Thread: Reconstructions

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  1. #1
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    Default Reconstructions

    As we look into our first predominantly missing season here on PS, I think it's about time that we discussed the various reconstructions that people have made of stories in this season. I mean, they've already been mentioned on The Power of the Daleks thread.

    Recons of almost all the episodes in this season are available in some form or another, in variable quality. I say "almost all", because the odd episodes that still exist haven't been made into recons. Aside from The Underwater Menace 2, for obvious reasons.

    Anyway, for years, recons were the territory of a semi-professional group of fans. However, with the greater access to resources via the internet and cheaper video-editing software that has occurred over the last ten or so years, there are an increasing number of fan-made productions out there. Some are cartoons, some CGI, some telesnap recons and some a combination of all three. Some have unedited audio, while some use the BBC narrated versions (naughty, naughty!)

    So, at we want to know... what are your favourite recons? Do you think a particular story in this season has been done particularly well? Do you have a favourite type?

    Finally, we want to know what you think the advantages and disadvantages of recons are...

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

  2. #2
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    Oddly enough, the only recons I've much experience of are a handful that a friend of mine made himself, simply adding the downloaded telesnaps to a narrated soundtrack. And these are actually very effective, as the quality of the sound is much clearer than on the VHS recons you get (I do have one or two, and The Myth Makers is almost inaudible), and the fact that there's barely anything about the visual element of the experience to distract, while having the still frames gives you a clear enough idea of what you would have been watching.

    I've enjoyed these more than the more 'professional' ones I've seen, to be honest - although I'm so out of the loop as regards these things, I'm sure if I had access to nicely presented, digital copies of the recent Loose Cannon output, I'd almost certainly change my mind!

  3. #3
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    That's precisely the problem with recons - their quality can just be so damned variable. Particularly if you have an nth generation copy of it.

    Fortunately, the newer the recon, the better the quality seems to be. I'm fortunate enough to have copies of Loose Cannon's recent The Web of Fear and The Wheel in Space recons, along with their re-done The Celestial Toymaker. And the quality is just superb. Likewise, with things like The Evil of the Daleks.

    However, on the other hand, you have some of their early recons - like The Power of the Daleks - which can be quite difficult to watch.

    Frankly, I prefer the Loose Cannon ones. Partially because the BBC kindly turn a blind eye to them. I like having recons, and I want them to continue to be made - and I suspect that the BBC might start coming down on them (after all, they are technically breaching copyright) if recons using the BBC narration became more widespread. The other reason is that they just seem to be the best made.

    So, hurrah for recons!

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

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    The trick to a good recon is (a) getting the direction right and (b) Having an ever present moving element. It's to do with the way we watch things and process the moving images. If you have a flame on a torch flickering away, or a flashing monitor, it's far more easy to stop your mind from wandering. Likewise if the flashing pictures can get themselves in sync with the original direction, it all somehow clicks.

    They are clearer recently because, finally, they are finding their way onto Youtube. The stubborn belief that the copyright flouting videos were ok on video tape but somehow not on DVD continued long after the former format had become all but extinct.

    Si.

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    The professionally made recons can be a bit fussy. I think it's when you get a sudden change from telesnaps to CGI or animation that things get distracting or confusing. Sticking with the telesnaps all the way would be the best way to go, if they exist.

    Any recon recommendations?
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    I find that the CGI bits can work well when done really well. But since that's actually fairly rare, I absolutely agree that it can be rather distracting.

    I've heard that the recon of The Power of the Daleks that the BBC put out on MP3-CD was absolutely superb (and all telesnaps, no CGI or existing film material), but have never seen it...

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

  7. #7

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    I think the VHS-DVD thing was an attitude the BBC geninely held in, say, 2001, when DVD was new and scary and pirating in a digital format would have actually been novel (I know I got my copy of Day of Armageddon through the time-honoured means of slightly green multi-gen VHS). It's just gradually become out of date/faintly ludicrous as digital piracy has exploded. Loose Cannon are now novel for NOT blatantly pirating things in high quality.

    Their habit of staying under the radar does reap results, though. Anyone could make a credible recon of The Macra Terror, where the telesnaps are pretty much it, but The Daleks' Master Plan? Loose Cannon have persuaded people to lend them some very rare things, and I think a significant reason is that they are so discrete. If the BBC ever decides to go on a copyright rampage, Loose Cannon would probably not be their first target (that would probably be the multiple places you can watch the entire classic series!)

    The situations where some dude who shouldn't have the recons is leaking them to youtube is perfect. We all get to watch them while Loose Cannon enjoys plausible deniability. Everyone wins!

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    And the dude who's leaking them to YouTube is also leaking them in digital quality to torrent sites, too.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Loose Cannon eventually review their policy on digital-quality distribution...

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

  9. #9

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    Recon recommendations:

    I like the stories where the visuals are a complete mystery, because very few genuine photos are widely published. The Myth Makers and The Space Pirates are very good recons based around very little surviving material, and it's great to finally have some idea what they were like.

    The Evil of the Daleks has an incredible amount of movement in it, which you'll love or hate depending on your attitude to CGI and re-enacments. They took a life size Dalek to the actual rooms the original was filmed in and did corridor shots. I thought that was rather lovely.

    The technical quality of the recons has been constantly improving. They've been at a very high standard since about Fury from the Deep (LC22, 2004), anything after that will be a very good representation of the episode. The slightly older ones are very good but showing their age (Massacre, Daleks' Master Plan, Marco Polo - colour version), and the really old ones are not really up to scratch any more (Power of the Daleks and Mission to the Unknown are the oldest ones that have never been updated).

