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The very basic guide to fanediting

boon23

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This guide will be altered and improved with all your additions, so comment on it, please. I am planning on including guides for each of the big editing programs soon, which hopefully will be helpful for you all.

and now:
THE VERY BASIC GUIDE TO FANEDITING:

There are various tools to rip, to edit, to encode movies, but they are all not the issue here. This is about the very basics of what you should take care of to successfully fan-edit your movies.

1. Rip the DVD to your harddrive

2. Load the video into your editing software.

3. Video Editing:
Each editing program has different options. The very basic ones can only handle ONE video source, still this might be sufficient to create a good fanedit. If you want to add video from different sources, you need a program, which supports this.
A good example for a fanedit working with one source only is "300 - FULL COMBAT EDITION" by jamiemark, who used tmpeg dvd author 3.0.
A good example for a fanedit working with different sources is "Superman Redeemed" by ADM, who used womble mpg DVD wizard.
  • .1.Most important for the program of your choice is always that it is able to make frame accurate cuts, so you can cut at an exact point. It is really bad to rely on good luck, when you want to "improve" an original movie.
    Most important:
    AVOID ALL ERRORS. People will really dislike your edit, if it has major flaws. A good example for that is "A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 0: NO MORE MR NICE GUY" by Retro Horror Remix, where the idea was really good, but the overall flaws destracted from entertainment so much that lots of people posted rather bad reviews.
    Lots of people who create fanedits for the first time are overexcited by what they do and fail to see the difference between themselves watching what they have done and what others will see and think. It is easy to forgive a flaw you made yourself or live with the compromise, but your audience will not be that kind. They want to be entertained, they want a good time and flaws are what people find really annoying as it spoils the watching experience.
    If your cuts are not clean it will show. One frame from the next or previous scene will cause a flicker, which is annoying enough to reduce the overall entertainment.
  • .2. Aspect Ratio:
    Some programs are limited in handling aspect ratios. You need to take care of that. Stretched or thinned images look bad. If you want to work with 16:9, take care to really have 16:9 source for that. If you want to work with 4:3, be aware that your program really adds the black bars, if your source is 16:9. Also: if your work with different video sources, you should be aware that black is not just black. If your one video has black bars and the other one too, make sure that both blacks match each other. Speaking of black bars: If you are working with different sources, where the black bars are not the same (for example, when you mix a 1.78:1 AR with a 2.35:1 AR), you need to correct that by either zooming into the smaller picture or cropping the bigger one and mask it with black bars. Both possibilities are difficult, because important things sometimes are shown on the sides or on top or bottom. You can be lucky, but most of the times you will have to manually take care of that issue, sometimes scene be scene. This is tedious, but necessary.
  • .3. Avoid plot holes:
    If a scene annoys you, you might want to cut it, get rid of it, delete it from the movie, but it is essential to take care of the plot. Some annoying scene might be essential for the the continuity of the story. Don't make the mistake to assume that your audience will be able to not miss an important scene, because they don't, at least not all of them. People don't want to think whole watching a movie, they want to be entertained and if something is missing, they will go like: "Eh, how is that possible? Where did that come from? WTF?" Again it is VERY important to change the point of view from your own vision to what your audience will really see. You lead them on a new voyage. If you are not guiding then they will get lost.
  • .4. Cutting continuing sequences:
    You might want to cut out a part of a continuing scene, but extra care is needed there. If the scene before and after the dropped scene shows the same person or object this can lead to being seen as a jump, which is another one of the really annoying flaws. This can be avoided by either using a transition from one scene to another, or a fade in fade out, or a different scene to interrupt the jump.
  • .5. video transitions:
    Lots of editing tools offer a huge load of transitions and some of them look really cool. However, 99% of these are never used or to be used in a real movie. They are home video tools. Try to be not too experimental. You can always do these 3 things:
    a) a clean cut between scenes (is used 95% of the time in original movies)
    b) a dissolve transition: can be used as a means of passing time or softly switching from one place to another
    c) a fade out - fade in transition: The picture will turn to black and from black back to the next scene. This can be used again to show time has passed or something has changed or the place is switched.
  • .6. titling and credits:
    It is my opinion and no must that a fanedit should have its own title, which should also be shown in the movie. This can be done from very basic by adding a hardcoded subtitle to very advanced by using title options of various programs. The unique title makes it clear, what people are getting, so there is no confusion, if it is the original release or the fanedit. In times when everything is hacked, pirated, illegally spread and even sold, this helps a lot in clarifying the true meaning. The same goes for end credits. If you create your own end credits, people will more likely see your genuine version for what it is.

