Top Five Babel colour videos
I’m taking a different route this month because I thought it would be quite nice to talk about the incredible work that Stuart Humphryes has been doing over at You Tube with his Doctor Who themed videos. Any one of these is ideal to show to a non fan to prove what they are missing out on, it is a collection of eclectic themes from the shows scariest moments, to its silliest, to a special video devoted to each Doctor. He has even compiled an imaginative ‘Ten Doctors’ story from old clips, which is no small feat. So here for your education and enlightenment is my top five favourite Babelcolour videos and the links to them. Enjoy!
The McCoy years - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjVyvI3SmWg
I love this video because it is almost enough to convince you that the show was at its peak during the McCoy years rather than struggling to stay afloat! It’s a terrific montage of monsters, explosions, action, gunfire, more explosions, walking corpses, grinning clowns, even more explosions, screams, thrashing lightning, all framed by some of the seventh Doctor’s more myth building dialogue (‘I am far more than just another Time Lord…’) and scored with some very exciting music. It’s all edited together with such skill and pace you will be left breathless at the end and scrabbling to find your McCoy DVDs. Frankly if they had had Humphryes editing during the McCoy years it would have been a far superior era! Naturally he favours seasons 25 and 26 but I was very pleased to see a couple of clips from Time and the Rani in there too!
The Beginning Trailer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKyHFHY65jY
This is an alternative trailer for the DVD release of An Unearthly Child, The Daleks and The Edge of Destruction box set and it is far better than the one the DVDs used. If you ever needed to show somebody the magic of that first season of Doctor Who and only have five minutes to spare this is perfect, it takes you on a whirlwind tour of the first three stories practically telling the overall arc of the characters and emphasising the horrors and the drama that the travellers face. There are enough screams, flaming skulls, monsters rising from waters, bug eyed robots, flame wielding cavemen and scissors being waved about to convince you that this was as terrifying as the show ever got. I especially love the skill with which Humphryes splits the stories with an unforgettable quote slipped in to take you from one story to the next (‘GRANDFATHER!’). It really highlights the strength of the performances of the original guest cast. A gripping trailer.
Doctor Who vs. Benny Hill vs. Eminem - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW0H_rprV-g
Absolute colic gold and the sort of thing if you are a Doctor Who fan who loves it when it goes right and when it goes wrong that will make you howl with laughter. It’s all in here; running about in fast motion Benny Hill style, the Absorbalof rushing down the street, Mandrels, the Taran Beast, the blobby dancing Navarinos, Kroll rising from the depths, huge teethed Primord Benton, Sylvester McCoy naked, Pertwee gurning, Ken Dodd grooving, the boss eyed Mestor, shrivelled old Queen Xanxia, Tellytubbies, the Myrka, gay kissing, psychotic trolls, limp tentacles, the Doctor in drag, that weird fellow from The Wheel in Space who is confronted by Cybermats and does a monkey impression, crap spaceships, the rolling eye of a Monoid, the Doctor and Mel having a spin, Sylvester McCoy’s ass, Troughton dashing about, the wonderful fly from The Green Death, the fluffy giant rat, Styre’s robot, Magma Dragon, old men in nappies, Billy Bunter, bibble bibble Brigadier, the Doctor blowing on Erato’s appendage, giant clams, Ingrid Pitt dancing with the Myrka, The Kandyman, hollow Wirrn grubs, Bandrils, Fifi, the Ergon, the Mara snake and the Skarasen popping his head up from the Thames. I could watch this over and over again, it is very funny and has the reverse effect of what you would imagine a compilation pf cringeworthy moments would- - it makes me love this show a little more.
My Immortal Brigadier - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXEphaqrtYQ
This is not a video I have watched many times simply because it does its job a little too well and is a beautiful reminder of the Brigadier’s unforgettable contribution to the show. The music is perfectly chosen and will have you welling up in seconds and the clips are well chosen showing the Brig with every Doctor, as a man of action, a friend, a husband, a hero, a villain, laughing, terrified, shocked, baffled, frustrated and thoughtful. It features some of his cherished dialogue and shows how Nick Courtney aged into beautifully. The final shot taken from Downtime showing the Brigadier alone in his uniform on a bleached out beach is chokingly poignant. Extremely emotional and an exceptional tribute to a great actor.
