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03 November 2007 @ 01:03 pm
Bascon vid: "Song of Truth" - Firefly - River/Inara  
Vid Title: Song of Truth
Length: 2:47
Fandom: Firefly
Song/Artist: "Shinjitsu No Uta (Song of Truth)" by Do As Infinity
Summary: Serenity left with her. River/Inara.

Download the M4V

This was my Bascon 07 premiere. Previously DVD-only. Another big thanks to milly for hosting the vid and to thedothatgirl for the banner. Also, thanks to txlsplash for the kanji characters.

The song was the main inspiration for this. It has such a lush feel and, despite the fact that it's a Japanese song and Firefly is a Chinese-based fandom, the elegance and arrangement of the song reminded me a lot of Inara. Once I found a translation of the lyrics, it looked very much to me like River speaking.

Another motivation was the response to a River vid I made not long after I started vidding. It briefly explored River's connection to each member of the crew, and most people seemed to agree that the River-Inara section was the most difficult to read. So I wanted to elaborate on that with an entire vid instead of cramming the whole idea into 7 seconds of an ensemble vid.

The basic idea here is that Inara's presence on the ship - her calm, her ceremony, her maternal love, and yes her intense sexuality - helped fill River's head and keep her monsters at bay. Once Inara left, Serenity became a very different place: cold, blue, violent, and angry. And much of that was directed at River. Not only was there no longer a mental refuge to be found in Inara's presence, her absence actually made the ones who were left more distant and hostile. River's mental state seemed to degrade faster along with that.

So it's not really a traditional "slash" vid, but I guess it's still a shipper vid of a sort.

The song has so many beautiful layers and journeys for such a short piece, and that made me really excited about vidding it. But I got into some real trouble trying to find the proper balance between visual density/"pretty-ness" and getting the story across properly. I didn't really see it as an AU narrative when I started - because the premise seems canon enough to me - but it's still kind of a difficult idea to get across in 3 mins.

That led to just an *epic* beta process, with obsessive24 and I pushing and pulling on it for the better part of two months. The end result bears absolutely zero resemblance to the first beta draft. obsessive24 really deserves a gold star on this one. She had the patience of Job.

The good news is that I really feel like I learned more during the process of making this vid than with any other vid I've ever done.

There's a bit of secondary (non-fandom) source in there for mood-setting and overlays, but not nearly as much as there was in Living Dead Girl.

I was working on it back in June with an eye on VVC, but wasn't able to finish in time, so until now it's only been available on the DVD I offered for download a while back.

"Shinjitsu No Uta" (Song of Truth)
by Do As Infinity

the crimson-stained sun
has illuminated everything
now and the past
is what i have imagined
within this twilight
more than my own hands can accomplish?

please teach me
how to live
show me how to become naked
please now, won't you taint me just a little?
that way,
even if i get hurt
and lose everything around me
this song of truth will flow through my heart

This song of truth will be my guide

Hope you enjoy the vid, and please share your thoughts.
Tags: ,
Ian Robertsabsolutedestiny on November 3rd, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm glad you've finally released this. I enjoyed this very much when it was a vvc submission that was not to be and I was keen to see what others thought of it. Elegant fascinating stuff :)
bradcpubradcpu on November 3rd, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I've very been curious to see what people thought as well, so I really appreciate you saying that. In hindsight, this was probably not the best concept to try to tackle on deadline for VVC since it was such a tweak-happy project.
RevolutionaryJo: Shiina Ringorevolutionaryjo on November 3rd, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
Do As Infinity! <3

You took on some big challenges in this one. It's tough to find good vids set to songs in Japanese or other languages and even harder to present them to a primarily English speaking audience. I think you pulled off it off nicely! The use of dialog from the show bridges the language gap well for those who may not already be familiar with the song.
bradcpu: Serenitybradcpu on November 4th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
Hey, a Do As Infinity fan! You're the first person I've run across who has heard of them.

You took on some big challenges in this one
Well, *now* I know that. At the time it was just "oh, I'll do this River/Inara vid on a two-week deadline for VVC." Lesson learned.

I'm really glad you think I used the music well. :) It's such a great song, so I was concerned about that - especially whether I could properly connect it to the audience and the fandom. Are you Japanese by chance?
(no subject) - revolutionaryjo on November 4th, 2007 05:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
littleheaven70 on November 3rd, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was beautiful. You're right, the oriental flavour fit very well. I loved the on-beat editing and pacing that matched the music, and particularly the part where River's face crossfades from one shot to another. The intro was my favourite bit. Like a little sneak peek inside River's brain.
bradcpubradcpu on November 4th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. And what an appropriate icon!

