Interster Episode One: Proxima Clash

I got an absolutely amazing Christmas gift from a reader in South Africa who spotted — and then bought — the DVD boxed set of the very rare TV puppet series Interster.

He digitized and uploaded the first episode for me to see!

And he’s posted the URL for everyone else to get it too.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t approve of this. Creators should be paid for their work.

This is an exception on several counts:

1) It is 99.9% unlikely this will ever be sold outside of South Africa, so no royalty money is being stolen here

2) Currency exchange rates make it prohibitive to buy internationally

3) There is worldwide interest in this series from fans of Gerry Anderson‘s Supermarionation TV series

In additional to the download, the reader has now started an Interster blog where, I’m sure, a great deal more information will be found in coming days.

I hope the interest being shown in this series will prompt the rightsholder to offer the series for sale in the iTunes Store here in America (and elsewhere). I’d buy it! And I’m sure other Anderson — and puppetry — fans will too.

There are some notes about to best view the video as well as over ninety screensnaps with some commentary after the break.

How To Best Watch The Video

Once it’s been downloaded and opened in vlc media player (which is what I always use, so I can get screensnaps), the aspect ratio will be all wrong, like so:

Interster12260801

Notice that Buks de la Rey has that bad widescreen squished look!

Go to Video and Aspect-ratio:

Interster12260802

And change from the current Default

Interster12260803

… to 1:1. This normalizes the image proportions. It also adds an additional black border around the video …

Interster12260804

… so it’s best to go back to Video, select Zoom, and go to double sizing.

Now onto the screensnaps with some sporadic comments. Note that the following screensnaps were enlarged from the original video size.

Intsersters01e0101

Intsersters01e0102

Just like Terrahawks, there are many mid-shots of the characters.

Intsersters01e0103

Series creator.

Intsersters01e0104

The uploaded video has titles in English. All dialogue is Afrikaans.

Intsersters01e0105

Although the deep compression of the video might be fooling me, I’m certain I couldn’t see any matte lines on any of the shots of the ships in space. Excellent work!

Intsersters01e0106

Notice the darkness of the cockpit. They tended to go with realistic lighting. Remember how brightly lit the cockpit of Fireball XL5 always was? Where’d all that light come from?

Intsersters01e0107

No human stand-in hands were used for close-ups!

Intsersters01e0108

The cockpit of the Krokon ship is even darker!

Intsersters01e0109

Krokon. Notice the use of shadow!

Intsersters01e0110

No evidence of matte lines! Given the maneuvers the ships do, I’m certain this is motion-control, but on 16mm film?! This series was done in the late 70s/early 80s. No digital tools back then.

Intsersters01e0111

Use of shadow to highlight facial planes.

Intsersters01e0112

Notice how his head is tilted upward and his eyeline. And no strings! These are miniature robots!

Intsersters01e0113

A smooth landing.

Check this out!

Intsersters01e0114

Walking Krokon caught in fisheye reflector …

Intsersters01e0115

… walking …

Intsersters01e0116

… and caught in another reflector! A nice touch!

Intsersters01e0117

Intsersters01e0118

Gerry Anderson-quality sets and art direction. An actual aquarium behind with real fish!

Intsersters01e0119

Intsersters01e0120

Intsersters01e0121

I’m not sure if the lack of depth of field here is intentional or not. It happens with all such shots.

Intsersters01e0122

Notice the Krokon is now seated.

Intsersters01e0123

Yes, the computer tapes on the wall spin!

Intsersters01e0124

Supermarionation-style set detail! But also notice: the level is off! This bugged me about too many shots. They never properly leveled the camera!

Intsersters01e0125

Intsersters01e0126

No matte lines!

Intsersters01e0127

Front-screen projection! Notice again the level is off!

Intsersters01e0128

Landing and take-off of miniatures was poor.

Intsersters01e0129

Wonderful lighting effect for rising elevator!

Intsersters01e0130

As close to a full-body shot as you get with the standing puppets in this first episode.

Intsersters01e0131

Lack of depth of field again.

Intsersters01e0132

And the level is still off!

Intsersters01e0133

Nice puppetry here, but the lack of level distracts me.

Intsersters01e0134

Even on a close-up, the level is off! This is Professor Zed.

Intsersters01e0135

See? No level!

Intsersters01e0136

Rear-screen projection. Still no camera level!

Intsersters01e0137

Lack of depth of field again.

Intsersters01e0138

This next one is nice …

Intsersters01e0139

… nice simulation of a vast building. But again poor level. And the miniature wobbles!

Intsersters01e0140

Beautiful full-body puppet shot with moody lighting.

Intsersters01e0141

Now watch this next series of shots:

Intsersters01e0142

Glance right …

Intsersters01e0143

… glance left …

Intsersters01e0144

… Shhhh! And notice his eyeline! He’s looking downward! A magnificent bit of work, this.

Intsersters01e0145

Take-off was unimpressive. They tried, though.

Intsersters01e0146

Front-screen projection, poor leveling and poor centering!

