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Jason and the Argonauts: B+ Movie Edition

The Scribbling Man

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full


Edit completed!

Here's the cutlist, for those that would like to see it ahead of IFDB:

THE GIST

- Numerous tiny trims for pacing, without cutting any scenes and retaining the majority of shots (unless repeated)
- Minor tweaks to one or two lines of dialogue (most significant being Medea doesn't profess love to Jason), otherwise the narrative is intact and how you remember it.
- Various visual adjustments to aid timing, smooth animation etc.

FULL-ISH CUTLIST

Soooo many tweaks made I can't possibly list them all. Lots of tiny trims. The following is not exhaustive, but probably the majority of tweaks I can recall or have remembered to take note of. Specifics on tweaks to animation are not listed below but detailed elsewhere (but 80% of what's there has had some kind of processing done. only a handful of shots remain untouched. If not touched this is mainly because I wasn't able to make a significant improvement or I wanted to keep it from uncanny valley).

- 0:00 - added source warning
- 0:14 - added FE logo
- 0:26 - added scribbling man credit to titles
- 0:35 - added "B+" title
- 4:10 - 5:00 - several trims to raid and temple entrance/tweaks to timing of shots
- 4:47 - Cut soldier awkwardly running around with baby, then pausing in front of Hermes. It also slows the pacing of the scene and feels better to cut back and forth more between the woman running away and her pursuer
- 7:20 - trimmed transition to Olympus
- 9:09 - minor trim
- 9:23 - General trims and slightly altered the convoluted almost-drowning of Polias. Hera frightens the horse, sending him flying into the water, then Jason dives in to rescue him. Nothing more.
- 9:46 - cut random reference to Hera's presence in the water (slight reworking of audio to accommodate)
- 10:27 - cut Hera's reappearance
- Somewhere between the above and below takes, a wobble frame was fixed. Can't remember where it was though!
- 15:06 - Trimmed Herme's transformation
- 15:23 - trimmed Herme's ascension
- 15:30 - trimmed shot
- 15:33 - trimmed shot
- 15:37 - trimmed Jason's ascension (we don't see the Olympus cloud montage for a 2nd time. Re-timed and replaced explosion sound for when Jason ascends)
- 16:11 - trimmed Hermes arrival and approaching Zeus
- 16:17 - Generally there are some trims to this sequence to help the pacing and reduce awkward pauses in dialogue (I assume brought on by FX shots of tiny Jason needing to be filmed separately)
- 16:22 - trimmed Hermes opening hand
- 16:26 - cut repeated shots of Zeus and Jason.
- 16:29 - Cut "welcome to Olympus, Jason"
- 16:36 - masked Hermes so that he walks away sooner, allowing for tweaks to Jason and Zeus' dialogue
- 16:38 - 16:43 - Trimmed unnatural gaps with Jason and Zeus' exchange (rearranged Herme's footsteps to accommodate continuity)
- 17:01 - minor trim
- 18:36 - minor trim
- 19:23 - Extended crowd noise before the announcement of Hercules
- 19:25 - Cut Hercules saying "he's here" (weird 3rd person line, and poor FX shot)
- 19:46 - Cut Hylas looking about and saying "Hercules... yes....". We go straight to him meeting him in the crowd.
- 21:04 - Hercules' discus now hits the rock and falls straight down (previously it went up and then down, making it very obvious that it was on a string)
- 21:28 - cut repeated shots of gods laughing and Hera looking into pool
- 22:11 - bad slo-mo shot of flag has been interpolated to look a lot smoother
- 23:07 - Hera figurehead does not open her eyes during this first meeting (it's more mysterious when stationary, and the jerky motion makes it look cheap)
- 23:37 - Hera does not move her eyes
- 23:48 - trims to travel montage
- 24:09 - Trimmed Hera watching
- 24:30 - Trimmed Argos looking at sun
- 27:45 - Trimmed arrival montage
- 28:00 - trimmed shot
- 28:09 - trimmed shot
- 28:13 - cut repeated shot
- 28:20 - fixed jarring audio cut inherent in the original film
- 29:07 - Trimmed goats running away
- 29:14 - trimmed Hercules getting up. trimmed running through greenery
- 29:21 - music cue for Talos now occurs just before we see him as we see characters looking up. Introduces a brief sense of anticipation for the viewer.
- 29:26 - Trimmed shots of Talos/Cut repeated shots of Talos
- 29:41 - moved some of the character dialogue so that it is spoken as they walk.
- 29:46 - Removed repeat shot of Talos and shots of characters in greenery when they have already moved beyond it (jarring location continuity). The two shots of them walking from a distance have been merged into a single shot and new frames created to fill the gap.
- 29:54 - cut repeated shot of Talos and repeated shot of them in greenery again (despite plainly being on gravel by the entrance to the trove in the shot prior)
- 30:02 - after Hylas calls Hercules, we cut to the distance shot of him signalling for him to follow (whereas previously there was another shot of them slowly walking before this happened)
- 30:09 - slight trim. The shot doesn't need to linger on Hercules loitering
- 30:28 - Trimmed entrance to treasure trove
- 31:46 - Trimmed backing out of trove
- 31:53 - trimmed shot of circling with spears. Trimmed shot of Hercules
- 31:56 - Trimmed time it takes for Talos to react
- 32:00 - Trimmed Hercules response. Trimmed backing away

