I can't speak for any of the judges in terms of how they're deciding on who to vote for. Personally, I certainly do hope that source bias isn't happening. However, there is a lot to say about visceral reaction. A lot of the time when I'm watching the two entries, I instinctively can tell you "I just enjoyed this one more" and I'll freely admit that sometimes a part of that visceral reaction is based on the source pairing. So that represents a conundrum. If I'm NOT taking the pairing into account from the perspective of "well that was a really easy/hard pairing, so the editing must've been really easy/hard" but simply basing it on "which video did I enjoy more?" then source pairing is still playing a part in that decision from a visceral enjoyment perspective. So, it's kind of a damned if I do, damned if I don't kind of scenario.
Here is how I would approach voting if I were a judge, in order of importance:
1) How well did the editing meld the two sources together? (this is mostly related to scene selection as opposed to timing/sync)
2) Did the editor take risks? If so, did they work, or did they hinder the final outcome? (this is more of a personal thing. I just tend to enjoy videos that give me something unexpected)
3) From a purely visceral and gut-feeling perspective, which one did I simply enjoy the most?
4) How was the technical editing quality? (this is where timing/sync come into play)
5) How was the video quality? (this is more of DISTANT 5th and wouldn't really override the above criteria, but it does have some influence in my visceral enjoyment, like it or not)
Now, that's all just my own personal views towards judging an IC, and aren't the set benchmarks for what the official judges have to do. I never gave them any specific rules and I don't intend to. However, I did pick them knowing that they know what to look for in a good video. They also have different tastes, which is a good thing. I do not believe that there are any "pity votes" being handed out, but I certainly wouldn't rule out the idea that they might look at somebody using a source that doesn't match up with a song well, and still doing a really great job as being a better accomplishment than somebody who does a great job with a source that matches up with the song perfectly. It's one of those "all things being equal" sort of deals where when you weigh the pro's and con's of each and they're right around the same level, you begin to look for other things, and the difficulty of the source material might come into play.
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