October 2005-February 2006
(Project initially commenced February 2005)
renovations at home, the website and this particular restoration have been
put on the back burner. Returning to the work we had performed prior to
the break, we realised that it wasn't as good as it might be, and for this
reason, have made a second, fresh transfer from the master tape. More
after the preamble...
Avengers serial, All Done By Mirrors, is notable in that it is the last of the serials to be restored that has yet to be
made available to Avengers and Springbok Radio fans. It has
been unheard outside of John and Coral Wright's South African home
for thirty-two years and was not among the thirteen serials that were originally doing the rounds after their transmissions in
New York in the 1980s. Of added interest, it's another of Dennis Folbigge's serials which
were based upon television scripts which featured the character of Tara King rather than Emma Peel. Folbigge's adaptation features Emma Peel, portrayed by
Diane Appleby, as with all other South African Avengers serials.
earlier, we had started on this restoration in February 2005, and had got
as far as transferring, noise-reducing and graphic equalising all the
episodes. Listening back to what we achieved, frankly it could have been
better (hence the desire to start afresh, having learned our lessons). To
be honest, the quality of the first three episodes is poor, and perhaps we
attempted too excessive a clean-up first time round. They ended up
sounding very artificial and not particularly pleasant on the ear.
Consequently, you may find the new restored version to be less than
perfect: in all honesty, it's a compromise, and the episodes will not be
up to our usual standards. They are simply too far gone to adequately
dredge up something perfect from them.
We made fresh transfers of John Wright's original quarter-inch tapes of All Done By Mirrors, to our PC on
12th October 2005. Trying something a little different to the February
work, we graphic equalised the tape (via an analogue graphic equaliser) on
the route to the computer, with the intention that less noise would reach
the PC, so less digital noise reduction processing would be needed.
Initial tests seem to bear out our theories that this might well represent
As had been
noted in February, we were aware that
the serial was not among the best of John's recordings, and that the quality of the sound varied from episode to episode. This
new transfer has merely served to confirm this memory. The first six
episodes of this serial were recorded on one track of a quarter-track
tape, with the final episode being on the reverse side of the tape. For
the sake of convenience, we dubbed the first six episodes as one file, and
the seventh separately. In terms of recording quality, the 7th episode is
the best, with the 4th-6th installments being good, and the first three
being rather poor by comparison (quite muffled).
The files were
cut up into episodes on the afternoon of Friday 28th October 2005, in
preparation for noise reduction work.
24th January 2006: Amplification and noise reduction work carried out
upon Episodes 1-4. This involved manually dealing with extreme pops and
distortion and then amplifying each episode by 130-135%. Noise levels were
very high on these recordings and had tobe cut by as much as 57dB!
25th January 2006: Amplification and noise reduction work completed on
January 2006: Declicking work has been commenced, and Episode 1 is now
January 2006: Episode 2 declicked and completed tonight .
1st February 2006: A year (!?!?!?!) after we commenced this particular
restoration, we're still at it! There's no denying it's been a frustrating
time for fans of the radio series not to mention ourselves. Aside from the
upheaval in our lives last summer, it's been a tough serial to restore -
as evidenced by our not being happy with the early work we did on it. The
episodes haven't turned out as well as those from other serials have - but
considering the source material, we honestly feel it's the best we can
manage. Apologies if anyone's struggling to understand any dialogue!
Anyway, last night and tonight, we've been working on declicking Episode 3.
2nd February 2006: Episode 4 completed.
February 2006: Episode 5 completed.
February 2006: Episode 6 completed. One more to go... :)
11th February 2006: The restoration work on Episode 7 (and therefore,
the complete serial) has now been completed. It's rather embarrassing that
it's taken us a year to get through this one, but it did present some
difficulties in terms of the recording quality - and ultimately needed a
'Heath Robinson' novel approach to get it into a condition that we were
happy with. The serial's not in perfect condition, and some episodes are
markedly better than others, but when all is said and done, this is the
best we could manage with the source materials and the equipment/software
that we have access to. We hope that the serial has been worth the wait
for our many RadioAvengerphiles!
Alan and Alys Hayes