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Shang Chi and the Legacy of the Rings : Complete

tremault

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Hey all. So this is abrupt, but I felt reluctant to talk about this as I have had a lot of trouble doing any work over the last 8 months. I actually got inspired to do some work on this movie though. not sure why, I just seemed to have a really strong idea of what might improve it.
Shang Chi, in my opinion, is a mess. the story threads are too numerous and the editing of those story threads is very confusing. I felt like there was way too much emphasis on Katy and Trevor. The end monster battle was visual garbage. Some flashbacks felt like they disconnected the movie. the plot line of Wen Wu hearing his wife's voice is ridiculous, especially considering the fight between Shaun and him toward the end where he clearly doesn't think she's alive. it weakens his character, better for him to have reverted to his old ways and merely going after power.

so.... First I'll give an edit list and then a short clip.
I'm actually mostly finished with my initial edit, but I'll open the floor up to any and all thoughts, requests, etc. just like how I did with Captain Marvel.

my edit running time 114 mins (original runtime 132 mins, cut 18 mins)

edit list.
  • Inserted quote to set the mood.
  • Removed Wenwu meeting Shaun's mother in the intro sequence, as it confuses his character too soon.
  • Added Shaun's mother's death and him being shown how powerful and ruthless his father can be.
  • Removed valet scene,
  • Moved dinner and karaoke earlier and pared them down greatly.
  • Showed Shaun getting ready for work AFTER night out and then cut to him arriving at Katy's home.
  • Zoomed into postcard so it's easier to read.
  • Colour graded to make Deathdealer more prominent and recognisable.
  • Removed shots of Xialing training, Shaun was not aware of it.
  • Extended the flashback with clips from other flashback later in movie.
  • Removed air hostess.
  • Removed Wong and Abomination from fighting arena.
  • Removed Xialing's flashback.
  • Removed all references to who sent postcard.
  • Pared down the scaffolding scene, especially removing Katy's bad singing thing.
  • Removed the strange bit of tension where he has the ninja guy pinned to the floor
  • Removed Katy stating how 'scary' Wenwu was. There's no basis for this line from her.
  • Removed Wenwu's criticism's of the name' the Mandarin'.
  • Inserted Wenwu's first meeting with their mother immediately prior to his tale about family life. it seems to fit better there.
  • Removed all references to "I hear your mother's voice".
  • reframed Wenwu and introduced whispering voices when he mentions 'the gate'.
  • cut to 'water scene' earlier and carried the dialogue over to increase pacing.
  • reversed shot of Wenwu in the bedroom and colour graded, so I could reuse it later.
  • Removed the underground carpark 'chase'. it felt like needless additional action sequence and broke the pacing and structure of the movie IMO.
  • Trimmed Trevor's story about the monkeys. it dragged on.
  • removed more shots of Trevor in car.
  • Cut the bit with the 'horse' stopping the car and staring at Trevor.
  • Slightly reduced the hostility of the village upon their arrival.
  • Cut down Trevor announcing himself in village. Need to take attention away from him.
  • Removed Katy being taken to the archery area and told to start learning.
  • Inserted deleted scene 'Apology'.
  • Inserted Wenwu sitting on his bed at night time in contemplation.
  • Inserted some shots of the big lion things lazing on the grass, it looks like morning in that shot and it's a good establisher to suggest passage of time.
  • Removed Trevor teaching them football.
  • Introduced whispers to Wenwu scene, night before attack.
  • Removed Shauns flashback of his mother's death and him training as an assassin. It is all at the beginning now.
  • Removed Shaun saying "I'm going to kill him".
  • Removed Katy being told she can't fight.
  • Trimmed down the fight scenes a lot.
  • Inserted dialogue "You should've been there" at the culmination of Shaun's first fight with dad.
  • Added 'whispers' as Wenwu looks at gate just before he jumps.
  • Inserted small snippet of Shaun in the water just as a visual reminder of what the viewer should be caring about.
  • Removed Katy being 'allowed' to fight.
  • Inserted another snippet of Shaun underwater with the flashback of his mother reminding him about the dragon.
  • Rejigged the dragon emerging from the water so the villagers are watching the water a bit longer preparing to fight the soul eaters, to slightly increase tension.
  • Cut immediately from the dragon emerging, to the dragon advancing on the village taking out the soul eaters. It's meant to be badass.
  • During Shaun's fight with Wenwu before the gate, removed the cut back to the village, removing cowardly Trevor and just showing a wide shot of gate.
  • Removed villagers reactions to Dweller-in-Darkeness, this is an intimate moment between Wenwu and the thing that drew him here.
  • Removed Shaun's flashbacks to the moments with his dad, they all were kinda negatively loaded. Replaced them with the shots of the happy family before their mother died.
  • Removed Shaun colapsing the mouth of the gate. If it were that easy, they would have buried it long ago.
  • Cut majority of Dweller-in-Darkeness CGI fest, it is now a victory tour for Shaun after he won against his father.
  • Trimmed end dinner scene to remove Katy's brag about shooting the soul eater.
  • Inserted additional credits and edited title.
  • Edited 2nd end credits scene to include deleted scene "They're Waiting".

