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Posted: Mon May 19, 2003 9:56 am
Was Knightmare an expensive series for its day? I never can work out whether it was very high budget or low budget (although the fact that it was highly impressive is not in doubt). Surely the main reason that actors doubled up to play other parts was because of economy. Does anyone know how much Knightmare cost in relation to other series?
Posted: Mon May 19, 2003 1:48 pm
I am not sure. Maybe it was expensive to make because the show was mostly interactive. Who knows?
Posted: Mon May 19, 2003 2:04 pm
I am quite sure that it was low budget.
I thought until I read this thread that it was going to be about the Knightmare political party having their annual budget broadcast
Posted: Mon May 19, 2003 2:28 pm
I think it must have had more money going into it as time went on, because the graphics in S8 were great! Especially those eye shield sequences in Level 3. Not only that but more actors were brought in after S4 I think, for the Powers That Be/Opposition thing.
Posted: Mon May 19, 2003 2:47 pm
But there was still most of the actors playing more than one character, even in the later series' and some actors replaced others also
Posted: Mon May 19, 2003 2:53 pm
D'oh! I forgot for a minute there about actors playing dual roles. :-/ I suppose the number of actors stayed the same throughout the series.
Posted: Mon May 19, 2003 4:29 pm
One of the press releases from TeleVirtual says that the original Km was quite an expensive affair. Don't forget that a large Chromakey studio was needed, as well as a separate studio for the antechamber, a whole cast of actors, use of expensive video mixing equipment, as well as the commissioning of aerial footage for Smirkenorf's flights (by Helifilms, I believe).
This is why the new Km is a much more attractive prospect for interested networks; being VR there is no need for Chromakey studios with all the vision mixing equipment that goes with it. It's almost completely computer-based.
The intention for the new Km to be completely VR has divided us a bit, though. Some people believe that changing the format to that extend may remove that all-important X-factor that made Km such a brilliant programme. Others (including myself) believe that the move to full VR is inevitable. The original intention was to put a real person in a fantasy world. The technology that was utilised was the only way of doing it. Now there are much better ways of doing it - and much more seamlessly as well (just remember how awkward it looked when a dungeoneer had to fall to his/her death?
There is no doubt that the new series will play differently from other series. However, I believe that this elusive X-factor is tension. As long as the new series has tension, it WILL be the Km we know and love.
OK, I've finished. :)
Posted: Tue May 20, 2003 10:51 pm
As the most expensive shows on TV tend to be dramas, and the cheapest tend to be game shows, I've often wondered about this myself. However Knightmare was quite different from a normal game show.
I think it was more expensive to produce then most other children's shows at the time due to the requirement for actors, and the pioneering production techniques. I think its been mentioned before that the number of actors were restricted by the programme budget.
Posted: Fri May 23, 2003 7:17 pm
It seems that more money was invested in it as it went on. Also, does anyone know if that test footage that's on this site was shot before the series was commissioned or not? The new series of Knightmare is being developed without a commission; was the old one developed in this manner? I don't know why I find this so interesting ... I just like knowing what was going on behind the scenes.
Posted: Fri May 23, 2003 9:26 pm
Good question. We know that the Knightmare pilot episode 'Dungeon Doom' was recorded in 'early 1986' (according to Tim Child's history document), and the cromakey tests were done in May 1986. Its not clear which one was first.
The VT production clock/announcement at the beginning of the clip does not make any reference to 'Knightmare' or 'Dungeon Doom' so that doesn't help.
Posted: Mon May 26, 2003 3:28 am
Thanks. It'd be interesting to know a bit more about this side of the series. I regard (should that be Treagard?) the conception of Knightmare as a series as nothing short of remarkable.
Posted: Tue May 27, 2003 4:24 pm
I can imagine it was expensive to set up for the first year (getting all the equipment etc), but then after that I suppose it was just a matter of some guy sitting at a computer programming better and better dungeons; I'm sure there was more to it than that, but I think it was pretty low budget.
Posted: Tue May 27, 2003 5:20 pm
Wonder what happened to all those lovely props? Tim Child's probably got a lovely firestone sitting atop his toilet.
Posted: Tue May 27, 2003 5:23 pm
A few answers to a few questions.
The CK tests came first naturally - then the first pilot.
The budget (cost) per programme for Knightmare was £50k. As programmes were only 23 minutes long, gameplay was usually constrained to no more than 20 minutes, after you had subtracted the duration of end and closing titles, plus resume.
So at £2.5k per minute it was very expensive for a gameshow (there being no tarrif for adventure games at the time). It was however cheap for drama, but then drama could always be repeated, whereas most gameshows aren't.
In 1993 we kept all the staff and cast on for two days at the end of series production and made a 30 minute pilot for the US market, entitled Lords of the Game.
All the cast were used except Hugo who was replaced by an American actor. Players were provided by the US Air base at Mildenhall in Suffolk. The pilot was not successful, US production companies being terrified of Cromakey-based shows, because of the technical complexity. A German production of Knightmare was agreed with RTL in Cologne in 91 but was then cancelled.
We were to make the first series (50 shows) in the UK, flying in German players and actors, and then export the production to Cologne for series 2.
Finally, a Sci-Fi adventure game format (in the Space Hulk/Aliens) style has been developed and is doing the rounds of the TV broadcasters. We think it's rather good.
It's called GARGANTUA 3.
And for those who are worried about the incorporation of Knightmare into full VR, I say: if we thought we couldn't do atmosphere and tension with this technology, then we wouldn't try it at all.
Posted: Wed May 28, 2003 2:25 am
Sorry about my cheeky reference to you keeping props on your toilet, Mr. Child.