The Ten Doctors - Part One - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nCb3y4J850 Part Two - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IslVWOcFnC0 Part Three - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8tc7c3uBdQ
An enormous undertaking which sees Humphryes pull together clips of the first ten Doctors’ adventures and somehow weaves them into a narrative. What really impressed beyond the witty way he snipped together the dialogue to make it appear that the Doctor’s were talking to each other via their TARDIS’ was the incredible actions sequences that he creates. With a little judicious editing and adding he manages to convince you that all ten Doctors are present for an attack by Gell Guards, Daleks and Sontarans in three separate, excitingly directed battles. It really is an incredible achievement and even if there is the odd moment of know that they clearly are snipped together old clips (its usually the emphasis on the dialogue that doesn’t flow) the quality of the piece and how it hangs together overall to form a fan pleasing narrative is nothing short of bravura. Ten fangasms out of ten from me!
Interview with Stuart Humphryes
When did you first become a Doctor Who fan and who is your favourite Doctor/story?I became a fan before I even remember, which sounds bizarre, but it must have been the case. My earliest memories concern Planet of the Spiders, but the emotional wrench I felt at Jon Pertwee's death in that story presumably means I had been watching it for some time before that. I know I received my first Doctor Who annual on the Christmas of 1974, so that must have been prompted by some sort of fascination for the show, but I can't give you an exact date. Late Pertwee. Before I gained awareness. I suspect I was watching the show whilst still in the womb, glaring from my mother's navel and hiding behind the umbilical when the monsters came on. It would certainly explain why the midwife slapped me so hard when I was born.
As for my favourite Doctor - that's an impossible question for me. Depending on my mood, day-by-day, my Doctor of choice changes. I absolutely adore Matt Smith's portrayal, I'm also a child of the Tom Baker years. I'm a massive Hartnell fan, I think Pat is sublime (even if I don't really rate his actual surviving stories highly), and I've had many a happy drunken evening with friends laughing riotously to Colin Baker's wonderfully bumptious performance (although again, his actual stories are quite poor too). And Sylvester McCoy's turn in The Curse of Fenric blew me away the last time I watched it - so asking me to name my favourite Doctor is like asking someone to name their favourite child. They are all loved.
What was the first babelcolour video that you made?
Ahhh, that's a slightly leading question. Before I regenerated into Babelcolour, I was known on the net as Babelfish and ran the Babelfish Colourisation Website which, oddly (considering it has been defunct for quite some years) still pops up occassionally in Google searches. So my first colourisation videos were Babelfish ones, but when I joined Youtube "Babelfish" had already been taken as a username so I called myself Babelcolour - because of my colourisation work. I had no idea at te time that there was also a program for computers called Babelcolor, so there's no link between the two.
The first Youtube Babelcolour video I made was my tribute to Colin Baker, set to a very heavily edited score of Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. It's still there, a testiment to my very first music video. I spent a long time snipping and gluing the music together to cut out all the Biblical verses!
How do you manage to pull so many clips together - what sort of software do you use?
Pulling the clips together is a mixture of slogging my way through hours and hours of footage to find something suitable (usually on fast-forward) and also a drop of serendipity because, when actually sitting down to watch an episode, I spot nifty shots that make me think "Oh, that's a nice two second image, I could use that!"
As for software, I have a video capture card in my PC which allows me to literally jack my video player and DVD player into the back of it. I use an editing program called Pinnacle Studio, which captures what I want and allows me to fiddle about with it! It's not working at the moment, due to some conflict with a Windows update, that is making all my video clips in the time-line black, so I can't see what the hell I'm editing. Hugely frustrating, but once I remedy the issue I shall do some more video work.
Do you have a favourite handful of videos (it would impossible to ask you for an all time favourite!)?
I tire of them so easily. If I stop enjoying watching them myself, I confess they end up being deleted from my channel. There have been some poor ones over the years. Well, poor to me. Like the Davros Tribute I made. Hated that. So I pulled it. Lots of complaints, unfortunately, from fans who did like it, but I resolved to make a better one. That should placate the disgruntled hoardes!
I really liked the tribute I made to all the companions, set to a rather ironic soundtrack of Michael Bublé singing "Feeling Good". I was gutted when Youtube themselves pulled it due to copyright infringement. I don't even have a copy of it myself. Vary sad, But it was one of my favourites. I also really like my Sylvester McCoy Years, Doolally Who and Part Three of my Ten Doctor's epic. Also The Beginning Tribute, advertising Hartnell's first three stories is one I actually sit and watch frequently (even if few other people do! It's not a particularly popular one, but I think it's good).
Were your videos instantly popular or did it take some time for the impressive hits to gather up?
That's a question designed to either instill a self-affacing modesty or make me look like a bumptious show-off! Naughty. Hmmmm, how can I answer that and avoid both traps? I would say that they were popular from the start, but I think purely because I made a set of them - a tribute to each of the Doctors. And when a viewer watched one, they clicked on the next and so forth to view the set. There was a built in hit-rate, so to speak. I suppose if the first couple were rubbish they wouldn't view the whole lot, but fortuitously, they did!
