The production of the final project can be compartmentalized into four distinct sections, accounting for changes in the techniques employed and for the overall tone of the piece.
Section 1 – Introductory Establishing Sequence
The opening sequence of the piece introduces the TARDIS. Immediately iconic to the audience, and an obvious signifier of ‘Doctor Who’, my intention was to utilize this imagery as a visual hook but in a very mannered sense, as overuse of this technique can become patronising to an audience.
This part of the opening sequence was the result of carefully lit miniature work amidst darkness, with an attempt made to capture footage of the miniature in a manner indicative of a full-scale prop, i.e. the model was shot in the scale it was wished to convey.
This footage (recorded in front of smooth black sheets) was then processed in Adobe After Effects to stabilize camera movement. Finally the footage was colour corrected.
Of the three model sequences in the videos opening, the third was the most heavily altered in After Effects post-production, with enhancements made to strengthen the lighting and camera movement.
The BBC Ident
In the following sequence, the famous 1980s BBC ident appears from the darkness on an old CRT TV set, immediately indicative of vintage TV. This particular BBC ident is arguably the most famous, commonly recognised by the modern audience as a classic ident of old. After early experimentation of capturing footage from an actual CRT TV, it was decided to create this effect entirely in Adobe After Effects due to this result (surprisingly) appearing more convincing.
A continuity announcers voice taken from prior to an original 1981 ‘Doctor Who’ broadcast was used (‘Castrovalva’ – the fifth Doctor’s first episode), introducing the show with the words: “So now, an end which spells a new beginning for ‘Doctor Who'”. This was chosen due to it’s significance, in many ways, to the show’s long run – it’s constant rebirth and revival over the years.
This main audio sample was subtly altered with the usage of a second sound source. This alteration accounts for an additional “And now on BBC One…” added prior to the main audio sample. This was to give the impression of a more traditional sounding continuity announcement – one which can resonate with the audience.
Radiophonic inspired Soundtrack
Radiophonic sound was utilised once more albeit in a slightly different approach. It was decided to address the shortcomings of prior techniques whereby the sound usually had a somewhat ‘tinny’, distant quality. In line with the changing focus of the project, the decision was made to utilize ‘Garageband’ software, in an attempt to explore new ground, creating something more reminiscent of the Radiophonic Workshops original output. An original composition was arranged from scratch, heavily influenced by the works of Radiophonic Workshop musician Roger Limb, best known for his heavily electronic and often atmospheric scores of the 1980s. The piece was designed to be reminiscent of Delia Derbyshire’s original ‘Doctor Who’ theme, with similarities in its structure. The music gradually transforms itself before becoming Derbyshire’s original piece, giving the distinct impression of travelling back through time to the beginnings of the show.
A variety of original Radiophonic Workshop sound effects were utilized, such as Brian Hodgson’s famous TARDIS sound, as well as numerous isolated sound effects found across the workshops collected works.
Section 2 – Classical Imagery
For the second section, the howlaround technique was employed once more. The same techniques of recording camera-monitor feedback were utilised, this time with a degree of computer intervention.
Using Adobe After Effects, the footage was centrally mirrored, and colour added in post-production. This is in-line with how the visuals would have originally been treated, albeit via a vision mixer.
The techniques employed on the Slit-Scan process differed very little from the experimentation period. With the aid of Adobe After Effects, it was possible to further process the image, giving it an appearance very similar to the actual original effect. A variety of different ‘slit’ tunnel shapes were used, with a number of different textures and colour filters also applied.
Miniature effects techniques were utilised, and perfected on this occasion. With the employment of even lighting, a suitably low-tech process was utilised whereby the ‘TARDIS’ model was suspended from wires attached to a coat hanger between two deck chairs, pictured below.
Immediately prior to filming, the model was gently spun – a technique used on the ‘Classic Series’ to signify that the ‘TARDIS’ is in-flight. A smooth, non-reflective, primary-coloured sheet was also acquired, more vibrant than what had been previously used. This allowed for fast and easy ‘chromakey’ removal in Adobe After Effects.
Further image processing was achieved in After Effects with the model colour corrected appropriate to it’s surroundings and a variety of lighting effects applied to transition between sections.
[Continued in Part 2]