Moving Pictures

Chapter 4

I already knew what my next project would be: a tribute the the explosive near-climax to Farscape's season three. That would have to wait for the arrival of the final set of DVDs, scheduled for October of 2003. In the end I got impatient. And having ordered one set of season four DVDs from an etailer in the UK and then having determined that I could rip video from region 2 discs as easily as from my own region 1, I put in an order for the rest of season 3 from that same supplier.

But that still meant waiting for the package to arrive. And, not being the patient sort, I looked for an interim project. I'd been thinking about a song called This Is The Moment, a stirring ballad from the musical Jekyll & Hyde that I'd seen on Broadway a few years ago. This Is The Moment is performed late in Act One, as Dr. Jekyll takes the great leap of testing his formula. It's a grand and optimistic moment, the last the story will provide. And, whether taken literally or ironically, it felt like a nice match to Farscape's premiere. John Crichton's bold experiment is begun with no less optimism or sense of mission than Jekyll's. And the results are no less startling.

So I began putting a video together, planning to combine footage from the premiere with that of another couple of high drama moments from season one. But something funny happened almost at once: I realized that nearly every moment from that first episode fit the song. It fit so well that my only big challenge was deciding what to cut. A pity the song didn't have another verse or two.

(This is the 24.8 MB version of the movie. The lower quality version is 7.1 MB.)

Not With A Whimper...

If you haven't seen season three of Farscape in its entirely, you may want to stop reading now. Spoilers lie dead ahead.

A lot of the videos people do around Farscape focus on the relationship between the two lead characters: John Crichton and Aeryn Sun. Mine are no exception; two of my first six videos center around Crichton, a third around Aeryn and Crichton and two more on the whole crew (with, I must admit, starring roles for JC & AS). So I was motivated to do a video about someone else.

And then the thought came to me: why not showcase Captain Crais's grand sacrifice at the end of season three? And what better song to commemorate the, ummm, unique leadership style of our beloved captain than Frank Sinatra's cliche-ridden ballad, My Way? At Sinatra's own memorial, everyone had far too much taste to use that song. But I have rarely been burdened by such concerns.

My biggest challenge in doing this video was in dealing with the constant repetition of that one line: "I did it my way..." I needed to find a way to make the visual presentation a little different each time those lyrics arrived. I'll let you decide how well I succeeded.

One challenge was to figure out how to end the song. The nature of the episode didn't leave me with any images of Crais or his trusty ship Talyn at the finish. Instead I used Adobe After Effects to merge a couple of crew reaction shots with Crais's handiwork. As I said before regarding my Brady Bunch and When I Look At You videos, After Effects is a remarkably capable tool.

(This is the 34.4 MB version of the movie. The lower quality version is 10.1 MB.)

Men Are Sometimes From Venus Too

A few lucky souls find their way here to view my handiwork. But a lot more Farscape video enthusiasts have discovered my work, as well as that of dozens of talented others, at a website called Farscape Fantasy. One of the benefits of having my work on display there is the ability of visitors to leave comments. These are generally complimentary; if people aren't impressed, they're generally too polite to trash us in a public forum. And occasionally they're inspirational.

Such an example came after I submitted my video of When I Look At You from The Scarlet Pimpernel. Turns out I'm not the only fan of this musical. And one of those fans planted the idea that the reprise of that song, sung by Douglas Sills' Sir Percy about Marguerite, would make a nice counterpoint to the one I'd already done. When another vidder repeated the suggestion, I put another planned video on hold and got to work.

Unlike the Marguerite version, this video uses clips from a single episode of Farscape. That's both easier and harder: easier because I didn't have to zip through hours of footage looking for material; and harder because if I couldn't find the perfect clip, I had to find something that would work. Fortunately, the episode suggested, the season three ending Dog With Two Bones, provides plenty of inspiration.

(This is the 18.7 MB version of the movie. The lower quality version is 7 MB.)

The story continues on the next page...

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 Comments to: Hank Shiffman, Mountain View, California