But the success was modest. Even four years on those Doctor Tributes are not my most viewed videos. But they were successful enough to encourage me to make more, and with each new video I became more experienced, more adept and more experiemental. I moved from simple music videos to what the hip youngsters apparently call "mash-ups", such as my prequal to 'The Brain of Möbius which had sound from the movie Forbidden Planet and clips from Star Wars and Starship Troopers. Ultimately, it was pants and I deleted it, but it was the seed from which the Time War video grew and my Two Doctors trailer with Tom and David and, I suppose, that led to my Five Doctor's alternative with ten Doctors in and ultimately, of course, the rather successful Ten Doctors quadrilogy. All thanks to Morbius and my pants video. lol.
Tell us something about the colourisation of certain black and white clips?
Well, the colourisation began in 2004, when I started colourising photos on the long-lost Outpost Gallifrey forum. That took off in a big way, and a fellow forum member offered me webspace on their site to host my work. That's when I started posting colourised gifs, just a short sequence of frames. That grew in ambition to colourised video clips and Bob's your uncle. There I was doing three minute videos in colour. Utter insanity. The hours and workload were monstrous. 4,500 individually colourised frames in a 3 minute video. No automation, no help, just a hopeless man without a life in a dark room colouring Hartnell's waistcoat. Four thousand times. I should have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act for sacrifices above and beyond the call of sanity. Or, at the very least, rewarded with lots of sex.
But those tedious hours of colourising in Photoshop kind of payed off, in as much that it got me noticed. I was terribly flattered by an offer to provide colourised work for the fantastic restoration magazine 'Nothing At The End Of The Lane' and to be approached to do a short colourised sequence from The Daleks Master Plan which was used on the Genesis of the Daleks DVD release. That was achieved via a new, speedier method of motion estimation that has phenominal potential. Regrettably, the finished work was pretty sub-standard due entirely to me. I was working at the time on a laptop with a poor monitor and dreadful gamma and it all had a disagreeable green bias to it. I didn't think it was great, but the process itself was a real eye-opener! Then I worked with the same gentleman on a one-minute test sequence for The Mind Of Evil part one, which was to assess the viability of the process to complete the episode. But after a few months of hard work our communication broke down and I left the venture. I have no information regarding the progress of the work now, but I wish him luck with it!
Finally - where did you begin compiling The Ten Doctors? What a feat!
Thank you. The project began in a very nebulous way. The first sequence I did was the appearance of the Gel Guards at UNIT HQ, where all the TARDISes arrive. Having completed that, I had to think of a reason of why it would happen. There was no pre-production plot, or even a loose story, I made it all up as I went along! I still am! God only knows what will happen in Part Four! Only joking - I have actually decided what I want to happen.
Back in Part One, I decided on having the President instigate the "quest" and he was, when it was made, the President. That was my belief and intention. Only later did I decide that he was actually an insane Doctor in disguise. It was originally going to be a bid to avert the Time War, but it all changed in the making. I recorded the dialogue, but thought better of it.
Although the plot was all made up on the hoof, entirely dependant on what clips and dialogue I could find, it hangs together pretty well. It's complicated - devilishly so - but it is clear in my mind. Judging my quite a few posts on Youtube however, it isn't clear in everyone's mind. Time is a tricky thing to play with...
Basically the first two Doctors have been lifted out of time. That means they don't exist in any point of their lives. There's no day, no moment, when they ever existed in the Universe. Completely erased. That means the subsequent Doctors are all temporal anomolies. If you never existed as a child, how can you exist as an adult? They should all disappear, like dominoes falling, once their past is erased. However, it transpires that the first two Doctors haven't actually been completely deleted. The second Doctor had been lifted out of his time stream for the Three Doctors, so when his time stream is deleted, this second Doctor at UNIT is all that remains, and so they must go there to retrieve him. (Of course, knowledgeable fans will point out that he also exists in the Death Zone of Gallifrey, when the Time Scoop lifted him out of time, but I'm ignoring that fact). Similarly, the first Doctor also exists - just for one day of his life - in 15th century England, protected from erasure by the Rift in Cardiff. He exists nowhere else, just in the Rift, so that's why they go there to retrieve him. So, although all ten Doctors are present, the first two are still missing - the bulk of their lives, the rest of their time line is still erased. They have to be rescued in Part Four, That's a fact that does seem to have escaped some viewers. They think they've already been found, but they haven't!
Oh, and Matt Smith will be popping up in the final part too. And not right at the end, like a lot of viewers have suggested. He plays a BIG part that would make Steven Moffat proud. Very Time-Wimey. It will hopefully make everyone rush to rewatch the first three parts again. Even more views! Hahahaha.