Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Matinee: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter Two (Parts 1 & 2)

Chapters Two and Three are each over twenty minutes, and took more time than I can really spare, so I'm spreading those two chapters over three weeks. Next week, we finish Chapter Two and start Chapter Three. In two weeks, we finish Chapter Three.


This week's chapter of The Phantom Creeps marks the first-ever appearance of the distinctive Universal scrolling recap. Serials usually had a text recap at the beginning of each chapter after the first, but they were static caption cards. Universal decided to make recaps more visually interesting by having the text scroll upward and inward. (We previously saw it here in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, made the next year.) George Lucas, of course, borrowed and refined this 38 years later in Star Wars, further tilting the text so that the vanishing point was on screen, and the text seemed to scroll away to infinity.

Part 1 Note:

3:42 Ah, our old friend, the cheat cliffhanger. You may remember that at the end of Chapter One, the plane exploded in flames. This week, it gets a redo.

I briefly considered using the AVI file as the source, but looking at AVI and Serial MPEG side by side, I again figured that the crisper image of the latter more than made up for some combing of the interlaced image during motion.

I spent hours trying to get the best of both worlds, using all the different settings of Adobe AfterEffects' "Remove 3:2 Pulldown" function. But for some reason, when it removed the pulldown, it left a series of twenty or thirty long, horizontal lines in the image, which seemed even more distracting. So I just used it as it was. (All this experimentation is part of the reason it took so long to put this chapter together.)

And all of Chapter Two is from this source. There were no film breaks in the Serial MPEG material that also appears in Feature MPEG.

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