Stuart Humphryes

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Stuart Humphryes
Babelcolour portrait.jpg
Stuart Humphryes AKA BabelColour
Born (1969-12-10) 10 December 1969 (age 48)
Hampshire, UK
Residence London, UK
Nationality British
Other names BabelColour
Occupation Colourisation Artist
Years active 2005–present
Notable work
Website www.babelcolour.com

Stuart Humphryes (born 10 December 1969) is an English multimedia artist for print, film and television, chiefly known for his work colourising the British television series Doctor Who. He is widely known by his alias "BabelColour", a public persona which was created in 2006 with the launch of his YouTube channel.

Film colourisation[edit]

The Daleks' Master Plan[edit]

In 2005 Humphryes collaborated with James Russell, a design engineer who was one of the founder members of the Doctor Who Restoration Team and the son of film director Ken Russell[1] to colourise the surviving 35mm film from the 1965 Doctor Who serial The Daleks' Master Plan. The venture was principally designed to test Russell's bespoke motion estimation software, with Humphryes providing manually colourised key-frames which were extrapolated by Russell's program. The results, which were incorporated into "The Dalek Tapes" documentary on the 2006 DVD release of Genesis of the Daleks, were considered by Doctor Who Magazine to be "a highly successful experiment"[2]

The Mind of Evil[edit]

In 2009 Humphryes and Russell reunited to assess the viability of re-colourising the 1971 Doctor Who serial The Mind of Evil which only existed in the BBC Archives as a monochrome film print. They collaborated to produce a one-minute test sequence of colourised shots from the episode which eventually led to the Doctor Who Restoration Team commissioning Humphryes in 2011 to recolourise the entire episode.[3][4] Between 2011–2013 Humphryes was the sole colourising artist working alongside the video restoration company SVS Resources[5] to complete the commercial colourisation of The Mind of Evil for the BBC's subsidiary 2 Entertain[6]

Screenings[edit]

Humphryes on stage at the British Film Institute

The newly colourised Mind of Evil was premiered at the British Film Institute on 10 March 2013. Humphryes was in attendance to answer questions on stage about the re-colourisation process[7][8] The recolourised episodes also received a special screening, with a Q&A Restoration Panel, at Birmingham's annual Flatpack Film Festival on Saturday 30 March 2013[9] and at the Belfast Film Festival on Thursday 18 April 2013[10]

Following its DVD release in June 2013 the re-colourised version has become the broadcast default, being subsequently televised in the US on Retro TV on 15 October 2014[11] and KBTC Public Television on Saturday 23 January 2016. It is also the version currently available for subscription download in the US on BritBox and in June 2018 was live-streamed on three occasions on Twitch.tv.

Clips and details of the serial's recolourisation were covered by a special feature on the BBC evening news on 12 June 2013[12]

Terror of the Zygons[edit]

In February 2012 Humphryes was engaged by SVS Resources to recolourise monochrome footage from the 1975 Doctor Who serial Terror of the Zygons in preparation for a special extended "director's cut" of the story on DVD.[13] The monochrome film - consisting of a cutting copy and dub track in mixed colour and monochrome formats - had been discovered amongst the estate of the serial's film editor Ian McKendrick and returned to the BBC in 2008[14][15] The recolourisation work was completed to a tight deadline and consequently employed some shortcut techniques, including flat colour washes for certain elements such as clothing, which would not normally be employed by Humphryes.[16]

Colourisation process[edit]

Most commercial colourisation processes involve the use of either masks, layers or the segmentation method. The process used by Humphryes however, is unusual in that it does not employ these methods of separating colour to produce each key frame but instead each individual frame is colourised as a single completed image. A consequence of this means that although the finished product can achieve greater realism the work is very labour-intensive, with around 7000 fully colourised key frames required to produce 20 minutes of footage. This equates to an average of 1 in every 5 frames being fully colourised as key frames for PAL video.[17] It consequently took Humphryes 18 months to recolourise key frames for 'The Mind of Evil' episode one[18]

Print colourisation[edit]

In 2005 Humphryes colourised a series of Tele-snaps for issue 2 of "Nothing At The End of the Lane" – the magazine of Doctor Who Research and Restoration in which he was interviewed about his colourisation work.[19] He was invited to return to this publication in 2008 to colourise the cover of their omnibus reprint of issues 1 and 2.

