The Making of The Daleks' Master Plan
By Derek Handley & Dean Rose


Dean Rose Talks us Through the Making of...
Episode 8 - Volcano










Volcano was another very difficult episode to construct but is actually one of my favourites. I'd always found the audio a little difficult to follow and could not really visualise what was going on in some scenes even with the CD narration. For some time Derek had known about a few frames of film footage that had survived from the volcano studio model. However, when these frames were run in real time the longest of the film strips only ran for about half a second. Not much use really for an animated reconstruction backdrop. To make matters worse, the film jumped violently from frame to frame making it not only brief, but also very jerky. We discussed ways of slowing and smoothing the volcano footage with Stuart and he volunteered to have a go at editing the footage. Derek took a key frame to use as a master frame and then cut and pasted the adjacent frames so that only the changing parts of the film were overlaid onto the key frame. This reduced the jerkiness of the film but it was still very brief. The film was slowed down, which has the effect of making the model look larger, but the problem was, if the film was slowed too much, it just became a sequence of still frames - this too looked unnatural. With a bit of perseverance Stuart was able to edit the films strips, adding frames in between the existing frames. Using a rapid sequence of cross-fades helped to smooth the effect. Next the different visual aspects of the film had to be categorised into either continuous (eg a smoke plume) or reversible (eg a splash of 'lava' which has to be reversed so that it falls back into the lava pool.These were split out so it was possible to have any rising splashes falling back by reversing that area of the film without reversing the smoke plume. Extra frames could then be added showing a fairly calm lava pool. All of these extra fixes helped to extend the sequence to many seconds rather than just a handful of frames. The whole sequence was then designed so that it could be continually looped and played as a backdrop. What is interesting is that in the original production the model volcano footage was used as a back projection, in other words in exactly the same way as we have done for composite backgrounds. This means it is likely to be quite a good representation of some of the back-projection scenes.

We were unsure of what the Time Curve indicator machine should look like. We had initially used the Time-Space visualiser from the Chase until we discovered that a private collector actually had a photo of the device. He very kindly loaned us the photo to which we added a video effect synchronised to the soundtrack. This produced a nice flashing visual effect, which gets larger as the 'pursuers' get nearer.

For the scenes where the TARDIS lands at the Oval cricket ground we really struggled with what to do. We had originally believed that the cricket commentators were not seen but only heard as a voiceover. However, the camera script clearly stated a variety of cut-away shots showing the actors who we now had to find. This did not prove too difficult. Scott appeared briefly at the beginning of Terror of the Zygons as a radio operator and it seemed a pity not to use his likeness talking into radio equipment. The addition of a WG Grace poster behind him made the oil rig radio room look a little more like a cricket radio commentators’ sound room. The other actor's likeness, Roger Brierly, was obtained from a contemporary Likely Lads episode (the same one which Pamela Greer had appeared in) and a bit of work in Photoshop put his face onto a 60's BBC sports commentator. The correct cricket ground was found from archive photos and footage. Production notes indicate that the Oval was chosen as it is one of the only cricket grounds that does not display the players’ names on the scoreboard.

Finding a suitable bit of stock cricket footage proved very difficult. Many videos only show highlights such as impressive batting records and action shots but tend not to show cricketers mulling around. 1970s cricketers are too long haired, 1980s cricketers too recognisable and modern cricket tends not to be played in 'whites'. After hiring many cricket tapes from the library, eventually one was found that was suitable. The batsman hitting the ball was synchronised to the soundtrack - which worked very well. For the shots of the cricketer approaching the TARDIS, the camera script described this as a high shot looking down onto the pitch. This was achieved by filming a reaction shot of myself dressed in 'cricket whites' walking into shot and using a video matte to insert my model Police Box. The model was made for our Galaxy 4 reconstruction and stands about 3 feet tall. The angle was set up to match the live action and photographed. This was filmed on my front lawn so I don't know what passers-by and the neighbours must think…

Another problem scene was the revellers in Trafalgar square. I'm sure most people can recall seeing footage of revellers or New Year revellers in Trafalgar Square. Yes? Well just you try finding footage of it, especially footage from the 1960s. This was proving to be a real problem. A few bits and pieces about Trafalgar Square turned up, mainly of riots or daytime footage some of which was useful but I still needed a few skyward shots from the square and a shot suitable for pasting the TARDIS into. I'd reached the stage of editing where I really needed this material, so on the spur of the moment, at about 10pm on a Sunday night, I asked my wife if she fancied a drive into London. She agreed (she knows I'm mad) and an hour later I was snapping away like mad in the middle of Trafalgar Square obtaining lots of useful shots for this scene. I decided that the TARDIS would look nice if it landed against the National Gallery (which overlooks the Square) and took photos ready for insertion of a Police Box. Once back home I slightly modified my Police box model for these shots, removing the window blackout material and inserting translucent paper behind the windows so it could be lit from inside. I then photographed the model from a variety of angles and aligned the most suitable photos with one of the National Gallery photos. Fireworks were added to the sky using video mattes and a variety of stock and personal photos. A lot of work for a few seconds footage but I was very pleased with the result. Another lucky break was obtaining the footage of bells ringing, which was another requirement identified in the camera script. Luckily Derek managed to obtain this from an episode of, cough, Teletubbies.

Finally, towards the end of this episode we required a long shot of the Dalek time machine. I had tried inserting into the set photos the BBC model used in Golden Death but this looked awful when expanded to 'life size'. Chris obliged by making a 3D model of the time ship, which looked much better against the photographic set photos.