video of monster fight, greatly reduced. original time 5 minutes, edited time 2 minutes.
 
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mnkykungfu

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I'm good with that clip! This seems like a good edit for you, as your issues with the film seem very specific. I think I was more disappointed (mildly) with just kind of the overall tone, and I'm not entirely sure how that would play differently with your edit...just have to watch and see!

I remember there being a fair few lines that just seemed to be begging for the laugh rather than earning it...were you planning to trim any of the one-liners? What about deleted scenes; planning to use any of those? I rather liked the Apology scene to Shang-Chi's sister, but she also has a nice added scene to her end stinger, and the dinner scene with Razor Fist has potential, imho....
 

tremault

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Thanks for feedback!
I'm not sure what you mean about the tone, but when reviewing some of my edits, it feels better to me. I think the original edit feels very convoluted and 'heavy' to me, but then tries too hardy to be funny. So yeah, stripping out some of the forced humour and subplots makes it feel more light and focused for me. Not light as in cheerful, light as in easier to follow. It's hard to say though.
With regards to one liners, I can't think of anything that stands out for me, but I removed many small bits that I didn't document here. Is there a list somewhere?
Deleted scenes... They are generally problematic due to lack of post production, but I was thinking about possibly using the conversation between Katy and shauns sister (I can't recall her name)

I'm also going to post a short clip of a cut at the start that I'm struggling with the audio transition, I'll render that tomorrow.
 
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mnkykungfu

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Okay, firstly: technical stuff. Oddly enough, I literally just saw this in-the-works thread that's been going for quite awhile, and the editor talks about using Resolve and how not many people here seem to use it so he's going to include a lot of technical information to help. The first couple posts are loaded, and I believe a post on the very first page talks about exactly the issue you bring up.

In terms of Shang-Chi's tone, yeah, I think you and I are on the same page. I find that many of the newer Marvel projects are definitely guilty of what disgruntled netizens have accused them of for a long time: injecting egregious attempts at humor where they're neither wanted nor welcome. I think a lot of the MCU's early directors actually managed to balance the drama and the humor so that the latter provided a nice relief from the former, allowing it to blossom.

However, more recent Marvel directors do not have nearly the lengthy resumes and I think their inexperience leads to the films bouncing rapidly back and forth between moments of comedy cheese and the most dramatic of character moments. They're either guilty of turning their major characters all into wannabe Tony Stark quip machines, or putting the comedy off onto a side character whose literally only purpose in the film is to add comedy. In Shang-Chi, Katy definitely can be shoved into the latter category (as Awkwafina can in most films), but I think if you strip away some of her deliberate attempts at humor and just let the jokes come as a by-product of who she is, then it lets her stronger emotional role in the story rise to the surface. She's not really just comic relief here, despite some people's criticisms.

