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Buck Rogers in the 25th Century as TV movies

dkerin

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Really curious to see how this Hawk edit plays out with incorporating Huer!   With such changes to characters, uniforms, style of season 2, will be nice to try and give it some link back to the 1st season.    I remember watching Time of the Hawk as a kid.  Was so excited for the new season.   Then, much like what happened with Galactica 1980, I remember being confused... trying to figure out what happened.   (especially the first time Twiki spoke!)
 

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lapis molari said:
No one responded to my challenge of fanediting Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, so I made a start myself. :D

When Buck Rogers was released in 1979, there were two versions of the pilot: one theatrical release (who does that anymore, to release the pilot of a TV show in the cinema?) and one TV release. The latter was cut into two parts and extended to fit the TV-series timing. On the bluray release, the TV version has superior visuals because of its 1080p HD master. The audio also sounds cleaner, less muffled than the theatrical version. The theatrical version is merely upscaled from PAL. It has 4% PAL speed-up.

This edit is a workprint. It merges the two versions of Buck Rogers' first adventure into the longest possible version.
Visual cuts are finished. I have done no color correction, so most transitions between the two sources are visible (dark scenes blend nicely, bright ones don't).
Audio cuts have clean dialog, but background sounds have not been smoothed out for all cuts. And the slightly muffled sound from the PAL version has not been manipulated to match the HD master. So transitions between the two sources are audible.
I have no plans at this time to perfect those transitions. Therefore I will not submit this edit to the database. For my personal enjoyment of Buck's first adventure, I don't mind the transitions. It's enjoyable to watch for true fans, but not ready for any casual viewer.

So, this post is intended for fans of Gil Gerard's interpretation of Buck Rogers. If you've imagined in your mind how the two versions would merge into one longer story, PM me. If you have only a casual interest in the disco-1980s version of Buck Rogers, and you're still reading this post, PM me too. If enough people are interested, I'll complete this workprint into a finished edit at a later point.
If you're not sure, watch the clip below. If your first reaction is "Oh, yeah!", join the party. If it's "WTF?", then these shiny tight pants are not for you. Password: fanedit.org

Original runtime: 97 minutes (TV version), 85 minutes (theatrical version)
Edited runtime: 102 minutes

Video: 1080p (1440x1080 MKV, uncompressed from the blu-ray)
Audio: AC3 2.0 (448kbps, converted from the LPCM two-channel mono)
Filesize: 13.5GB
Subtitles: Yes, English (not hard-coded).

The theatrical version contains 5 minutes of material not used in the TV version:
+ The different Conrad opening narration.
+ The “sexy” opening credits.
+ Buck has a longer talk with Wilma before going to the irradiated old city.
+ Buck calls Wilma “ballsy”.
+ When Wilma comes after Buck in old Chicago,  she has her soldier stun Buck. She says “Captain, you got away once, but not this time. Lieutenant?” and he shoots Buck. The words “time. Lieutenant?” and the moment the soldier points the gun and pulls the trigger, are included in this theatrical version but (erroneously) cut in the TV version.
+ Kane talks with Huer at the dance party.
+ Wilma kisses Buck [different version].
+ Twiki says that he’s "freezing his ball-bearings off".
+ Buck comments that the Draconian uniforms aren't Gucci.
+ Buck kicks Tiger-Man in the balls near the end of the film. The TV version cut the actual kick: it shows Tiger-Man facing off with Buck then suddenly howling in pain.
+ Kane’s communication with Emperor Draco. The scene was cut from the TV version, Draco was not seen at all in the series.
+ Wilma gushes to Buck after the final battle.

