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2001 Space Odyssey - The Short Cut

holyalamo

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Hello, first time poster. Thanks everyone for letting me join in the fun. It's exciting to see all the creativity here.

I am posting to say I have a work-in-progress edit of 2001: Space Odyssey.

Searching the forums, I see this is one that others have revisited.

For The Short Cut, I tried to evoke the emotions of the original, while updating pacing and editing to make it accessible. (After some debates on reddit about this, I see that it's a controversial goal.)

In practice, this means:
* deeply shortening the prehistory sequence. (The book is concise here.)
* shortening and in some cases removing the multiple montage docking sequences
* cutting back to dramatic tension elements at key moments (monolith in the prehistory sequence, HAL later)
* changing the timewarp / ending order considerably
* trims throughout
* a couple of title additions
* no added CGI, and no added sounds

The challenges have largely been with sound. The space sequence are all balletic with concert music overlaying, and taking out shots or sequences has meant considerable sound rework.

I have PM'ed an admin about this, so hopefully I'm following the rules here!

Thanks for reading,
 

lapis molari

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Welcome to FE, @"holyalamo"! 2001 is a great choice for your first edit. That's great material to work with and it could use a trim (certainly for today's audience).

Are you aiming to shorten it a little, or drastically all the way down to 40 minutes or so?

Post some clips of your changes, to help others on the forum see what you're doing. It makes people more enthusiastic and enables them to give feedback.
 

greenturnedblue

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This looks promising, 2001 is definitely a slow burn and some trims here and there could benefit the viewing experience if executed properly. best of luck!
 

MusicEd921

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holyalamo said:
For The Short Cut, I tried to evoke the emotions of the original, while updating pacing and editing to make it accessible. (After some debates on reddit about this, I see that it's a controversial goal.)

My literal first thought when seeing the title of your thread was actually "oh boy, there might be some heat from this" haha!

I am one that appreciates the historical value of the film, but outside of that, it's REALLY slow and overall I just wasn't a fan outside of some of the Dave/HAL/Crew stuff.  

I wish you luck and look forward to seeing what you come up with.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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musiced921 said:
My literal first thought when seeing the title of your thread was actually "oh boy, there might be some heat from this" haha!

I am one that appreciates the historical value of the film, but outside of that, it's REALLY slow and overall I just wasn't a fan outside of some of the Dave/HAL/Crew stuff.  

I wish you luck and look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Ha! I thought, what’s next a 22 minute sitcom version of Stalker!? For me, the brilliance of 2001 is in the very things that many—including my wife—hate. But I love projects like these because I live the idea of creating something completely new. Who knows, maybe my wife will finally like it!
 

holyalamo

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lapis molari said:
Welcome to FE, @"holyalamo"! 2001 is a great choice for your first edit. That's great material to work with and it could use a trim (certainly for today's audience).

Are you aiming to shorten it a little, or drastically all the way down to 40 minutes or so?

Post some clips of your changes, to help others on the forum see what you're doing. It makes people more enthusiastic and enables them to give feedback.

Hi Lapis, thanks for the encouragement. I think current running time for my edit is 1 hr 40 minutes. I'll get some exports of some of the changed scenes.

You're right though, it could trim a lot. My son and I watched the original on 16x speed when I was trying to introduce him to the film, and he was still bored!

To be fair though, editing was a very different technology when the film came out, and I think that shaped it.
 

holyalamo

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greenturnedblue said:
This looks promising, 2001 is definitely a slow burn and some trims here and there could benefit the viewing experience if executed properly. best of luck!

Fingers crossed, and agreed! The photography and story are in my opinion timeless. The editing...well. Not so much. 
musiced921 said:
holyalamo said:
For The Short Cut, I tried to evoke the emotions of the original, while updating pacing and editing to make it accessible. (After some debates on reddit about this, I see that it's a controversial goal.)

My literal first thought when seeing the title of your thread was actually "oh boy, there might be some heat from this" haha!

I am one that appreciates the historical value of the film, but outside of that, it's REALLY slow and overall I just wasn't a fan outside of some of the Dave/HAL/Crew stuff.  

I wish you luck and look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Yeah I didn't know about this forum and thought reddit might jump on board, but nope. A whole lot of nope. Kubrik is a genius, but even geniuses are working with limitations, and limitations shape the final form.
 
Moe_Syzlak said:
musiced921 said:
My literal first thought when seeing the title of your thread was actually "oh boy, there might be some heat from this" haha!

I am one that appreciates the historical value of the film, but outside of that, it's REALLY slow and overall I just wasn't a fan outside of some of the Dave/HAL/Crew stuff.  

I wish you luck and look forward to seeing what you come up with.


Ha! I thought, what’s next a 22 minute sitcom version of Stalker!? For me, the brilliance of 2001 is in the very things that many—including my wife—hate. But I love projects like these because I live the idea of creating something completely new. Who knows, maybe my wife will finally like it!