Also, about 80% of Trevor's lines are just scenery-chewing for the camera. I'd cut probably half of that. Wong fighting Abomination in an underground HK fight club makes literally zero sense for either character, or for this film. It's purely in there to juice an MCU audience who expects cameos now. I'd cut all of those two being in HK if possible. And honestly the soundtrack to this did very little for me and seemed designed to appeal to a Fast & Furious audience, it didn't seem to reflect the characters or story in any meaningful way, unlike for example the soundtrack for Black Panther...I'd rescore the film if I had my druthers, but I know that's a lot of work.
 

mnkykungfu

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^Also, to your comment about deleted scenes, I meant actual deleted scenes, not what a lot of people these days have been incorrectly calling that, when what they really are is "unfinished scenes". Shang-Chi has scenes that were actually completed and assembled for the rough cut, but then deleted out of that. I don't know what the file quality is, but they look just like the theatrical film.
 

tremault

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Thanks for the technical help, I actually removed that part of my post as I was advised it could potentially cause confusion with regards to how we rip our source files and site rules.

I hear you about the forced humour. yes I think we are on the same page here. That's another reason I excised most of Trevor and Katy. Trevor is now a bit character and Katy is Shaun's Friend dragged along for the ride. in the original, they feature too much, I made them more supporting roles.

changing music is certainly a lot of difficulty so I would like to avoid that ^^;

I hadn't considered cutting Wong out. he apears in the dressing room, it might be an abrupt cut from Shaun outside the ring to being inside the ring, but it's possible... however, the ending of the movie features Wong too, and it might feel abrupt having him suddenly appear in the movie, and if I take him out.... I'd have to lose the dinner scene. that could work, but I'd have no end credits scene either. it feels like an aggressive bit of editing... and tbh I feel like Wong fits in the movie. I feel like it is in character. If more people express a similar desire to remove him though.... I'll certainly keep it mind.

I'll have another look at the deleted scenes. the razorfist bit might give a good lead in to the conversation about names.

This part is a little troublesome. doing a transition from one music track to another seems jarring at first, but it might be okay. I did try using "lose control" for the first half of the clip leading into the second part where it was originally, but I lost all the foley and bg sounds and didn't fancy having to reintroduce all that, sourcing sfx from somewhere.
 

mnkykungfu

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^I think the musical transition isn't bad. I don't know that it's great, but if you didn't point it out and I was just watching, maybe I'd pay no notice.

Re: Wong, I actually love that he's in this film. In principal, it's a great crossover. Abomination: wtf? Abomination and Wong having any connection: double wtf? Wong fighting in some underground fighting ring also seems pretty far off from the all-business guardian of the library and sanctum that we've seen in the past. I mean, it's not horrible, but it's odd. It did occur to me that it might be hard to entirely remove him from that scene, particularly as he appears at the end and I don't think they all act like they've never met him. But maybe it can be edited so that they just run into him there rather than watching him fight? Or at least that we don't see him fighting Abomination? It just feels like really forced seeding, to
A. Remind people that Wong is in the MCU and Dr. Strange 2 is coming, and
B. Confirm that yes, the Abomination is still out there and will be getting used soon

It's all MCU franchise maintenance and has nothing to do with this story. So anyway, my thoughts behind cutting. I haven't rewatched this recently so not sure how much is actually possible to cut, but maybe with some zooming and cropping? I dunno.
 

