jetpack_monkey: (Henry Frankenstein - l33t g33k)
[personal profile] jetpack_monkey
Title: Starships! (Monochromatic Remix)
Based on: Starships! by [ profile] bironic 
Source: Space-based black & white TV and movies released before July 1969)
Song: Nicki Minaj - Starships

Summary: A celebration of astronauts, space rangers, scientists, faithful sidekicks, and the spacecraft they love to fly.

Update: Now available in both Youtube and Vimeo varieties:

Vimeo Password: rockyjones

Download 31.7MB MP4 file
(right/ctrl-click and "Save link as...")

Notes: This vid premiered in the Brand New Classic Hits vidshow at Vividcon 2013.

This is a near shot-by-shot remake of bironic's Starships! vid using exclusively black and white sources that were released prior to July 1969.

How did this come to be? Well, to start, I love the original vid. Love it. Just... bironic captures the joy and the wonder of space travel so perfectly, it makes my heart go "ping!" The vid is pretty damn expansive, especially given the limited amount of time that went into making it.

With that said, I very much felt the absence of certain fandoms, but they were fandoms that would not have fit in bironic's original vid and I don't blame her for not including them. I am talking about the early days of sci-fi, when brave astronauts soldiered to the stars long before we'd actually managed to make it to the moon, all in glorious black and white.

I made a half-joking comment to bironic (screened now) in her original Starships! post that "I kind of want to do a remake with nothing but black and white space adventure."

And then I got really obsessed with that idea really quickly and started collecting source. Once I realized the idea was a good one and that it wasn't going away, I asked for bironic's formal permission to proceed, which I received. She's been amazing in this whole process and I cannot emphasize enough that this vid would not exist without hers. I made a comparison side-by-side video for both vids and I'll be putting that online in a separate post in the next couple of days you can find that here.

The vid contains roughly 77 different sources. The numbers varies depending on how you count source. I've made a separate post listing all of the sources and later I'll be making some recommendations.

Source quality was a problem throughout the making of this vid. I had to make a call very early on where I wanted to lend the most weight -- prettiness or history. I chose history, because I'm me. Source quality varied and it was always such a delight to find an unexpectedly good-looking version of something like Phantom Planet or the Czechoslovak slow-burn sci-fi epic Ikarie XB-1. Other times, I had to do some fancy dancing when available source only came with watermarking, like Space Probe Taurus or various episodes of Rocky Jones: Space Ranger.

The most important factor in the history vs. hotness debate was early space adventure TV. I could not, in good conscience, make a vid like this without including footage from shows like Tom Corbett: Space Cadet, Space Patrol, and the granddaddy of them all, Captain Video and His Video Rangers. These were important milestones in the history of television and science fiction. The problem is, you can't see them the way they were originally broadcast. They were shot live before the invention of videotape. The image was broadcast directly to the various affiliates as it was being shot. The only reason any episodes survive at all is a process called kinescope. The short version is that somebody set-up a special 35mm or 16mm camera and pointed it at a studio monitor. This (generally) wasn't done for archival purposes, but for the benefit of time-delayed broadcasts to West Coast affiliates (since television was generally New York based at the time).

From a technical standpoint, kinescope recordings are very poor -- the brightness range is very small, you lose a lot of detail, and the sound quality is complete crap. It gets worse, though. Most shows from this era survive only because a handful of kinescope recordings weren't destroyed. That rarity means that you generally can't get direct access to the recordings themselves. No, the process you're usually dealing with is that somebody in the 1980s or 90s dubbed off the kinescope recording to VHS, usually to sell in the gray market to sci-fi fans. Then, when DVD came around, the VHS tapes were digitized and burned to DVD-Rs. If you're lucky, that's the exact chain the show goes through before it arrives in your hands. If you're unlucky, well... the original kinescope could have deteriorated. The VHS dub you're working with is actually a dub of a dub of a dub. The episode you have is the result of someone ripping the DVD-from-VHS-from-VHS-from-deteriorated-kinescope and then converting it into a highly-compressed video codec (and hope to hell somebody didn't take the compressed file and then burn it to a DVD and that's what you ended up with).

I have lots of feelings about kinescope. LOTS OF THEM.

The short, vid-related version of this rant is that some of the footage here looks like crap. I did my very best to clean it up, but even when you polish crap, you still have crap.

Some random, scattered notes:

There are a couple clip choices that are little in-jokes that I made with myself based on the matching clip in the original. I'd be interested to see if anyone picks up on them.

At first I thought there might be too much Jamie McCrimmon in this vid. Then I realized there's no such thing.

