Doctor Who trailer recreated with CGI

Along with episodes two – six of the story it promoted, a specially-recorded trailer for classic 1968 Doctor Who story The Web Of Fear is currently missing from the BBC archives.

Featuring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, the trailer was broadcast at the end of episode six of The Enemy of the World to warn viewers the Yeti (and the Great Intelligence that controlled them) were coming back, scarier than ever.

Thankfully, an audio copy survived from an off-air recording made at the time and this has just been combined with cutting-edge CGI to give a faithful idea of what the original trail must have looked like.

It is the work of ‘life-long Doctor Who fan’ Iz Skinner. Speaking to WIPED, Iz explained how the idea for the trailer recreation came about after she started helping with the Loose Cannon series of missing Doctor Who adventure reconstructions.

‘Animation is one of my hobbies,’ said Iz. ‘I joined http://www.who3d.co.uk a couple of years ago and then got the recon(struction) bug.

‘The LC (Loose Cannon) guys found me at Who3D and asked me to help out on a few bits.

‘Working with the Loose Cannon team has been brilliant and a lot of fun – they were so knowledgeable and supportive. I hope to do more with them!

She continued: ‘I’d say Patrick Troughton was my favourite doctor, until David Tennant (swoon), and I was looking for a short piece to try out my 2nd Doctor model and my Yeti – so the trailer was perfect.

‘But it was the great line ‘If your mummy and daddy are scared…’ that really sold it to me.

‘There weren’t any visual references for the trailer. I’d seen a set photo which I used as a basis to create the set and I found part of the script in The second Doctor Handbook (Howe-Stammers- Walker) although I’d started working on the animation by this time, just following the audio.

‘I made the Doctor and Yeti models early last year, 2008, and did the lip sync and then animation later, at different times, so it’s difficult to say how long it took – I’d say it would have taken three to four weeks if I’d been working on it full time.

‘The announcement at the end probably shouldn’t have had the BBC globe ident over it (and apparently I made the globe spin a bit too fast – lol), but the trailer was just a bit of fun really.’

Iz’s trailer is set to be shown at the Gallifrey 2009 convention in Los Angeles in February and she revealed to WIPED that she is now working on the CGI recreation of a missing Doctor Who episode, title still under wraps, which she expects to have completed by the end of the year.

‘I love the idea that we can try to rebuild the past through animation,’ concluded Iz. ‘We’re so lucky that the audio of these episodes survived. ‘

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1 Comment

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One response to “Doctor Who trailer recreated with CGI

  1. As a professional animator, the recons of course started me thinking about how one would approach a CGI reconstruction.

    A 20 minute episode is a lot of work – however:

    PRO:

    Once rigged, a 3D model can be reused for all episodes. A single Dalek can be reused for all, etc.

    Sets such as the Tardis could be reused for each episode.

    MoCap (Motion Capture) would allow actors to act out the scenes, freeing the animators from much of the workload of moving them around.

    CON:

    Each episode would have unique environments/costumes – these would have to be created for each recon.

    Lip Synch/Facial acting. Even using MoCap, animating expressions/dialog is a lot of work.

    *

    Regarding facial acting – once a character is rigged with blend shapes for different expressions, the process of animating him/her is a lot easier. A good model/rig is critical – you’re going to see a lot of it!

    Were I able, I’d strive to make a 3D recon as close to the original as possible. Avoid 3D camera moves or other anachronisms. Even rendering the original video blur (which would cover some defects in acting!), and avoid extreme close ups (which would also expose weaknesses in the 3D model).

    *

    The alternative approach would be to treat the recon as a tabula rasa, and create whatever the recon artist wants, using the soundtrack as if there had never been a TV show made from it. This would be a lot more fun for the animator, I expect!

    It might be possible to animate the recon in 2D (Flash, for example, or even After Effects). A trained animator can do between 30 and 60 seconds a week of character animation in Flash, depending on complexity and the number of characters. A 20 minute show therefore looks like quite an amount of man hours. Let’s say 30 seconds a week = 40 weeks of one person’s time.

    Ouch!

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