About That Tracking Matte in Timeslides…

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    This is 1989. There is no computer motion tracking, and I can’t imagine they had a motion control rig on set with the old tube camera.

    Do we know how this shot was accomplished? It’s always stood out to me as one of the most impressively made effects in Red Dwarf, and probably the only one I don’t know how they created.


    Pete Part Three

    Ed Bye constructed a time machine and travelled to the year 2019 and bought a new white iPad. It was tricky, but easier than the alternative of doing a tracking matte.


    Ben Saunders

    I don’t know if this is exactly the same, but Meglos was an episode of Doctor Who in 1980, and:

    “This story features the only use in Doctor Who of a camera-linking system known as Scene-Sync that allowed the use of non-static shots of characters superimposed onto a miniature set. As the cameras on the actors were moved, the cameras on the miniature set moved the equivalent scaled amount automatically. The exact scale motion was achieved by trial and error, involving minute adjustments to the voltage delivered to the slave camera’s motors.”

    So perhaps they did/had something similar to that



    That system involves linking multiple cameras, and the effect was filmed live. This is an effect made after the fact.



    Its something they couldn’t do with the remastered apparently.



    It honestly feels _too_ good to be an effect in 1989 Red Dwarf.


    Ben Saunders

    They must have actually just created timeslides for real



    Perhaps a scaled panning shot. The party scene is shot from a wider angle so you pan faster to compensate for the closer panning shot onboard Red Dwarf where the pan is slower but when composited together, run at the same panning speed if that makes sense.



    Those are clearly video elements composited as an overlay like they did with screens in Series I. They’ve somehow managed to get those to move exactly with the camera movement, looking for all the world like motion tracking.



    Maybe it was sheer coincidence.



    Looking at the edges of the moving photos, my guess would be the photos had a blue or green square on them, they keyed that out, placed the shots in them, and scaled them up slightly, and then using a paddle on whatever vision mixer they had at the time, they moved the shot manually from right to left. If it was slightly scaled larger than the size of the blue/green box, that would allow room for error. As there are several photos, they probably had to redo that shot a few times to get the final version.



    Actually do you know what, i’ve just watched that shot back, and i think theres got to be something else. I’m looking at the edges of the moving photo to see if there’s ANY sign of manual movement on the shot, and there doesn’t appear to be any. It’s not a simple camera move either, the shot does an abrupt change right at the end, so if it was done manually, it was done by someone who really knew how to work a vision mixer paddle!



    It’s also worth noting that the photos aren’t just flatly pasted on top, the pictures are warped in a very subtle and sophisticated way to exactly match the perspective and bend of the polaroid. You can see this on the righthand polaroid in my still. That’s an incredibly sophisticated detail for a non-digital compositing job.

    The camera movement isn’t just a simple left to right pan, so you couldn’t use the paddle a la the moving split screen in Stasis Leak. The added elements would fall off the top of the polaroid as the shot progressed.

    It’d be a pretty simple list of steps to accomplish this effect in your higher end VFX software of choice, but I haven’t the slightest clue how those steps would be replicated with analog effects.



    Sorry, I have to break silence (and I’m still annoyed about that Goodall thread) because I know this and it’s annoying me.

    As mentioned in a TV Zone preview from 1989, the Red Dwarf III edit included a single day’s access to a Quantel HARRY suite. Vastly more powerful than Paintbox (which was used on Dwarf a lot), this was the first ever digital effects and compositing system available to TV, which could hold 80 seconds of inputted, lossless, full PAL source video in its memory bank at a time, and render the finished results back to tape. It could indeed do frame by frame effects work and what we would now refer to as motion tracking. That bit in Timeslides was their money shot.

    The other main use of it on the series was Cat running away from the lightning bolts in Polymorph which required dynamic compositing of an animation sprite and complicated frame by frame masking. Not sure they actually used it on anything else, nor on IV.

    I’ll shut up again now because you don’t want to read my rant about the Bluray box set.



    Oh wow, that’s some excellent trivia there, thanks for clearing it up!

    (also I would be interested to read that rant about the Blu-ray box set tbh)



    One of the reasons I imagine they contracted SVC for series VI is that they had HARRY in-house and it was the most cost effective way of getting that advanced stuff.



    It’s Ganymede & Titan, withholding a rant is against the rules.



    I’ll shut up again now because you don’t want to read my rant about the Bluray box set.

    Aw, go on.



    I miss the ’70s and ’80s tradition of giving propriety electronics equipment an acronym.




    A demo reel of the Quantel Harry.



    Glad to see you back posting again Darrell.



    After watching that demo reel, I can now sense every big ’90s retailer tapping the HARRY for their Autumn advert pushes.


    Ian Symes

    G&T Admin

    Please come back, Darrell, you’re one of the non-idiots.



    What he said. Not many of them left.



    Who are the idiots?







    Yeah and who else?



    Anyone who asks is an idiot.



    >Anyone who asks is an idiot.

    I retract my previous comment.



    I nominate this thread for hall of fame status



    I wonder if Quantum Leap used a Quantel HARRY… That bit where she goes all blue and weird in the shower had a hint of leaping.

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