3/18/2010

The Battlestar Galactica / Beastie Boys "Sabotage" mash-up video has exploded on the Internet since being uploaded, but only a privileged few have gotten to know the creator Katie King, otherwise known by her YouTube name as katamaran78.

How did she find the clips she used? Did it really take her ten days to make the whole thing? Why would Admiral Adama pimp-slap Captain Kirk?

Find out in our exclusive interview with Katie King:
Welcome Katie. What was the motivation behind the Battlestar Galactica "Sabotage" mash-up video?
I'm known amongst my friends in the BSG fandom for having really crazy, funny ideas. I have done a couple of videos before, both the typical "scenes set to music" type of vids. When I got the idea for the "Sabotage" video, it just struck me as being something that would be funny to make, as well as an interesting editing exercise. I guess you could say I did it for the lulz, really.

How did you get the idea to re-cut these two very dissimilar products?
'Sabotage' has been one of my favorite videos since it came out in '94. I was in high school at the time, so it was an iconic part of my teenage years. I'm always listening to music with an ear for making a video, but when I randomly heard 'Sabotage' on the radio a couple weeks ago, it just hit me that it would be interesting to re-edit. I remembered a few of the shots from the video and started wondering if I could re-cut it with BSG footage. The first thing that came to mind was Admiral Adama's mustache and that was the first thing I went looking for.

It's extremely impressive that it only took you an amazing five days to edit the video together. There are clips from so many clips from different episodes of BSG. Did you already know what clips you were going to use, or did you have to watch every episode to find them?
Going into making the video, I knew that I wanted 'Viper' and 'Raider' shots for the car chase scenes and humans fighting and running for their counterparts. There are only a few episodes that feature a large amount of each, so I went looking for those scenes first. I have a pretty photographic (and some would say scary) memory about the show, so most of the time, I knew exactly where to look. For many of the scenes that matched almost perfectly, such as Apollo pointing at his head and Tigh listening to the music 'in the frakking ship,' I knew chapter and verse where to go. A lot of times, I ripped one large action scene to get a single two second bit from it and discovered five more pieces I could use. Most of the shots came from just a few episodes and a lot of it was luck on my own part. I definitely didn't have to watch the whole series again, though I'm planning to over the summer.

Who was the first person you showed the finished product to?
My husband was beside me on his own computer during most of the editing process, so every time I finished a ten second section, I gleefully forced him to remove his headphones and watch. He swore he would get sick of the song, but I think he still likes it even after hearing it a couple dozen times. I teased my fandom friends that I had something funny coming soon and even told a few of them what I was up to, but until I posted the video on Youtube and linked it on Livejournal's Battlestar Blog, no one else had seen it.

Everyone obviously enjoys your work and it's been featured on blogs from Wired to io9. Were you surprised and excited by the response after you  uploaded it last week?
I've been in a state of shock since Tuesday, I think. I remember talking to my husband after I finished it and saying 'wouldn't it be funny if it went viral?' Viral at that point meant maybe 50,000 views in a year. Not 200,000 in ten days (plus 75,000 on the side-by-side). That completely floored me. When it started trending on Twitter and my friends sent me emails saying (in jest) 'I hate you...you're on Entertainment Weekly's site now,' it became the most surreal experience of my life. The highlights have been mentions from Craig Engler, SyFy's Senior VP of Digital, and from Bear McCreary, the composer of the show's music, who I am a huge fan of. I had a nice little back-and-forth over Twitter with Maureen Ryan, the television columnist for the Chicago Tribune, which was really fun, as she always has been one of the biggest BSG fans in the media.

You obviously have a lot of skill at sound and video editing. What kind of equipment and software did you use?
I put it all together in Adobe Premiere and did a little bit of post-production in Adobe After Effects. I use a pretty souped-up (when I bought it) HP PC that I pray will make it through every render. I've had several people ask me for an HD version of the vid, but alas, I made it in standard def.

I imported the original Sabotage vid and marked every scene change in Premiere, which helped immensely when I was editing and made the process much faster. I've seen a few people call me out for saying it only took about 10 hours, but it's true. I just work super fast.

Are you planning to make any more video mash-ups?
More vids, yes. Re-creations like this, probably not. I have a really cool idea for my next video that will take it beyond the stereotypical fanvid. I have the music picked out, as well as the story I want to tell. The test shots have been working nicely. If I can pull it off, and do it well, it will not only be an interesting tribute to the show, but also a portfolio piece for me professionally. It will take a lot of time and work, so don't hold your breath waiting for it.