Intsersters01e0147

I’m still astonished by the lack of discernible matte lines.

Intsersters01e0148

Intsersters01e0149

Intsersters01e0150

The close-ups really highlight the great head sculpture and prop work.

Intsersters01e0151

Intsersters01e0152

Professor Zed is not exactly excellent sculpture, however.

Intsersters01e0153

The cockpit goes dark as they go to sleep …

Intsersters01e0154

… and lights on when they awake. A nice touch. But notice again the poor level.

Intsersters01e0155

Intsersters01e0156

Even the cargo boxes have a Supermarionation feel to them!

Intsersters01e0157

Notice his head tilting downward. Really, the range of movement for the neck was astonishing. Very smooth — and, when necessary, fast!

Intsersters01e0158

The drop is gotten on them by the Krokon.

Intsersters01e0159

An extremely rare shot with correct level!

Intsersters01e0160

Poor craft landing.

Intsersters01e0161

Excellent rover miniature! Notice the articulated lip of the ramp!

Intsersters01e0162

Notice how the wheels sink to match the terrain! The late Derek Meddings would be proud of them!

Intsersters01e0163

Very nice perspective.

Intsersters01e0164

Notice the grip of hand. He’s been flung to the ground.

Intsersters01e0165

Nice side shot of the rover window, notice the stripe detailing.

Intsersters01e0166

Krokon tank, with wheels that also hug the terrain!

Intsersters01e0167

Very nice. Especially the dust kick-up.

Intsersters01e0168

Notice his head is tilted downward!

Intsersters01e0169

Krokon tank cockpit. Just a wall and lighting, but still makes it menacing.

Intsersters01e0170

Intsersters01e0171

Explosions are fair. A wee bit less than those in Terrahawks.

Intsersters01e0172

The rover flies over the hill, its wheels in the air!

Intsersters01e0173

Notice his eyeline — looking downward!

Intsersters01e0174

Such bad camera leveling!

Intsersters01e0175

This bit was astonishing. High-speed movement of ejector-seat hoverscooters. I couldn’t see strings!

Intsersters01e0179

Fair overflight of Impala.

Intsersters01e0180

All the puppets spoke with full jaw movements, not simply lips as in Supermarionation. Impressive work.

The story was poorly-structured. Direction was not the best and the editor had a tough time with some bits. Music was all over the map and felt tacked-on and not entirely related to the on-screen action.

All that said, at a time when Gerry Anderson had left behind puppets, the South Africans took them up — and created a series with close to Gerry Anderson production values. They easily bested the Japanese puppet series, X-Bomber — aka Star Fleet — and this is a series I’d like to see more of. It must have been very exciting to watch this as a kid!

And now, all of the credits:

Intsersters01e0181

Intsersters01e0182

Intsersters01e0183

Intsersters01e0184

Intsersters01e0185

Intsersters01e0186

Intsersters01e0187

Intsersters01e0188

Intsersters01e0189

Intsersters01e0190

Intsersters01e0191

Intsersters01e0192

Intsersters01e0193

Intsersters01e0194

Intsersters01e0195

Intsersters01e0196

It’s too bad it’s taken well over twenty-five years for the world to learn of this series! Isn’t the Internet wonderful!

Thanks to the anonymous blog reader and Interster fan!

Previously here:

Interster TV Series Now On DVD?
Interster: Rare Puppet Series Pics And Videos!
OMFG!!! INTERSTER!!!
Interster Still M.I.A.

At the old blog:

Calling Out To The World Wide Web: Send Me Interster!

About these ads
Explore posts in the same categories: TV, Video - DVD, Video - Online

8 Comments on “Interster Episode One: Proxima Clash”

  1. interster Says:

    Thanks for the comments. Your observations and opinions are enlightening and valued.
    Interster Fan

  2. interster Says:

    BTW, Episode 2 has been sbtitled and uploaded!

  3. mikecane Says:

    Yes, I saw it on your blog last night. No chance to watch it yet. When I do, another post! Thanks. Oh, I didn’t know you were doing the subtitles. I thought perhaps they were on the DVDs themselves.

  4. interster Says:

    Yes the DVDs are very basic, unmastered with no audio or subtitle options. As the dialogue is in Afrikaans, the only way anyone could make sense of it is with a translation. I will eventually get through subtitling all the episodes…

  5. mikecane Says:

    You have a lot of work ahead of you!! I guess there aren’t any extras at all on those DVDs? That’s a shame.

  6. KreefLewer Says:

    AWESOMEE! I remember watching some of it on TV as a kid! Can’t believe u can finally buy it on DVD in south africa. Gona buy my copy asap! HEHE

  7. Kyle Says:

    Wow this is cool.

    Who were the animators? Is the company still running?

  8. Grenzer Says:

    The company was based at Langkloof studios back in the day – not running anymore unfortunately. I am currently trying to find out the fates of the props etc that were used in Interster. This series was one of my fondest memories in South Africa as kid.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: