Video Classics

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum



Background

Founded in 1979 by Walter Lehne, Video Classics was the first ever VHS distributor in Australia. It distributed material from such companies as Media Home Entertainment, The Nostalgia Merchant, Electric Blue, Wizard Video, and VCL, along with creating a "premium" sublabel named "Video Classics Gold" sometime in the early 80s. The company collapsed in 1985 after its stock dropped off the exchange, and collapsed in a spectacular fashion.


Video Classics

1st Logo (1979-1980)


Visuals: Starting off on a black screen, the logo begins by cutting to a shot of a woman's butt in the shower. This is followed by a shot of the same woman putting on her panties, with the camera following them up, but before any naughty bits can be seen, it then cuts to a few different pictures of waves and surfers on those waves. It then cuts to a close up of an eagle's face, followed by a UFO on a starry backdrop, before finally cutting to a funky-looking tunnel effect at the end. As the camera flies through the tunnel, a wine-coloured, white-outlined computer-generated square flies in from the top right and then swoops into the middle, leaving a heavy trail behind it as the tunnel fades out. On the square is the Video Classics logo, which is an off-centred cut-out of the Times New Roman text "VIDEO CLASSICS", stacked on top of each other and both have the first and last letters of them doubled in size. The trail continues for a bit, along with some distortion around the edges, before the logo freezes and the trail disappears.

Technique: Live action and computer animation (likely Scanimate).

Audio: An excerpt of the electronic disco song "Chase" by Giorgio Moroder with a male announcer saying "Video Classics presents the finest range of home video movies available in Australia. Video Classics are all top quality movies duplicated to the highest standards available in the world. For further details on the other video movies available, please contact your local dealer, or ring Sydney 926400 for these details."

Availability: It could be seen on early Betamax and VHS tapes from the company, like The Stick Up.

2nd Logo (1980?-1984?)


Visuals: On a black background, a pink line draws in from right to left, staying on screen for a few seconds, after which it condenses into a small pink square and disappears, causing a "switch-on" effect for the logo to appear in pink static; the logo consists of "VIDEO CLASSICS" in a blocky font with rounded edges and is sitting in a tilted "3D" perspective. The logo starts off as dim, solid pink static, but clears out and brightens up over time, gaining a pink outline at the end. At the end, the static disappears to reveal a hot pink glow on the inside and a translucent pink light trail appears behind and in front of it.

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: A low electronic piano glissando ("Kometenmelodie 1" by Kraftwerk) as the line draws in, then a sweeping synthesized noise when "Video Classics" fades in, followed by an excerpt of"Kometenmelodie 2" by Kraftwerk.

Availability: Seen on several tapes from Video Classics during the time period, and may have also been used alongside the next 2 logos. Video Classics tapes are known for having inconsistent logos. Known to be on a copy of Superbug - Craziest Car in the World.

3rd Logo (1981?-1985?)


Visuals: On a black background, several light sparks streak by from left to right, creating several lines in red, green, yellow, and blue colours, ending with 2 thicker white ones on the top and bottom. The whole thing resembles a parallelogram. Another white parallelogram with two blue lines in it, along with the text "VIDEO" in a serif font, zoom out and paste themselves onto the lines, with the translucent white parallelogram filling in with black as well. After they plaster themselves, the thick blue "Classics" writes itself out in a cursive font.

Technique: 2D animation.

Audio: An analog synth bassline (a part of "Future Perspective" by Keith Mansfield") accompanied by synthesized chirps when lasers pass by, a "whirring" sound when "Video" zooms out while the bassline fades out, then a four-note synth fanfare as "Classics" is being written out.

Availability: Another logo used for the time, this would have been used with their adult tapes most of the time.

4th Logo (1983?-1984)


Visuals: On a black background, a scrolling pair of orange wireframes, one being a double-layered grid of octagons and a bunch of differently placed and sized rectangles above it, and appears all tilted before straightening out. As the camera zooms back, 3 blue wireframes of VHS tapes appear and fly above the map, which is now scrolling over some circles, and the middle one tilts as well. The camera then zooms out and rotates to above the map, revealing that it's actually a map of Australia, and the circles flash to become a holographic CD. It then zooms in to fill up the screen, forming a black background with a green grid, which quickly zooms in as well. The Video Classics logo, now as translucent yellow outlines, appears in the back and streak towards the top and bottom of the screen respectively to leave room for a solid gold version of the logo to zoom in. The logo flashes white for a second before dying down, leaving the logo to shine around on the edges for a few seconds. Afterwards, a bright yellow light emerges from the "O", engulfing the screen with white before cutting to black.