All source is very specifically and deliberately cultivated from sources released prior to the moon landing in July 1969. There is one exception to this. My Fire Maidens of Outer Space clip is actually a clip from Mystery Science Theatre 3000 featuring Fire Maidens of Outer Space. This was done for two reasons. First, it was the only usable footage I could find of that film (and barely that). Second, the placement of it amused me.

I worked hard to make sure this vid wasn't a parade of white dudes, but this proved difficult given the filmmaking eras I was pulling from. As an example, in all of the vid, there is only one character that is both non-white and female.

Thanks to [personal profile] thirdblindmouse  for her beta notes and cheerleading. Also (especially) thanks to bironic for the original vid. It is so good that I never tired of watching it while I was putting this vid together.
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Date: 2013-08-17 10:33 pm (UTC)
giandujakiss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] giandujakiss
Oh my gosh, this is adorable! It's just a delightful tribute to bironic's vid, and it's also terrific fun on its own.

Date: 2013-08-19 05:02 pm (UTC)
kass: "let love be your engine," image of Kaylee and of Serenity (let love be your engine)
From: [personal profile] kass
This vid was one of the highlights of my weekend. I flailed about it happily in my con report. It just -- fills me with so much joy on so many different levels. ♥
Edited (typo) Date: 2013-08-19 05:03 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-08-19 07:47 pm (UTC)
calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (calvinfeedback)
From: [personal profile] calvinahobbes
OMG I just watched this on VVC live, and it was AMAZING! I love how clearly it references bironic's vid, but how it just really really works in its own right as well. Gahhh, I love this so so much! Gosh, I wish I had time for more details, but I am going to download and rewatch forever, and come back to read all your notes ASAP!

Date: 2013-08-19 08:05 pm (UTC)
grammarwoman: (Default)
From: [personal profile] grammarwoman
*clappyhands* Eeee! I love bironic's version, and this is a wonderful companion piece. My hat is off to you for the painstaking job of tracking down and cleaning up older sources, especially including so many women. For extra sauce, the Robbie the Robot parallel to Data made me giggle so hard.

Bravo! I look forward to reading your comparison post. :D

Date: 2013-08-20 12:30 am (UTC)
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)
From: [personal profile] laurashapiro
I was thinking as I watched it how much you must have struggled to acquire usable footage from some of these. Sounds like it was even harder than I thought. :/ But worth it, I hope? Cuz the vid is amazing.

Date: 2013-08-20 02:38 am (UTC)
bedlamsbard: Hera from the Kanan: The Last Padawan comic in profile (Default)
From: [personal profile] bedlamsbard
This is fabulous, and so much fun! I had no idea that there was so much black and white sci-fi out there; this was great to see.

Date: 2013-08-20 10:43 am (UTC)
cosmic_llin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cosmic_llin
Oh my gosh, what an awesome idea! This is terrific!

Date: 2013-08-20 04:57 pm (UTC)
oracne: Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton (Two)
From: [personal profile] oracne
This ROCKS!!! I for one appreciated all the Jamie!

Date: 2013-08-20 09:59 pm (UTC)
grav_ity: (still not king)
From: [personal profile] grav_ity
This EPIC. I am seriously impressed. Because it got me in all the same ways that Bironic's does, and yet it's also totally its own thing! The editing is amazing. Well done.

Date: 2013-08-20 10:11 pm (UTC)
turlough: Jamie McCrimmon & the Doctor & Victoria Waterfield in a rubber dinghy, Second Doctor adventure 'Fury From the Deep' ((dr who) companions)
From: [personal profile] turlough
This is totally awesome! Even more fabulous than the original.

Date: 2013-08-21 11:54 am (UTC)
caltha: Close-up photo of a knife embedded in a spread of playing cards. (Default)
From: [personal profile] caltha
When I saw the announcement for this, I downloaded the original Starships vid (which I'd somehow never seen) and watched it with my AMV-side-of-fandom housemate. It was awesome, and hooray Fifth Element, and he was pleased by how many sources we recognized.

Then, I cued up this.

First reaction: "OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING oh my god look at how well this matches OH MY GOD --"

Second reaction, via my housemate: "Challenge: recognize any of the sources."



"...oh! That's --"

"-- Doctor Who, yeah!"

"That doesn't count."




"Oh my god this section is awesome."

"Do you recognize --?"



"Oh the standy-uppy ponytail matches Amy's hair in the other one!"


"What the hell is that from?"






"I think that was Doctor Who again."



"I don't know any of these."



And then we played your awesome both-vids-playing-at-once version and I made a lot of inarticulate noises of glee. The oh-shit-space-turbulence section! Your bewildering ability to match shots not just in content but in framing! The way even the spaceships are mostly the same shape and moving in the same arcs! (The space Winnebago parallel!)

This is a really mindblowingly awesome response/remix to the original Starships vid, and also stands on its own as a fantastic, dance-y tribute to old school science fiction.

