Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Matinee: Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, Chapter Ten

Our first three-parter in a while. Actually, Chapter Ten runs about 19:30, but there wasn't a convenient place to cut it into two pieces of ten minutes or less.

I could have mentioned this last time, but I laugh every time I see the four of them all turn their heads at once (3:09 of Part 1). Somehow, I don't think that was the response the filmmakers were going for.

As I've said, I'm not that musical, but even I can recognize the bizarre musical cut at 3:21 of Part 2. Did the music editor have a sudden heart attack?

It won't win any acting prizes, but I'm still unreasonably amused by the way Anne Gwynne (Sonja) delivers the line, "Prince Barin, bah!" (4:03 of Part 2).

When I'm really rich (and there's just a fortune to be made in science fiction publishing these days, a fortune), I'm going to fix up the basement to look just like the radio room (first appearing at 0:30 in Part 3). There wouldn't be much to do there, you say? Well, only two walls are visible in the serial. What you can't see is that they've got a kick-ass 120-inch HDTV in there, plus an Xbox 360 complete with The Beatles: Rock Band. You should hear Barin's men wailing on "Hey, Bulldog."

Speaking of wailing on things, it's a shame there wasn't a 1940 Olympics, because they could have taken a page from this chapter's conclusion, and instituted mixed doubles fistfighting. I wonder how many little girls on the school playground beat the snot out of each other, playing Dale and Sonja, while the others were busy playing house? To most of them (the ones who weren't just doing it because they were budding little violent psychopaths), I'd just like to say, 69 years late, "You go, girl!"

While we're talking proto-feminism, note at about 2:50 in Part 3 that it's Dale who goes into the cell to check that the guard is dead, while Barin hangs back, and not the other way around.

This week, not only does almost all of the video come from my DVCam copy, so does the audio. It's been over a year since I transferred it, so I don't remember for sure, but I think Chapters Ten, Eleven, and Twelve were on a different tape from the rest. At any rate, I know that, unlike most of the rest, there were no timecode hiccups in those three chapters, because I was able to capture each in one piece.

And it's a lucky thing the DVCam audio is good for this chapter, because the whole scene from 4:44 to 5:47 of Part One isn't in the AVI version.

The only piece from the AVI version comes at 5:54 of Part 2. As you can see, it bridges two shots. In the past, I've replaced the whole shots, but in this case, each shot was pretty long, so I decided on something more ambitious. I sized and positioned the AVI version to best match the DVCam, and dissolved from DVCam to AVI and back, using the least possible amount of AVI in the process.

By the way, next week might mark an uptick in visual quality, since I've only just noticed that YouTube has increased maximum file size to 2GB, up from the 1GB I've been using since this site began. Now I can use the highest settings when converting to MPEG-4.

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