The Catacombs Production Guide
Observations: The Beta Cloud

The Beta Cloud

On the right of the picture, by Tony's desk, electrical cables are visible.

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One of the Command Center operatives in the episode hook appears as a nurse in Medical Center immediately after the episode titles, changing sleeve from red to white. The same operative also appears in Space Warp. Another Command Center operative also appears tending the sick, but she didn't change her uniform. Thanks to Craig Rohloff.

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One of the unusual camera angles, as Tony and Fraser take the travel tube to the launch pad. As the door fully closes, notice the light seen through the edge of the door.

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When they enter Eagle 6, the obvious place to look for the pilot would be the command module. Instead, Tony and Fraser wander to the back of the passenger module while the guard waits in the middle.

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The guard fires his stun gun at the Creature, which has no effect. It then attacks the guard. We then see Tony and Fraser raise their stun guns, which they now know are ineffective.
Tony goes to help the guard, but is thrown off. The Creature strangles the guard for a while, then drops his body. What is Fraser doing? He doesn't help the guard or Tony. Thanks to Fergus.

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The travel tube door closes, trapping the Creature's hair. On the left door, by the frame, there is some tape with black bars. Thanks to Richard Totis.

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Tony talks to the Cloud in Command Center. Why don't they ask about the missing pilot, Tom Graham? Contrast the Alphans concern for Fraser and Torens in The Metamorph. Thanks to Fergus.

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When the rocket guns fire, both the guards blink- as does Tony when he fires later in the episode.

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After the second guard fires, the explosion occurs behind the Creature, inside the Travel Unit. Despite the large creature standing in front of the door, the missile has missed him.

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When security guard Joe Dunne is thrown, his belt falls off.

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"We've got to do something to save them" says Fraser, watching the guards being attacked. "We're going to do something." says Tony. The poor guards are then ignored, injured or dead, for rest of the episode.
Tony walks to the computer panel to order the doors closed. Voice recognition normally works through commlocks and presumably could also be used from his desk; this is the only episode where computer panels and door locks react to voice commands. Thanks to Fergus.

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Tony is in Techlab 5 talking to Alan in Medical. We cut to the creature forcing open the doors of Command Center- for the second time. It's a different take, but still clearly Command Center (part of the sign is visible).

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In Techlab 5, we hear a noise and we see Tony's POV shot of the door. It sounds like the Creature is close by. We then cut to a normal Alpha corridor, with standard lighting, as the Creature walks along. The editing is suggesting the Creature is just around the corner, but we are just building the tension before an advert break, and the jarring lighting change doesn't help. Thanks to Simon.

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When Tony throws the fire extinguisher at the creature, the creature makes it's only verbal sound - something like "guh". The door sound is post production, so this is probably not Dave Prowse on-set.
The thrown extinguisher is one of the few things that slows the Creature down, unlike rockets and lasers.
Notice the air gauge is already less than 3/4 full.

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The chairs in the corridor have moved between these two shots.

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Why doesn't the vacuum chamber have cameras inside? If they want to test vacuum conditions, a camera would be helpful. Thanks to Fergus.

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On the wall behind Tony is one of the spacesuit backpacks used in Brian The Brain. The spacesuits on the bench are intended to suggest that this room is used for testing spacesuits, so it's not out of place. Thanks to James Poll.

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When Helena falls ill, she drops her commlock with a heavy wooden thud. Alan and Sandra help her to the bed. We see a couple of reaction shots of Maya, looking concerned but not moving to help. Catherine Schell was filmed separately because she wasn't available on the day of shooting.

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The communications post in Medical shows the view in Techlab 5. Oddly this is a "burn-in", with the film of the Techlab action superimposed over a background image of the post with the TV screen matted out. This is the same technique used for the Command Center Big Screen, and the Eagle forward screens. It is rarely used with communications post, which are almost always "live" - a TV camera is filming the actor on the side of the set, and the TV screen shows the live image. Later the communications post screens will show still shots of Command Center and corridors. These are still photographs being filmed by the TV camera, connected to the communications post. This shot is the only time in both series that the communications post screen is in colour (or sepia), apart from Red Alert signs.

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Maya transforms into the mouse. Somehow the mouse materializes on top of the temperature gauge, not on the floor where she stood. Thanks to Thomas.

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When Maya tries to change into the Creature, we see the image of it in the Eagle. But Maya wasn't there. When she tries to transform, she looks at the camera, a very artificial moment. Thanks to Thomas.

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Tony aims the carbon dioxide at the Creature and Maya. While the Creature is forced back, Maya is able to move through the jet of gas in front of the Creature and escapes to the other side of the corridor. Thanks to Simon.

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As Tony abandons the carbon dioxide hose, he knocks off one of the two white boxes below the hose. In subsequent shots it is back in place.

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When the Creature is thrown back by the carbon dioxide, as his legs fly up pink ankles can be seen.

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In the wide shot, Koenig's head is higher and more central against the computer panels than in the close shot.

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When Tony and Maya enter Medical Center, the corridor is empty. When they leave with the ionethermyecin, someone has left a gurney outside.