tremault

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Thanks for your rationale, I actually agree that it seems odd. perhaps I can have his first appearance be in the changing rooms? it would certainly be possible to crop the shot trying to make abomination less recognisable? I only intend to release in 1080p so cropping is easy. I already zoomed in on the postcard because I found myself trying too hard to read the address where it says "Macau". I'll take a look and see what I can do to minimise this. It certainly raises unnecessary questions and potentially disturbs the flow.
looking at it now.... it does seem that wong could be removed from the fighting arena. and looking at the end scene, there doesn't seem to be any reliance on earlier scene. Shaun could easily be a fan of Wong from other major events he has been involved in.
Okay, I'm convinced. I'll do some cuts and see how it flows.
 

tremault

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Ok easy to remove Wong after all, and it flows quite well! I did notice I'd missed this flashback in the fight arena though and I feel like it's redundant so trying to take it out.... this transition is difficult. I need to show her walking past him and stopping, then I need to show the start of her twisting round. I tried removing the bit of her face when she turns but it ends up as a jarring jump cut so I'm trying this transition. It sort of works?? I had to line up the face but it looks like the field of view is different and the angle is lower. the blur transition i've added makes it appear as if the camera could be moving.... cross dissolve doesn't work, fade to black doesn't work. warping transition looks weird.

edit,
and here is what I'm doing With some fade to black transitions to hint that Wen Wu is not entirely stable. not sure if this is working as intended... it's been useful in a couple of edits that weren't working well so it's dual purpose XD
 
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mnkykungfu

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Re: the first clip, I agree with you: "it sort of works?" It is definitely a noticeable edit, though movies have noticeable edits all the time and it's just part of the flavor. The key point is if this sticks out from everything else in the edit.

You know, there's this great quote from the musician, Prince. He basically said, 'If I ever make a mistake when I'm playing, I just do the same thing a little later, and then again and I riff on it. And then it's never a mistake, it's style.'

That said, I wonder if something like a fade out/fade in wouldn't actually work better right there? It's similar to something you see in Asian films sometimes, where at a dramatic moment, they go into slow-motion and a fade to black, then quickly fade back up but with focus on the other character, then fade out again and back to the first character before going back to full speed, maybe even sped-up action. So it's like reaction shot->reaction shot->action! Not sure if my description makes sense and you've seen this before anywhere?

About the Wen Wu being under mental influence....hmm, personally, nothing about that technique resonates that way with me. Maybe for another viewer it will? I mean, I don't want to just recommend things already used elsewhere, but that kind of narrative shorthand does work for editing with limited material, I think. So, techniques I associate with mental influence are: frames with the person's face in focus but blurred edges all around them, shaky frames (often paired with white noise), lighting filters on them increasing in intensity like pulsing, quick-cutting angle to reverse angle on them when paired with underlying lots of whispers, and so on...
 

addiesin

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Thanks for the technical help, I actually removed that part of my post as I was advised it could potentially cause confusion with regards to how we rip our source files and site rules.

I hear you about the forced humour. yes I think we are on the same page here. That's another reason I excised most of Trevor and Katy. Trevor is now a bit character and Katy is Shaun's Friend dragged along for the ride. in the original, they feature too much, I made them more supporting roles.

changing music is certainly a lot of difficulty so I would like to avoid that ^^;

I hadn't considered cutting Wong out. he apears in the dressing room, it might be an abrupt cut from Shaun outside the ring to being inside the ring, but it's possible... however, the ending of the movie features Wong too, and it might feel abrupt having him suddenly appear in the movie, and if I take him out.... I'd have to lose the dinner scene. that could work, but I'd have no end credits scene either. it feels like an aggressive bit of editing... and tbh I feel like Wong fits in the movie. I feel like it is in character. If more people express a similar desire to remove him though.... I'll certainly keep it mind.

I'll have another look at the deleted scenes. the razorfist bit might give a good lead in to the conversation about names.