The TV version contains 15 minutes not used in the theatrical version:
- The interior of Buck's apartment.
- Buck has two talks with Theo about what happened in the past 500 years. After the second one, he goes to sleep.
- The first part of Buck's walk into the irradiated area of old Chicago.
- Dr Huer pleads with the computer council to stay Buck's verdict.
- Princess Ardala and Kane are seen scheming a bit more.
- Wilma kisses Buck [different version]. The two versions have been merged, losing one line of text.
- After the final battle, Princess Ardala and Kane are seen bickering a bit more.
- Buck makes his apartment "homey".
- The films ends with Dr Huer offering Buck a job.

The bluray lacks subtitles, those were edited from the old DVDs.
I'm interested in all 3 versions,are there available to download.
Original runtime: 97 minutes (TV version), 85 minutes (theatrical version)
Edited runtime: 102 minutes
 

lapis molari

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kato786 said:
I'm interested in all 3 versions,are there available to download.

@"kato786", Welcome to our band of Buck fans! The more the merrier.

Please read the rules. We don't ask for downloads in the forums, but you can always PM an editor directly (in this case me). As for the Theatrical and TV versions, you of course watch those from your own blu-ray set. :)
 

dkerin

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FYI... following comments not meant toward your edits (which I love), but toward the series in general, and I know much of what I am criticizing is due to number of FX on a weekly tv time crunch and budget. 

Anyhoo... Watching Buck, one thing that would be a challenge in an edit, would be to try and bring continuity to their FX shots.   Not sure if completely possible, as you would have to basically build a catalog of all the FX.   But in Planet of the Slave Girls for example, the shuttle launches taking Wilma and Ryma (sp?).   Starts with Draconian launch tube lighting sequence... then shows the shuttle (the Draconian shuttle model) launching in a completely different launch tube... and then in the shot of it flying over the desert, it is the Galactica shuttle!     And that Draconian shuttle was reused in so many scenes that did not involve the Draconians.   Maybe all shuttles across the Buck galaxy come from Lightspeed Larry's Shuttle Emporium!  

Then with the Starfighters.   Cool that they added the 4 seat version, which added in flexibility for shooting with multiple people in the fighter.   But they were all over with the miniatures.   And in Return of the Fighting 69th where they explain the old out of date sled bombers, they are then reused again over and over as an everyday kinda ship.    

With all this though, I love the work the FX crew did on that show, and frankly did a ton of beautiful work!   And you did a good bit of that by taking the Draconian Marauders out of POTSG.   And thus ends my random thoughts on Buck FX.

I still need to get on and give reviews for your other edits.   But it seems if I reset my password in the forums, it stops me from being able to review in IFDB.    So I reset in IFDB and I can review, but then it knocks my password out in forums.   Not sure why I have this continuing problem... but since I have to reset to post reviews on IFDB, want to get a list of reviews I need to do so I can write them all in one sitting.      

Okay... back to work for me!   And how's Time of the Hawk going?     I'm slowly moving through my BSG, Gun on Ice Planet Zero.
 

lapis molari

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dkerin said:
[...] in Planet of the Slave Girls for example, the shuttle launches taking Wilma and Ryma

Then with the Starfighters.

And you did a good bit of that by taking the Draconian Marauders out of POTSG.   And thus ends my random thoughts on Buck FX.

But it seems if I reset my password in the forums, it stops me from being able to review in IFDB.    So I reset in IFDB and I can review, but then it knocks my password out in forums.   Not sure why I have this continuing problem...

And how's Time of the Hawk going?

Aargh! Thanks for pointing out I missed a spaceship inconsistency.

But seriously: thanks. I'll see if it can be improved. I quickly checked my notes and there is no footage of Ardala's shuttle flying over desert. So I can't replace the Colonial Shuttle shot. And the only launch of a Colonial Shuttle in the Buck Rogers series is when it launches from the Searcher shuttle bay (a very zoomed-out shot). So I can't replace the two shots of Ardala's Launch either. I'll have to go through the Battlestar episodes to see if there is a shuttle launch there that is an improvement. The second shot of the Ardala Launch has New Chicago recognizable in the background, so I'll certainly try to improve that!

