The Making of The Evil of the Daleks
By Russ Port, Dean Rose & Stuart Palmer

 
 

Russ Port Talks us Through the Making of TEotD...
Episode 4

     

 

 

 

At the start of the episode is a long scene of Jamie and Kemel fighting. There is no description of the scene in the camera scripts as it is a telecine insert and, whilst there are a few telesnaps, there are nowhere near enough for a fast paced scene such as this. These telesnaps were mixed in with a few composites using screen captures from Futtocks End as backgrounds and telesnaps from elsewhere in the story, which occasionally had to be edited to fit the scene.

 

 

 

Another shot which we had to recreate was of a Dalek passing through a corridor in the middle of the fight scene. We actually found the correct location in Grims Dyke and refilmed this scene, but on reviewing it I felt the location had changed too much and, as the shot was a pan across as the Dalek moved, I considered painting out the modern items would be too tricky so I asked Stuart to produce a CGI version instead, though Dean preferred the filmed version and which one to use was debated until the last minute.

We included a few more scenes filmed in our "cell" of the Dalek dropping Victoria's handkerchief which was specially embroidered with her initials.

 

 

 

The Doctor only appeared in this episode in prefilmed inserts alongside a Dalek in a room with a computer. Though all the paperwork indicates this was filmed in studio, the set is very similar to the library room at Grims Dyke and was presumably based on it. Stuart created some extra CGI shots of the computer for these scenes

 

 

 

Being a mute, Kemel's interaction with other characters was generally limited to hand signals and, in the absence of telesnaps, we had to recreate these. Kemel wore very distinctive gauntlets and I made copies from card and some beads and had photos taken of me making various signals. These were either used as photos or composited into existing shots. I also needed a shot of Kemel writing his name in the dust in the windowsill. For this I made dust from talc and gravy mix and spread it over an old desk and wrote Kemel in it

Another shot we had to recreate was of Toby's body being moved in a blanket. For this I got my daughter to lie on the floor wrapped in a blanket and took photos to composite; I haven't received a visit from Social Services as yet!

 


 

 

One of the shots we were very keen to recreate is the one that starts with the famous telesnap of Pan. This is actually part of the alabaster fireplace in the music room at Grims Dyke and it featured in the Hammer Film "The Curse of the Crimson Altar" as the eponymous altar (bathed in purple light). Referring to the audio, camera scripts and telesnaps it seemed reasonably clear that this sequence was actually a panning shot starting at the fireplace and panning to see a Dalek emerging from a side door then up to the balcony to see Victoria appearing.

This was actually the very first shot we filmed at Grims Dyke as we only had a limited amount of time in the music room. As we were setting up the cameras, we found out that news of the remake of an old Doctor Who episode had appeared in the local press and around 30 people had turned up to see what was going on! Our filming began under the full glare of the general public who were clearly confused that there was no sign of David Tennant and just some old blokes with a battered Dalek and a woman in an odd dress! Though one person did tell Julie he remembered seeing her in The Bill a few weeks previously!! Whilst some of the dads were interested in the project, most of the kids realised watching us push a Dalek around wasn't that interesting and they all left before too long leaving us to it. The manager of Grims Dyke told us more people had come to the hotel to see us than when Manchester United had stayed there!!

We soon realized the original shot must have been done using a dolly as the angles just didn't work with a fixed camera. Unfortunately this hadn't occurred to us beforehand but we mocked up a temporary dolly using an office chair we borrowed. Six takes later we were quite happy - we had a good shot, but when the shots were in the editing suite there were problems with them all which we hadn't realized on the day, including my hand coming into view on a shot, the Dalek eyestalk going the wrong way and, worst of all, far too much wobble.

I spent ages steadying the shots in Steadyhand and After Effects and was reasonably happy with the results, but it was clear the first half of one take was fine and as was the second half of another. My attempt to cut the two shots together would have worked quite well but for the light shifting between the shots and I couldn't get it to look realistic, so I reverted back to the best shot, the problem with which was that Adam, our Dalek operator, had turned the eyestalk the wrong way and waggled it around a bit before correcting it, throwing the timing of the scene out. After lots of work adjusting the positioning and geometry of the picture, I managed to cut this excess movement out and the repair is pretty seamless. This entire scene took me about three weeks to edit and on several occasions I debated using a CGI version instead but Dean was adamant that even if there was too much wobble it would be a shame to waste such a unique opportunity to showcase the location. Eventually I got a shot I was happy with and was very glad I stuck with it!

We also filmed some shots on the balcony of Julie walking through the door, of a rope being thrown over the railing, and from the balcony of a Dalek below, again in line with the telesnaps.

 

 

 

Another shot we were keen to film was of the Dalek bursting into smoke at the fireplace. It was clear that the Dalek didn't actually go into the fireplace but hit it and burst into smoke (It was much easier to destroy a Dalek in those days!). Tony Clark again operated the Dalek for this scene and, after a little practice, managed to swivel the Dalek in an appropriate way as Dean and I pulled him with a rope, though on a couple of occasions we almost had an overbalance! The smoke was added in post production as we didn't think Grims Dyke would appreciate their hotel being filled with smoke, though the close up of the Dalek eyestalk dropping whilst bathed in smoke at the scene ends was actually filmed at Derek Handley's house (whose Dalek we had borrowed). We had several smoke capsules and our first attempts were made in the garden but, even though the wind was very mild, the smoke didn't come out of the grille as we had wanted. We then moved into Derek's kitchen and proceeded to set off smoke capsules inside a Dalek in there. We were just using our last smoke capsule when Derek's wife, Michelle, returned from shopping, and Dean and I froze expecting Derek to receive a telling off for filling her house with smoke. However, Michelle didn't bat an eyelid and carried on as normal. Presumably unpredictable things happen at the Handley house of a weekend!

 

 

 

Next was the scene of Jamie and Kemel climbing up to the balcony. This was extremely poorly represented by the telesnaps and at first I had no idea how to reconstruct this. Sending out to the other guys for ideas, Stuart suggested CGI may work and produced some renders which I mixed in with a composite of Kemel holding a rope and Jamie and Kemel with the rope in front of their faces. However this looked really flat and I wasn't happy with it. I checked through several other productions Fraser Hines and Sonny Caldinez appeared in hoping to find something useable but to no avail, and rather unsurprisingly didn't chance on any shots of a Turkish man in a fez and a Scotsman rope climbing anywhere!

My next attempt was to film hand shots of climbing but these also didn't work out very well. I decided it may be best to use moving CGI rather than stills but by this time Stuart was extremely busy with his Splash Animations project (ironically creating a large Kurdish man) and unavailable, but the work of Iz Skinner had been pointed out to the team and we were extremely impressed with it so I asked her if she could tackle this scene for me. She managed to produce a great render of Jamie and Kemel climbing which when merged in with some composites and Stuart's stills worked really well. This scene was undoubtedly the hardest to make of the entire recon.