In 2015 Humphryes colourised the cover of Mark Iveson's biographical reference book "Cursed Horror Stars", published by Telos Publishing[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Humphryes received commendations for his colourisation work in 2015 from the Doctor Who showrunner, head writer and producer Steven Moffat, who cited Humphryes as one of "the next generation of creatives".[21] In September 2017 Moffat recorded an anniversary tribute to Humphryes on YouTube, stating his colourisation output was "beautiful, impeccable, gorgeous work and genuinely among my favourite things on the internet"[22]

Doctor Who Magazine's review of The Mind of Evil stated, "Stuart's work on colours is exceptionally good, especially with difficult areas like skin and hair and this sets a new benchmark for the colourisation of film recordings"[23]

His DVD colourisation work was praised by SFX Magazine[24], Doctor Who Magazine,[25] Starburst Magazine,[26] the Radio Times,[27] Doctor Who Online,[28] DVD Talk,[29] Nerdist[30] and an array of on-line genre sites and blogs[31]

SFX stated, "The results are seriously impressive",[32] with Starburst Magazine considering his work "astonishing".[33] On-line reviews of his output have stated "The result is stunning... with skin tones looking particularly impressive" [Telly Tech], "Babel’s work is astonishing" [Immaterial]; "the depth and accuracy of colour application is superbly observed and as delicate as the brushstrokes of a Constable or a Rembrandt" [Eye of Horus]; "the results are really quite stunning.” [Chilled Monkey Brainz] and "Skin tones and hair colour is rarely done well, even by professional colourising companies, but Stuart seemed to have nailed it" [Home Cinema Choice][34]

Humphryes has also received recommendations for his colourised work from BBC America[35] and the Houston Press with his contributions to Doctor Who and the field of colourisation being the subject of numerous interviews [36] and podcasts[37]

Other works[edit]

YouTube[edit]

Humphryes established The BabelColour Channel on YouTube on 10 August 2006.[38].

His videos have included contributions from producer and showrunner Steven Moffat, impressionist and comedian Jon Culshaw, the actors John Levene and Nathan Head, former Doctor Who Magazine editors Clayton Hickman and Tom Spilsbury, writers and historians David J. Howe and Richard Bignell, producer and presenter Christel Dee and the voice artists John Guilor, Jake Dudman & Jonathon Carley.

Seventy-four videos are currently available, which have accrued 7.4 million views (as of December 2017)[39]. The Houston Press asserted: "BabelColour is one of the top producers of on-line video content. His work is almost unrivaled in popularity"[40], with the BBC's AfterShow citing Humphryes as a "colourisation and compositing legend"[41].

Nineteen of his videos have been featured as the monthly YouTube recommendation in the official Doctor Who Magazine.[42] and three have been the monthly recommendations in SFX Magazine [43]. Two of his videos were voted into the Top Ten Doctor Who Videos on YouTube by The Stage[44], he was nominated by Digital Spy in their article "8 Most Amazing Fan Videos on YouTube", and the Houston Press cited Humphryes as one of 5 Fans Who Do Doctor Who Better than the BBC[45]. His memorial tribute to Nicholas Courtney was shared by The Guardian[46] and his Christmas tribute was included in the Metro's article "8 things we’d like to see in the Doctor Who Christmas Special"[47]. His 'Every Doctor Who Story' video and updates have over 1.6 million views and received recommendations from the io9 website[48], BBC America[49], BuzzFeed[50], The Verge[51], Nerdist.com[52] and Screen Rant[53] amongst many others.

in September 2017, the Radio Times ran a feature on the appearance of Steven Moffat in Humphryes' 11th Anniversary YouTube upload [54] - a story which was widely covered by other news sites, including NME,[55] IMDb,[56] Digital Spy[57] GamesRadar[58] and Screen Rant[59] and recommended in Doctor Who Magazine issue 517 (November 2017).