I know the Starfighter continuity problem: the effects workshop only had 3 models: 2 regular Starfighters and 1 4-seater. All shots with 3 starfighters include that 4-seater, regardless of whether it's correct. The only way to solve this is to layer footage of a regular starfighter over the 4-seater. I used layers to add / remove some ships in PotSG, but it's much more time-consuming than simply replacing a shot of a wrong ship with an identical length shot of a correct ship. And the starfighter inconsistency is easy to not notice because the only difference between the two models is the canopy. So I decided to leave that alone and save myself a ton of time.

Thanks for appreciating the ship correction in the space battle! I extracted every clip of Scorpion fighters and starfighters across all episodes, then puzzled around until I was satisfied with the sequence and duration of shots. I mostly kept to the original timing to retain the music (I added a repeat in the music in a few places).
One of the episodes I'm putting in the upcoming "Bonus Disc" is Space Vampire, which also has a wrong spaceship shot. I replaced that with a shot of the Ardala Launch from another episode (flipped and color corrected to fit the colors and direction of travel).

Time of the Hawk is costing the most time of any Buck edit. I'm afraid that I won't make a July release, pushing it into August instead. But no worries: progress is being made.

Sorry to hear your login keeps acting up. I know the tech-savvy Admins looked at it and didn't see anything unusual. Before you next reset the password, check to delete both IFDB and the Forum from your browser's "auto save password" list. Otherwise it may try to login with the old password.
 

dkerin

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I wouldn't worry about changing the shuttle shots at all... and definitely did not intend my comments on the FX continuity toward your edits, just more a factor of Buck itself.   Even as a kid there were a number of shots that made me say, "Wait a minute... that's not right!"  :)   In a way it holds an odd kind of charm for me.     Another thing I enjoy from watching these shows way back to when I was a kid, was finding all the ship/props/sets crossover between Battlestar and Buck.   Galactica shuttle being one already mentioned.    Gemini Freighter crashing into the space station in Space Vampire.    Buck's shuttle being the "pumpkin" shuttle in Greetings from Earth.    

Also, can do the same game with the various Irwin Allen shows.   :)
 

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Another random Buck thought.   In Flight of the War Witch, the model of Zarina's battle cruiser is actually upside down from what it was initially intended to be.   In part to (from reading articles/interviews with FX team) time constraints on the FX intensive ep, and part of the rounded section on the model broke, so they couldn't shoot from certain angles.     In the episode, when on Pendar, they reference schematic of the ship, and in the chart the ship design is rotated the way it was supposed to be. 

So, wonder what it would look like if the battle cruiser's fx scenes were actually flipped upside down to match the outline they are viewing, and the original intent.   Though the end shot has Buck's fighter flying away from it, so that would be tricky, or Buck would be flying upside down.

Just some random Buck musings... not meaning for you to dive back into the edit!  :)     And actually, I think the ship looks better the way they have it in the episode.
 

lapis molari

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dkerin said:
And actually, I think the ship looks better the way they have it in the episode.

I also like it better this way up. Perhaps I can flip the schematic to achieve consistency? I just scanned through the episode (twice), but I'm not seeing it. Can you tell me the exact time that it's on screen?

Then again, in space there is no up or down. So the schematic isn't wrong.
 

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Here you go.    Schematic from the Pendar scenes.   In the lower right you see a full side view of what the profile was intended to be.   But from the time of shooting live action, to creating/editing in the FX, was flipped.    On IMDB page for the ep also references it being flipped as it was unfinished.    But have also seen pics of the broken part of the fiberglass dome sections at the back.   

Also included a flipped pic of the miniature, which now that I see if flipped, also looks cool to me.
mO0WkAP.jpg
 

lapis molari

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@dkerin, I could flip the small schematic, but then the large overlay becomes inconsistent with it. So I'll leave that untouched.

