Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot-The Redo

I was surprised to find that the 1956 Lancelot TV show from ITV was public domain. But I was really glad when I found out it starred William Russell. Ian Chesterton to any classic Who fan.

Here is my tribute to one of the first Who companions from his starring role as Lancelot.

Full project details under the cut

14 MAR 12
When I started down the path with Sir Lancelot I wasn't sure what type of opening would come out of it let alone the music I'd have to be looking for. Then The Tudors opening popped into my head. And I instantly thought, "Right, I'm gonna find anything that sounds like that theme song". In reality, I knew I wouldn't but I could keep it in the medieval style. Anyway, The Tudors theme is choke full of violin, not recorders and harpsichords.

First I needed to see if I could find a good voiceover from the show done by an important character. I had watched three episodes in total and had a suspicion that voiceover would come from Merlin. I clipped a few Merlin speeches out and began scrubbing the next episodes for Merlin scenes. And in the eighth episode, The Magic Sword [where Merlin fakes out a young knight into believing Lancelot's sword is magic] he tells the young knight Lancelot received this magic sword from the Lady in the Lake. I liked that speech and thought it would do fine for the beginning voiceover. Imagine my surprise when after Lancelot's sword ends up in the moot a young woman offers to retrieve his sword. She dives in, finds the sword, and we watch it as it breaks the surface. Couldn't have asked for more. Well maybe a slightly longer scene but this will make due. Okay, I know in the legend the Lady of the Lake gave Arthur the sword, not Lancelot. But you work with the material you got...

So I began another search on audionetwork. That's beginning to be my life when it comes to these vids. I typed medieval into the search box. and came up with about 45 songs. On the whole most of them have a somewhat medieval feel. Less than an hour later I believed I had found three songs I liked. Now it was just a matter of picking between them. Far less time spent than looking for the Holmes & Watson music.

Another decision I had to make was black & white or colour. The first half the episodes were in black & white and the rest were in colour. Vaunda suggested I could do something like that Wizard of Oz thing where the beginning starts out in black & white then turns to colour.

So the search went on for footage. I was disappointed to find the only episode that had people dancing was originally in colour but this version was a black & white rendition. Damn... Well maybe I can use some of those scenes with colour overlays as transitions between credit shots.

15 MAR 12
Well the voiceover about the sword is a bust. Music starts in halfway through and though I tried cleaning it up with Soundtrack Pro the task has proved beyond my capabilities with the program. Perhaps with time I would have been able to. So I have to fall back to the other voice clips I had. They are my second choice but it will still convey the message.

16 MAR 12
I went back to the episodes hoping to find a decent piece of VoiceOver to use in the beginning. In the first episode there was an exchange between Merlin and King Arthur heralding the appearance of Lancelot. I was able to piece this together to about the right length, but I still needed some music underneath of it. I figured my best bet would be something from the program itself. Luckily it didn't take long to find that. It was a nice little harp and recorder segment which could be cut to length very easily. So I had my beginning music with a VoiceOver which led nicely into the main theme.

The project is now at a minute and 45 seconds. Long, but not excessive. Now the quick part begins, clipping the video. At least I hope it's quick. As with other material filmed during this time the lack of interesting shot styles can hamper a vid like this. There's a definite lack of close ups and hand shots. And you can completely forget any over-the-shoulder shots.

18 MAR 12
Now it's time to decide how many characters I'll put into the opening. It was a large cast and should be able to fit quite a few into the opening similar to The Tudors. To mesh the two styles I'll need lots of scenery, group shots and non-specific shots. I decide on ten. Three groups of three with one alone at the end - Morgana la Fey. This allows me to give each on approximately four seconds each per credit. Well the clipping has begun and now the problem arises. It's the total lack of good closeups of people other than Lancelot and Arthur. Through 3/4 of the episodes and have yet to find a good closeup of Guinevere. This might require some creative editing... To duplicate something like the crown motif for the name credit overlay from The Tudors I selected the crest Sir Lancelot wore in the show. Coupled with a ripple effect if focuses into view as the name appears.

19 MAR 12
With half the episodes in black & white Vaunda's suggestion is going to come in handy. I'll keep in colour the clips for the credits sequence and place the good material I have from the black & white in-between. But I found the black & white too stark. Applying a sepia filter softens it nicely. I also found that with the uneven colour processing of the colour episodes nearly every clip required a colour-correction touchup.

20 MAR 12
Finally got around to building the beginning sequence. The knighting sequence I was going to use had the original actor as Arthur. Didn't want to be obvious like that. Luckily there was another sequence where Arthur had to "fake" knighting Lancelot. Talk about being lucky.

21 MAR 12
Showed the final to Vaunda for one last beta look. Made a comment regarding the font as being a little difficult to read. We can read them just fine [I due to being a calligrapher and her having practice reading it] but some other people might not be able to read the font I used. I switched to a more readable, yet still medieval style, font. It will do.

Final colour corrections, make the finishing touches on the intro & outro. and one last check. Done...


  1. I really enjoyed that, the sepia went well with the color, far better than black and white. And I liked all your latest posts. It seems like it's getting easier for you to do this. That's cool.

    1. They are getting easier. But they are still tenfold more difficult to do than when I was using copyrighted material. But it's also a lot more satisfaction...