From The Chest

A month ago, Chris, Gary and I made a 6-part series of podcasts discussing day to day issues about Cystic Fibrosis and how it affects their lives. The success of the series has brought us together to make another series and make improvements to the format.

SERIES 1

The episodes from the first series covered the following:

Part 1 – LOCKDOWN
#1 Gary’s Hair
#2 Peter’s Messages
#3 Chris’s Gym
#4 The Pub
Part 2 – THE EFFECTS OF CF
#5 Are CF & man boobs related?
#6 CF Related Diabetes


Part 3 – LIFE WITH CREON
#7 Reverse the polarity!
#8 Changes in Creon dosage
#9 Creon and snacks


Part 4 – LIFE OF P.I.E.
#10 Panic pill popping
#11 Irritating inhalers
#12 Exhilarating exercise
Part 5 – CF MYTHS
#13 Fitness levels
#14 Educating CF
#15 Laughing at CF
Part 6 – THE MIND WARP
#16 Kaftrio & brain fog
#17 Less symptoms = more time to think
#18 Bo-Peep goes on strike!
#19 A few Dame Edna’s

SERIES 2

Part 7 – KAFTRIO, DISTANCING & ISOLATION
#20 “Are you alright?”
#21 Distancing
#22 Feeling Isolated
#23 Kaftrio – A New Life

With the second series of From The Chest nearing filming, here is an experimental opening title sequence, which although won’t be used in the new series, thought it be worth sharing with out viewers to show we are planning to film another series.

FROM THE CHEST – Experimental opening title

The idea behind this title sequence is we follow the Zoom video signal as it travels through space and bounces off satellites before reaching Earth giving previews of what is to come in the episode along its way.

Building all of the effects for the animation took 2 weeks to make.

The only reason why the sequence has been shelved is simply because it doesn’t quick suit the theme of the series.

It is more of a “CF World” themed sequence than a “From The Chest” theme. Not to worry as the work gone into the 3D graphics hasn’t gone to waste.

There are other projects this will be used in.

Doctor Who episode 5 – Master of Dimensions

Doctor Who episode 5 – Master of Dimensions

When Chris’s Cystic Fibrosis friends share the same dream, the Doctor realises they are linked to his past and involves Gallifrey.

FUN FACTS:

  • This episode follows on from Doctor Who episode 4 – Master of Deception.
  • The episode is a prequel to Skyfall and a sequel to The Timeless Children.
  • The episode introduces a Cyberman hybrid, which was made using materials purchased from eBay and Amazon.

CAST & YOUTUBE CHANNEL DETAILS:
Chris Strand – Himself (Chris vs Cystic Fibrosis)
Robin Burchill – The Master (RGB Productions)
Gary Burchill – Himself (Bucketlist with the Bramhall’s)

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness on YouTube

Over the past couple of months I’ve been having Zoom chats with fellow Cystic Fibrosis friends Chris and Gary. We have been talking about our day to day experiences living with Cystic Fibrosis.

Yesterday we launched a YouTube channel, FROM THE CHEST, where we will be posting 5 minute podcasts to raise awareness how we live with our Cystic Fibrosis and promote the importance of treatment, diet, fitness and sharing our day to day lives with Cystic Fibrosis.

The main theme with these podcasts is how diverse Cystic Fibrosis is by how it affects us differently.

Our content will bring smiles, laughter and tears as we share our moments.

#1 FROM THE CHEST – LOCKDOWN

The pilot episode of FROM THE CHEST – LOCKDOWN was filmed on Sunday, 9 May 2021 and episodes 2 and 3 are in the making.

We aim to fund raise with our YouTube channel for Cystic Fibrosis. However to do this, we need over 1000 subscribers.

The channel is in its infancy as it only went live on Wednesday, 12 May 2021 and we are busy getting more films ready for uploading.

We are in the planning stages to brand this and open an online shop where you can buy merchandise relating to our channel such as mugs, coasters, etc. Again money raised will be for Cystic Fibrosis.

Please help by subscribing to our channel and watch this space for more news. We have some challenges ahead.

Improved special effects

Whilst making the current Doctor Who episode, Master of Dimensions, I had a scout around After Effects tutorial videos for special effects used in the film. One tutorial showed how to make used of a chromakey effect in After Effects called Keylight. This is a chromakey effect that compared to Premiere Pro is more advanced, efficient and easier to apply.

Keylight resulted in episode Doctor Who episodes to be re-edited so the quality of effects remain consistent throughout as shown in the following comparison frames. This also opened opportunities to correct other effects and background.

Background corrected in TARDIS scene from “Master of Death”
Console central column has less green spill in TARDIS scene from “Planet Unknown”
Location scene colour balance corrected from “Planet Unknown”

The new versions of the episodes 2 to 4 can be watched below.

Doctor Who Episode 2 – Master of Death
Doctor Who Episode 3 – Planet Unknown
Doctor Who episode 4 – Master of Deception

Doctor Who filming update

Whilst it looks like activity on film projects has quietened down, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes.

