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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Arkenstone Edition

kerr

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A Wizard is never late, nor is he early – he arrives precisely when he means to. So here, finally, is the long-expected (or maybe unexpected, by now) “Arkenstone Edition” of the second Hobbit film, “The Desolation of Smaug”.
 
Brief synopsis:
 
The belated follow-up to my “Arkenstone Edition” of AUJ, this edit aims to remove the bloat and improve the pacing of “The Desolation of Smaug”, while still retaining all the additional characters and storylines found in Peter Jackson’s retelling of the story.
 
Intention:
 
As with my AUJ edit, this is not a purist edition, but an attempt to improve upon Peter Jackson’s story. I wanted to keep Legolas, Tauriel, Dol Guldur and other material that many previous edits have removed entirely, but reworking these elements to make them work in the larger story that Peter Jackson is telling, and not be the annoying digressions I found them to be in the original version of DoS.
 
I’ve tried to keep the focus on Bilbo, Thorin and Gandalf as much as possible, while still making room for characters like Tauriel, Legolas, Bard and their stories (but making sure they never overshadow our main storylines). The last 45 minutes or so have also been reworked heavily to improve the pacing, and I've replaced the sequence in the forges with Smaug’s rampage in Laketown from the beginning of BotFA as the climax of the film.
 
Like I did with AUJ, I’ve also restored a lot of Howard Shore’s fantastic music that Peter Jackson decided not to use. The music editing in DoS wasn’t as much of a mess as it was in AUJ, but there are a lot of weird starts and stops in the music that don’t really work, so I think my restored soundtrack is much more coherent and effective, and more in line with the musical landscape of the LotR films.


Cutlist:

