Having done the preceding story, The Dominators, I always intended to tackle The Mind Robber but never got round to it until now. I don`t quite know why but sometimes you just have to wait for inspiration to strike and that`s when you know you`re ready to do it. With this one, the inspiration was the notion of using a particular John Barry soundtrack and no, it`s not one of his James Bond ones.
It`s a classic and you`ll recognise it when you hear it or you should anyway if you know anything about film music. I had always liked it and found it on a Sharity Blog where it`s not a Crime to Lounge about if you`re interested in getting hold of it yourself. As I listened to the music the image of it playing against the footage from this story popped into my head. Creativity and Inspiration are strange things; who knows where they come from, but from that moment the Mind Robber Fan Edit was finally on!
This was one of the most frustrating Edits I`ve done yet for both technical and content reasons. Technical because for some reason the end of Episode Four proved very difficult to rip [there`s some sort of encoding error thingy round about where the Medusa appears] and Content because there were lots of things I wanted to cut out but couldn`t because it was impossible to edit out the later references to them without a nasty jump cut.
The most frustrating part of all though, was learning that the original uploaded file was corrupt.
The file played fine up until 8m 40s in when it simply stopped. Weird. Like any good Data Wrangler, I usually check the first few minutes of the file just to make sure it had exported okay. But I don`t sit and watch the whole thing again, usually by this point I’ve been through the story so many times that that`s the last thing I want to do! But in this instance I clearly should have.
As a result of this disaster, I now load the DivX file back into my editing software, MovieplusX3, to check it plays properly; if the file is corrupt in any way it won`t play, a simple way to check that everything is as it should be. So let my mistake be a lesson to you all. Always check the DivX file has not only exported okay but plays okay before you upload it!
And so I had to go right back to the beginning and start the damn thing all over again. This wasn`t the first time I`d had to redo an edit for technical reasons, but I was determined to make sure it was the last! Luckily the first eight minutes of the old corrupted file still played so I would be able to recreate this much of the original at least.
Looking back at it, I was quite pleased with how I managed to condense the entire first episode into a short, snappy three minute pre-credits sequence. It`s not really part of the main narrative, just twenty-odd minutes of either blatant padding or scene setting depending on your point of view.
Although Derrick Sherwin does a good job of tying it into the main story, such as Jamie`s dream about the Unicorn, we don`t really need any of it, other than to get us to the Land of Fiction. In the end I decided not to refer to the five minutes that remained of the original version so everything after the opening credits is entirely new.
One of the main faults with the story is that it plays the same trick once too often. Meeting a fictional character is an interesting concept but denying that they are real to escape them becomes a bit wearing the third time round. So I cut the Unicorn and left the Minotaur and the Medusa pretty much intact.
There`s a noticeable difference in picture quality between episode four and five, which meant I had to adjust the Brightness and Contrast of the scenes with the Master at the end of part four to make the jump a bit less obvious. The total running time of the original edit was 59m 27s. This new edit came out at 57m 29s, including the bookends that aren`t part of the story proper, which just goes to show that you can always tighten things up a bit more than you first thought.
When it came to the swordfight at the end, I had to flip the initial shot of Cyrano & D`Artagnan to make the cut down version work. Then I added in some beams to the white robots` guns for the destruction of the Master Brain. This was just a simple transparent PNG of the the laser beam laid on top of the footage as a new layer, and very easy to do as they only lasted a few frames each.
The final thing to do was to go back through the story and add in the music cues. And if you haven’t guessed by now, that soundtrack that I mentioned earlier on was The Ipcress File by John Barry. Most of the music used came from here with some additional cues from the TV show Dark Shadows by Robert Cobert. There`s also a cue from Diamonds Are Forever that bookends the show.
Visually, the show is bookended by two original additions. The first is a recap of The Dominators at the start of the Edit since this story carries straight on from it. I recorded the voice over myself and tried to emulate the style of the continuity announcer recaps that we got during the Trial season. There wasn`t really any need to do this but I liked the idea of aping a genuine transmission and apart from anything else, it was great fun! I also think it helps to make sense of the opening of the story, which otherwise is a bit of a WTF moment..
At the end of the edit I included a very brief trailer for the next story – The Invasion! I did toy with the idea of doing a proper “Next Time” style trailer but decided in the end to go for a much simpler approach, which I think is equally effective. It also utilises footage that never made it into the final Fan Edit of those episodes, so I`m glad it`s there.
After all that, it was just a case of checking that the entire file had exported okay, converted okay and played okay before uploading it!