This part is a little troublesome. doing a transition from one music track to another seems jarring at first, but it might be okay. I did try using "lose control" for the first half of the clip leading into the second part where it was originally, but I lost all the foley and bg sounds and didn't fancy having to reintroduce all that, sourcing sfx from somewhere.
Why not just continue playing the first song, or recut that first part to fit the second song?
 

tremault

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hehe, so the fade to black could work there, rather than where I used it XD
that's good though, I mean it's good to get it working well.
A later moment where I used the fade to black on Wen Wu is where I needed a cut but it's a jump cut. I've always loved Robert Rodriguez's jump cuts in Dusk til Dawn so Maybe I'll reframe the shot so it has a similar effect? I do think the whispering voices thing is good though. I have to pay attention to the audio more, I know how powerful it can be.

Why not just continue playing the first song, or recut that first part to fit the second song?
Thanks Adiesin, that was my first thought too. when I did it though, it was apparent how much of the other sounds were absent, so I'd have to reintroduce them. I guess I could bite the bullet and do a bit of audio work there. I guess it doesn't need to be super precise.
 
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tremault

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ok I think this works better...
I reused the shot of Shaun's face, zoomed in to differentiate.

also cleaned up the other edits of wen wu, either removing the transition or changing to a cross fade and adding whispers.
going to play with that beginning bit with the music, I might cut the 'getting dressed' bit, or maybe restore a little bit of the original and somehow using the car for a transition. failing that, I'll work the audio.

edit:
couldn't find any good candidates for different cut points so audio it is. I cloned some background audio from elsewhere in the scene and it seems to do well enough.
 
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mnkykungfu

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Yeah, I think the top preview works much better, and it's very close to what I was thinking about, just a little subtler.

The bottom preview works great!
 

tremault

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Awesome. Well I have another issue I need to address before I'm done. For some reason none of my audio cross fades are making it into the renders, so I think I'm going to have to do them manually. Shouldn't be too much of a bother, so I should have a full draft preview ready tomorrow.
 

tremault

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Okay then! I have a first preview ready to go! Now I'd like to ask, are any of you fine people wiling to take a look at this first version? :)

I can create a more detailed edit list if it will help, adding timecodes to my edits. does that make previewing more attractive?
 
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tremault

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OK, got a full edit list so if you would like to preview it, you can easily find all the edits.


