them apart a little, with my media eye, to think about what makes them so good. I’m also really rusty in terms of my own vidding, so I wanted to take a look at some gorgeous vids for inspiration!

#1 Don’t Cry Mercy by Nadiia Naru


Why I love it:

This is beautiful editing, for a start. The vidder uses several different sources (TTSS, Kingsman, The Railway Man, and many more) and fits them together  seamlessly. It’s a vidlet (part of a song as opposed to the whole thing) but she makes every frame inside every second count. She cuts to lyrics, but emphasises the repeated heartbeat drum by giving the viewer a visual cue – in this case, a brief colour wash and close up on the frame, to make the viewer feel that heartbeat. The song is a great choice, and she overlays a couple of dialogue lines to ramp up the drama, which works beautifully. My impression of the vidder is that she has a real eye for detail – there are no dropped frames, no wasted shots; every moment is clean, well chosen and well matched.

In terms of characterisation, this one really pushes my buttons. The vidder focusses in on facial expressions, and her fast cutting between scenes ensures that this is an emotional bombardment. Both characters in the vid are given equal screen time and there are a few occasions where shots are mirrored – one character does something, and then the other does it; notably the pistol shots/possible suicide moments. Narratively, this works to show both their synchronicity and their tragedy. Tears, anger, frustration; all the hallmarks of the Haydeaux pairing are here.

So what of the narrative? This is written up as a Bill Haydon/Jim Prideaux vid, but what the vidder has actually done is presented them through both the original pairing in TTSS, and, seemingly, across time and continents as reincarnated lovers. One leap a lot of vidders seem to make in the Haydeaux pairing is to link Jim and Bob with Harry and Merlin from Kingsman, which works really well. This vidder also goes back in time as well as forward so we get some of Mark Strong’s performance in  Black Gold juxtaposed with Firth’s post WW2  The Railway Man. I think we also go back a bit further for some medieval time period pairing, too, but, I confess, I’m not yet familiar with the films the vidder used. Personally, I think the medieval shots, fleeting as they are, are the only slightly jarring moments in the vid – the rest of the sources work brilliantly together as a back and forth, lovers reincarnated premise. That’s probably just me, though!

This is such a gorgeous piece of work – as a vidder myself I can imagine the hours that went into cutting it properly, and the time it took to find exactly the right frames for the music. I’ll be watching this one again and again, and it’s already made me want to seek out the other sources that were used, and watch them! Lovely, gorgeous, emotional vidding at its best. Five stars from me!

Nadiia Naru has a great channel on Youtube, and one of her other TTSS vids is this one:

She uses many of the same techniques as in ‘Don’t Cry Mercy’, but the narrative is a little different; this vidlet has a definite revenge vibe! There’s plenty of angst, and the idea that Haydon is seeing fleeting glimpses of Prideaux everywhere he goes is an intoxicating one, until the inevitable act of revenge at the end of the vid. Great storytelling!

#2 Inseparables by Shikiwing


Why I love it:

This is another gorgeously edited vid. The vidder really has an eye for internal movement in the clips she’s chosen – there are some great moments in this where characters are moving to the flow of the music, and that just gives it an added frisson. There are lovely points where she cuts to the beat, including some really fast, choppy cuts that work well with the chosen track. There’s also good use of black and white at key moments throughout. Most notably, the vidder mixes diegetic sound (in this case, dialogue) with the overlaid music track, and it’s levelled perfectly so it sounds really natural and doesn’t make the viewer jump out of the vid. The gun shot at the end is particularly well timed. Her use of captions is great, too, and adds to the taut atmosphere of the vid.

This is a vid that explores Haydeaux, but is also a character study of Jim Prideaux and his journey through the film. The temptation, when vidding, is to cram as many reaction shots and shots of people into the vid as you can, but this vidder doesn’t do that; she uses establishing shots of buildings, settings and other imagery such as the flapping birds and the chess pieces to create a sense of the whole film, not just the Haydon/Prideaux dynamic. It works brilliantly in terms of giving it real depth, and takes the viewer through the whole film in more or less chronological order. Another gorgeous piece of work and one I’ve watched quite a few times since I found it!

Shikiwing’s channel can be found here.

I’m sure there’ll be another vid rec post from me at some point, but hopefully the ones I’ve referred to here give a good indication of just how creative vidders can be. It really is an art form in the right hands!


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