I made this mashup in mid-December 2017 and I think it worked out remarkably well. Then just for kicks, I put it as the background music of a twitter video of BTS dancing and it also worked out really well. So I decided to make a BTS dance break compilation video to the song which was a learning experience.

Some notes:

  • Video editing is much more complicated than audio editing. Audio editing for mashups is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle – do these pieces fit? Video editing is like sculpting or making a collage – the pieces already exist, how do you shape it to your vision?
  • Now that I’ve seen the N.O. tour dance break many, many times, I’m convinced that it made learning the Fire dance break choreo a lot easier.
  • I wanted to feature choreo that included the entire group, not just the primary dancers. Fancams in theory sound really nice, but the sheer magnitude was overwhelming. Also, some fansites don’t want their video edited or re-uploaded.
  • It was hard finding a video editing program to work on my computer. I didn’t want to shell out $20 USD/month just for Adobe Premiere. The free video editing options like DaVinci Resolve, Hitfilm Express, or Lightworks all kept crashing on my outdated computer. Humble Bundle had Sony Vegas Pro 14 Edit for $20 USD (Pro 15 Edit is currently $449 CAD) and thankfully that gamble paid off.
  • It’s a testament to both songs that I’m not tired of this mashup yet.

When I was a kid, I thought being a music video director was a really cool job. MTV and cable tv were very popular back in the day and growing up in a house that had neither probably increased the appeal.

With the Internet, remix culture started taking off around the late 90s, early 2000s? Photoshop was invented in 1990. “A Stroke of Genie-us”, a mashup of Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” and The Strokes’ “Hard To Explain”, came out in 2001. YouTube was invented in early 2005 and acquired in late 2006. I Can Has Cheezburger/lolcats happened around 2007. That’s over 10 years ago. Now our memes are created, gif’d, and shared in a matter of moments.

So considering this is my first fanvid, you could argue I’m behind the digital times. (I’ve actually spliced physical film and tried to edit a video project in 7th grade. My partner kinda took over. Ah, groupwork.) I feel like I’ve got a good handle on audio editing and Audacity, even though there’s still a lot to learn. Video editing is even more complicated than audio editing. It was a lot of work to edit the audio, then download videos, edit them into subclips, and arrange them into some kind of narrative. I say I put 15 hours into this moody artsy fartsy 43 second thing?

One thing I learned in 2017 is that creating is restorative. Even if all my materials and inspiration are from other people’s work, I’m still taking all that and making something new. Even if no one else likes it, like it. And I learned how to make a thing. Which will help me in making future things. I can finally make that Beyonce/Pacific Rim fanvid now that I found an editing program that won’t crash in my old computer!

Another thing I didn’t realize was hard was sharing the finished result. I alternated between “this is so cool” and “what am I doing, this is garbage” a lot. It helped to frame it as I’m learning how to communicate visually in a new way, but it’s hard to go past “why bother?” On one hand, I’m making things I want to see in the world, which is pretty cool. Then again, external validation can feel pretty sweet. According to Twitter, this is a pretty common feeling, one that will take time to get used to. So I better start making more things!

2017 kind of felt like this gif – alone by a glacier in the midst of a thunderstorm but I survived and that’s pretty good considering.

It was a psychologically difficult year due to politics and the constant reassurance that my existence and of those I love are simply not wanted anymore in the country I was born and raised in. Then there was the move and getting to know a whole new area. What made things bearable was the Internet, honestly. Finding journalists and creatives of color surviving and creating helped a lot. Discovered creating as a coping mechanism.

I have plans and dreams for 2018. “Exercise my heart”. Take better care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally. Let myself be vulnerable. Ask for help. And continue to survive.

5 days ago, I opened Audacity and made some ringtones based on BTS’ first teaser for the latest single ‘DNA’ and shared them to reddit and YouTube. Thanks to YouTube’s suggestion algorithm, my video views jumped from 350 to over 10,000 the next day and was at 23,906 views when I started writing this. I spent the weekend making a few more ringtones from BTS’ second teaser as well as some requests and mixes. Someone in the comments asked how I did it and there was so much to share, I’m turning it into a blog post.

Please keep in mind that I am still very much new to Audacity. Those ringtones were basically the first ones I ever made. I’ll assume you used an app or website to download the audio from YouTube.


[animated gif on how to select an audio clip, copy and paste in Audacity]

First, select what part of the song you want to use and isolate. This involves a lot of zooming in to make sure you get as clean a cut as you can (aka no additional sounds). As you can see in the gif, I find it easier to click in the middle of the area you want and then click-drag to the where you want instead of trying to wing it in one mouseover. Once an area is selected, you can use Transport -> Loop Play to hear whether it’ll loop cleanly. Then I copy and paste to a new track (Tracks -> Create New Stereo Track). I like to keep a copy of the original track just in case I mess up.

Notice when I pasted the clip in an existing track, Jungkook’s vocal part shifts off screen. This can easily mess up the arrangement. It’s fixable but it takes tweaking with the Time Shift tool which I’ll discuss later.


screenshot of my Audacity DNA Teaser 1 + 2 = Her raw project file with notes

Here is a screenshot of all my raw clips Audacity project file for my BTS DNA Teaser Ringtone (1 + 2 = Her mix). As you can see, I’ve got the audio for both teasers (with the BigHit sound deleted) as well as various elements I thought I could use.