The Ten Doctors[edit]

Between September 2009 and September 2015 Humphryes uploaded a four-part Web series entitled 'The Ten Doctors'.[60] It was an unofficial Doctor Who drama incorporating re-edited archival material from TV shows and movies connected by newly recorded dialogue and special effects. Episode three was premièred at the 'Armada Con 23' Doctor Who Convention before its on-line release. The trailers and episodes have exceeded 950,000 views on YouTube. The web series has been analysed by TV Tropes[61] and was recommended by SFX Magazine[62] and the Doctor Who Fan Club of Australia.[63] Humphryes has been interviewed about the project a number of times, including the Houston Press[64] and the on-line magazine Theta Morbius Times (Issue 1; 2010) with the opening episode being nominated as one of the 8 Most Amazing Fan Videos on YouTube by Digital Spy[65]

The Almost Doctors[edit]

In 2017 - at the suggestion of actor and screenwriter Mark Gatiss - Humphryes created a two-part web series entitled 'The Almost Doctors'[66] . It incorporated newly recorded voice work by Jonathon Carley and Jake Dudman to chronicle the list of actors shortlisted for the role of Doctor Who in the 1960s and '70s. The series employed a combination of editing, CGI and video compositing techniques to lift actors from archive film and place them into contemporary episodes of Doctor Who. In June 2017 the BBC's AfterShow promoted the series, referring to Humphryes as a "colourisation and compositing legend"[67] with BBC America promoting episode two as "exceptional".[68] Episode one was also recommended as a monthly pick in Doctor Who Magazine issue 514 and episode two was recommended in Doctor Who Magazine issue 512.

In Print[edit]

In 2012 Humphryes wrote a personal treatise on Doctor Who entitled 'Teatime and an Open Mind' which was published in the Doctor Who non-fiction book "You and Who" by Miwk Publishing.[69] The book's editor JR Southall wrote in Starburst Magazine, "That internet legend from YouTube, known usually as BabelColour, submitted a much longer essay. It was an excellent piece of writing, and very important for a couple of reasons... it kind of gave the whole project a feeling of legitimacy. Now I could tell people that Stuart Humphryes had made a submission already, and even quote an extract from it as an example".[70] In November 2014 Humphryes was one of the "big names in the Whovian community" interviewed by the Houston Press for his positive critical opinion of Series 8 of Doctor Who[71]

Television appearances[edit]

In 1996 he appeared as a contestant in two episodes of the UK Gold TV quiz series 'Goldmaster'. His specialist subject was Doctor Who[72] In 1999, his role as fallback contestant for BBC1's prime-time evening game show 'Whatever you Want' was reported in Doctor Who Magazine issue 276, which ran with a photograph of Humphryes in costume alongside the other contestants.[73]

Background information[edit]

Humphryes graduated from Suffolk College with a BA(Hons) degree in Design Communications. After 14 years with the British Red Cross he became a Local Government Officer[74]

Between 2006–2008 he produced work for the BabelFish Colourisation Website on kostamojen.com.[75] In 2012 he established his own colourisation website at babelcolour.com

In 2014 Humphryes assisted researchers of the BBC2 documentary series ‘The Secret History of My Family’, which was broadcast on Thursday 10 March 2016. Episode one chronicled the family and descendants of his 4 x Great-Grandfather Robert Gadbury, tracing their lineage from 1830s London to present-day Tasmania. Humphryes is second cousin (twice removed) to former Tasmanian premier Albert Ogilvie[76][77]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

interviews[edit]