Like a little sneak peek inside River's brain
Always fun. Even back before I started vidding, when I was writing fic, that was my favorite thing to do.

I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Nickyobsessive24 on November 3rd, 2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
You posted it!

It's been a while since I watched the last beta version, and I've seen this finished version before in the DVD, so I'm all confused as to version control and which things I'm yet to comment on. Anyway, firstly just wanted to say upon rewatch that the layer work is still divine, and you address the music so well and in so many different ways.

1:03 - I think the layer work is new (relatively speaking). I like the echoed movement of the hands and how it separates out and becomes clearer.

1:09 - I like this shot so much better than stoned!Inara! :D

1:17 - the blue transition looks lovely here minus the green

1:56 - I'm sure I mentioned this before, but I LOVE that jump cut.

2:16 - face to face, yay

2:35 - blowing out SOOOOO pretty

Hang on, haven't I already commented on the DVD version after I received the DVD? o_O

Oh well, extra feedback can never hurt.
bradcpubradcpu on November 4th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
Yes, you did reply when you got the DVD. But you don't hear me not complaining.

Thanks so much for the compliments about the layering and musicality. I really feel like Goodnight Moon was sort of a natural progression from this one on both fronts, so I don't think I could have *either* without your help.

That 1:03 shot was something that occurred to me weeks after VVC and spurred me to get back to work on the vid. I felt much better about the vid as a whole once that was in place.

I like this shot so much better than stoned!Inara!
But... how could anyone say no to stoned!Inara??

You know you agonized over this vid at least as much as I did, Nicky. I hope you know how much your help meant to me.
(Deleted comment)
bradcpubradcpu on November 4th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
I really appreciate it - and thanks for watching even though you don't know the source.
Alice: inara/kaylee - overbeerbad on November 4th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
I'm a huge femslash fan, but I was never really into River/Inara. Until now, that is. :) Absolutely beautiful video, which made me reconsider their connection to each other.
bradcpu: Serenitybradcpu on November 4th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
That's a wonderful compliment. Thank you. I always felt like their connection was more unspoken and... well, honestly, kind of one-sided. There were a lot of physical looking/touching/comforting scenes that I left out because I wanted Inara to be more a *presence* than a physical being for River.
khassakhassa on November 4th, 2007 07:30 am (UTC)
So lovely. I'd forgotten how much I love River!
bradcpubradcpu on November 4th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I'd forgotten how much I love River
Me too. :) It's always wonderful to get back to Firefly. It's like seeing an old friend.
counteragent: vid freecounteragent on November 5th, 2007 02:04 am (UTC)
Wonderful! So lush during the Inara-is-on-board parts, so cripplingly scary when she is not. A fascinating piece; gorgeous visuals set to an unusual but inspired song choice.

bradcpubradcpu on November 5th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
So lush during the Inara-is-on-board parts, so cripplingly scary when she is not
It's really reassuring that you could actually tell the on-board parts from the not-parts! That was my biggest fear about the vid.

I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Thanks for checking it out.
kiki_miserychickiki_miserychic on November 5th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
more than my own hands can accomplish?
Having watched the first beta version, I can see and appreciate all the work and retooling that you put into this.

The sound design in the beginning is amazing.

It's so flowly and girlish. The fades and overlays are especially lovely with the framing and positioning.

My favorite part is 1:29-1:33 when River in space is looking down at River on Serenity, who is looking up at her.
The violence and harshness is handled wonderfully along side of the gentle and caring aspect.
bradcpu: Serenitybradcpu on November 6th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC)
Re: more than my own hands can accomplish?
Love the quote you picked out for this one. :)

It's really cool that you can see the difference from that beta version. I think I was already on like the second or third draft by the time I sent it to you, and it went through maybe four or five (?) more drafts after.