Listing every cut on Talos will take me till I'm 80. Let's just say A LOT was trimmed. Practically every shot. Plenty of repeated shots removed. A rough overview/some specifics:

- Trimmed hiding in cave
- cut shot of hiding in cave
- Various trims to people running/rowing away
- Trimmed Talos grabbing people
- Cut repeated shot of ship
- 34:47 - Man now screams and falls back AFTER Talos grabs the boat
- Sped up shot of Jason unplugging the heel
- Sped up shot of Talos looking at people
- Removed several shots of Talos dying, and moved one of his more satisfying screams to go underneath kept shots
- 39:34 - increased framerate, slowed down and removed certain frames in order to make Talos's crash to the ground look more "weighty" and less like he's made of plastic.

- 40:10 - Trimmed montage
- 41:34 - Hercules leaves boat quicker
- 42:24 - Movement of Hera's eyes smoothed
- 43:20 - Montage trim!
- 44 :15 - 45:39 - several trims to improve pacing of Harpies entrance and attack
- 46:24 - trimmed shot of soldiers running towards ruins
- 47:53 - trimmed transition into Harpie night attack
- 48:03-49:54 - general trims for pacing throughout
- 49:50 - fixed glitchy Harpie wing on right-hand side (but kept left-hand movement, based on lapis molari's feedback)
- 51:06 - cut repeated shot of harpies

The clashing rocks sequence is probably the most pacey, laborious sequence in the entire film. A LOT of trims here.

- 51:45 -52:38 - general trims as ship pulls into clashing rocks
- 53:31 - 54:21 - trimmed destruction of ship
- 53:53 - Acastus doesn't pull the rope to kill the man on the masthead, but he doesn't make any move to save him. (While he is there to sabotage the mission, it seems silly that he would look for opportunities to kill crewmen when his own life is at risk along with the rest of the ship. Also - it's a badly executed bit of physical acting that I couldn't read initially)
- 55:27 - cut repeated shots of Jason and boat
- 55:36 - cut several repeated shots of boat and crew
- 56:31 -58:05 - trims, trims and more trims
- 58:05 - cut several repeated shots
- 59:07 - trimmed rescue of Medea from sea

- 1:03:06ish - in the original film their swords clash here and there is no sound. Now there is!
- 1:03:56 - Trimmed Euphemus diving after Acastus
- 1:05:19 - Trimmed Jason's wound healing
- 1:05:32 - 1:07:17 - Cut repeated shots of Jason watching dance - it mostly plays out uninterrupted (but still trimmed!) a few tricky audio edits here
- 1:07:17 - 1:07:34 - trimmed king's entrance
- 1:08:05 - trims to address
- 1:08:10 - shot of Jason swapped for one of the king
- 1:09:06 - trimmed festivities
- 1:11:05 - trimmed Medea's reaction and entrance to the temple
- 1:13:28 - this marks what (believe it or not) was probably the most difficult audio edit across the film. It's also the most major narrative tweak and I was toying with whether to make it or not. Essentially, Medea no longer confesses she loves Jason, so that is not the reason for going with him. The emphasis is now on the fact that she has betrayed her country, and has no choice but to leave with them when they go. Bunch of tweaks to scoring and playing with reverb to get room ambience right here.
- 1:14:22 - trimmed escape and guards entrance
- 1:15:11 - trimmed shot of Acastus
- 1:15:28 - trimmed shot of boat
- 1:16:11 - small trim to Jason walking up to tree
- 1:16:16 - 1:18:14 - numerous trims to Hydra sequence, cut repeated shots... you know the drill
- 1:18:14 - here you normally have a shot of the dead hydra, a repeat shot of Jason, a repeat shot of Medea, a repeat shot of the dead hydra, a repeat shot of Medea, and then Jason walking towards Medea. This is the kind of pacey editing that I've tried to combat throughout the entire edit. In this instance, it's ONE shot of the dead Hydra, none of the recycled shots, and straight to a trimmed shot of Jason walking towards Medea.
- 1:18:16 - the shot of Jason walking towards Medea is broken up with a shot of Medea, just after we see Jason and her exchange glances from a distance. We then cut back and Jason runs towards her.
- 1:18:56 - slight trim to soldiers moving through woods
- 1:19:24 - trimmed getting fleece
- 1:19:28 - trimmed shots of Aeetes, and Jason and co running away
- 1:19:28 - 1:19:49 - general trims etc to improve pacing of the soldiers running through woods and Jason and co running away
- 1:20:12 - in the original film a repeat shot of the Hydra's teeth falling from the sky is very obviously looped. We now see it ONCE
- 1:20:16 - trimmed shot of flames and a couple of quick trims to reaction shots
- 1:20:22 - trims to flames
- 1:20:46 - trimmed fetching the Hydras teeth (I can't even believe how slow they make this simple action)
- 1:21:11 - 1:21:23 - trims to cliff chase
- 1:21:33 - emphasised/added sound effect when arrow is pulled out from Medea (you can't really hear anything in the original)
- 1:21:54 - trimmed reaction shots
- 1:22:04 - trimmed healing of Medea (and cut "it's true! it really does have the power to heal!")

