The Catacombs The Production Guide
by Simon Rhodes


Sound was recorded on the studio set onto tapes which were then sent to the editor. These tapes would be reused or thrown out after use. Fortunately, some of the Space 1999 tapes have survived, although they after 40 years they are fragile and degraded. Transcripts of the surviving tapes for Breakaway can be read in the Catacombs

This is a tape from Space Warp. In these action sequences, the studio sound may not be used in the actual edit, because there is a lot of extra noise, including noisy cameras and, as described below, the director talking through the action! But the sound is recorded as it helps the editors prior to post production sound effects, and the actors when they loop their dialogue. Here Barbara Bain would have listened to her original dialogue in the dubbing studio and could match her own speed and tone so the final sound would synchronize perfectly.

Space Warp

Space Warp sound rushes

Space Warp Roll # 345 10 August 1976. This tape looks as if it was recorded over some of "End of Eternity" as under the exiting label is another with that episode title, roll #536, dated 17 October 1974.

This roll consists of two sequences. The first is the Maya creature in Eagle 4.

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Sc46 has only one take. We hear voices asking "Got lock have we?" "No, don't need lock" (referring to rolling on the monitors). Ken Baker was assistant director on this episode so some of this chat could be him. We then have director Peter Medak, with his Hungarian accent, call "Action!" What I think happens here is the creature drags itself into the Eagle cockpit and drops loudly into the pilot seat. Medak calls "Lean" and the creature leans towards the pilot console. "Press!”, and it pushes the button that, in the following effects shot, retracts the boarding tube. Medak "Cut....!"

Sc 47 again only one take. Medak calls "Action......Jolt !". We hear a bang/crash. Medak "Cut...!" I believe we are going in sequence and so this is the shot where Eagle 4 has been lowered into the hangar and the "Jolt" is where it hits bottom and the creature is seen to lurch forward into the console.

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Sc48 goes to two takes. This is where the creature realizes it is in the hangar and can't get away. This is take one : Medak: "Right action.....(the rest in a whispering/ low, urgent voice) You're trapped.... more.. more.. more... hands.. shake.. shake.. now slowly turn....and fall ( crashing noise)....and cut!". Take two makes it more obvious as to what's happening.

Take two : Medak: "Action....(The rest in a low urgent voice) hands, shake it and slowly turn.....see those throttles.......and pull ( think that's what he says, it makes sense)...and fall (crashing sound)....ok, print that one." Realizing it is trapped, the creature brings its hands up in front of its face, they shake with anger/frustration (?). It turns to its right in the seat, reaches for the throttle levers, pulls them and falls hard to its right (the crashing noise) as the Eagle lifts off in the hangar.

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Sc 49 There are two takes but I have no idea what is going on, I'm assuming it's still in the Eagle as Sc 50 is. Take one : "OK, give us lock!" Ken Baker (?) Medak: "Action...!" (We hear a crash or fall?) Medak: ".....Nothing happened....were they flashing...?" Another voice: "I think it was to soon as well". Medak: "Cut it......what was too soon...?" Voice ; "The lights coming on".

Take two : Medak: "Action...! ( crash or a fall to the ground?).....Lights...... nothing's flashing......what about the one on the right...? Cut it .....(Laughing) Cut the bugger...!"

Sc50 goes to three takes. This is the bit just after the creature has hit the thrusters, we cut away from the cabin, on return the door between the beak and pod slides shut and the creature lurches further to it's right as the ship rears up. There is the whine, probably from the camera. For dialogue scenes, cameras have special soundproofing (a "blimped" camera). For action scenes, the bulky soundproofing is unnecessary; the camera noise won't be heard on the soundtrack. The camera needs to follow fast-moving action, and an "unblimped" camera is easy and fast to move.

Take one fails for some reason. Medak: "Action.... doors....pan.....oh, no....cut it..!" I don't know why there was a pan here as the actual shot used appears just to be a low, wide angle shot from the side of the left pilot seat with out of focus panel lights in foreground for interest, no movement of the camera.

Take two. This is a false start. Ken Baker(?) : "We need lock.......cut it start again..."

Take three. Medak: "Action...doors(door slides open)....pan....cut, ok..yes."