It's so flowly and girlish
I love that you'd describe it that way. Thanks, Whitney.
oxoniensis: fandom: ff my sister's a shipoxoniensis on November 7th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
That was gorgeous work - I loved the contrast you highlighted, River's world with and without Inara. Beautiful.
bradcpu: Serenitybradcpu on November 7th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
River's world with and without Inara
I'm really thrilled that you would describe it like that. That's exactly what I was going for, but I really didn't think it would come through properly. Thank you.
Third Mousethirdblindmouse on November 10th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
This was very beautiful; I would almost have guessed you made the footage yourself for the purpose of this vid. The beginning especially was a convincing reuse of footage and sound.
bradcpubradcpu on November 10th, 2007 05:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much. It's flattering to hear that the footage looked new. I was hoping to present it in a new way. I appreciate you saying so.
V.: FF River Objects In Spaceaurora_84 on November 10th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
This was fantastic!
bradcpubradcpu on November 11th, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
DC: Final Fantasy VIII - Rinoa - Breathebananainpyjamas on November 11th, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)
Soooo pretty! :D Seriously, even if I had no idea what was going on this was such a treat to watch. The beginning flowed so perfectly in a way that made your cuts seem invisible - pretty much like the source material was meant to be viewed like that. Really liked the use of Asian characters. They're pretty on the song, but they of course complemented the music quite well.

I watched the vid before I read your notes, and I have to agree, I got more of a big sister/maternal vibe from Inara than a slashy one. It's still very sweet in its own way. You could feel how badly River needs her and I felt quite sad to see how River suffered when she wasn't there. So even if I'm not the best judge, I'd say you accomplished what you set out to do here. Yay! :D
bradcpubradcpu on November 11th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks, DC! It makes me feel really good to see that you thought it worked the way I wanted. It's quite unusual to hear from such a talented vidder who has never seen Firefly.

Seriously, even if I had no idea what was going on this was such a treat to watch
At the very least you should now have a truly odd perspective going in the first time you watch Firefly. :P I really do see it as a canon statement about the characters, but it's just... not really the first relationship in the series that jumps out at you.
fabitearful_eye on November 25th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
this is such a beautiful vid!

of course watching anything firefly related always makes me think that, cause the source is already so great - but this vid is amazing ;) i don't think i've ever seen a river/inara vid, but it really fits very well - the contrast between them is huge & perhaps it's just this, that makes them fit together so well (at least in a vid). i also really liked that you used a song where i didn't udnerstand anything (haven't read the lyrics, cause i was to lazy at first), this fits their relationship so well in my opinion - there's always something strange in it & perhaps something that isn't understood by everyone else.

there were also some beautiful transitions & clips fitting together perfectly (like they always do in your vids), i especially loved some moments in the end: at ~2:23 onwards, the green/blue tinged scene & then especially river crying and at the same time it's raining outside - so beautiful. and then everything changes into the warmer red/yellow lighted scene & inara blows the match out & the serenity (and river) become dark as well...

so pretty!
bradcpubradcpu on November 26th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
It's so very rewarding reading your reply because what you're describing is exactly what I hoped people would see. River and Inara's relationship (from River's perspective) seemed to me to be beautiful, yet sad and full of longing. It was so difficult trying to find that balance visually, but it sounds like all of the aspects of that came through for you.

Thank you so very much for this.
Dualbunny: River - settle down yall - 50thousandteadualbunny on January 23rd, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
This is why when I get backlogged on vid feedback (succinct as mine usually is these days) I stay backlogged. Because I start to run out of ways to say "Holy wow!" :D

I was really intrigued when I heard about this vid from the VVC staff, but obviously didn't see it. The product was definitely worth the wait. :) It's so easy to see the weight and care that went into the choices you made. The intro is very much like a missing scene from the show, and the song itself is a gorgeous accompaniment for River.

Nothing is ever really peaceful for River in this, but the comfort Inara provides her becomes so palpable. That you chose to illustrate so much of that by showing the effects of her absence adds this wonderful edge to the concept and makes that last section of stunning overlays even more haunting. I'm so in love with Inara blowing out the engines of Serenity that I can hardly stand it. :}
bradcpubradcpu on January 23rd, 2008 05:35 am (UTC)
See, now I wish I had made more vids in the past few months so that the dualbunny fb would just go on and on and on. :)

when I heard about this vid from the VVC staff
Really?? That's incredibly cool to hear, and quite surprising that anyone would mention it. Fyi, the vid you see here is actually a bit different than the version that was originally submitted to VVC, as obsessive24 and I took a few more swipes at it afterward. I'm pretty certain the months-long, hair-tearing beta process for this one drove her just a little bit insane.

We were both so worried about how clearly it would come through that River's mental state was linked to Inara's presence, but again you plugged straight into that with your comments like it was the most obvious thing. That makes me feel really really good. <-Is it obvious that I've run out of superlatives?