Doctor Who – Master of Dimensions

The script for Doctor Who – Master of Dimensions has been completed and costumes have been made for a new look Cyberman. I say new look, the design is a combination of the classic 1960s Mondasian and the 2006 Cybus Cybermen. I nicknamed the design, the eBay Cyberman as most of the materials and parts were purchased from eBay.

Below is a sneaky peek at the Cyberman. The costume has more detail than shown, which will be revealed in the episode.

The first day of filming on the console room set was met with a couple of technical issues, which were quickly resolved. The script has been sent out to the 3 talented actors, Chris Strand (YouTube: Chris vs Cystic Fibrosis), who will reprise his role as himself, Robin Burchill (Facebook: RGB Productions – Doctor Who), who will reprise his role as the Master, and newcomer Gary Bramhall (YouTube: Bucket List with the Bramhalls), another Cystic Fibrosis friend who will be playing himself.

Cystic Fibrosis, Lockdown & Doctor Who

Cystic Fibrosis & Lockdown/Shielding
Due to my Cystic Fibrosis I am classed as a Clinically Extremely Vulnerable person, which means during the pandemic brought on by Coronavirus aka COVID-19, I’ve had to go into shielding since the lockdown first occurred in March 2020.

During the lockdown and shielding, I turned to film making and explored what films I could make using the resources I have in green screen and the edit suite software such as After Effects and Premiere Pro. I’ve already made blogs about this at the time as linked below.

Week 1: The Muppet Show
Week 2: The Muppet Show
Week 3: The Muppet Show
Jim Henson tribute

Basic green screen set used for The Muppet Show

I learned a lot about working with green screen, building 3D CGI sets, animation and choreography, which as you can see in the final video below how these come together to make a film.

The Muppet Show
Filmed in April 2020 during lockdown 1

During the making of The Muppet Show, I realised the basic set used was too small for some of the puppets used, so built a much larger set in the spare bedroom, which has since been built to a much larger scale for the more recent Doctor Who film projects.

Inspiration of Doctor Who & Cystic Fibrosis storylines
In 1998 I wrote a story called Genesis of a Time Lord, which used Doctor Who to tell the story of what it is like to live with Cystic Fibrosis. In 2003 I took an extract from the novel and made a film. Here is a link to a blog about the making of the film and includes a download of the original novel.

The Screenplay of 2003

Considering the resources, edit suite and lack of actors, I feel I did a good job of the film, which sees Wythenshawe Hospital and the Cystic Fibrosis clinic used as a backdrop.  The receptionist, Pauline Jacklin, and Professor Webb in the film aren’t actors, but actually work in the Cystic Fibrosis unit and played themselves.  Professor Webb has looked after me since I was 16 years old and I’ve known Pauline Jacklin for at least 20 years.  Pauline since retired in December 2020.

Master of Deception came about as a suggestion by a fellow Cystic Fibrosis, friend Chris Strand, who played himself in the episode. He watched Genesis of a Time Lord and suggested I did a remake with the resources I now have.

Although I thought this was a brilliant idea, I knew keeping faithful to the novel version of Genesis of a Time Lord still wouldn’t be possible. Mainly due to the number of actors, costumes, props and sets required. The scale of the production and budget would be similar to the BBC.

However the idea behind Master of Deception was to use the Genesis film as an explanation why Earth is often invaded by Daleks, Cybermen and other Doctor Who aliens whilst telling the story of how Cystic Fibrosis life would have been affected had the Cystic Fibrosis gene had not been discovered in 1989.

How film making has helped with lockdown/shielding
Filming has helped keep my mind working. Plus there’s a lot of physical work involved too.  Making the console changed how I make films vastly and the episodes COVID, Master of Death and Planet Unknown were tests to see what I could and couldn’t do with the resources I now have. I’ve learned a lot from these and learned how to work with green screen and the console to give the films a professional finish.

Future Doctor Who episodes
I’ve written episodes 5, 6 and 7 with the script for episode 5 almost ready to start filming.

Episode 5, Master of Dimensions, will look at how the Cystic Fibrosis community interact with each other. In reality interactions usually take place on social media such as Facebook. In Doctor Who, the story looks at how the Cystic Fibrosis community interact with each other through dreams.

Episode 6, Evolution of the Silurians, will look at the basic science behind the making of vaccines and treatments, not just for CF, but for general illnesses. This episode will feature a new look Silurian.

The Silurian design as seen in 1970 and 2010
The Silurian Hybrid

The costume I have (Silurian Hybrid) was designed and made by Robin, who is also writing the script. The Silurian Hybrid will feature in the episode and become a new companion for the Doctor.

Episode 7, title TBC, will explore a behind the scenes of how the TARDIS scenes are made, which sees the Doctor visiting Peter.  This will more or less be a documentary drama with some comical interactions between the Doctor and Peter.

Inspiration for the Doctor Who episodes
When writing and filming these recent Doctor Who episodes, fellow Doctor Who fan Robin, who lives in the Isle of Man, has inspired how the history of Doctor Who can be used to make new episodes whilst fellow CFer Chris, who lives in Manchester, has inspired how the workings of CF and related issues such as diabetes can be used to make CF-related storylines.