-        The entire film has been color corrected to make it less dark and gloomy. I actually liked the bright and vibrant colors of AUJ, so I’ve tried to give DoS a similar color palette.
-        Used the EE version of the meeting in Bree.
-        Restored music to Gandalf meeting Thorin.
-        Trimmed the Moria flashback and replaced some footage with shots from AUJ.
-        Added exposition about the seven dwarf rings from the council scene in AUJ. I didn’t think the ring exposition would be necessary, so I didn’t include it in AUJ, but I was able to use it here, where I think it fits better anyway.
-        Restored music to the company seeking refuge in Beorn’s house.
-        Trimmed Bolg’s warg snarling at Azog.
-        Slight change to subtitles for Bolg’s Black Speech to set up the Eye of Sauron. Sauron hasn’t really been properly set up in these films (and especially not in my AUJ edit, where I removed all the name-dropping completely), so I’ve tried to make the buildup to his appearance work a bit better.
-        Cut Bilbo looking at the Ring in Beorn’s house.
-        Azog’s arrival in Dol Guldur has been moved to a bit later.
-        Included the EE scene of the Dwarves meeting Beorn.
-        Changed music for Beorn changing back to human form from one of Sauron’s theme to one of Beorn’s themes, since this scene is no longer preceded by the Dol Guldur scene.
-        Included the EE scene of Gandalf and Beorn discussing the Necromancer.
-        Cut Bilbo being tempted by the ring outside Mirkwood.
-        Gandalf discovering the Eye of Sauron painted on the Elven statue has been altered , using dialogue from Beorn instead of Galadriel, and Gandalf also identifies the Eye as the Eye of Sauron.
-        As the Company enters Mirkwood, we cut to Azog meeting the Necromancer in Dol Guldur.
-        Restored music to Azog and the Necromancer.
-        Changed audio and subtitles of the Necromancer’s dialogue. I found the original dialogue to be quite vague and confusing, so I rewrote the dialogue to make everything a bit clearer, and then inserted some Black Speech lines by Benedict Cumberbatch from the Appendices to match the new dialogue (in sound, at least, if not in content).
-        Used the longer Mirkwood sequence from the EE.
-        Restored music to the spider encounter.
-        Bilbo still loses the ring in Mirkwood, but doesn’t encounter and kill a spider creature.
-        Added faint whispers of “Baggins…” from the Ring once Bilbo has recovered it. I wanted to keep some of the mystery and ominous aura surrounding the Ring, without going as overboard as the original version.
-        Restored music to Legolas’ intro.
-        Cut Gloin’s and Legolas’ banter about Gimli.
-        As the dwarves are locked up in the cells of the Woodland Realm, we cut straight to Thorin meeting Thranduil.
-        Added a bit of dialogue for Thranduil: “It has been a long time since Thorin Oakenshield traveled so far east… for what purpose?”
-        Cut Tauriel’s scene with Thranduil.
-        The nighttime scene between Tauriel and Kili has been recut to remove Legolas. I had to reorder the dialogue to make this work, but I think it works even better this way.
-        Several cuts and trims to the barrel scene, as well as added music.
-        Cut Tauriel and Legolas capturing an Orc and bringing him back to Thranduil.
-        After the barrel scene, we cut straight to the Dwarves getting out of the barrels and meeting Bard.
-        Restored music to the Dwarves negotiating with Bard.
-        After the scene with Bard, we cut to Gandalf exploring the tombs.
-        Replaced Gandalf’s mention of “the Ringwraiths” with “the Nine”. Calling them Ringwraiths at this point is just confusing.
-        After the Gandalf/Radagast scene, we cut to Bolg and the Orcs tracking the Dwarves, and then straight to the Dwarves hidden inside Bards’ fish barrels, skipping some unnecessary scenes.
-        Cut all of the Master’s scenes before the Dwarves are brought before him.
-        Cut the Master’s elaborate “spy network” – now it’s just the two fishermen outside Bard’s house.
-        Restored music to Bard reuniting with his daughters.
-        Recolored the flashbacks to Girion to match the style used for flashbacks elsewhere in the film.
-        Cut straight from Thorin’s “Where are the weapons?” to Bard laying said weapons on the table, skipping the scene where he leaves to find the weapons.
-        Cut the scene with Tauriel and Legolas outside Laketown, making their later appearance a surprise.
-        Slight trims to the scene outside the Master’s house.
-        Used the EE scene of Bilbo vouching for Thorin’s character.
-        Used the EE scene of the Dwarves begging the Master to help Kili.
-        Recut the Dol Guldur scene and changed Azog’s subtitles to remove the “Spell of concealment” element, and used some bits from the EE.
-        Changed subtitles for Azog’s dialogue with an Orc to set up the Eye of Sauron.
-        Gandalf’s encounter with Thrain from the EE is used, but has been moved to after the Dwarves enter Erebor.
-        Cut one of Thrain’s flashbacks to the Battle of Moria.
-        After Thrain’s “No one must enter that mountain”, we cut to Bilbo entering the treasure room in Erebor.
-        Cut Bilbo picking up various pieces of treasure in Erebor.
-        Restore music to Smaug searching for Bilbo.
-        Replaced Eye of Sauron when Bilbo removes the Ring with closeup of Smaug’s eye.
-        Restored music to Smaug chasing Bilbo.
-        The scene of the Dwarves outside Erebor (“That, my lad, was a dragon”) has been moved later in the film.
-        The music when Bard reveals the black arrow has been moved forward a bit to where it was originally meant to play.
-        Restored music to Smaug chasing Bilbo, with some trims to the footage in order to make the music work.
-        Cut Bard’s plan to head for the windlance, since the windlance is never used or seen again.
-        Cut from the Master knocking Bard out to Bilbo hiding from Smaug, with an establishing shot of Erebor in-between. The scene between Thorin and Balin outside Erebor has been moved to a later point.
-        Smaug’s “a darkness is coming” leads into Gandalf and Thrain in Dol Guldur, instead of Bolg and the Orcs in Laketown.
-        Cut Thrain’s line about Smaug and Sauron being in league.
-        Shortened Gandalf’s battle with Sauron.
-        Cut some of the psychedelic closeups of the Eye of Sauron.
-        After Gandalf is defeated by Sauron we cut to the Orcs sneaking through Laketown.
-        Restored music to the fight in Bard’s house.
-        Trimmed Tauriel’s appearance so she joins the fray a bit quicker.
-        Trimmed Legolas decapitating one of the chief Orcs.
-        Trimmed Tauriel contemplating whether or not to go with Legolas.
-        After Tauriel’s “I’m going to save him”, we cut to the scene between Thorin and Balin outside of Erebor, and then to Smaug telling Bilbo that he’s just being used by Thorin.
-        After Smaug starts spewing fire, we cut to Bolg sending the Orcs back to Dol Guldur and his fight with Legolas.
-        Legolas’ fight with Bolg has been intercut with Tauriel healing Kili (which has also been trimmed considerably).
-        The entire forges sequence has been cut.
-        Cut from Legolas chasing Bolg out of Laketown to Smaug an Bilbo in Erebor.
-        After Smaug declares his intention to destroy Laketown, we cut to the Dwarves’ scene outside the mountain (“That, my lad, was a dragon.”)
-        After that we cut to Bard waking up in prison, and then to the gang in Bard’s house, with added sound effects so they’re reacting to Smaug’s approach.
-        After “I am death”, we cut to the opening scenes of BotFA, with several trims to keep the pace going.
-        Restored music in several places of Smaug’s rampage in Laketown.
-        Lowered the pitch of Bain’s voice when he arrives with the Black Arrow to make it less obvious that the actor is much younger here than in previous scenes.
-        Trimmed Smaug taunting Bard.
-        Restored/replaced music for Bard readying the Black Arrow.
-        Restored music to Smaug’s death.
-        Cut from Balin’s “Word will spread. Soon every soul in Middle-Earth will know – the Dragon is dead” to Gandalf imprisoned in Dol Guldur and Azog’s army marching out – and then we smash cut to credits.