1:23:09 - 1:27:13 - Skeletons/Hydra's teeth:

- Generally, people don't stop and stare and wait for the dead to rise, they are much more active. For example, at 1:23:20 - 1:23:35, the order for Argos to take Medea down to the ship is normally followed by them drawing their swords - and then they just stare. Here, the order comes first and they back off a bit. Then we cut to the finishing of the sowing of the teeth, and then they draw their swords in readiness. A bit more cutting back and forth gives a better sense of pacing and reaction to what's going on.
- lots of trims to the actual raising of the skeletons, which is incredibly slow in the original. Reactions shots are cut or re-ordered.
- Lots less of King Aeetes saying "there!" and "another one!"
- There are some general trims to the approach of the skeletons
- The fight itself has some trims here and there. In general, it is probably the best-edited sequence in the theatrical film. Really nicely choreographed and paced. I just made some slight pacing tweaks, but a lot of it is actually intact
- Animation enhancements have been applied throughout the majority of shots. Mostly motion blur. Only a handful of shots have had interpolation here.
- 1:25:31 - 1:25:35 - a lot of work was done here to correct the reaction time of the soldier. It's very slight, but whereas before he looked like he was obeying the choreography and raising his sword to block before the skeleton attacked, he now raises his sword AS the skeleton attacks.

Following the skeleton fight, the final ending is basically intact.

Latest trailer:


Original announcement post:

A way overdue announcement for B+ edit #4. I honestly didn't intend to keep this secret, I've just been terrible at getting round to posting a context-giving thread.

I started this quite a while ago and have been chipping away at it slowly. It had essentially been something for me to run to for comfort whenever my Thing from 1951 project made me cry.

As of a few weeks ago this was more or less completed, but it remains unreleased because I've been wanting to experiment with improving the movement on some stop motion shots. That experiment has been started and has been largely successful, but some of the work going into that has been quite tedious, so I've been taking a break from it.

I'm pretty focused on my Thing edit currently, but this is far from forgotten and will find its way to IFDB in the not too distant future.



Intention:
Jason and The Argonauts treads a fine line between b movie and fantasy epic, but it's definitely a b movie in spirit; and many aspects such as the acting, the plot and the presence of Harryhausen's effects give it a familiarity with some of his earlier monster movies from the 50's.

For those unfamiliar with my slowly growing B+ Movie edits, the aim is to improve upon the film without making drastic changes to the narrative. Lots of small cuts and trims and tweaks to improve pacing, remove or improve lesser FX shots etc. The ideas thread for the series (somewhat dusty) can be found here.

Similarly to my approach with Creature From The Black Lagoon, no scenes have been removed and, unless otherwise stated, all shots are retained. The drop in runtime chiefly comes from shortening the lengths of shots or removing repeated/recycled shots (of which there are a lot). A small amount of dialogue has been tweaked and details will be specified once I've finalised a cutlist. In total, at least 16 minutes have been removed approx, but the film should more or less be how you remember it - only better paced!