Doctor Who – Master of Deception

The moment a lot of people have been waiting for, an episode of Doctor Who that tells the true historic story about the discovery of the Cystic Fibrosis gene in 1989 and the revolutionary treatment made as a result, which includes the most recent miracle drug, Kaftrio, which is currently the closest to a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

Doctor Who 4 – Master of Deception

Synopsis
Whilst the Doctor is in a video call with his recent travelling companion, Chris, who has Cystic Fibrosis, the video call is cut off when the console alarms with a time paradox alert. Not all is as it seems. When Chris later shares a friend’s home-made film with the Doctor, the film reveals why the Cystic Fibrosis community were targets of a deadly attack by the Doctor’s enemies.

Fun Facts

  • The video blog in the pre-title is real and was made by Chris Strand. His channel is ChrisVSCysticFibrosis
  • Robin Burchill reprises his role as the voice of the Master. His channel is RobinGBurchill
  • The working title for this was Doctor Who – M508D.
  • M508D is a common mutation of the Cystic Fibrosis gene.
  • As stated in the episode, the Cystic Fibrosis gene, known as CFTR, was discovered by Lap-Chee Tsui, which opened doors for better treatments that has improved the quality of life and life expectancy of Cystic Fibrosis people, which includes the most recent drug, Kaftrio.
  • Kaftrio is currently the closest to a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.
  • The film Chris shares with the Doctor is Genesis of a Time Lord, a film made 2003, which tells the story how Time Lords came up with Cystic Fibrosis as a myth that allowed Time Lord refugees to live safely on Earth when a Time War broke out on their home planet Gallifrey.

Genesis of a Time Lord can be watched in full here:

Genesis of a Time Lord

The full story of Genesis of a Time Lord can also be downloaded for reading here:

More episodes coming soon

With Master of Deception nearly complete, 2 more episodes have been written. The titles for these are “Master of Dimensions” and “The Hybrid”.

What alien piece will this become?

These episodes will see the return of classic well-known enemies that have, like the TARDIS console, undergone a new original design.

One of which has been designed and made by Robin Burchill, who previously helped with the making of Master of Death and Master of Deception. He will be appearing in these episodes, not just as the Master, but other aliens too.

Both episodes will be prequels and sequels to the classic and new Doctor Who series giving them that little piece of extra detail into their backstories.

Should all go to plan, these episodes will be filmed back to back in the next couple of months once the weather improves as they require dry weather to allow location filming to be completed comfortably.

Filming technique development

A passion I have when making films, as any other film maker will have, is developing skills and techniques.

When making COVID, I had the facilities to apply effects so the TARDIS interior would look like the classic interior, but didn’t apply the effect thinking I would be restricted for camera angles and shots with the green screen technique due to the camera needing to be locked in position for each shot.

A fellow film maker suggested placing the console on a turntable to allow it to be rotated to get the different camera angles required. With this idea in mind, I applied the first backdrop of the TARDIS interior in Master of Death, and wrote the story implying the previous backdrop’s presence was due to a malfunction in the console’s desktop theme component, which was fixed by way of a solar energy charge. However as demonstrated below, I had positioned the backdrop incorrectly, which was corrected without explanation in the following episode, Planet Unknown.

Planet Unknown is the first full episode that makes use of green screen that allows the TARDIS backdrop to be applied. However, as I have learnt with the more recent episode, Master of Deception, I can film the console at any angle and match the shot of the console with the 3D set, which in turn adds to the realism of the TARDIS set rather then it being a cheap effect.

I had at one point wondered if the backdrop be considered basic due to it looking obviously like a 3D drawing rather than a film set as seen in the TV series. However I have discovered this ‘drawn’ look is something that some have applied when decorating a bedroom to make the room look like something from a comic book.

Cartoon decorated bedroom

When I saw the above image whereby someone has decorated a bedroom to look like a cartoon sketch, this gave me the idea the new desktop theme of the TARDIS would be of a similar style.

As you will soon see in Master of Deception where the Doctor goes to different parts of the TARDIS in the episode, the effect of the sketched look applied to the TARDIS set is rather striking and also a reflection on the animated reconstructions of the missing 1960s episodes.

Special effects have been applied to the live shots of the console to make it fit nicely into the sketched desktop theme of the TARDIS. However I have learnt with Master of Deception of techniques I need to apply to future episodes that will make this theme even more effective. Only time will tell when that episode will be made and what the story will entail.

Vote for your favourite clip

The latest Doctor Who episode I’m filming, M508D, which is now titled Master of Deception, is starting to take shape with 2 good friends helping with their acting skills, and some great special effects being created.

The 2 friends will be filming their own footage according to the script in the safety of their own homes during this pandemic. Otherwise this film will be difficult to make as one friend lives in Manchester and the other the Isle of Man.

As part of this film, I’ve created 3 versions of a visual effect of a University on fire. However I can’t decide which is the best version.

Here is where I need your help. It would be great if you could view the 29 second video below and then cast your vote.

Please click here to cast your vote