Interster Episode One: Proxima Clash
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
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:
Notice that Buks de la Rey has that bad widescreen squished look!
Go to Video and Aspect-ratio:
And change from the current Default …
… to 1:1. This normalizes the image proportions. It also adds an additional black border around the video …
… 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.
Just like Terrahawks, there are many mid-shots of the characters.
The uploaded video has titles in English. All dialogue is Afrikaans.
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!
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?
No human stand-in hands were used for close-ups!
The cockpit of the Krokon ship is even darker!
Krokon. Notice the use of shadow!
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.
Use of shadow to highlight facial planes.
Notice how his head is tilted upward and his eyeline. And no strings! These are miniature robots!
A smooth landing.
Check this out!
Walking Krokon caught in fisheye reflector …
… walking …
… and caught in another reflector! A nice touch!
Gerry Anderson-quality sets and art direction. An actual aquarium behind with real fish!
I’m not sure if the lack of depth of field here is intentional or not. It happens with all such shots.
Notice the Krokon is now seated.
Yes, the computer tapes on the wall spin!
Supermarionation-style set detail! But also notice: the level is off! This bugged me about too many shots. They never properly leveled the camera!
No matte lines!
Front-screen projection! Notice again the level is off!
Landing and take-off of miniatures was poor.
Wonderful lighting effect for rising elevator!
As close to a full-body shot as you get with the standing puppets in this first episode.
Lack of depth of field again.
And the level is still off!
Nice puppetry here, but the lack of level distracts me.
Even on a close-up, the level is off! This is Professor Zed.
See? No level!
Rear-screen projection. Still no camera level!
Lack of depth of field again.
This next one is nice …
… nice simulation of a vast building. But again poor level. And the miniature wobbles!
Beautiful full-body puppet shot with moody lighting.
Now watch this next series of shots:
Glance right …
… glance left …
… Shhhh! And notice his eyeline! He’s looking downward! A magnificent bit of work, this.
Take-off was unimpressive. They tried, though.
Front-screen projection, poor leveling and poor centering!
I’m still astonished by the lack of discernible matte lines.
The close-ups really highlight the great head sculpture and prop work.
Professor Zed is not exactly excellent sculpture, however.
The cockpit goes dark as they go to sleep …
… and lights on when they awake. A nice touch. But notice again the poor level.
Even the cargo boxes have a Supermarionation feel to them!
Notice his head tilting downward. Really, the range of movement for the neck was astonishing. Very smooth — and, when necessary, fast!
The drop is gotten on them by the Krokon.
An extremely rare shot with correct level!
Poor craft landing.
Excellent rover miniature! Notice the articulated lip of the ramp!
Notice how the wheels sink to match the terrain! The late Derek Meddings would be proud of them!
Very nice perspective.
Notice the grip of hand. He’s been flung to the ground.
Nice side shot of the rover window, notice the stripe detailing.
Krokon tank, with wheels that also hug the terrain!
Very nice. Especially the dust kick-up.
Notice his head is tilted downward!
Krokon tank cockpit. Just a wall and lighting, but still makes it menacing.
Explosions are fair. A wee bit less than those in Terrahawks.
The rover flies over the hill, its wheels in the air!
Notice his eyeline — looking downward!
Such bad camera leveling!
This bit was astonishing. High-speed movement of ejector-seat hoverscooters. I couldn’t see strings!
Fair overflight of Impala.
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:
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!
At the old blog:TV, Video - DVD, Video - Online