I
don't disagree with you Moe_Syzlak. Its actually very much a desire for family and friends to see the brilliance of the film that inspired this cut in the first place. I can't ask them to sit through apes and intermissions with the MCU for competition!
 

holyalamo

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Here's the edited prologue. On the left, we've got the original film (including seating music) running at 405% speed. On the right, the edited prologue.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UDrBuJMcwLrRpKL3710lWO1X67z9n_XY/view

This scene functions both as a prologue to the story and as an introduction to the monolith. Since the monolith is the main catalyst of the beginning and end of the story, and perhaps the arc of humanity, the monolith is important at the beginning.

The prehistoric apes, however...could use a trim.

So here we go.
 

holyalamo

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Hello!

As an example of the trimming, here's the prologue edited. On the left, we have the original film (including seating music), running at 405% speed. On the right, the edited version, which focuses on the monolith's introduction and how it changed the prehistoric apes, and removes everything else. Functionally, this is the minimum to convey the monolith's involvement with human history, while striving to hold the viewers attention long enough to meet the major characters!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1duWL16uqauwrFYF8gK3tJT2cBuKRsm0r/view?usp=sharing
 

Moe_Syzlak

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I think that works really well. And kudos on the presentation. I may have to watch it a few times, but it really helps to illustrate the differences. I realize that the purpose is to trim trim trim, but I’d leave a little more in, especially of the warring tribes. I think an extra minute wouldn’t Make it too slow fir even the most impatient viewer and I think that it’s important to highlight that conflict. But that just my 2 cents. But even if you decide to leave it as it is, I think it’s a very good start.
 

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I agree with Moe_Syzlak on inclusion of scenes of warring tribes. Maybe you can insert some scenes of early clash before the appearance of the monolith and some of the killing of the first ape, in form of the future flashes, in the climax before the cut. Even 30 seconds of inserted scenes can drastically expand your very well paced up narrative.

You arrived to the cut three times faster than Soderbergh, but at least he respected the cut :p
Seriously, you gotta respect the match cut of them all.
There's room to refine it somewhat, but no dissolve transitions, please.
 

TM2YC

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Thread moved to pending review.
 

holyalamo

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greenturnedblue said:
This looks promising, 2001 is definitely a slow burn and some trims here and there could benefit the viewing experience if executed properly. best of luck!
 
Plissken1138 said:
I agree with Moe_Syzlak on inclusion of scenes of warring tribes. Maybe you can insert some scenes of early clash before the appearance of the monolith and some of the killing of the first ape, in form of the future flashes, in the climax before the cut. Even 30 seconds of inserted scenes can drastically expand your very well paced up narrative.

You arrived to the cut three times faster than Soderbergh, but at least he respected the cut :p
Seriously, you gotta respect the match cut of them all.
There's room to refine it somewhat, but no dissolve transitions, please.

@"Plissken1138" , thanks for replying, and understood. Though here is my thinking:

Dissolve transitions, like all film tools, have their place. Here's the opening to The Shining, the first transition being a dissolve.

Anything overused is of course negative, but a device banned for the sake of it is perhaps limiting creativity.

Which is actually my critique of 'the cut' in the first place. The film is not for the filmmaker (solely) but must at least partially for the audience. Is 'the cut' the best way to carry the viewer forward in time thousands of years and visually connect the bone to the 'future tools' of humankind? No. Absolutely not. It lacks continuity of shape, framing, motion, time, and location. In all ways, if I were teaching a course on film, I would grade this transition poorly. We can experiment with our forms, but not at the expense of the audience. And if I look at what Kubrik is trying to say here, 'the cut' is not the best way to say it.

Here's 'the cut' on the left, and my current transition on the right. (If you watch in VLC, you can listen to the left stereo channel for the audio from the left, and the right audio channel for the right. Don't listen to both at once, or it'll sound weird.)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/11rxw6v2drmddKsrhyhAavt3j9vIUvItn/view?usp=sharing

1. Why does the ape throw the bone up for 'the cut'? Its justification is less clear on the left. He or she throws it...because plot.
2. Why do we have two shots of the bone going up in a row? It's confusing, and frankly not a good pair of shots.
3. Why do we cut to a ship that has no plot relevance? (Some folks suggest its a bomb which was meant to be detonated in act 3, but didn't get used).  Floyd is not on this ship.
4. The Dawn of Man got a title for when we are. Why didn't 2001? We have just cut forward to space, but are we in 1969 space? 2001? 2020?