[screenshot of BTS T2 Simple remix Audacity project file with notes]

This is the actual fun part, where you arrange things to your liking. Here are my notes for my BTS DNA Teaser Ringtone Simple Mix, using the Teaser 2 Extended Instrumental as the base. (The Extended Instrumental was done by basically selecting the first beat and repeating it and then repeating the second drum part with the siren 2 more times. I couldn’t figure out how to repeat the build up to the drop cleanly or else I would’ve repeated that one more time as well.)

I usually keep the main music as the top track and then add a new track beneath it to paste the clip and move it around. This was mostly so I have a better visual bird’s eye view of where I want the clip to be in relation to the overall song.


[animated gif demonstrating the time tool in Audacity]

The Time Shift tool is so great. I mostly arranged things by listening and pasting what sounded good to me, but as you can see in the above gif, it’s so much easier to move clips around instead of pasting, painstakingly selecting the clip only to copy and paste it again. I could’ve saved way more time if I’d known about this earlier.


[screenshot of BTS Teaser Ringtone 1 + 2 = Her mix Audacity project file with notes]

The BTS DNA Teaser (1 + 2 = Her Mix) is probably the most complicated thing I’ve done so far. This one involved so much tweaking. I forgot to add it on the picture, but I had to extend the end of the 2nd whistle part. I basically Googled “how to extend a note audacity” and this old forum post was like “zoom in, select tiny parts of what you want to extend, copy and paste to new tracks, merge the whole thing as a new mix, crossfade.” This is when I started playing more with the Effects menu.

As you can see, I used Effect -> Amplify a lot. It automatically moves the selected clip to as loud as it can be, but if you move the slider toward -db, you can reduce the volume. I always Preview before and watch the levels to get a better idea of what I want it.

Once you’re happy with everything, select the Tracks and Render and Mix to New Track. From there, you select the track and Export Selected Audio to .mp3 format. That’s it!

It’s a lot of information, but the best way to learn is to just start! I hope this helps and good luck!

BTS new mini-album drops on Monday and they dropped a teaser for the music video for their upcoming single ‘DNA’. It’s mostly a minute of Jungkook walking and whistling but the last few seconds gives us a taste of what’s in store.

It’s also catchy as hell and I spent some time making ringtones and notification sounds for my phone. I’ve shared them with reddit and YouTube already.

Download links:

BTS DNA T1 Notification A (first guitar chord/whistle) – https://goo.gl/KwiApv
BTS DNA T1 Notification B (opening beat, guitar chord, short whistle) – https://goo.gl/imyMTr

BTS DNA T1 Ringtone A (guitar chord/whistle loop) – https://goo.gl/2PkcCc
BTS DNA T1 Ringtone B (guitar chord/whistle w/opening beat loop) – https://goo.gl/PVjJ4S

I’ll eventually write about my Germany trip, but here’s an animated gif of me going down a sommerrodelbahn, or alpine slide. They’re pretty fun!

[Journey first scarf]

One of my overall goals this year is to be a better writer. I hope to be more thoughtful about the pop culture things I’m consuming. My brain is pondering over Journey and Interruption Junction at the moment. Whoever said writing is like excavating isn’t kidding – I feel like there’s a germ of a good idea somewhere buried under miles of rubble. I’ve written a lot of words about these games that feel empty and tangential to what I want to get at. I wish the good stuff comes soon.

[Twine map of "Wait and See"]

New month means new project. I got stalled in my January project, which was to be my first ever fan video. Finding a working free video editor for Windows 7 that wouldn’t constantly crash was more challenging than I thought. Add in some personal issues, some January blahs, and it didn’t get done. I know I’ll get back to it someday, but February’s project is time-sensitive so I want to focus on it.

I want to make a self-directed Twine guide to help people do their taxes. My primary audience would be college students, young adults, and those who dread and fear the process. Less like TurboTax, more like You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide.

The initial plan is to educate the user of resources they might not be aware of, like the IRS’ free tax software that’s available for those who earn under a certain threshold and to walk the user through the 1040, 1040EZ forms. If I have enough time to introduce more complexity, I hope to include some or all of the following:

  • Itemized deductions vs. standard deductions
  • International students (1040-NR?)
  • Credits the audience should be aware of (student loans, moving, EITC?, retirement)
  • Info on hobbies vs. freelance business (Etsy, tumblr artists?, Schedule C)
  • Multiple visual encouragement packs (cute animals, Courage Wolf, etc.)

This week’s plan is to go through the 1040 and 1040 EZ forms, make notes, and get a rough outline of how to proceed. I’m going to use Twine 1.4.2 since it seems more flexible than Twine 2.0.10 for potential multimedia encouragement and I’m more used to the formatting in 1.4.2. I want to focus on getting the thing to work before I make it look good.

(The screencap is of a Twine I wrote last night that helped me decide to use version 1.4.2 for this project. See how much work I need with writing?)