Random House Home Video

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

Random House Home Video was a home video unit established by publisher Random House. In 1995, they began distributing through Sony Wonder. The company went dormant around 2001, though Sony Wonder still used the company's logo on Arthur tapes and DVDs until 2006.



1st Logo (1983-1984)


Visuals: On a gray background, a thick drawing of a small building "slides" up. Another building grows behind it and the last one "slides" from the right side of it, forming a stylized house with heavy black outlines (Random House's corporate logo). After that, a square wipes in behind the house, with five lines in the left side which colors itself in with rainbow colors while the right one stays blank. Finally, the white words "RANDOM HOUSE VIDEO" with a black drop shadow fly in from the bottom of the house and the rainbow. The logo then fades out, leaving only the gray background.

Variant: Some Random House Video releases would have a multicolored gradient background (in which it has tan, blue, gray and other colors) instead. Also, the warning screen scrolls on the same background as well.

Technique: Scanimate.

Audio: A bell ring (the "T.BL-EXPA" patch off of Yamaha's DX7) when the first part of the house "slides" up and a bright string-like synth arpeggio that repeats itself as the bell fades to a synthesized drone.

Availability: Appears on the earliest Random House VHS releases.

  • It also makes a surprise appearance on the 1988 U.S. VHS release of U.S. Government In Action: The Senate.

2nd Logo (1984-2009?)


Visuals: On a shady amethyst-colored background, six rainbow-colored lines are drawn onto the screen by light rays in different directions. The lines sharply angle around 45 degrees near the edge of the screen. As the lines begin to finish drawing, the parts of a stylized house (the same one from before) begin to slide onto the screen at the area where the lines suddenly slope. The rainbow and the house zoom out as the rainbow begins to retract. The sloped section disappears completely as a diagonal beam of light draws a sharp black outline around the house and the rainbow. The words "RANDOM HOUSE" fade in and zoom out underneath the rainbow/house combo, and the words "HOME VIDEO" zoom in below it from the center.

Variants:

  • A cut-short variant exists that fades out just before the deep bass note happens.
  • The color scheme depends on the VHS or the DVD. On Arthur DVD releases from Sony Wonder for instance, the background has more of a dark purple gradient color and the rainbow colors are darker.

Technique: System IV computer animation effects.

Audio: A synth fanfare that ends with a synthesized cymbal crescendo as "RANDOM HOUSE" fades in. A chime arpeggio is heard as "HOME VIDEO" zooms in, followed by a deep bass note, and a brief synthesized autoharp stinger before the logo fades out.

Availability:

  • It appears on VHS releases of Beginner Book Video, The Berenstain Bears (1980s series), Sesame Street, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, and Arthur.
  • It also appears on Sony Wonder DVD releases of the latter series, like Arthur's New Puppy for example.
  • The print logo was originally in black and white, but was given color from 1995 onward.
  • This logo also makes a surprise appearance on the 2008/2009 DVD release of The Berenstain Bears: Kindness, Caring and Sharing, likely due to using an old video master.
  • It also appears on Columbia TriStar Home Video's re-releases of Berenstain Bears VHS releases.
  • The cut-short variant appears on U.S. VHS releases of Brum and Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa.
  • This logo also appears on the UK VHS releases of the 1992 UK VHS release of Sesame Street: Sing Yourself Silly!/Monster Hits and the 1994 UK VHS release of Sesame Street: Ernie's Big Mess and Other Stories, both from The Video Collection, and the 1996 UK VHS release of My Little Sesame Street from VCI.

3rd Logo (1988-1989)


Visuals: The screen fades to a white background where the Random House logo from before, with the white door, windows, and the five rainbow lines, is seen, though it looks animated and less detailed. The camera suddenly zooms out from the logo, which actually improves its quality and that it is actually a printing on a filmstrip container against a coral pink background. It spins around and later opens up. A folded filmstrip comes out of the container, later unfolding. Floating by its side comes an audio cassette with the dark blues-background label "RH" and the B&W Random House logo right beside it. The audio cassette and the filmstrip suddenly enter the "tape" edge of a VHS tape, which has the text "RANDOM HOUSE, INC." on the tape label, and also contains the Random House logo on the end label. The VHS enters a VCR that eventually lights up. The screen pans into a television screen with the Random House logo on a violet background, later filling up the whole screen. The logo zooms out, and the text "RANDOM HOUSE PRESENTS" fades in. Depending of the video collection distributed on the tape, more text fades in below.

Appearance Variants:

  • On Newberry Video Collection tapes, it reads:
FROM THE
NEWBERRY
VIDEO COLLECTION
  • On Caldecott Video Collection tapes, it reads:
FROM THE
CALDECOTT
VIDEO COLLECTION

Technique: Cel animation for most of the animation, but the TV screen is chroma-keyed to have the second part play. This was animated by Michael Sporn Animation in New York.

Audio: A low-pitched, extended version of the first logo's theme with an additional synth fanfare.

Availability: The Newberry variant appeared on VHS releases such as Call It Courage and the 1989 U.S. VHS release of Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mt. St. Helens, while the Caldecott variant appeared on the 1988 U.S. VHS release of The Polar Express.

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