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Sc51. Again we have high speed camera noise(?). This sequence runs to one take and is inside the Eagle cockpit as it bucks and rolls in the hangar, Medak's instructions to the actor are in relation to how he falls about in the seat to match the rolling action of Eagle 4. The finished shots have spin imparted to them.

Take 1. Medak: "Standby...action...(whoosh of pyro going off)....Jerry(?).....(second pyro)......cut, very good...!"

Sc 52 has one take also and must be another version of the previous scene.

Take 1. Medak: "Standby....action(pyro ignites)...fall Jerry (crashing sound)....second one go...fall right, the other side...fall back again Jerry.....and cut...!"

We now move into Medical Center but with the same creature.

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Sc53. This sequence is just after Maya, strapped down in bed, has transformed into this first creature. It has the sound of high a speed camera but in the finished episode everything seems to run at regular speed, so again could there possibly have been two cameras running at different speeds to give an option later on in editing? There are four takes and as there is dialogue it would require post synching due to the camera noise.

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Take one : Crew voice(?) "Put it on Brian". Medak: "Standby....right, action...slowly...sit up.....get up(?)....good, sorry...cut..." Roughly, the creature sits up in bed, losing the restraints and gets off the bed.

Take two : Medak: "Action....sit up...over(?)..over(?)...door..." (sound of door opening and then closing as Dr. Helena enters) The creature makes the same low groaning sound as in the final episode.

Helena: "Maya...Maya.. please Maya......ohhhh ( it grabs her, she screams). The camera noise gets louder at the end of the scene as if either the action is moving closer to the camera or the camera is tracking in closer to the action. This time the take has run further in, the creature sits up, casts off the straps, stands up and turns towards the door, door opens, Dr. Helena comes in, door shuts and the creature moves in for the attack....

Take three : Medak: "Action.....Keep going round, keep going round...door..!" (door opens and closes for Helena). The creature begins its low groans. Helena: "Maya...Maya....Maya....!"

Take four : Medak: "Action.. go on turn...door..!" ( door operates). Creature groans. Helena: " Maya.....Maya.....Maya please....! ( She screams loudly). Medak: "Very good, print that one..."

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Sc55 goes to two takes and there is no evidence of the high speed camera. I don't know the exact difference between 53 and 55 (what happened to 54..???) except there is direction for a pan. In the finished episode the creature gets up off the bed, as it turns towards the door the camera pans with it as Dr. Russell enters, maybe this is that shot?

Take one : Crew voice: "OK Brian". Medak: "Standby... start panning.... action on the door...!" (opens/closes) Helena (close up?) : "Maya...Maya...please revert... Ohhhh!" There's a bit of a struggle and an amusing gurgling, strangled cry from Barbara Bain followed by a loud scream. Helena: "Ohh....Maya...please.....!" Medak: "and cut... just a bit too soon".

Take two : Medak: "Right standby... start panning... action Barbara." (Doors) Helena: "Maya...Maya...Maya please revert (gasping from Helena).....(scream and a struggle)... Maya please...please...Ohhhhh!!!!". Medak: "Very good."

Sc56. There is one take of this and the high speed camera has returned. It just seems to be a close up of Helena(?). Medak: "Action...!" Helena: (Loud scream) Ohhhhhh....ohhh...Maya please...!!". Medak: "And cut".

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Sc 57 goes to two takes with no camera noise and seems to be just a shot of the Maya creature.

Take one. Medak: "Right action...!" The creature groans/breathes and walks/shuffles. Medak: "Breath...!" Creature breathes/groans. Medak: "And cut. Let's do just one more." A joker in the crew pipes up : "It was the wrong dialogue, wasn't it...!" ( Laughter).

Take two : Medak: "Right, lots of breathing...and action..!" The creature breathes and shambles along. Medak: "Hands". More breathing and the monster ends up using the breathing noises to create a little 'pom tiddly om pom pom pom' tune. The crew laughs.

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Scene 58. There are two takes and we are back to high speed(?). This seems to be just around the part of the sequence where Helena is attacked.

Take one : Medak: "Action." Helena: (Struggling) : "Ohh...Maya....please...please...!" Medak: "And has to be more violent..."

Take two : Medak: "Action!" Helena: "Maya...please...PLEEEEEEASE....!!!!"

Medak: "Cut, very good."

Copyright Simon Rhodes, Martin Willey