This will be the first HD entry in the B+ series, and it is also the first entry to feature stop motion, of which (where possible) I have been using RIFE and DAIN to increase the framerate of the animation to allow for smoother motion. By this, I do not mean anything quite as extreme as throwing the film into a program and increasing everything to 60fps, of which there are examples on youtube. The whole film remains at 23.976 fps and any stop motion that drops to a lower framerate is brought up to match the rest of the action. Sometimes when footage is already at peak framerate but still looks jittery, some frames are discarded and replaced with smoother ones. Where animation is on-screen with live-action, the animated footage is masked out separately so that the live-action footage is not affected by these changes. The result is often subtle, but worthwhile IMO.

I have not been going crazy with this, and in some instances I did not think the change was a welcome one. So I've been trying to apply this sparingly and carefully, sometimes going frame by frame to remove/swap out failed frames and keep it from looking like it's gone through a gimmick blender. If frames start blurring or distorting and I can't make it work, I don't force it.

I realise this is a controversial move, and I expect it won't appeal to everyone. Harryhausen was a master and I love his work. This is merely an experiment. I'm open to criticism and I'd be very interested to hear people's thoughts when I share some results.


Examples

I'll dish out more examples at some stage, but for now here is a sample of Talos, trimmed and with the new changes to some of the animation applied (not final quality):


Here is the original for comparison (from 1:38):


The stop motion experiment is in early days, so I won't share too much of that just yet. The work on the above clip is on the more subtle side. Once I've spent some more time on it I'll upload a side by side comparison of shots from different scenes.
 
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lapis molari

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In your above clip, I love the restrained amount of smoothing. There are similar efforts on youtube that are too smooth for my taste, that look distractingly manipulated.
Thank you for turning this into a better 1963 movie, instead of a 2021 movie. :)
 

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Interesting concept; will definitely be looking forward to updates.

I'd like to see your technique on something like the Hydra. Talos is a giant robot, so the jerkiness of his animation actually works better. But a smoothly flowing creature like Hydra may benefit more from your work.
 

The Scribbling Man

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Interesting concept; will definitely be looking forward to updates.

I'd like to see your technique on something like the Hydra. Talos is a giant robot, so the jerkiness of his animation actually works better. But a smoothly flowing creature like Hydra may benefit more from your work.

I agree and that's one of the reasons why I didn't want to go berserk on Talos. I've done a little on the hydra; it's a bit trickier and I think can go wrong more easily because there's a lot of motion to process with the heads criss-crossing etc, but there are a couple of shots I've done which I think are looking nice.
 

DigModiFicaTion

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Just when you thought The Scribbling Man couldn't possibly get any cooler....Jason and the Scribblingnauts! :) Would love for you to tackle the old Sinbad movies after this!
 

Dwight Fry

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This is so great! I love that more people are doing classic film fanedits! (Mainly TM2YC and yourself, until I get to make a bunch once I get myself running again). I must say that I find no fault whatsoever in any Harryhausen effects (the movies themselves, in the non-FX sections, often have room for improvement, though) but I'm all for this take!
 

The Scribbling Man

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Here are a couple of blind comparisons for the work I've done on the stop motion. Some I'm happy with, others I'm not too sure. The differences are generally quite subtle, so I'm curious how it looks to people.

Live action portions of shots are left alone, only animation is affected. In some cases, part of the animation is affected, while another part isn't (Eg. one Hydra head might be left as, while another is altered).

 

lapis molari

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Here's my 2 cents (viewed on a 24" monitor):
1) Creature flies off pillar: wings are a little smoother in A, but the head movement is much calmer in B. B wins.
2) Two creatures enter ruin: B is smoother. B wins.
3) Wingflapping under net: The excited movement of the left creature is better in A, but the right creature's rapid flickering near the end detracts from A (it looks like a computer glitch). Either one.
4) Two creatures in cage: B looks smoother, and A has an arm that glitches same as above. B wins.
5) Jason approaches cage: B looks smoother in the face and chest of the main creature, but the difference is hard to notice because the shadows of the bars on the wings are distracting in both. Small win for B.
6) Hydra: In see no clear difference in the close-up shot. In the wide shot, A has slightly jerkier motion in the necks. Small win for B.
7) Hydra cont'd: Wide shots again have a little smoother neck movement in B. Small win for B.
 

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This will be the first HD entry in the B+ series, and it is also the first entry to feature stop motion, of which (where possible) I have been using RIFE and DAIN to increase the framerate of the animation to allow for smoother motion. By this, I do not mean anything quite as extreme as throwing the film into a program and increasing everything to 60fps, of which there are examples on youtube. The whole film remains at 23.976 fps and any stop motion that drops to a lower framerate is brought up to match the rest of the action. Sometimes when footage is already at peak framerate but still looks jittery, some frames are discarded and replaced with smoother ones. Where animation is on-screen with live-action, the animated footage is masked out separately so that the live-action footage is not affected by these changes. The result is often subtle, but worthwhile IMO.