    Also bear in mind that for whatever reason terrible recons are far more widely distributed on the net than good ones. Video sites and torrents always include some version from 1995 instead of the new shiny one that you can actually understand. I've even seen a site where the individual episodes of the Macra Terror were from two different recons... both of them from the 90s. It seems thematically appropriate that you have to put some serious effort into searching out the recons, and go through illicit bootleg channels to get the best ones!

  10. #10

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    I prefer the ones that just stick with telesnaps. I get the point about having something moving to watch, but I just can't stomach fake CGI nonsense, it just takes me out of the immersion.

    I would like to get hold of the Daleks' Masterplan Episode 2 recon though. I had a copy of one once, but deleted it when I got the proper version. In hindsight I'd quite like to compare them just to get an idea of how accurate a recon is or can be, or more interestingly how much it misses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Williams View Post
    I've heard that the recon of The Power of the Daleks that the BBC put out on MP3-CD was absolutely superb (and all telesnaps, no CGI or existing film material), but have never seen it...
    It is, in fact it's the only recon I'd really recommend to anyone. I'll be sticking with Audios for this Season 4 thing as I decided I preferred them last time through, but I'll make an exception for this one. The only problem is that each episode is split into a 20 minute chunk, and then a 5 minute chunk to finish off for some reason.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Williams View Post
    And the dude who's leaking them to YouTube is also leaking them in digital quality to torrent sites, too.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Loose Cannon eventually review their policy on digital-quality distribution...
    That's making the assumption Loose Cannon will ever release anything again. The last recon which came out officially was The Faceless Ones, which came out in August 2009 - over 2 and a half years ago.

    We know they're still making them - the leaked stories are testament to that. We also know there were delays due to the failed attempt to get the recons onto iTunes. We have been told that new recons will come - they're just working on the extras (is it really that hard to contact someone and ask for a few hours or so of their time?).

    I suspect Loose Cannon have realised that they have to rethink the whole way they work - note that although they won't release the recons digitally, dub sites are now distributing a VHS-quality copy of the recon on DVD and they're freely saying that you can go to YouTube to see the new recons. At the same time, I suspect they were angling to help produce recons for the DVDs however the anti-recon attitude of Dan Hall have shown this will be pretty much impossible.

    At this point, I think they would be better off just pushing out the ones they have (I know there unreleased ones include Marco Polo with Tele-Snaps, Reign of Terror, Celestial Toymaker, The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear and The Wheel in Space and I believe there's a new Crusade) and calling it a day rather than tease us with eventual releases of them which we know aren't coming.
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    I found the BBC's "Power" recon most disappointing. I don't get why they didn't include the existing clips with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Culley View Post
    At this point, I think they would be better off just pushing out the ones they have (I know there unreleased ones include Marco Polo with Tele-Snaps, Reign of Terror, Celestial Toymaker, The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear and The Wheel in Space and I believe there's a new Crusade) and calling it a day rather than tease us with eventual releases of them which we know aren't coming.
    Some of those are available to those who know where to look!

    Do you know what they call me in the ancient legends of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Williams View Post
    Some of those are available to those who know where to look!
    Yes they are - I have a huge project I'm working on recreate my aging recon DVD collection and they form part of it
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Culley View Post
    Yes they are - I have a huge project I'm working on recreate my aging recon DVD collection and they form part of it
    Do you have a template for the menu screens? I'm thinking of creating a recon DVD collection for myself

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    Sadly not - I know they exist as a few years back they were being made by people on OG for home-made DVDs, however I suspect with the imminent completion of the official DVD range this has become less needed. I had resigned to just making my own template and rolling with it...

    Of course if anyone else has a copy I would be interested!
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  17. #17

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    Don't forget, Loose Cannon's method involves shipping physical copies around the world, it takes a lot longer than sticking the finished product online.

    They also don't pay their interviewees, and I doubt they fly across the country to meet them. It probably does take a long time to find an actor who's near you, has some free time and is in a generous mood. Personally I wish they wouldn't bother, as the episodes are far more exciting than the extras to me anyway, but that's their way of doing things.

    On top of that, there was an effort to get Loose Cannon recons released in an official capacity, on itunes. They couldn't continue putting them out on a pirate network and negotiate for that at the same time! It wasn't an instant no and dragged out for quite some time. Since then it's probably just been a case of inertia.

    They defintely haven't stopped work; all of these are complete:
    Marco Polo (with telesnaps, in black and white), Reign of Terror, Galaxy 4 (they made all four episodes, then cut that down to the 50-minute DVD version), Celestial Toymaker, The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear and The Wheel in Space
    The Crusade has also been mentioned but I have no confirmation, it may be confused with Reign of Terror. They are also currently working on yet more recons (no word on which, but the obvious choices are Mission to the Unknown, The Massacre and Power of the Daleks, which are over ten years old).

    What format do you need this template in? I can probably find a guy who makes his own DVDs but have no idea how the process works.
    Last edited by Ssarl; 31st Mar 2012 at 2:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ssarl View Post
    What format do you need this template in? I can probably find a guy who makes his own DVDs but have no idea how the process works.
    I have absolutely no clue! I assume that there's probably a standard format!(?)

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    Strangely enough reading about everyone talking about Tenth Planet inspired me to hunt out a recon of episode 4 and I rather enjoyed it. I watched eps 1-3 with my friend James Norman at University. Yeah I've read how it ended, but it was nice to experience some of it.

    I would love to watch a recon of Power of the Daleks - but everything I've found I thought a bit ropey.
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