I always thought the intended orientation of the Zaad Cruiser made it look like a Star Destroyer knock-off. Not the Liberator / Firefly style engine of course, but the front half. Flipped, the ship looks like no other spaceship I've ever seen. Suitable for an out-of-this-dimension adventure!
 

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I've been stuck on fitting Wilma's 'private' adventure in my Time of the Hawk edit. I tried to run 3 storylines after the opening credits: Buck (until he finds Hawk), Hawk (until he meets Buck), and Wilma (escorting her Spaceberg). That made Wilma look better and more competent, but it made the overall story less focused and detracted from us getting invested in Hawk's character.
Solution: Wilma still does the Spaceberg but no longer to look smart and brave, now simply to show that she's not with Buck when he leaves Earth to join the Searcher. This allows the Spaceberg story to wrap up before the opening credits, which solves the problem.
This way Wilma is simply absent from the opening credits until Searcher loses touch with Buck. Then Wilma flies out from Earth to join in the search for him.

As a distraction, to get my brain unstuck from trying it one way when I needed a different way, I made another spoof Buck opening credit. This time using the theme from Galaxy Quest. Pw: fanedit.org

 

lapis molari

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@"dkerin", thanks for your reviews!

I know which Buck / Huer scene you mean: it comes from the up-rezzed TV version of War Witch, not the properly high-def Theatrical version. I just checked the volume and admit this one slipped past me. It's not so much the volume as the acoustics. It sounds like this scene was recorded on an LP. Either that, or someone was sweeping the floor off-camera with a stiff broom! I'll clean that up as best I can this month.

You didn't call out Buck's date, I take that as a compliment! I hope it means the storyline works well enough that a casual viewer doesn't realize this narrative never existed in an original Buck episode.
 

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lapis molari said:
@"dkerin", thanks for your reviews!

I know which Buck / Huer scene you mean: it comes from the up-rezzed TV version of War Witch, not the properly high-def Theatrical version. I just checked the volume and admit this one slipped past me. It's not so much the volume as the acoustics. It sounds like this scene was recorded on an LP. Either that, or someone was sweeping the floor off-camera with a stiff broom! I'll clean that up as best I can this month.

You didn't call out Buck's date, I take that as a compliment! I hope it means the storyline works well enough that a casual viewer doesn't realize this narrative never existed in an original Buck episode.

Yeah I didn't mind the date at all!   Is it necessary to the overall story, no... but it helps fill out Buck being more than just happy go lucky Burt Reynolds in space.   And made me appreciate some of the nice moments like that in some episodes that just slip by in lieu of fun Buck space adventure.   (and nothing wrong with fun Buck space adventure either! :) )
 

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Hey Lapis!  Now that you are moving into Season Two territory, I was curious if you are aware of or read....

https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-C-Gas...PXQxxlLKGSh3tGKsABEofAVqPmj0D9fdLiefB3q39rdcU

It is a planned BUCK ROGERS trilogy by author Andrew Gaska, that would bridge the gap between season one and two.  Book one, LO, THE RINGS OF SATURN, has been available for a long while and according to Gaska's FB, books two and three are still forthcoming.   While I have not read this particular book myself, Gaska has written similar "connect the dots" stories for the Planet of the Apes franchise, all of which have been highly enjoyable.
 

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bionicbob said:
a planned BUCK ROGERS trilogy by author Andrew Gaska

Yes, I've seen this. Parts 2 and 3 are taking a long time. If his release is dependent on the outcome of the litigation over the rights to Buck Rogers, it may never be completed (that lawsuit between the heirs of author Nowlan and publisher Dille is dragging on for years already).

I've not read Part 1, so I don't know if my transition from Earth to the Searcher matches Mr Gaska's.
 

