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Billy Batson's The Hobbit

Billy Batson

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Well, just like damn near everyone else, I'm putting together my version of The Hobbit. I'm shooting for a single standalone movie that adheres more closely to the book and will hopefully be a bit more family friendly, provided you explain to the kiddies that none of those nasty orcs who were beheaded in the film were actually hurt.

Since there are so many cuts, I'd rather not do a detailed cut list, but just about anything that wasn't in the book has been slashed out of the picture. I've made a couple of outright steals from the Spence version, as many of his edits could not be topped, in my opinion. But I'm aiming for a different take on the movie than he was, so most of the cuts are my own (though it probably isn't too surprising that a number of my edit points happen to coincide with those of Spence and others who have cut for time). Unfortunately, my rough cut still runs about 4 hrs. and 13 mins. at this point, which is too damn long. I'd like to get it down to under 4 hrs. (in fact, I'd like to get it down to under 3 hrs, but I'm afraid that isn't going to happen).

As any who have seen my edits know, I'm nearly hopeless when it comes to audio editing, so I'm afraid the audio is still a bit rough. It hasn't helped that I'm currently editing the films using a stereo track, but I was more interested in seeing how I could make the story work than spending a lot of time trying to perfect a skill that I lack.

Since I'm still cutting, the rough cut isn't really ready for review at this point, but here's a preview of my version of Smaug's rampage. Those who have seen the Spence edit will notice that I've borrowed one of his ideas, but most of the cutting is my own. Anyone wishing to view the clip might want to try the word smaug as a password.

 

Billy Batson

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Nearly done with the rough cut, I think. It's down to just under 4 hrs. I'd like it to be shorter, but it plays pretty well as is. The plot follows that of the book pretty closely, at least as I can remember it, though I've included some of Jackson's embellishments in order to tell a coherent story. As a sample, here's my version of the barrel riding scene without any elves or orcs. As mentioned earlier, I've borrowed a bit from Spence, and as I've refined the edit I've also borrowed a bit from Dr. Fontaine. As before, if you're looking for the password you might want to try the word smaug.



I'm still tweaking a bit here and there, and I need to decide if I want to put a lot more effort into the audio editing to justify an official release, but if anyone would care to take a look at the rough cut send me a PM.

Thanks,

Billy Batson
 

BandobrasTuk

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Is this music from the official Soundtrack?
I didn't like the music, but i like your barrel riding scene. :)
 

Billy Batson

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The music is from the film itself. As I mentioned, audio editing isn't my strong point. :-(

I did make use of portions of two tracks from the soundtrack album for AUJ to replace bits in a couple of scenes, but they aren't in these samples.
 

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Seemed good enough to me. Music is a bit jumpy, but not too bad. A bit of tweaking and you're a for away.
 

revel911

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dangermouse said:
Seemed good enough to me. Music is a bit jumpy, but not too bad. A bit of tweaking and you're a for away.

I have a copy myself, and just left some feedback, but I am curious at which spots. I am doing a headphones listen tonight.
 

Billy Batson

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revel911 said:
These are from the extended editions?
I've use elements from both the theatrical and extended cuts, with a few bits of the soundtrack album.
 

Billy Batson

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Many thanks to revel911 for his initial review of my edit. One of the things that he suggested should be changed was the opening. I wasn't able to quite follow his suggestion, but I hope this version isn't quite as abrupt as my initial attempt:


Another thing that he (and his wife) mentioned was the awkward transition between the first and second film. I had a devil of a time with that. So far, I've seen Spence's edit and DrFontane's edit. At their transitions between the first two movies, I thought that Spence took out too much, and while I liked the idea of Gandalf's voice over about Beorn's house that DrFontane added during the eagles' flight, I thought his transition was also a bit out of left field.

I'm still not sure it really works, and I had to lose a joke that I had tried to include in my earlier cut, but here's what I've come up with for the transition as of now:

https://vimeo.com/160994010  (only one video per post, here's the link)

Once again, the word you may be looking for is smaug.
 

revel911

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Billy, the first one is SO much better. I don't feel so rushed into the movie, gives me a second to get and know the land.

The second, I think the quick change of color is the issue. This is better, but still not 100% there. Is there anyway to have the scenes between Oakenshield talking about his home and the warg riders, slowly get darker? The problem is that it goes, sunrise, and then right to day and then right to night. I still feel, you can remove the "lonely mountain" stuff and cut right to them running, so it looks like Sunrise .... and then straight to day.

Did you see my idea for my 4th issue?
 

