ZEFR’s Taxonomy of Fanvids

Vidding is the process of editing existing content together to create something new. It is video remixing. Vids serve as an opportunity for vidders to experiment with storytelling within a universe in which they are already familiar. This tradition has roots in fan-fiction. 

Vidding became popular with the advent of home video because fans for the first time had access to their favorite television shows and movies on demand. The digital age has made this process easier and more accessible to a wider range of creators.

Because rights holders have begun to understand why fans make videos and see it as good for their properties and good for the community, vidding has become a huge part of YouTube culture. YouTube has made it easier for these creators to play in a more public sandbox.

Vidders play in the realm of film and television, primarily. Within the vidding ecosystem there is incredible diversity. Video styles are not quite mutually exclusive, but there are some fairly distinct categories. These titular classifications aim to further showcase subcultures on YouTube.

In order to understand stylistic differences, all of the examples will use Harry Potter as the fandom to establish a baseline of canon.

Ship Vid

This is a term that fans use to describe their own work and it is the most well known of fanvids. Ship is short for “relationship,” and these videos pair up or group characters and then edit footage together to make it seem like they are in a relationship. A lot of shipping is non-canonical. Frequently, the term “AU” is used to indicate that the story being told in the video is alternate-universe. The most common relationships are friendships, love triangles, and romantic pairs.

Slash Vid

This is technically a subsection of ship, but is famous and distinct enough to warrant its own category. Slash videos stem from Star Trek fanvids made in the days of analog to portray a romance between Kirk and Spock. So named because of the symbol between the names (Kirk/Spock), Slash videos are ship videos with queer pairings. Sometimes they are NSFW. Slash is also a term used by the vidding and fan-fiction communities to describe their own work.

Crossover Vid

A crossover video makes a single narrative with two or more characters from different franchises in which the characters exist in the same universe. These videos frequently intersect with ships. AU can also be applied to some crossover vids. The term “crossover” has roots in fan fiction and is a fan-applied term.

Multifandom Vid

A multifandom video is an edit that pays tribute to more than two franchises. These videos tend to showcase franchises through a theme, rather than as interacting with each other. Multifandom is a fan-applied term.

Fan Trailer

Fan trailers are re-edits of official footage to create a new or slightly altered trailer for the original property. Although this term is not used prolifically by fans to describe their own work, it is a visual category of vid.

In The Style Of

These videos sync visuals from one or more franchises to the audio of another. This style, for fans, fall under the general term of vid, but has clear aesthetic demarkations to distinguish it from other styles.


This is a term some vidders give to describe their  own content, usually referring to videos that contain unedited scenes from a film with original voice over making fun of the original scene. Parody in this sense is a colloquial, rather than legal, definition.

Music Video

There is a high emphasis on matching, in tone, subject, timing or theme. These vids emphasize the aesthetics. Many other kinds of vids have musical backgrounds, but it is the emphasis on matching the music and lyrics, rather than crafting a narrative, that sets this category apart from others. This style of vid stems from a more analog vidding style and is seldom referred to as a “Music Video” from within the fandom, but they are distinguishable from other kinds of vids.


The sound might be warped, present, absent, substituted, or any combination thereof. There are quick cuts and many rely on making musical puns.  They frequently separate segments with television snow. It is closely related to YTP, which is even more bizarre.


YTP stands for YouTube Poop. This video style relies on crude humor and randomness. This style of fanvid is the non-narrative indie art film of the fanvid world. According to Know Your Meme, YTP is made to either annoy or entertain viewers in an increasingly indifferent world.


These videos are still frames, occasionally with video clips, with or without text written over them, and set to music. Sometimes they include original fan art. Frequently they use production stills, frames from films, or posters.


These videos celebrate the memory of a character, characters or franchise. Frequently made for deceased characters, tributes more often resemble slideshows rather than a narrative.


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  • chemistryguy

    Just chiming in since I’ve been in the ytp business for going on 5 years. There’s a wiki article available to reference now. It just sounds so much better than knowyourmeme, which is generally looked down upon in the community. By necessity, the wiki article cites this the kym website, but also a number of other more reliable sources.