The edit will only be available as a 4gb 720p mp4 file for now, but I might upload it in other formats at a later date. I'll submit it to .info soon, but in the meantime, feel free to send me a PM for the download links. :)
 

TM2YC

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Edit now on ifdb. The Arkenstone edit of AUJ was fantastic, so glad the second film has now been edited.
 

Masirimso17

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@"kerr" Welcome back! I just wanted to say I loved your first Arkenstone Edition so much that I made a spiritual sequel as you probably already noticed (in fact it seems like a few of your changes were based on mine, if I’m not mistaken). Seems like we’re on the same page when it comes to this film.

Your changes are perfect and spot-on. I’m so hyped to see this! I have some disagreements about how you chose to present Tauriel, Kili, Legolas and Thranduil, but I haven't seen the edit yet and I don’t know how these play out. But I presume it won’t be much different than what I presume. 

I understand you’re doing this to keep the focus on Bilbo, but these scenes aren’t that long. If possible I’d prefer these scenes reinstated, but 1) I don’t know what you’re planning for the third edit and 2) It’s ultimately your choice, though I’d like to know why you removed them.

EDIT: Okay, so I watched this fan edit, and my initial points still stand. But before I elaborate on why, I have to talk about why this edit NEEDS a second version, and it’s not about the narrative.

You see, the technical details are so close to perfection, yet so far at the same time. All the editing is perfect, the video quality, for a 4GB file is very good (well, for the most part… I’ll get to that). However, while the audio source of everything else is pitch perfect, the sound quality for the source of The Desolation of Smaug Theatrical Edition is terrible. It sounds extremely hoarse and very low quality.

I think the video quality is also a drop in quality from the Extended Edition source, but it’s only noticeable because of the intercutting; as in if the whole edit was theatrical I wouldn’t have noticed (though the compression artifacts are more noticeable), but since there is intercutting between the two sources the issue is much more prevalent.

Unfortunately these issues affected my viewing experience negatively. This issue must be fixed: The sound quality (and picture quality to a lesser extent) must match the Extended Edition.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at my qualms about the narrative. First and foremost: the love triangle between Tauriel, Kili and Legolas. Now I know love triangles in general are a plague among pieces of art and literature, and must be avoided; however in this case the love triangle is surprisingly very well executed. Also, it serves a greater purpose, which is Legolas’s character development.

He starts out as a racist towards dwarves, just like all the other elves in the Woodland Realm. Only Tauriel doesn’t seem to have this prejudice. She cares about other races, she doesn’t deem her race as better than all others, unlike Thranduil (“Other lands are not my concern.”) Throughout the two films we see Legolas’s admiration towards Tauriel, and his jealousy towards Tauriel and Kili's relationship affect his view on dwarves. We see him having this inner conflict throughout the two films. An example would be Thorin saving Legolas from orcs at the Forest River, then Legolas returning the favor at Ravenhill. At the end, the effect of Kili's death to Tauriel also affects Legolas after seeing her so distraught. Seeing Tauriel’s love to someone he deemed lesser than their kind, has made him reevaluate his views. You see: his platonic love for Tauriel, getting to know her philosophy, and seeing her fight for Kili the dwarf she loves, changed his views. He is now a changed man ("I cannot go back"). We see the continuation of this progression as if it was meant to be in the first place, with Legolas and Gimli's relationship. The biggest pay-off to this progression comes in Return of the King. 

