Monday, February 13, 2012

The Santa Claus Project Notes

drawingBoard, Scanned picture from a publication issued by the company S.K.F. (SKF) around 1940-45.

Thoughts On The Santa Claus Vid

Yeah, this one came up all of a sudden. There wasn't the long, drawn-out thought pattern that there was with the Green Hornet vid. So I'm recapping from memory.

Where It Began

I've found that my vidding process has changed drastically. Before I would work from a piece of the vidding I saw and go find the rest of the parts. That was the case in most instances.

But not anymore. This time I was on looking for music to use. Select a genre or style and play a few tunes looking for something to catch my attention. After over an hour my eye caught a tune named Time Travel. That peaked my interest. My first thought was, "Could this be a Doctor Who sound alike?". I certainly hoped so.

So I clicked the play button and within five seconds there was no doubt what there were going after. It had the same style of electronica as the original 60s version. But at over three minutes I'd certainly have to cut it down. Then I noticed a link that said, "6 mixes - 2 related". Clicking that link brought me to a new page with variations of this piece. And, WOW, one of them was one minute long. Unbelievable. It was custom made for a Who opening.

I quickly put it in my cart and checked out. At $1.35 I consider it money well spent.

The Music's Only The First Part

Well I had the music but that's a long way from having a mashup. If you're going to do a Who opening you got to have a vortex and a spinning something. I knew there were various vortexes done but people playing with 3D programs. And I knew there were spinning TARDISES done by those same people. Shouldn't be a problem.

I already had a couple of great videos of the TARDIS spinning in space. It's a popular piece to do when you're learning 3D modeling. So no problem there. But the vortex was something else. I had the vortex from the Doctor Who/Airwolf mashup I did a few years back but it was a wireframe style. Not what I'd need for the Doctor mashup.

It took less than 30 minutes to locate one I liked from YouTube user pattiesandmilk. I emailed the owner of the channel and asked for permission to use it in a vid. Within the hour they had responded giving me permission to use it.

Well I had the music, I had the spinning TARDIS, and I had the vortex. All that was left was to figure out what video to use.

The Hard Part

Here's where it gets difficult. Currently I have less than 200 video sources to pick from and not all of them are in prime condition. A few are lo-res and small and others are a bit on the rough side. I'm working on that by finding better copies but that will take time.

First I looked in the Sci-Fi folder to see if anything there jumped out.

Voyage Da La Luna : is that wonderful silent French film about going to the moon. It had possibilities.

Looks like I've run the gambit of what I thought would work here. Need to look in some other folders.

Sherlock Holmes : I've got a few of the Basil Rathbone adventures which have fallen into the Public Domain. It might do. Sherlock as the Time Lord with his companion, Watson. 221B Baker Street would be the TARDIS location and, if I remember correctly, there was always running in those movies.

I have an Adventure folder. Maybe something there. Looks like a dead end. I'm not feeling it for Zorro, or Robin Hood or The Three Musketeers. For the next hour I continued to look through folders and scrubbing through films to see if something felt right. It didn't.

I Just Wasn't Looking In The Right Place

So on a lark I opening the Humour folder. And as soon as I saw it I knew this was it. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. I wasn't going any farther. This has to rank in the top ten worst movies ever made. This would be what I'd use for my Doctor Who mashup.

A Basic Who Theme

I laid the vortex on the bottom track, put the spinning TARDIS on top, popped on some sparklies and created the credits similar to the Christopher Eccleston style. Good, but there was something I thought it needed. I decided to put a small roundel with a short clip of Santa and his companions.

Ending Credits And Title

The end piece had another TARDIS tracking across the screen and the end credits along with the name of the episode, Mars Needs Christmas which is a take-off on another bad movie, Mars Needs Women.

Who With A Variation

Yes, I did venture off from the theme. Doctor Who has no images of the people or places where the show exists. And I really wanted to use at least a bit of the movie. But the question was how. After it was build I found that the middle section had most of the clips sandwiched in-between the two vortex pieces. And instantly another opening came to mind. Space: 1999 had a middle section called This Episode. So I quickly created a new text in the fashion of the credits to announce this section and attempted to name each two second clip akin to something you'd find in Who.

In Who the Ice Warriors came from Mars so these Martians must be Ice Warriors. And that robot just look so ridiculous - and it reminded me of the original Cybermen. Then I found a clip of the kids running and shortly after that a badly done polar bear [reminded me how badly that green bubble wrapped monster looked on Who]. but my favorite one was the clip with the large blinking light on the panel. What would Who be without Blinky Lights.

Tangent Thoughts

As with every vid when I've collected all the pieces I try to think what else might make it better. Many times the base pieces sound good but giving it a little room to breath can actually make it better. Here's were some of the ideas that ultimately got rejected.

Spinning Christmas Present : I thought that it might be interesting to replace the TARDIS with a spinning present [or two or more]. But after quite an intense search I could not come up with anything. At least not anything for free or extremely cheap. I did find one from iStock for $40. No thanks. This is a non-commercial venture and that's way too much to spend.

Lightning in the Vortex : I was going to do lightning flashes in the vortex ala the Mat Smith opening. But two things stopped me. 1] I couldn't find any clips on the internet which could easily be incorporated into my vid. 2] I thought about doing it in Motion but realized it would take a lot more effort than I was ready for. Not impossible, just not timely. But I did realize I could make sparklies and they seemed to fit Santa Claus better anyway.

Classic style with the large lighted face : This tempted me but only for a minute or two. I felt there was more wiggle room in the new style opening.

That's All Folks

That's about all I can remember about this one. It came on me so quickly and was done in a weekend. I didn't write things down but I did try to keep in mind I was going to write this up. I'll try to be more thorough next time.

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