...also it's magic, how did you match all of those shots.

Thank you for sharing this! And thank you for posting the source list, omg.

Date: 2013-08-21 08:25 pm (UTC)
sperrywink: (BSG Chief Galen Tyrol)
From: [personal profile] sperrywink
That is so cool!

Date: 2013-08-21 09:06 pm (UTC)
just_ann_now: (Default)
From: [personal profile] just_ann_now

Date: 2013-08-22 01:57 am (UTC)
isweedan: Barbara from Doctor Who in Aztec dress. (Barbara is Awesome. - Doctor Who)
From: [personal profile] isweedan
Oh man, I love this. And I love that you made a comparison vid. AND I love all of your feelings about kinescope. Much much love.

Date: 2013-08-22 09:08 am (UTC)
kabal42: Kara Thrace from Battlestar Galactica with the text "combat baby!" (TV - BSG - Kara Combat baby!)
From: [personal profile] kabal42
I've watched this vid several times already. bironic's Starships is one of my all-time faves (I never tire of watching it either), and I'm SO impressed with what you did here! Just getting all those sources! Making this with that alone is… brilliant. To make it a close parallel of another vid at the same time, well, my mind boggles :) Well done! And I know next to none of these either, which just means I'm even more impressed *G*
My favourite parallel so far was the one on "twinkle-twinkle" with Data/the robot whose name I think I know but can't remember.

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] kabal42 - Date: 2013-08-26 05:52 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2013-08-23 03:41 am (UTC)
morgandawn: (Dr Who Fantastic kyizi)
From: [personal profile] morgandawn
I finished the first draft of the Fanlore page for this vid:!_%28Monochromatic_Remix_Vid%29 There are typos and gaps and bad grammar everywhere, but it is a start.

I also did one for bironic:!_%28multifandom_vid%29

tottering off now....
Edited Date: 2013-08-23 03:42 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-08-24 03:33 am (UTC)
cinco: Kermit flails and says "Yay! Oh my god." (muppets: YAY)
From: [personal profile] cinco
This is marvelous--just as joyful and inspiring as Bironic's original. Both vids were labors of love and that comes through so very clearly! It must have taken you ages to find and clean up your source material, let alone find exactly the right response to each of Bironic's clips. I think the result was well worth it.

Date: 2013-08-25 05:13 am (UTC)
nightdog_barks: (Pink Raygun Zzz)
From: [personal profile] nightdog_barks
Fantastic. Just absolutely ... fantastic. This put as huge a smile on my face as the first time I saw Bironic's original. All the kudos in the world for this delight! ♥ ♥ ♥

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] nightdog_barks - Date: 2014-10-27 05:58 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2013-08-25 07:01 pm (UTC)
taiga13: by elleth (moon over ruins)
From: [personal profile] taiga13
Here via nightdog-barks. This was wonderful, I'm grinning ear to ear!

Date: 2013-08-25 09:24 pm (UTC)
felis: (upside down)
From: [personal profile] felis
Yeah, this is impressive, and watching the two vids in parallel, it's amazing just how well you (found! and) matched the shots. Funny, too! (Also very interesting to read your notes about the source material.)

Date: 2013-08-26 01:09 am (UTC)
trouble: Sketch of Hermoine from Harry Potter with "Bookworms will rule the world (after we finish the background reading)" on it (Default)
From: [personal profile] trouble
This is lovely. I think my favourite homage to the original vid is the Wall-E/Astro-Boy flying. :D

This vid made me happy. Also, I have learned things!

Date: 2013-08-27 01:54 am (UTC)
colls: (SW princess & pilot)
From: [personal profile] colls
I am one of those people utterly in love with [personal profile] bironic's original Starships and this is such an amazing remix! I love how you kept the tone and matched movement with older sources to movement she chose.


Date: 2013-08-28 12:56 am (UTC)
semielliptical: atlantis under the shield (sga) (sga:atlantis)
From: [personal profile] semielliptical
This is truly amazing. I love how your vid shows both how much has changed and how much remains the same over so many years - the joy, the wonder, and the fun! This is a great remix, and also a fascinating education. I have to admit I'm not very familiar with most of the sources, but I still loved watching the vid.

Date: 2013-08-28 01:45 am (UTC)
perspi: (Beaker)
From: [personal profile] perspi
This is FANTASTIC! I love how this one hits all the same emotional notes for me as Bironic's vid did, even though I don't have the same emotional connection of the source materials -- it's still all about the excitement of space and exploration. WELL DONE!

Date: 2013-11-25 08:19 pm (UTC)
purpleyin: Close up of Peter Bishop's beaten up face (beaten)
From: [personal profile] purpleyin
Not familiar with any of the source but it made a really engaging vid, with lots of energy.
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