The match cut, if a student showed me, would get critique. It isn't objectively good, so doesn't deserve to stay when editing for a modern audience. In my opinion. :)

EDIT: changed the link as per the forum rules to allow viewing correctly. apologies for that.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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While appreciate your perspective, I wholly disagree. Whether or not it is executed perfectly can certainly be debated, but the meaning and impact haven’t been lost on many in its 51 years. I think the cut conveys that the tools of early man—the bone—have evolved into incredible technologies. With your dissolve that message is less clear. In fact, I’d argue that it merely reflects the passage of time without leading the viewer to consider the message of the tools at all. And tools are important in 2001, with HAL being mankind’s ultimate tool to date.
 

Plissken1138

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holyalamo said:
1. Why does the ape throw the bone up for 'the cut'? Its justification is less clear on the left. He or she throws it...because plot.
2. Why do we have two shots of the bone going up in a row? It's confusing, and frankly not a good pair of shots.
3. Why do we cut to a ship that has no plot relevance? (Some folks suggest its a bomb which was meant to be detonated in act 3, but didn't get used).  Floyd is not on this ship.
4. The Dawn of Man got a title for when we are. Why didn't 2001? We have just cut forward to space, but are we in 1969 space? 2001? 2020?

1. The ape doesn't throw the bone "for the cut" but because sheer mindblowing murderous discovery exhilaration, shall we say?
2. Guess only Kubrick and Ray Lovejoy know why it's edited the way it is. Perfect in it's imperfection? There you go. There were two shots not long enough, so they combined them to achieve certain beat? That could be it, also. Although I prefer it just satisfied Kubrick's perfectionism. I said "there's room for refining it" but it really should not dissolve :)
3. Ship's "plot relevance"? Being on the other side of the cut. No dissolve, of course.
4. The year is in the title. The cut really should not dissolve.
 

holyalamo

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@"Moe_Syzlak" and @"Plissken1138" , I see that I might not have thought all the way around this one. Thanks for sharing your points.

As an academic question, if I were to keep the cut, but improve continuity by using CGI on the bone or the ship, and assuming you didn't know it was CGI, would that be better?
 

Moe_Syzlak

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holyalamo said:
@"Moe_Syzlak" and @"Plissken1138" , I see that I might not have thought all the way around this one. Thanks for sharing your points.

As an academic question, if I were to keep the cut, but improve continuity by using CGI on the bone or the ship, and assuming you didn't know it was CGI, would that be better?

I mean I’m not opposed to it, especially in an edit such as this. But I’d have to see how it worked. I don’t disagree that the cut doesn’t feel perfect. To me, the best way to alter it would be to show the bone as falling in the same position as the ship without any rotation. The ship itself needs to be true to the physics and certainly shouldn’t be altered to rotate more to fit the bone. At least that’s my thinking.
 

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Moe_Syzlak said:
holyalamo said:
@"Moe_Syzlak" and @"Plissken1138" , I see that I might not have thought all the way around this one. Thanks for sharing your points.

As an academic question, if I were to keep the cut, but improve continuity by using CGI on the bone or the ship, and assuming you didn't know it was CGI, would that be better?

I mean I’m not opposed to it, especially in an edit such as this. But I’d have to see how it worked. I don’t disagree that the cut doesn’t feel perfect. To me, the best way to alter it would be to show the bone as falling in the same position as the ship without any rotation. The ship itself needs to be true to the physics and certainly shouldn’t be altered to rotate more to fit the bone. At least that’s my thinking.

Here's my train of thoughts - there's first shot of the flying bone, going nicely upward, until the cameraman underestimated it and let it go out of the frame; then there's the second shot, the cameraman is catching up with the bone already flying upwards just as it reached the peak and started dropping. Now, going with your intention to pace it up, it would be enough just to cut out the first shot, as the second one has enough upward flying bone to have continuity with the ape throwing it. It would be an excellent improvement.
Here's why I don't see Moe's "no rotation" idea as logical - the bone is thrown in such violent way that it must rotate. The rotation is pushing it on further. That's the foreshadowing, of sorts.
For even more improvement - you cam match the tilt of the bone to the tilt of the ship. It's originally cut from the bone tilting to the right to the ship tilting left. Try cutting from the bone to the ship about 12 frames earlier and see how it feels.
That's how I'd cut it, fast, simple and no additional work.
Now, if you're inclined to employ CGI or some further compositing you can also move the bone and the ship to meet at the same vertical position in the frame, as well as the tilt.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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Plissken1138 said:
Here's why I don't see Moe's "no rotation" idea as logical - the bone is thrown in such violent way that it must rotate. The rotation is pushing it on further. That's the foreshadowing, of sorts.

I, honestly, have no idea what would be possible for a fan editor. But in the original, when the bone is thrown, it leaves the frame without any visible rotation. To me, it would follow that the bone would continue that way. Honestly, the biggest continuity issue with the original sequence, in my opinion, is the sudden strong rotation In the next shot. The following shot almost looks like a mirror of the previous shot. I’m not an editor, so maybe I have no eye for this sort of thing. But it seems like four very disconnected shots to me.
 
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