Legolas%252C%2BGloin%2Band%2Bgimli.jpg


It's also worth pointing out that the love triangle is also representing the end of the hatred between the species, and bridging them together.

I’m going to get a bit critical here; I hope you don’t mind. Let me go step by step with the scenes you cut:

  1. Like I showed in the picture above, this is not just a quick laugh and reference to a LotR character; it’s also a large setup and natural beginning to Legolas’ character development.
  2. Two scenes of Legolas feeling jealous towards Tauriel and Kili (bickering between the three by the cells, and Legolas watching them from a distance): Like I said, we need to see Legolas’s love for Tauriel and how he watches her and Kili. It continues his arc; he’s trying to comprehend how Tauriel could love such a being lesser than them.
  3. Tauriel and Thranduil’s talk about the spiders, which leads to talking about Legolas’s feelings towards Tauriel. This scene is important so we can get to know Tauriel’s world view and personality. She makes it clear here that she cares about the outside world; she can’t simply stand by in the Woodland Realm while the rest of the world suffers.
    This also begins Thranduil’s arc that carries over to The Battle of the Five Armies. He begins as a dick who doesn’t care about the rest of the world, but in TBotFA, not dissimilar to Legolas, seeing Tauriel fight for what she loves, and his own son supporting her decision, makes him think about his ideals, and reevaluate them.Again, this scene also adds context to the love triangle.
  4. The orc interrogation: important for no reason other than serve the purpose of being the precursor to the next scene I’m talking about…
  5. Tauriel and Legolas by the lake: Great stuff, they argue over their ideals, Legolas wants Tauriel to return and obey Thranduil, while Tauriel firmly states that she cannot sit idly by while the rest of the world needs help. In the end, Legolas’s love for Tauriel makes him agree to fight alongside her.
Keeping all these in mind, their appearance in Lake-town, the skirmish, and the healing of Kili is much more rewarding, necessary, and deserved. Unfortunately, none of this can be found in your fan edit. I realize this is done to keep the focus on Bilbo, but in doing so you have severely weakened both Tauriel’s and Legolas’s characters; now, they’re just there to kill some orcs. There is no substance left. Tauriel and Legolas suddenly appearing in Lake-town now feels extremely forced and undeservedly convenient.

I also had a different issue; there was a scene that you cut containing the dwarves seeing the Lonely Mountain up close. It’s a very emotional scene; the goal they’ve been talking about for two movies is ever so closer. They’re almost home. Plot-wise it may not be that necessary, but character-wise it’s essential.

One thing that stuck to my mind was the ring scene in Mirkwood. Seeing as the baby spider murder was thankfully removed, Bilbo’s reaction to the ring felt very strange to me. It still works, but it’s confusing, why does he get so shocked, is it because he killed the spiders above? He had to do that to save the dwarves. But that’s quite alright, it works, just a bit strange.

Another minor problem I had was with one instance with the rescoring. The rest of the movie had perfect rescoring, but when Bilbo is confronting Smaug I think Jackson made the right choice to make it silent sometimes. More specifically the rescoring over “You carry something” and the lead-up to it felt tacky. In the original movie it felt tenser, but that’s just my opinion.

Finally, I wish you had included the main Hobbit theme from An Unexpected Journey. This video actually talks about it perfectly:


Now I feel like I have to talk about the positives, because I really don’t want you to think I hated your fan edit. Quite the contrary, I was very satisfied. Every single decision you have made, excluding the ones I’ve mentioned above, improved the movie a LOT. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Now my wish for you is that after dealing with the technical issues (re-ripping the theatrical cut with high quality and replacing it within the timeline), is that you reconsider what I’ve pointed out to you above. If you still want to keep it the same, here’s my request which you can of course accept or decline:

Very similar to the “No Moe Cut” of the @"DigModiFicaTion" Rise of the Rebellion edit, I’d love a “Masirimso Tauriel Cut” which reinstates the six scenes I mentioned above, removes the Smaug rescore during “You carry something” and the leadup to it, and adds a Misty Mountains reprise at least to the “seeing the mountain scene”, a suggestion would be from very beginning of the credits of An Unexpected Journey, right before “Song of the Lonely Mountain” by Neil Finn begins.

