Vidding is a form of grassroots filmmaking in which clips from television shows and movies are set to music. The result is called a vid or a songvid. Unlike professional MTV-style music videos, in which footage is created to promote and popularize a piece of music, fannish vidders use music in order to comment on or analyze a set of preexisting visuals, to stage a reading, or occasionally to use the footage to tell new stories. In vidding, the fans are fans of the visual source, and music is used as an interpretive lens to help the viewer to see the source text differently. A vid is a visual essay that stages an argument, and thus it is more akin to arts criticism than to traditional music video. As Margie, a vidder, explained: “The thing I’ve never been able to explain to anyone not in [media] fandom (or to fans with absolutely no exposure to vids) is that where pro music videos are visuals that illustrate the music, songvids are music that tells the story of the visuals. They don’t get that it’s actually a completely different emphasis” (personal communication, October 24, 2006).
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