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A short update on my Buck Rogers set:

Work on the Bonus disc continues nicely. I now have 7 episodes in various stages of completion.
- The primary work is replacing Twiki's voice in those Season 2 episodes.
- Second is fixing continuity errors (mostly of wrong spaceships in isolated shots, also one of Twiki holding a tray with goodies, giving them to Buck, then briefly they're all back on the tray. Ugh. Is it so hard to check for continuity when you make a show?).
- Third is small continuity improvements/additions. E.g. when you watch the complete series, I recommend skipping the clipshow episode 'A Blast for Buck'. But that does have a short second appearance of President Hieronymus (Gary Coleman), which is nice continuity from the earlier episode with him (Cosmic Whiz Kid). So I've taken that appearance and inserted it in the corresponding place in 'Buck's Duel to the Death' (replacing a really lame joke between Buck and Twiki).

Work on Journey to Oasis is almost complete. I only have to smooth the audio transitions in the 1-minute video-call between Doctor Huer (on Earth) and Buck & Wilma (on the Searcher). It took a while to puzzle the words together, but I got there in the end.

Work on Time of The Hawk continues to be the frustrating one. Building new scenes by combining dialog, video, and music from across episodes is a drag. And I refuse to rush this: I want my ode to Buck Rogers to be the best I can make it, not the fastest I can make it.

That's all for now. Back to searching all of Doctor Theopolis' lines in the series to construct "The spaceberg has successfully entered our solar system" / "The spaceberg is through the stargate and on course for Earth" or something similar.
 

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Cool to read your latest update.   Bridging the gap between season 1 and 2 is definitely a challenge, excited to see what you come up with for those.   Journey to Oasis is such a stand alone kind of story, can see where that will be easier.   But Time of the Hawk is like a pilot movie setting up the whole new series.   Just on the surface seems like a daunting challenge, and I am sure as you get deeper in more challenges appear.   Keep up the hard work... edits so far have been such a fun return to the 25th Century.
 

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Musical update! Buck Rogers Songs for the Movie and TV Series now has an expanded release:

Buck%20Rogers%20-%20Songs%20for%20the%20Movie%20and%20TV%20Series%20-%20tracks.jpg


Enjoy the updated playlist on Spotify. :cool:

Expanding the range from 1975-1979 to 1973-1980 has allowed me to include Three Dog Night's Shambala (which Buck refers to as "my music" when it plays in Cosmic Whiz Kid) and Kool and the Gang's Celebration. I've added the latter to the final episode in my viewing order, Testimony of a Traitor (which aired in April 1981, the song was released in September 1980). I've also added songs for Twiki and Tina, Jennifer in the 20th century, and a replacement for the first movie's closing music.

To paraphrase Sheridan and G'Kar in Babylon 5 when G'Kar has re-written the Declaration of Articles:
"Everyone who wants this playlist already has it. Do you know how much work it will be to get others to download this list and replace the first one?"
"Yes, but this is better."
"... It IS better."

Enjoy, give it a spin!

P.S. @"bionicbob" , I'm never getting disco Buck out of my head. And you share in the blame! :D
 

bionicbob

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LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :D

And THANKS TO YOU and the pure love you have put into this project, and HOW FANTASTIC YOUR EDITS LOOK, I decided to upgrade my BR set, and pre-ordered the Kino Lorber BUCK ROGERS BLU RAY COLLECTION.
 

lapis molari

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bionicbob said:
[decided to upgrade my BR set, and pre-ordered the Kino Lorber BUCK ROGERS BLU RAY COLLECTION.

Nice! From the description on their website, it seems this will have a noticeable improvement of the first adventure's theatrical release, and several new extras (I have the Buck Companion book and it's pretty well done, so that author's commentaries will probably be decent). I don't see any mention about the other episodes nor about the audio, so I assume those will use the same source as the Madman blu-rays.

It's too bad we won't get a stereo upgrade. Now that's an upgrade I would immediately double-dip for. Studios do a decent job upgrading stereo releases to surround, I'd have loved to hear Buck upgraded from dual-mono to actual stereo. Intrada's stereo soundtrack mentions in the liner notes that they sourced the music from the original 3-track recordings, so at least for the music we know that true stereo is possible.
 
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