Of course if you do not wish to do this then that’s perfectly fine, but if that’s the case I would like to ask permission for me to mimic most your changes for a second version of my own edit, Fire and Water. I hope that, if the new cut idea is a no-no to you, I can still create what I wish.

So anyway: What are your plans for the third movie? And also when do you think it’ll come? Another 5 years :D ? Just kidding!

Keep up the wonderful work!
 

Belgarath

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As someone who have seen the edit I can confirm - the Wilhelm scream is removed. Also, Sauron's reveal looks awesome.

Since the attack on Laketown is left in, I'll have to agree with Masirimso about keeping Orc interrogation and Legolas+Tauriel by the river scenes  in (and also part of the Thranduil-Tauriel conversation) since it adds some dimension to both Tauriel and Legolas characters and they don't just pop up in Laketown all of a sudden. Begs the question: why didn't they bring an entire squad of Elves with them?!


I love the reinstated music in AUJ. In this edit it didn't work so well for me. At times the music felt distracting; Especially, during the Bilbo-Smaug scenes. 
As a whole the edit is great, though.
 

kerr

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Thanks for your detailed comments, Masirimso! I'll address your narrative concerns when I have a bit more time to spare, but for now, thanks for flagging the technical issues. I haven't registered any audio issues during the editing process, but maybe something went wrong during the export. I had to make some last-minute changes to the audio track, and I only checked the parts I had changed, so that might explain why I didn't notice the audio discrepancies. Or maybe my ears just aren't as keen as yours - but I'll definitely look (listen?) into the issues, and upload a new version once they're fixed! :)
 

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Gonna have to second Masirismo on the audio issues. I'm only 30 minutes in, as I currently only have time to pluck away at this edit bit by bit, but the poor audio quality from theatrical scenes is incredibly noticeable and detracts from the otherwise amazing edit. I'm hoping to finish the film tonight regardless, but would still love an updated "fixed audio" version whenever it becomes available to make a part of my permanent collection!
 

kerr

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I've checked the audio of the mp4, and you're right, that's definitely not how it's supposed to sound. I'll try to get a new version uploaded this weekend. Sorry about the screw-up! :(
 

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@"kerr", in addition to the audio issue, I found the visual quality rather poor throughout. It was rather fuzzy. Maybe this was just due to the file size, though.

Could you cut the "GoPro" shots during the barrel escape scene? I always found them very distracting and low-quality. Why Peter Jackson ever thought they were a good idea baffles me.

On an unrelated note, have you ever watched "The Hobbit: Into the Fire"? If so what are you thoughts on it? I've always considered it to be the closest spiritual sequel to your Arkenstone edition of "An Unexpected Journey", and I especially like just how fast-paced and lean it is, as well as the way the Smaug/Bilbo scene is in one piece rather than intercut with other scenes. Also, what are your thoughts on the the decision made in edits such as "Into the Fire" to cut the Kili/Tauriel romance and Kili's infection entirely?
 

Masirimso17

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hbenthow said:
@"kerr", in addition to the audio issue, I found the visual quality rather poor throughout. It was rather fuzzy. Maybe this was just due to the file size, though.

Could you cut the "GoPro" shots during the barrel escape scene? I always found them very distracting and low-quality. Why Peter Jackson ever thought they were a good idea baffles me.

On an unrelated note, have you ever watched "The Hobbit: Into the Fire"? If so what are you thoughts on it? I've always considered it to be the closest spiritual sequel to your Arkenstone edition of "An Unexpected Journey", and I especially like just how fast-paced and lean it is, as well as the way the Smaug/Bilbo scene is in one piece rather than intercut with other scenes. Also, what are your thoughts on the the decision made in edits such as "Into the Fire" to cut the Kili/Tauriel romance and Kili's infection entirely?

I have to agree about the video quality. GoPro shots I’m ok with but could do without.