Variants:

  • A short version, where it starts with the trails zooming in, exists and was probably used at the end of tapes.
  • Sometimes, when there's a preview at the beginning of the tape, the flash would die down to reveal "PREVIEW" in a different gold font, also shining constantly.
  • At the end of a March 1984 trailer tape, the end of the logo repeats several times, twice for the disc animation, twice for the "O"s light shining, and finally, the logo resting on a pitch-black background, shining constantly (with poor looping as well).

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: An ominous theme before building up into a two-note fanfare, a bang, and finally, a quiet synth arpeggio.

Audio Variant: On a March 1984 trailer tape from them, an announcer at the beginning says this: "Ladies and gentlemen, Video Classics is proud to present the most amazing lineup of talent since 1925! So stand by for everything you ever dreamed of in beautiful downtown Movieland, right through to the big pictures of Christmas 1984!"

Availability: Once again, another logo they used during their existence, though it's probably from a later point in their history.

Video Classics Gold

Logo (1983-1984)


Visuals: On a black background, a red square is seen, along with a strange still shot of the 1981 Media Home Entertainment logo. It zooms out to the top left corner, and several more logos repeat the same method. After they fill out the borders, the Video Classics Gold logo flips into view. It consists of a gold version of the Video Classics print logo, along with "GOLD" written at the bottom in the same font, stuck inside a TV tube that's also made of gold chrome. It flips around a few more times before it zooms in and takes up the entire screen before zooming back. As it zooms back, the text "AUSTRALIA'S LEADING HOME VIDEO DISTRIBUTORS" appears below in gold, before the logo freezes.

Here's the list of logos you'll see and where they zoom out to:

  • Media Home Entertainment (USA) - 1981 logo, "MEDIA" not fully zoomed in and zooms out to the top-left. Has no Heron Communications byline.
  • Electric Blue (UK) - Consists of the cursive "electric" in ultramarine, and "BLUE" in purple ("BLUE" being between two purple rectangles) over a nude blonde-haired woman who looks like she's holding two kinds of guns (her arms covering her breasts), one blue and one pink, against a white background with blue borders on the side. It zooms out to the top-right. (NOTE: It is not actually a logo-- it is actually the cover of Electric Blue Vol. 001)
  • Sports World Cinema (USA) - Consists of four "C"s, red, yellow, green, and blue, positioned against a background of videos of sports events, such as yachting and skiing. As the logo zooms out to the bottom-left, "Sports World Cinema", in a WindsorDemi font, wipes in.
  • VCL (UK) - Consists of the brown letters "VCL", in a tall slab-serif font, against a background of the map of the world, only here, the continents are black, the water is white, and there's a pale-blue border surrounding it. This one zooms out to the bottom-right.
  • The Nostalgia Merchant (USA) - Has the same logo, only positioned over a silhouetted image of what appears to be a boy (holding a flag) and his dog on a hill at sunrise. The logo is against a blue background. It zooms out to the bottom-centre.
  • Video Classics (Australia) - Second logo, only starts at the pink line morphing into "Video Classics" with the TV-static fade in. It becomes the pink-outline version when the picture zooms out to the top-centre.
  • Wizard Video (USA) - The print version of the logo, has "Wizard Video" stacked rather than in a horizontal line, and coloured red in text against a black background, and zooms out to the centre-right.
  • Movies at Midnight (Australia) - This one is set against a black-and-dark red background, has "Movies at Midnight" in an 80s-esque cursive font, over an image a black-haired woman, clad in dark red lingerie, on a black cube covered in black velvet cloth in between two red sofas. As you'd probably guess, this logo zooms out to the centre-left. (NOTE: This is also not an actual logo-- it is the cover for a VHS [and is also the poster for] of "Neon Nights")

Variant: A generic version of this logo just has the logo zooming in and flipping a few times, right before it zooms and skews out of frame.

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: An excerpt of the funky synth-keyboard disco tune "Protopulse" by Trevor Bastow. An announcer says "More quality home entertainment from Video Classics!" as the logo zooms in. The generic version uses a disco-synth tune that sounds like a cover/remix of "Get Up Action" by Digital Emotion.

Availability: It could only be seen on tapes under this sublabel. Depending on the release, either the normal variant or the generic variant is used.

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