I've been wondering for a while whether anyone would try that. So far, your experiments look great.

^^ I watched the first Sinbad movie the other day, but I haven't seen the sequels. They're high on my list to watch!

In my opinion, the best of the bunch is "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad". I think it has the overall best cast, best story, and even best effects. Your frame interpolation techniques could maybe make the effects look even better, though. It's been a while since I've seen it, so I'm not sure whether or not it would benefit from your style of trims for pacing. If you do edit it, I hope you don't trim any shots of Caroline Munro. 😁
 

The Scribbling Man

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Thanks all. Really appreciate the encouragement. And thanks @lapis molari for the detailed feedback. So you know:

All of A is entirely unprocessed - AKA the original footage.

  1. I might need to double check, but I think once the harpie starts flying, the wings are the same in both, as they were the only part of the harpie I didn't process (the software doesn't do well with their flapping movement).
  2. Glad this looks good. I feel it's one of the better examples.
  3. I wasn't sure about this one. glad you agree on the twitchiness of the original. It looks funny. Maybe I can look into having the original movement on the left but my more tamed movement on the right.
  4. Glad that looks alright. Where abouts is the arm glitch?
  5. I keep thinking my processed version looks off because of the shadows. But it's interesting that you felt they looked odd in both versions.

As for the Hydra, I thought these were the most obviously smooth looking, so interesting that you found this to be the most subtle. I guess the important thing is that overall you generally are seeing B as an improvement. It's getting hard for me to tell since I'm staring at these clips for so long!

@addiesin I was actually having a look into motion blur yesterday. Unfortunately, Vegas' default motion blur kind of sucks. Do you happen to know of any free alternatives that I might be able to try?
 

The Scribbling Man

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^^ interesting that that should get posted today! It seems they used DaVinci for motion blur, so I'll have a play with that for the harpie wings. Thanks for sharing.
 

The Scribbling Man

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I did look go back to this not too long ago. It's really just a case of slowly working my way through the hydra stop motion (not tons I can do with that particular sequence, but still takes time) and then having a play with motion blur on the harpies. It's probably a day or two's worth of work, but I don't have a lot of time at the moment. Otherwise it is finished really. I'm hoping not to drag it out for too long. :)

I have a masters presentation this Friday, and then a chunk of admin, promo and recording to do for my band. Hopefully that'll be less intense as the weeks go on and I can spend a bit more time on fanediting before the end of the year...
 

The Scribbling Man

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Almost there. Rendered out my final audio. Currently rendering what will be my penultimate video. I think I've done all I can with what I was trying to do with the stop motion. I've still got the motion blur to do (if it works), but then it'll just be some little bits to sort like the poster and IFDB info etc... I'll try and put together a little demo or trailer or something at some point.
 

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If you plan to make edits of any of Harryhausen's three Sinbad movies, "Mysterious Island", "It Came from Beneath the Sea", "The First Men in the Moon", "The 3 Worlds of Gulliver", or "20 Million Miles to Earth", I would highly recommend using the Indicator/Powerhouse Blu-ray editions as your source. They are made from newer, higher-quality transfers than older releases (such as the Twilight Time releases) and are all-around the best versions available.

They are available on various websites such as Amazon, and can also be purchased directly from the Powerhouse website here:

https://www.powerhousefilms.co.uk/collections/harryhausen
 

The Scribbling Man

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I have seen all of those (except for the 2nd sinbad movie), and "It Came From Beneath The Sea" and "20 Million Miles to Earth" have been high on my list for a while (along with "The Beast from 20,000 fathoms". I own the former two on Indicator blu-ray and the latter on Premium Collection blu-ray. All look great to me. I'll also probably tackle sinbad at some stage (I have the first on Indicator, but not the other two as of yet).
 
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The Scribbling Man

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For some reason I find it really awkward to get my head around the way Davinci works. But from what I've managed to play with so far, motion blur looks promising (but is taking much longer than I thought).

Here is our introduction to the harpies. There are several trims for pacing throughout, some adjustment to the frames of the animation for the initial arrival of the harpies, and varying degrees of motion blur has been used on and off throughout. Generally, it isn't (or won't be) affecting anything except the harpies, but I'm not quite finished with all the masking yet. In some cases it is just affecting the wings of the harpies. It only affects them when they are in quick motion.

 
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