Into the Fire, with all due respect, doesn’t work as a sequel to the Arkenstone Edition, neither does Fire of the Dragon; the plotlines started out on Arkenstone are abandoned. Both FotD and ItF are purist cuts, with FotD more personal and ItF more purist.
 

kerr

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Thanks for your comments and questions, hbenthow and Masirimso - I'll try to answer all of them as thoroughly as I can:

I don't think I'll be able to improve the video quality with a 4gb limit, I'm afraid, but since I'll have to fix the audio anyway, I could increase the file size to 8gb instead. When I did the AUJ Arkenstone Edition, I think 4gb mp4 was the preferred format, but that's a while ago now, so if you guys would like an 8gb version instead, that's perfectly doable. The DoS edit is a bit longer than AUJ, too, so maybe 8gb would be a better compromise between size and quality.

hbenthow, I haven't seen any of the other Hobbit edits, so I can't really comment on how well the editing choices in "Into the Fire" work, but I personally think removing the romance and Kili's injury completely is a mistake, unless the goal is just to trim down the film as much as possible, since these things set up why the four Dwarves are left behind in Laketown, which I think has to be included. Having the Smaug/Bilbo scene play out in one go, however, is something I've played around with, and it's something that works really well - but I couldn't really do that in my edit, since I've kept the Laketown/Orc storyline more or less intact, so I had to intercut those scenes with the Bilbo scenes.

I felt I had to keep the GoPro shots during the barrel scene, unfortunately - I tried leaving them out, but the scene flows better if they're included, and I'd rather have a couple of low-quality shots than sacrificing the flow of the scene.

Masirimso, you make a lot of good points about Legolas' and Tauriel's characterizations and arcs, and I would agree with you completely, IF they were main characters, which I don't think they should be. Keeping their character arcs intact eats up a lot of screen time, both in DoS and BotFA, and my goal was to keep the focus on the actual main characters. And I think Legolas and Tauriel still get enough characterization in the scenes I've included - more than, say, Beorn, Radagast, Elrond, Saruman and Galadriel, who exist in the same side-character category where I wanted to place Legolas and Tauriel. Besides, Legolas' character arc doesn't really begin properly until FotR, where I think it's set up and developed perfectly, so in a six-film saga I don't see the need to give him a big character arc in The Hobbit. You're free to disagree, of course, and I understand where you're coming from, but that's not the route I wanted to go with my Arkenstone trilogy.

The scene with the Dwarves seeing the Lonely Mountain - I agree that it's a good scene, and if I could just include that scene by itself, I would. But in order to include that, I would have to keep all the other scenes leading up to the arrival in Laketown, which I think ruins the pacing at a point where it's essential to keep the pace going. And there are quite a few "getting close to the Mountain" scenes as it is, so I don't think this one is absolutely necessary, even though it's probably the best one. Also, I think cutting to the Dwarves already being in the fish barrels is really funny.

As for the scene with Bilbo and the Ring in Mirkwood, the idea was to have Bilbo react to the Ring suddenly speaking to him, instead of to killing the baby spider.

The rescoring - the Smaug/Bilbo additions are actually some of my favourite bits, so I guess we'll just have to disagree there. You might be right that the bit during "You carry something" is overkill, though, but I decided to restore as much music as I could, since I think Howard Shore's soundtrack to DoS is really good. As for the Misty Mountains theme, I would have loved to include it, but since Shore decided not to use it and develop other themes instead, that wasn't really an option. There aren't that many instances of the theme in AUJ, and reusing them over and over again in DoS and BotFA wouldn't work. Besides, I think Shore's themes in DoS and BotFA are really good as well, even though they're not as iconic as the theme from AUJ.

So, in short, I'll get to work on a higher-quality version of DoS as soon as I can, but I won't make any changes to the edit itself. I'm happy with the editing decisions I've made, but of course, it's impossible to please everyone. :)

And then I'll get to work on finishing the Arkenstone Edition of BotFA... and no, you probably won't have to wait five years for that one. :)
 

Masirimso17

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@"kerr" Yeah, great valid points :) We just have to agree to disagree on some of them. Though I’m thinking of revisiting my Fire and Water edit, could I perhaps use your edit as a basis or starting point?

Also I’m curious as to how you managed to change the Black Speech subtitles.
 

kerr

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Masirimso17 said:
@"kerr" Yeah, great valid points :) We just have to agree to disagree on some of them. Though I’m thinking of revisiting my Fire and Water edit, could I perhaps use your edit as a basis or starting point?

Also I’m curious as to how you managed to change the Black Speech subtitles.