Music usage is the most difficult thing about a fanvid. So many comments I've gotten have been along the lines of 'I love this song/show and will go out and buy it now.' I wish record companies could see that and realize that fans and word of mouth are the best exposure that money can't buy. I have one idea that will never come to fruition simply because of the song and band I want to use is extremely protective of their work and would rip it down before ten people saw the vid.

You describe yourself as a “media-obsessed chick who digs all things sci-fi.” So, where do you see the sci-fi genre going in five years?
 I hate to say it, but I see a lot of dumbing-down and blurring the lines between sci-fi and what people perceive as sci-fi/reality shows, especially on television. Sci-fi as a genre has tended to pander to the most common masses recently for the sake of ratings and box office receipts, while really good quality sci-fi is getting lost in the shuffle. One of my favorite movies is Children of Men, which was science fiction that made you think about the human condition, as well as being a very well-done movie...yet it was a relative failure at the box office. Movies like 2012, where the word FICTION should be lit up in neon, are the ones that people flock to in droves. While I don't blame studios and networks for wanting to make as much money as possible, the quality of storytelling is going to decline for the sake of bigger explosions and better popcorn sales. We've moved away from the campiness of the 70s and 80s, to the humanity-exploring late 90s and early 00s, but the campiness is making a comeback. Shows like The X-Files, Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica are few and far between.

You're obviously a big fan of Battlestar Galactica based on your  "million frakkin' ants" video and other clips you've uploaded. What drew you to the show?
I actually avoided it for the first two years, as I remembered the original show and how campy it was. My coworkers actually watched the new BSG and talked about it every Monday, which got me a little interested, but not enough to watch. One night, Sci-Fi Channel (as it was at the time), ran a marathon of episodes and I caught one around 3am. The very first scene I ever saw was in 'Resurrection Ship II', when President Roslin promoted Adama to Admiral. I'd actually been a fan of Mary McDonnell for years, so I was surprised to see her in the show at all. Then, I remembered the watercooler talk around the office about her character, and went out the next morning to buy seasons one and two on DVD to prepare myself for season three, which was just around the corner. I was able to tell Mary McDonnell that story at a convention in Spain last month and she loved that the scene was my first time seeing the show, as that particular one was her favorite in the whole series. What has kept me in the fandom is not only the show, but the amazing people from all around the world who I've met and become friends with all because we like the same television series.

The spin-off Caprica is getting extremely mixed reviews, are you a fan of it and would you like to see more BSG spin-offs?
I've watched the whole series from the beginning and have slowly been coming around to it. The show is building nicely and I enjoy the world-building and history behind it. It will be interesting to see where it goes. It's certainly not BSG though. Far from it. But I like it.

As far as spin-offs go, there's an interesting rumor going around from SyFy and Ron Moore himself about something in the works, though not necessarily a series. I would absolutely love to see the missing year on New Caprica, as would a lot of fans. The lives of the Final Five before they came to the Colonies would be a strong story. The mythology geek in me would like to see something about the Lords of Kobol and the exodus of the Twelve Tribes. The first Cylon War would make for excellent series fodder.

Who do you think would win in a space battle? Captain Adama or Captain Kirk?
First, I assume you mean Admiral Adama ;) (EDITORS NOTE: Good catch Katie)

This was addressed in an article on DVICE a while ago in which the author declared Galactica the winner by a hair. Then 10,000 Trekkies descended and frothed at the mouth that the Enterprise would win based on its theoretical weaponry. Personally, I say Galactica is a tougher old gal than people give her credit for.

I'll just say that Adama dropped Galactica through a planetary atmosphere, and it frakking made it back to tell the story. I doubt the Enterprise could do the same.

The Enterprise was made to seek out new life and explore strange new worlds. The Galactica was made to kill you. And it will.

In a fistfight? Adama once killed a Cylon with his bare hands and a flashlight. Kirk would probably try to seduce it (if it were female). However, Kirk isn't above cheating.

If it were Adama vs. Picard, they would probably just swap books. I guess I'm a little biased.

Anything you'd like to share with the fans of your work both present and future?
Well, I know I'm at 14:59 of this 15 minutes. And when I post my next video, I'll be flooded with people saying "it's not as good as the last one!" I'm not trying to make something better, I'm trying to make something different. Nothing will replicate the unexpected success of the 'Sabotage' vid, so I'm not going to even try. I'll just enjoy the process and sharing the final product. If people like it, great. I hope they do.

Thanks for the interview Katie. What did you guys think of the interview? Why not jot a note in the comments?
[Image from geekadelphia.com]

1 comments:

monkeymigraine said...

Nice interview. Good questions, and much more interesting than I thought it would be. I didn't realize the video had taken off like that - I never heard of it until it appeared on this blog. I'm so out of touch.

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