Monday, 15 December 2008

Frame by frame Thunderbirds introduction

Here is a frame by frame/shot by shot analysis of the thunderbirds introduction sequence.

The introduction shot is that of the number plate on thunderbird 5 (the space stations). A non-diagetic voice loudly and clearly states the number. The shot then zooms out to reveal thunderbird five, floating in space. This is to give the audience the feeling of importance and wealth. We now know that these people have a space station. They are powerful and rich. Several instuments are then introduced to create a loud suspension note, which gives the audience a feeling and sense of danger.

This same tenchnique continues over the five different thunderbirds. Each time the voice continues to count down to 0. This is reminiscent of a launch pad countdown, such as one for a space rocket. When the count reaches 0 for a rocket, it launches. Which is exciting for the audience. So therefore this builds tension with the audience as the voice counts down. The audience are waiting to see what will happen at the count of 0 (or in this case, 1).

Sure enough, when the count reaches 1 (with a shot on thunderbird 1), the scene pauses. It doesn't cut away like the other shots. This time it holds the shot on thunderbird 1, and it starts to take off. (Confirming the audience's suspicions of such an occurrence taking place. When the ship is fully out of shot, only the smoke remains, giving the audience the impression of their ability to make a quick exit. That image then fades to black and is replaced by a lightning bolt and the famous thunderbids logo moving quickly towards the camera giving the audience a sense of movement/momentum. The same non-diagetic voice states 'Thunderbirds are go.' As the word 'go' is said the letters change from red, to green. This is a reference to traffic lights. Now that the letters are green all hell can break loose.

The music kicks in and the scene flashes up several different shots from the show. All of which demonstrate consant danger, excitement and bravery of the characters which draws the watcher in to the show even more. The fast paced music is timed well with the fast paced cuts. These range from explosions and crashesto the aircraft simply landing and taking off. They are mixed together well as the music represents even the less exciting to be dramatic and tense. The clips are often cut to the beat of the music, making the video more pleasurable to watch.Whenever there is an explosion in the video, they have edited the sound of that in too. This being the only diagetic sound in the introduction. All other sound (for example when Brains is welding something) other than the music has been muted to add maximum dramatic effect.

The 'montage' has no continuity, it it just to give the audience an example of the excitement they can expect from the upcoming episode. After ending, the thunderbirds logo returns onto the screen, it is, again, red. As if to signal to the audience that the action is going to calm down for a few seconds. The music is different and represents a more heroic approach rather than dramatic. The logo holds in the center of the screen. This is clever as it keeps the audience interested whilst bringing up the copyright logo. The audiences attention is never really drawn away from the logo however.

The action is continued when another lightning bold destroys the logo and the heroic music kicks in properly. The scene cuts to a backdrop image with a blank outline (containing a single set colour) of a character. The character then appears in this outline to 'fill the seat' of his position. This technique gives the audience time to focus on both the character and the vehicle of which he flies. These shots each last a total of about four or five seconds. The list of characters that appear in this fasion are:

Thunderbird 1 and 'Scott Tracey'.
Thunderbird 5 and 'John Tracey'.
Thunderbird 5 and 'Virgil Tracey'.
Thunderbird 4 and 'Gordon Tracey'.
Thunderbird 3 and 'Alan Tracey'.
Brains standing in front of a laboratory.
Lady Penelope in front of her car and mansion.

This, second quick montage, lets us see the characters in a steryotipically heroic (or in Brains' case, nerdy) light. It is a quick way of introducing the audience to the characters. Though, not particularly very sophistocated, it is a nice and effective way of making the characters likeable.

The final shot is an extreme long shot of a compound exploding. The explosion is very extravagent and colourful. Que the advertising technique. Just before the explosion the words 'Filmed in Videcolor' come on to the screen. Therefore permenantly staining the audiences mind with Videocolor being associated with large and very cool explosions.

There are several different versions of this video on YouTube. So this is the one I have reviewed:

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