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Video Review

[07] One of the great things about going to Creation's HERC/XENA Conventions is the entertainment presented between guests. Besides the fantastic selection of merchandise there is to drool over, there are slide presentations, blooper reels, and music videos. A "music video" is a compilation of clips from XENA or Herc episodes put to various types of music. They can be kick-ass fighting ones, a tribute to a particular character, or sentimental mushy ones. You find yourself sighing over the "Gabrielle" video, done to the song "Wind beneath my Wings", because its so sweet and is a tribute to the friendship between Xena and Gabrielle. Or slapping your knee with the beat as Herc, Xena and friends beat up the bad guys to Elton John's "Saturday Nights All Right for Fighting". Music videos are as creative as the maker can imagine. The ones by Creation are obviously done by a professional studio, but I can tell you, the best I've ever seen are the ones made by fans. Some of them are absolutely inspiring. The Creation music videos however, are very well done, and if you haven't seen the fan made ones, you'll be thrilled with these and would kill to have a copy of your own. Here're a few examples of what to expect at a Creation convention.

[08] SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALL RIGHT FOR FIGHTING: Music by Elton John. This one starts out with Iolaus trying to get Hercules to teach him how to fight bare-fisted and bare-chested. Next clip is Xena saying ,"Hey boys, I want to play too"... then the music starts and so does the action! Herc and Iolaus, Xena and Gabrielle "mix it up" kicking b*tt for the next few minutes. You can't help but sing along as the music takes you in. A great video and lots of fun.

[09] WIND BENEATH MY WINGS: Bette Midler's version of this hit and one Creation likes to call "Gabrielle's" music video. This is a sentimental journey that shows you the love between two friends, Xena and Gabrielle. The clips are great, with overlays and transitions that have you feeling mushy all over. Everyone loves this video, and is begging Creation to sell it. They can't, so forget it. This video is something special, just like Gabrielle's and Xena's relationship.

[10] BAD TO THE BONE: This music video is a tribute to Kevin Smith's "Ares" character. The music is so appropriate, and the video is very well done.

[11] SISTER'S ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES: Annie Lenox and Aretha Franklin belt out this tune and you can't help but tap your feet to the beat. Can you guess what this music video features? Our Warrior and her Bard kicking b*tt. Fun, fun, fun. A great song with action-filled clips of head-smashing, arm twisting, chakram-throwing, staff-banging and general mayhem inflicted by our two favorite gals.

[12] SIMPLY THE BEST: Tina Turner's mega-hit. A tribute to Lawless' "Xena" character. This is one video that is tragically poorly done. I've seen a better one made by a fan to the same music. Everyone was disappointed with this video. Like Lawless, it should be a knockout, but it falls short. The clips are not that great, and the timing was off. Creation should have this one redone.

[13] WORKING FOR A LIVING: Huey Lewis and the News sing this version. This was a tribute to that lovable jack of all trades, Salmoneous. Robert Trebor's characterization has many skills, and we see them all during this video salute to the guy beloved by both Xena and Hercules.

[14] TRIBUTE TO HUDSON LEICK: This was kinda strange, because it showcased Hudson in many roles throughout her career. Her stint on "MELROSE PLACE" and "UNIVERSITY NURSES" as well as the role that made her famous, "Callisto" from XENA. I personally didn't care for it, and the music was not that remarkable. In fact, no one can remember it. I really want to do a music video salute to Callisto using "The B*tch is Back" by Tina Turner!

Fan-Made Videos

[15] I have to say a word about fan-made videos. I first saw a couple at the Xenafest held in Winter Park in December of 1996. They were fabulous. All of us left with a copy and the copies have spread world-wide. The person who made them was not present to prevent the copying , and was pretty upset it was done. There seems to be a general paranoia about people copying these videos, the people who make them are scared to death that Universal/Creation or somebody will sue them for it. These concerns are warranted, although I know of no one who gets any profit from these at all. They are made for the enjoyment of XENA fans and no one else. I myself make music videos and give copies only to friends who really beg me with persistence. I get my enjoyment in making them, as a tribute to the characters and the show; and then sitting in a room with a bunch of people who think they are just fabulous. Interestingly, I recently traded some of my videos to a girl who had done some herself. When I got her videos, all the songs revolved around Xena, Gabrielle and their various boyfriends. Now my videos, on the other hand, revolve around Xena and Gabrielle being a couple; as I am a fan of subtext. I e-mailed her and told her I should have warned her that I am a subtext fan, and she may not enjoy my videos. The response from her was that while she enjoys the subtext, she prefers Xena and Gabrielle's relationship to be just friends. To each her own. Music videos can be as different as the people who make them.

[16] Here are some of the best fan made videos I've seen. "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" - Pat Benatar, "The Warrior" - Scandal, "Manic Monday "- The Bangles, "I Shall Believe" - Sheryl Crow, "I Will Remember You" - Amy Grant, "The Best" - Tina Turner, and "Hero" - Mariah Carey

How to Make Your Own Music Videos

[17] I started by just experimenting. I have a Hi-8 mm camcorder and hooked it up to a VCR. I record my clips on the camcorder (from the VCR). Then I play the camcorder tape back to the VCR with the audio input leads into a boombox. The boombox has the CD or tape I wish to replace the spoken audio with. Push play on the camcorder, play on the boombox, record on the VCR -- POOF! You have a music video. Only its not that easy. I spend many many hours trying to get the timing right, and have thought "I've got to get this on the computer".

Computer Video Editing

[18] I researched this a long time before buying anything. I asked people on the internet, read "PC Magazine's" desktop video evaluations and looked around in the local computer stores to see what my choices were. First, the software had to output to video.(to make a VCR tape) Next, it had to be user friendly and inexpensive. I happened to be in my local computer mega-store and noticed they had just received some new products for this purpose. Most of them did not output to video, but one of them seemed to have everything I was looking for and was only $400. What I ended up taking home with me that day was the "Broadway Beginner Videomaker." It comes with it's own video capture board and software that enables the user to cut, trim and paste footage; then add titles and special effects. Installing the board is a snap -- but you need an empty PCI slot. Windows 95 hung me up initially, but going to Broadway's internet site I was able to find troubleshooting help that solved the problem. I have been playing with this system for about a week now and am totally thrilled with it. I will be limited only by my imagination. A word of warning: you need a large hard drive. Video really takes up space. My computer has a 3.2g hard drive. Just 18 minutes of video takes up 2.0g of hard drive. Keep that in mind if you want to do computer video editing. This particular product was very highly recommended by "PC Magazine" as a best buy. The magazine rated it poorly on the quality of videotapes it makes, but I really can't tell the difference. It looks fine to me. A friend I have that works for a television station told me what they mean is that it is not "broadcast quality." But shop around; you can spend anywhere from $100 to $1000, depending what you want. Music videos are a wonderful creative endeavor, and provide another unique perspective into the show we all love.

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