Billy Batson

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revel911 said:
The second, I think the quick change of color is the issue. This is better, but still not 100% there. Is there anyway to have the scenes between Oakenshield talking about his home and the warg riders, slowly get darker? The problem is that it goes, sunrise, and then right to day and then right to night. I still feel, you can remove the "lonely mountain" stuff and cut right to them running, so it looks like Sunrise .... and then straight to day.

Yeah, but running from what? Or running to what? If I'm to keep the Beorn sequence, and I am determined to do so, I need the threat of the Beorn/bear and Gandalf's narrative about taking refuge in Beorn's house. DrFontane addressed this by including Gandalf's narrative about the house as a voiceover during the eagles' flight, but then you lose the threat of the Beorn/bear and there's no apparent motivation for finding or running to the house. Not to mention the issue of Gandalf being heard while everyone's in flight.

I too am a bit dissatisfied with the new transition, but I have yet to find anything better that works for me. I did change the color balance of the evening (or morning?) scene to minimize the jarring purple tint of the original scene, but I can't find any useful footage to bridge the passage of time. Any additional suggestions would be appreciated.

Did you see my idea for my 4th issue?

Yes, but I can't make it work. In the background of the scene with the dwarves blocking the entrance you can see fires burning in Dale, so you need the refugees to arrive in Dale before this scene. I might be able to soften the passage of time, however, by reinserting a portion of the scene where Bard assigns Alfrid to the night watch at dusk, before the dwarves start working on the entrance. It means another short clip of Alfrid, which I've been trying to avoid, but it might help.
 

Billy Batson

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Anyone else having problems with not being able to access all of the posts in a thread? I can only see page one of this thread, but when I post a reply to the thread, I see in the review of thread section that all of the posts still exist.
 

Billy Batson

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Thinking outside of the box a bit on the transition between the first two films. I borrowed the voice over idea from DrFontane, but I'm not sure it really helps. Opinions, please. The password is smaug.

 

revel911

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Visually a 100x better.

Audio needs quite a bit of work.

1. I would remove the Warg sounds out of the first scene post lonely mountain .... giving it a second to let it sync in.
2. I love the voice over, but the transition in is bad. maybe a fade in for the voice as it has a background music, plus the music before with the dwarves coming form the rocks just ends. Can you cross fade the audio with a slow fade out and a quicker fade in?
 

Billy Batson

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revel911 wrote:
Visually a 100x better.

Audio needs quite a bit of work.

Well, as I mentioned, I'm hopeless when it comes to audio editing. I've tried to follow your suggestions here:


You'll also note that I was able to reinsert my little "joke" where Bilbo is immediately shown to be mistaken in his assumption that the worst is over. 

As before, the password is smaug.
 

revel911

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I would keep tweaking. I know the audio stuff is never fun. Making one fade longer, the other shorter. Letting the first music sit under the second, a little longer. Just keep tweaking till the cross transition feels natural.

If you can isolate the track behind the first showing of the Wargs, and remove it all together that would be ideal.

The Joke doesn't seem needed, but it doesn't seem greatly out of place either.

To the 4th idea, I think the bringing back the scene of them seeing lights may help a bunch as it gives good context of time. I would love to see that section as well whenever you have time.
 

Billy Batson

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Well, the music that starts with Gandalf and the others coming out from behind the rock is matched up with the same clip from the soundtrack album. There's a transition from the pulse-like beat to the fuller music when the angle changes to the overhead shot in the original. I shifted from the soundtrack on the film to the soundtrack from the album where the beat changes, so it sounds pretty much as composed--though I lowered the volume during the voiceover portion. Is that what you're talking about? 

I really have a tin ear when it comes to the audio, so it sounds okay to me. I realize from experience, however, that those who have a better ear for the stuff can tell the difference.


revel911 said:
To the 4th idea, I think the bringing back the scene of them seeing lights may help a bunch as it gives good context of time. I would love to see that section as well whenever you have time.

Here it is (same password, smaug):


Note: I noticed some flash frames in this render. I've gone back and fixed them already.

Thanks.
 

revel911

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Have you tried listening to the 2nd scene with headphones? Because you can clearly hear the shift in volume m, the fade and the slight alteration in music.

I like that 4th fix much better.
 

Billy Batson

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Unfortunately, I don't have headphones or external speakers on my PC, so the volume is quite low. I think I figured out what you're talking about, however. I'll re-rip the narrative scene from DoS in 6-channel sound and see if I can isolate the spoken words. If that doesn't work, I'll fool around with the fades.

Thanks for your help.

Edited to add (same password as above):


Is this better?
 
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