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Tony calls the Creature, which attacks the communications post. Notice the small mark on the right of the screen. Almost every communications post is actually the same screen, even the post in Medical when Sandra and Alan call Tony. The Copal clocks are all set to the same numbers, 14:02 and 19:01. The other communications post used extensively in this episode reads 14:78 and 19:30. Thanks to Simon, Fergus.

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From Weapons Center, Maya heads off to Hydroponics, while Tony continues calling the Creature. Shortly after she arrives at Hydroponics, and has to ask Tony to open the door. After talking to Alan, Tony sets off to join her. We see him head to the Travel Tube, where he has to open doors again. How did Maya get to Hydroponics without going through doors? The on-screen time for Maya to arrive is much faster than the time for Tony to arrive. Thanks to Fergus.

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In most of the episode, Sandra's ID badge reads "SAHN". When she and Alan talk to Tony outside Hydroponics, her ID badge reads "S BENES", with a different picture.

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Earlier in the episode, Tony tells Fraser to "get to Life Support, set up a defence.". Now Alan has the idea to set up a "heavy duty electrical barrier ". So what was the defence that Fraser had been setting up? Thanks to Fergus.
Fraser uses his commlock. Note the picture on the side of his commlock is actually stuntman Nick Hobbs, Clive Kander in Bringers Of Wonder part 1.

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All doors are locked, and can only be opened by Tony's voice command. But Fraser has no problem opening the door to the electrical unit. And how does he get a rocket gun later in the episode? Thanks to Thomas, Fergus.

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During his journey from Weapons Center to Hydroponics, Tony would have been unable to monitor where the Creature was. He may have directed it towards the correct section, but during the interval it could have wandered off in another direction. Yet after he arrives and talks to Maya, he knows the Creature is just around the corner and calls to it (we see it still inspecting a communications post). Thanks to Fergus.

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Tony uses his commlock with the screen "upside down" (not unusual in the series). Shortly after, we see Fraser pointing his commlock to show the electrical barrier, turning it so it would be the correct way up. Presumably the commlock can automatically change camera orientation (like the accelerometer does in a smartphone), but Fraser instinctively corrects how he holds it. Thanks to Richard Totis.

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Tony and Maya enter the Weapons Center and they start calling the Creature on communications posts. Later the Creature enters the Weapons Center. Someone has installed a coffee machine in the corridor between the two sequences.

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The Creature is in the Weapons Center as Tony and Maya arrive. They have just come from Command Center, but they come out of the corridor to Medical Center. The sign pointing to Medical Center on the corner has disappeared. Thanks to Fergus.
As Tony and Maya move to hide behind the communications post, reflections are visible on the lower part of the communications panel. Against the reflection of a yellow light panel we can see something, presumably the camera, and on the right a person standing, his hand clearly visible.

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We see the Weapons Section in two sequences, when Tony and Maya set off the Red Alert. Later the Creature enters and has a look around, then Tony and Maya enter again and when they fire the lasers. Between when the Creature looks round, and Tony and Maya enter, someone has moved things around.

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The Creature can reach past the wires to remove the jump lead crocodile clips, which are obvious and easily accessible. Thanks to Simon.

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The Creature helpfully waits while Tony tells Maya he loves her.

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Now the Creature has the life support core, what's the plan? Without power, the travel tubes are shut down, so it will have to force its way through a lot more doors getting back to the Eagle. If Tony had been smart, he would have all Eagles without fuel or in underground hangars, so leaving the base would be impossible. Thanks to Fergus.

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When the power dies, the temperature drops 5 degrees centigrade immediately. In the long view, alongside Sandra, it drops from a chilly 10 to 5. In the close-up it drops from a warm 20 to 15. The caption reads "Medical Temperature Control Unit" in long shot; in close-up it is "Temperature Centigrade". The wall lights, medical monitors and computer lights remain on.

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Meanwhile, in the Life Support Section, the temperature remains at 15, according to the gauge.

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When Tony is thrown over a desk, the chair has changed from orange to grey, and the oscilloscope (which the Creature later picks up) has disappeared. The papers still look remarkably tidy in the later shots, although the Kartell desk container has disappeared.

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Inside the head of the Creature, notice the diamond logo of Renault S.A., the French car company (this is the chevron version created by Victor Vasarely, used from 1972 - 1992).

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This shot shows a spelling mistake- the computer panel is labelled "Auxilary" instead of "Auxiliary".

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The chocolates are Macintosh "Weekend" assortments, a popular UK brand from the 1960s until the 1980s. The box includes chocolates, nougat and candied fruits. Chocolates will last at most a year, and good quality pralines will last just a few weeks. At first they acquire a white "chocolate bloom", as fat and sugar separates and crystallises on the surface. Eventually the fats go rancid. In the 4 years since Breakaway, the Weekend chocolates would be inedible. It is possible the Alphans are making their own chocolate, and recycling old chocolate boxes. If they have cacao beans the process is complicated, with lots of specialised equipment. Even more complicated is how to obtain milk for pralines and milk chocolate on a moonbase.

The Beta Cloud publicity- more observations


Space 1999 copyright ITV Studios Global Entertainment