eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
[personal profile] eruthros
I like RULES and I like LISTS so I really enjoy the clear dispute rules of Festivids - I like figuring out which fandoms are safeties and which fandoms are too big and so on. But I have heard a lot of people say that they wanted to check the size of their own fandoms or dispute a fandom, but youtube search was too awful to work with. So I thought I'd write down how I do it in hopes that someone might find it helpful.

Because youtube's search function is terrible, it will return results entirely unrelated to your query, so a youtube search alone doesn't count to disqualify a fandom1; instead you'll have to make a list of vids, or a youtube playlist, or find someone else's youtube playlist. (You could theoretically do a search and then just manually count results, but if someone says they don't believe you, you're stuck - in disputes, the burden of proof is on the challenger.) But of course since youtube search sucks it can be hard to find vids or hard to list them without duplicates. This is how I do it, trying to make sure that I only count things once and that I only count things that qualify as vids under festivids rules while still working quickly and without getting bored. Here's my method:


1) Pick a search term for vids – there many different terms for vids, and different ones are popular in different fandoms, so this is actually the step that most influences how easy this process will be. I usually look at fandoms that I'm part of - I go "hey, I've totally seen a bunch of vids for that!" - so I can usually guess what term will pick up the most results on youtube. If I can't guess, though, I try a couple and look for the one that gives me the cleanest results on the first page - that'll be easier to go through.

Some options are:
  • "tribute" (often useful for fandoms big on youtube and for vids about celebrities)

  • "gmv" (often useful for game fandoms)

  • "amv" (often useful for anime, but also for other animated sources, games, some live action movies and tv shows)

  • "music video" (often useful for fandoms big on youtube)

  • "fanvid" (often useful for fandoms big on dw/lj)

  • "mixtape" (often useful for sports fandoms)

  • "montage" (often useful for sports fandoms, rpf, and soap operas)

  • "mvid" (often useful for soap opera fandoms or canon het ships)

  • "fan trailer" (often useful for still source / book / audio fandoms)


I try "mmv," "fan made," "mad," or "mev" less often, but they're common in some fandoms. There are probably many other useful search terms I don't know - fandom is big! If you know them, I'd love to add them to my list. (Especially because these terms can be helpful for searches the rest of the year when I'm like "nooooo there must be more vids for this character, right? I'm gonna shake youtube until one more vid comes out.")

Picking a search term for a fandom makes a huge difference in which vids I find and how easy it is to find them. Example: a search for "prison break" fanvid has only two actual PB vids on the first page, plus a couple of probably not very useful playlists. A search for "prison break" tribute has between 18 and 20 PB vids on the first page - a couple of them might be actor tributes instead and I'd have to check those, but it's still a huge difference. "Left 4 Dead" fanvid? Two vids on page one, none on page two. "Left 4 Dead" gmv? 19 on page one.

But the terms aren't perfectly mapped so that every game vid is a gmv, so I also try to think about the audience and the communities surrounding sources - e.g. I wanted to nominate "The Longest Journey" this year, and I searched for "The Longest Journey gmv" and found just walkthroughs and LPs. Then I thought, hmm, it's an older computer game fandom, it's about a woman, it's a point and click game - I bet there isn't much overlap with e.g. "Left 4 Dead" fandom. So, "The Longest Journey tribute" and suddenly there were all the vids.

2) If I only want to get a sense of whether a fandom is too big for festivids, my ballpark is that if I can scroll through three pages of youtube results and the third page is still a bunch of actual vids, I could probably find enough other results to disqualify the fandom. (This is usually what I do for my own fandoms, though I'm still sometimes wrong because of picking the wrong search terms.) If I really really want it to qualify, I might go through the rest of the process below.

3) Make a spreadsheet. I use a spreadsheet instead of a word document because equations and autoformatting and I just like spreadsheets. My spreadsheet looks like this:

My festivids spreadsheet, described below.

That's a sample of what my festivids DQ spreadsheet looks like, with some made-up vid names filled in. The sheet has columns for vid title and vidder name, and also some columns with text and formatting so I can copy-paste straight from Excel / Calc and get a numbered list. The most important thing for me, though, is that there's an equation in the vidder name list - if I enter the same vidder's name more than once, and it's not sequential, Excel warns me about it by highlighting the name; that's to keep me from duplicating a vid. (Download festivids dq for excel | Festivids DQ googledoc; to save, hit file -> make a copy) Googledoc's equation calculation is suuuuuper slow though.

4) Do a search for my chosen term on youtube; quotes make the search a bit better but they don't fix it. E.g. "the avengers" fanvid. I do my search in incognito or private browsing windows so that the related videos search will be sliiiiiightly more useful. (Seriously how does google collect so much data and still fail so much at search.) And also so that youtube won't try to rec me vids in the last fandom I was looking at, instead of the current fandom I'm looking at.

5) As I go through the results, I check each vidder's entire body of work - so I'll open the first result in a new tab, watch the first ten seconds while I c/p the title of their vid and their username. If the vid I'm watching qualifies I click on the list of their videos and then search within them to find any other vids for the fandom; this way I'll include every vid by this vidder in the fandom, and if I type their name again further down the list the spreadsheet will tell me that it's a duplicate. Also, if I'm lucky, some of the vidders in the top ten results will have made 20 vids and made my life easier. (But there still have to be more than five vidders on my list.)

6) I check the vids as I add them to the list to make sure that they are actually vids and not the trailer or whatever; usually I can check all of that in the time it takes to c/p the vid title etc. If the vid has a really long intro, though, I'll skip to the middle to check. If I think the fandom might qualify on the no-recent-vids rule I also check dates and note any vids posted in the last four years until I've hit 10 recent vids and then I stop because math with months is hard.

7) I go down the search results, opening each result and checking the work of that vidder (unless it's the same vidder again). I don't mess with related videos at first because youtube is super bad at that right now and also it can make it harder to tell what I've searched for. If I get a good looking playlist - not one youtube generates, but somebody's playlist for a fandom - that's awesome and makes this faster.

8) If I'm having trouble searching, I try to think outside of my own experience of a fandom. E.g.: I recently watched a bit of The Fosters; if I were making a vid for the show, it would probably be about Jude, because I liked Jude best. But I bet, if I searched on youtube, that I would find a ton more vids by searching "brandon callie tribute" (the UST het ship) than for searching for "the fosters tribute" - especially because specific character names probably mean at least all of my results would be about the fandom and not about groups of fostered puppies. This works not just for ships but for characters - especially for fandoms with impossible to search names like "Her" or fandoms with remakes like "Twin Peaks" - pick the most popular character + tribute and I might do better. So sometimes it's just about thinking about the popular canon ship, or the famous actor in the canon, or what the smush name might be, or what kinds of vids other people might be making, or whatever.

9) If I get bored I might also try to guess what the popular vid songs or artists are in a fandom and do a search with the fandom + song or band name instead.2 Or I search for the song I would try to vid and see if someone's already made it - or if ten people have already made it.

10) Keep going until I hit 100+ - I usually aim for a couple vids over 100 in case I mess up and accidentally include a vid that doesn't meet the criteria. Generally speaking, if a fandom is too big, it's WAY too big; if there are 95 vids for it and it just makes the cutoff, I'm not going to find the vids in the first few pages of youtube results that would make me start looking. I think I have only once in festivids thought a fandom was too big and stalled out at that many vids!



1Results: 100,000. Vids: 3.

2In case of emergency, try a fandom or ship name plus whichever of these seems more likely given your canon:
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eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
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