Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekend Videos – Theme Mash-ups

(Just so you know, I think I might be coming down with something, so if this whole business is a bit more disjointed than usual you'll understand.)

You may have noticed that there are a lot of artistically brilliant people who use computers. (I'm not one of them.) As often as not these people want to show off what they make. The make music and post it online, shoot their own videos and post them online, and edit existing video and put it with a different soundtrack. The result of mixing different video clips and matching them with music or dialog that you don't normally associate with those images are known as mash-ups. In their own way these mash-ups are as much of an artistic creation as the original creations.

I first discovered this business of mashups when I was doing last week's piece on Friday night in 1984-85. There was a particular theme that had a lot of mashups done using it. You won't be seeing those this week. I will be running those next week, so just so you know, you had better have a high tolerance for the Dallas theme.

The first mashup I want to include here uses the theme from Magnum P.I. in combination with footage from various Star Wars movies to create Han Solo P.I.

The interesting thing about this combination – besides the fact that Tom Selleck almost had another Harrison Ford role, Indiana Jones in Raiders Of The Lost Ark – is that the people who made this mashup also provided a second video which showed the original title sequence from Magnum P.I. side by side with what they made so that you can compare them shot by shot (you might want to view this clip full screen to catch all of the details).

Science Fiction shows seem to attract a lot of mashups, perhaps because the fans are extremely fanatical and maybe quite creative. This mashup takes the theme from the TV version of The A Team (aka the good version) and mixes it up with scenes from the original series of Star Trek. It's not bad, but I think that someone is missing a bet by not doing a mashup using either The Next Generation or Voyager as a base to draw from... and using Reg Barclay as Murdoch! If I ever make a mashup (and I might once I really get used to video editing and effects) that's an idea I could wrap my head around – Picard as Hannibal, Data as Face, Barclay as Murdoch, Worf as B.A. and maybe Ro Laren as Melinda Culea's old role of Amy Allen (I liked both characters and it's going to be my mashup).

There are a couple of Love Boat parodies, but I like this one with the crew from The Next Generation, which always seemed to me to be more of a soap opera than the other versions. The only thing this one missed was Wesley Crusher as Vicki.

Some mashups work better than others. Sometimes it's because the timing is off but other times it is because the theme music is just too tied with visuals that can't really be replicated from existing footage. Take this version of the Hawaii Five-0 theme mixed with scenes from Star Trek: First Contact. The pace is right, the cuts are just about perfect, but the result is ... lacking.

On the other hand, this credit sequence for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine using the modern Battlestar Galactica theme is rather good.

Shows with cult followings are ripe with opportunities for mashups, particularly if there's plenty of footage available. There's a version of the Dark Shadows credits mixed with the music of Falcon Crest. (Unfortunately embedding is disabled for this one.) The big negative on this one is that the split screens aren't as complex as they would be on the original Falcon Crest. Also the creator seems to have extended the theme beyond its original length. Compare that with this version using scenes from Torchwood.

Doctor Who parodies are almost a growing industry. I just keep running into more and more of them (Doctor Who (British) Office style, Doctor Who Buffy style, Doctor Who Angel style, Doctor Who Charlies Angels style, Doctor Who Friends style, and the list goes on and on and on, often with several versions of each mashup) but I was rather intrigued with this creative effort using the A-Team music but not the voiceover. Introducing The U Team!

Finally, because I love both shows and because I love the theme from Firefly, and because I haven't really given you much of a sense of the vast variety of the Doctor Who material that's out there, Doctor Who Firefly style.

Next week, what got it all started for me – Dallas style credits.

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