VCL

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

VCL Communications was an international German home video company that was founded by Datty G. Ruth in 1981 and was operated all the way through the 2010s. It was primarily operated in Germany, the United States (by Karl-Lorimar Home Video, Heron Communications/Media Home Entertainment and later by Continental Video/Virgin Vision), the United Kingdom, Australia and Scandinavia. In 1990, LIVE Entertainment purchased VCL.



1st Logo (1981-1987)


Visuals: On a black background, a blue glowing outline of a flattened Earth in the Van der Grinten style zooms out with a chyron trail effect, rotating while doing so. The letters "V", "C", and "L" wipe in one-by-one. All three have a moving "rainbow" effect to them. The world map in the background turns black, the background turns white, and "VCL" turns yellow.

Variants:

  • On the VHS release of The Darkroom the logo plays like normal and then it flips to a gradient blue screen with the white text "EXCLUSIVELY DISTRIBUTED BY" in a Times New Roman font. Then it flips again to the Continental Video logo of the era.
  • On international releases, the logo is completely formed with a yellow background/VCL text and black continents. The logo then fades to just the text and the yellow word "PRESENTS" in an old English font.

Technique: Traditional animation.

Audio: A calming 6-note synthesizer theme accompanied with drums (the first 3 of which sounds like a voice saying "Video"), then on the remaining 3 notes, a chorus of singers say "V...C...L!".

Availability: Seen on tapes like The Darkroom and Pacific Inferno. Also found on some titles distributed by Karl-Lorimar Home Video, Continental Video and Media Home Entertainment in the U.S.; Many of VCL's U.S. titles were later re-issued by Virgin Vision.

2nd Logo (1984-1995)


Visuals: On a black background, there is a faint blue haze which widens and whitens as it opens from the top. The planet Earth with black continents and a sparkle on top rises from below, situates itself on top when it is in full view and starts to rotate. The white letters "VCL" swoop in from the left center and right sides of the screen respectively and settle beneath the earth. A grey rhombus with "COMMUNICATIONS" in red flips up and a red rectangle fades in on the left leg of the "V" and three lines shoot from it and stop on the opposing side. The rectangle becomes segmented as a result. Everything vanishes leaving a growing spark which gives way to a yellow circle. The earth from before appears and spins. The VCL logo from before fades in from it's previous position and the "VCL" text rises to the middle and the yellow text "WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION OF VIDEO ENTERTAINMENT" fades in below.

Variants:

  • A completely different version was found on international releases replacing the original logo with the previous VCL text in red with white, zooming in and stopping in the middle. "VIDEO", also in red with a white shadow, wipes itself in from the left. The animation carries on like before, only the text "WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION OF VIDEO ENTERTAINMENT" is in a different font and the VCL logo fades in above the text. The logo then plays in reverse.
  • At the end of international releases, the finished product just plays in reverse. This ran silent.

Technique: Computer animation. The animation of the background are stock animations from Cascom.

Audio: A synth fly-by sounder with three deep drum notes followed by a long dark resonating drone and three light drum notes. A dark choir is then heard with more drum notes and rising synth notes. Then it goes to a triumphant theme with synthesized horns and drums.

Availability: Seen on later releases. [Examples?]

3rd Logo (1995-1996)

Visuals: On a black background, there is an orange CGI-like sphere and in front of it appears to be three lines in a blue-purple gradient color that seem to be in a somewhat direction. Beneath the logo, there is text in Trajan Pro that spell out the company name "VCL". The logo and the text are both in a rectangular box with a light blue-white gradient color with the outlines being in 2 layers with the inside a very thin black outline and the outside outline being a bit thicker white outline.

Technique: Digital graphic.

Audio: None.

Availability: Seen on some VHS releases during the time. [Examples?]

4th Logo (1996-2008)


Visuals: Against a space background, with a blue and orange hazes on the top left and bottom right corners respectively, there is a chrome bar situated down below. A sphere then rises and the bar moves up and zooms back. Both meet in the middle and form the logo from before (albeit without the outline encasing it). The chrome text "VCL" zooms back and stops beneath the sphere and lines.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A dramatic epic orchestrated theme with a choir, ending with three light chime beats when the text appears.

Availability: Seen on many of their latest German releases on DVD and VHS. [Examples?]