full edit list :-
00:00:00,000 --> FE warning
00:00:06,465 --> quote on love
00:00:47,130 --> shortened pause after marvel logo
00:03:06,478 --> removed finding vilage, meeting mother
00:04:31,146 --> inserted mother gets murdered and shaun gets trained and sent on mission
00:11:00,536 --> cut to close up of postcard
00:11:03,038 --> replaced music for intro to modern life
00:23:24,196 --> removed air stewardess
00:27:21,683 --> cut wong fighting abomination
00:27:58,470 --> cut changing rooms
00:29:53,043 --> removed flashback to "i'll be back in 3 days"
00:29:56,755 --> inserted close up of Shaun's face
00:31:50,244 --> removed "why did you send me this"
00:31:56,750 --> removed " i didn't send this"
00:33:28,717 --> trimmed nauseating camera movement
00:33:48,737 --> trimmed some action that felt boring
00:33:54,201 --> cut Katy singing
00:34:01,834 --> cut to Katy in peril
00:34:11,218 --> cut to Shaun immediately reacting
00:36:52,087 --> cut Shaun contemplating killing ninja
00:39:50,516 --> cut flashback of daddy promising the rings when he's strong
00:40:51,034 --> removed "he didn't know my name"
00:40:55,122 --> inserted "the mandarin"
00:41:21,899 --> inserted flashback of finding vlilage and meeting mom
00:42:52,447 --> removed their mother's voiceover
00:47:53,332 --> removed reference to mother's voice
00:48:06,678 --> took audio into next scene to keep pace
00:49:19,501 --> removed reference to mom's voice
00:50:11,803 --> cut scene short to use later
00:50:49,550 --> removed reference to mom's voice
00:55:40,966 --> cut car park scene
00:55:46,471 --> removed reference to mom
00:56:32,059 --> Cut Shaun's criticisms of Trevor's story
01:00:39,056 --> cut the car stopping for the dumb horse bit
01:01:41,702 --> inserted short section of villagers drawing weapons, earlier
01:01:47,708 --> cut immediately to Nan telling them to stand down.
01:03:15,337 --> inserted close up of gate
01:03:17,923 --> removed references to mom's voice
01:03:22,386 --> cut reaction shot that felt odd
01:05:50,659 --> cut shots of village for later and removed katy arriving at archery
01:07:11,031 --> regraded these scenes to give a hint that it is becoming twilight
01:08:24,771 --> inserted night scene of Wen Wu on bed, with voices taken out
01:08:44,166 --> inserted shots of village
01:11:43,220 --> inserted demonic whispers
01:11:46,807 --> put in cross fade to suggest mind tricks
01:12:17,462 --> removed flashback (it's at the start)
01:15:33,283 --> removed katy being told she can't fight
01:16:23,041 --> removed references to mom's voice
01:20:51,268 --> removed "if she were alive"
01:21:16,919 --> removed voice
01:21:41,193 --> inserted shot of Shaun underwater
01:23:31,720 --> removed Katy being allowed to fight
01:23:42,356 --> inserted clip of Shaun underwater
01:23:51,198 --> added effects to memories
01:24:26,900 --> trimmed shots for pacing
01:24:29,903 --> removed reaction shots and excessive focus on Katy
01:24:32,239 --> cut some shots of Shaun underwater for earlier insertion
01:24:38,912 --> added effects to memories
01:25:26,668 --> inserted shot of vilagers getting ready for battle
01:25:50,609 --> cut some battle shots to increase triumph of dragon
01:26:36,738 --> cut end of shot for reaction later
01:26:39,074 --> inserted reaction shot to replace reference to mother
01:27:13,984 --> trimmed battle shots
01:27:28,916 --> removed Trevor the coward
01:29:59,399 --> shuffled shots and audio to remove references to mom's voice
01:30:19,294 --> removed voice
01:30:38,522 --> removed villager reaction shots and inserted Wen Wu reaction shot
01:30:44,194 --> removed Wen Wu reaction shot
01:31:17,978 --> replaced father and son shots with happy family shots
01:32:07,694 --> cut masses of rocks falling
01:32:09,404 --> cut nauseating camera movement
01:32:24,837 --> flipped shot of Shaun
01:32:25,379 --> removed dropping rocks over dark gate, why would it be that easy??
01:33:14,887 --> Cut the whole sucking the dragon's soul bit
01:33:23,687 --> cut nauseating sequence of shaun jumping around on soul sucker/water dragons
01:37:05,409 --> cut descriptions of battle that didn't happen in my edit
01:39:15,122 --> inserted fanedit credits
01:40:39,832 --> edited title
01:43:06,812 --> further edit to credits because other edit could be missed easily?
 

stferguson78

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ok I think this works better...
I reused the shot of Shaun's face, zoomed in to differentiate.

also cleaned up the other edits of wen wu, either removing the transition or changing to a cross fade and adding whispers.
going to play with that beginning bit with the music, I might cut the 'getting dressed' bit, or maybe restore a little bit of the original and somehow using the car for a transition. failing that, I'll work the audio.

edit:
couldn't find any good candidates for different cut points so audio it is. I cloned some background audio from elsewhere in the scene and it seems to do well enough.
The top clip looks good now, very exciting project!
 

stferguson78

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If only it was possible to completely remove Trevor and that bizarre little furry winged creature…
 

tremault

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If only it was possible to completely remove Trevor and that bizarre little furry winged creature…
agreed. unfortunately, they are required for getting through the forest. I have tried to reduce their roles as much as possible, whilst also allowing them to fit into the narrative flow. I'd like to have removed more, but when I took out some shots, it made their presence seem more like an obvious 'device' rather than part of the narrative flow.
 
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