Absolutely, feel free to use my edit however you want. :)

For the Black Speech subtitles, I had to crop the image, unfortunately, since the existing subs are hardcoded. And then I had to recreate the style they used. The font is a modified version of Weidemann, by the way, which can be downloaded for free. It required a bit more work this time around compared to AUJ, since the iTunes version of that one used softcoded subs, which meant I could just cover up the hardcoded subs in the bluray video with clean material from the iTunes video. No such luck with DoS or BotFA, unfortunately.
 

hbenthow

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kerr said:
I felt I had to keep the GoPro shots during the barrel scene, unfortunately - I tried leaving them out, but the scene flows better if they're included, and I'd rather have a couple of low-quality shots than sacrificing the flow of the scene.

Do you happen to have any videos of a version of that scene in which you attempted to remove the shots?

I thought that the version of the scene found in "Fire of the Dragon" and "Into the Fire" (which removed the GoPro shots) flowed well, but it's a bit apples and oranges, as it was going for a different pace than your version of the scene does.
Interestingly, there are some edits that remove the orcs and elves from the scene entirely, by simply allowing the gate to stay open and the Dwarves to truly make a stealthy escape.
 

Belgarath

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@"kerr" I'm all for restoring the score. I myself planned to fan-edit the LOTR trilogy and restore some of the abandoned/unused score in there. However, during the Bilbo-Smaug conversation, the music is too loud and overshadows the conversation. I think you should try and make the music be there, but more in the background. Maybe it's just an editing flaw and will be fixed in the new version. Also, I don't mind you making it 8Gb file.
 

Apnt3006

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I'd like to save an official review until after the audio issues have been tackled, but here are my thoughts after FINALLY finishing this edit.

Firstly, this edit is like no other Hobbit edit I have seen so far, which is a good thing! Kerr, you clearly edited this work without a whole lot of influence from other edits, which makes it truly feel like your own unique piece of art. While there are some scenes that I dearly miss, it's clear that what was cut was intentional and for the sake of pacing and narrative. I have one exception to that, which is that given Legolas and Tauriel are in the film in a pretty major way, too many of their interactions are cut. It's very possible that their scenes impact pacing in a negative way; I just feel like I would be a little more emotionally invested in the orc fight in Laketown if I had just a slightly more substantial investment in the elves. I also actually have a bit of a soft spot for Tauriel's personal journey in these films... so there's that.

The only other critiques I have, such as some new score work during Smaug's and Bilbo's scene, can't be properly addressed without seeing these scenes with fixed audio. Perhaps music drowning out dialogue won't be an issue when things are working properly. 

Similarly to AUJ - Arkenstone, you clearly have a vision for what it is that you want to make and your perspective is obviously not one of removing "cheesy" scenes or "unrealistic" elf-dwarf romance. You are not an angry fanboy cutting everything that slightly irritates you despite the risk of impacting plot and pacing in a negative way, but rather an editor that wants to create something that can stand on its own without tearing Peter Jackson's intentions to shreds. This is why your edits will always take priority over others in my mind.
 

kerr

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The audio issues have now been fixed, including the slightly overwhelming volume of some of the re-scoring, and I've uploaded the new version. PM me for links. :)

I haven't made any changes to the video quality, as that will require a bit more time, but I'll upload a higher quality 8gb file later on.
 

Masirimso17

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By the way, on the IFDB page it says the release date is 2014; shouldn't it be 2013?

Also what exactly did you use for when the ring is speaking to Bilbo? Where’d you get it from and what else sound effects did you use?
 

kerr

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Masirimso17 said:
By the way, on the IFDB page it says the release date is 2014; shouldn't it be 2013?

Also what exactly did you use for when the ring is speaking to Bilbo? Where’d you get it from and what else sound effects did you use?

Ah, you're right - it should be 2013.

When the Ring is speaking to Bilbo, I simply used audio from the Prancing Pony scene in "The Fellowship of the Ring", when the Ring speaks to Frodo in a similar way.

For other sound effects I mostly used stuff from video games - mainly "Skyrim" and "The Battle for Middle-earth", which contain a lot of nice sound effects for weapons, equipment and movement, as well as growls, screams and the like for Orcs and other creatures.
 

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An 8gb 1080p mp4 of this edit is now available as well. PM me for links! :)
 
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