4. Audio editing:
Flawlessly editing a video is not easy, but when it comes to audio editing, things get really difficult. It seems that audio editing is the one thing most faneditors find extremely hard and where most of them produce flaws, which can ruin the entire watching experience of a movie. Now it is known, there are quite some very forgiving people, who can live with flaws pretty well, but most people cannot. To avoid audio flaws is essential for producing a good quality fanedit and faneditors should really take their time to repair all the rough spots they can find.

  • .1. Always be in sync:
    Lots of different editing programs have a difficulty handling audio well and it happens easily that the audio gets out of sync. 0.1 seconds will most of the time not be spotted, but 0.2 will already cause attention and lead to distraction. And when it gets worse then that, your fanedit is clearly ruined. To stay in sync it is sometimes necessary to convert the audio to uncompressed PCM wave, because that is easiest to handle for each program. And if your editing software still is not able to stay in sync, then you need to use an external audio editing software to achieve this goal.

  • .2. volume levels:
    An often flaw of fanedits, especially when different sources are used is to keep the volume levels the same for the entire movie. It is very annoying to always turn up and down the volume, while watching. Use headphones and listen carefully to avoid that. There are specific rules of how loud background music should be, or how loud a voice is compared to a gunshot. Get a feeling for the movie you are working with and try to balance it all out.
    Another common mistake is too low or too loud overall output. When working with ac-3 it is pretty difficult to change the overall volume level to what is normal TV output, but that is exactly what your fanedit should have. If people have to turn up the volume to the max to understand spoken text, then they will also have white noise, which is really uncomfortable. The same goes for too loud audio levels. If you audio is too loud it will lead to an ugly distortion effect.
    Again: don't think your audience will be forgiving flaws. They just want to be entertained. Spare yourself the harsh comments you will get for releasing crap.

  • .3. Avoid clicks and cracks and noise:
    When scenes are deleted and the previous and following scene are connected, the result can be a loud click or crack. Avoid this by all means by fading the audio out and in for each edited scene.

  • .4. Audio transitions:
    And here is the major problem each faneditor must face: audio transitions. We all know that movies have a score (almost every one does) and that there are background noises. Now if you connect two scenes it can happen that one scene has a score and the next one doesn't or even has a completely different score. If you don't create a transition like dissolving audio streams, the audience will clearly realize the cut and will be dragged out of the movie to be annoyed. If you are lucky, the sounds add perfectly to each other, but sometimes they really don't. Same goes for background noise. If it ends to abruptly, people will notice. The use of an external audio editor might be essential here to create a flawless result, since many video editing programs cannot create audio only transitions at all. Creating flawless audio is difficult and time consuming, but quality releases like ALL of ADMs works clearly show, what it is worth. People will love your flawless work as much as they will hate your release full of errors.

5. Standard fanedit formats:
  • .1.NTSC:
    Most people, who watch fanedits live in the USA. While ALL European DVD players can handle all formats, most US DVD players cannot (don't ask me why). The US format is NTSC, coming with a resolution of 720x480 and a standard of 29.97 fps. So you should consider creating a NTSC version. It is quite simple to convert a PAL movie into a NTSC movie.
  • .2. Apect Ratio 16 to 9:
    Almost all new TVs are widescreen ones, therefore your fanedit should be that too, especially if the source was widescreen format. If you were working with a 4:3 source, then there might be no other way than to release it that way.
  • .3. 5.1 AC-3 audio:
    If you can, make your release Dolby Surround. Lots of people are using Dolby Surround sound systems and another positive thing is that 5.1 causes noise to be not as different in volume as voices, so your audience does not always have to increase/decrease the volume while watching. AC-3 2.0 is acceptable too. mp2 sound has the disadvantage that some DVD players cannot play it properly, which is also especially true for DTS. PCM wave sounds the best (stereowise), but takes away a lot of space, which you might want to rather use for image quality.
6. Properly test your final version:
It is essential to test your final version for ANYTHING I mentioned before. Lots of faneditors want to just finish and release, even though they have not checked for errors before. They all will receive their bad reviews for that and people will stop taking interest in their future attempts. So please. Take your time. Making a movie takes months, sometimes years. Making a fanedit should take just as long as it takes to make it as perfect as possible. this is no racing contest. If it is a contest at all, then it is a quality one. Faneditors release their works to entertain an audience. Some do it to get noticed, some do it to experiment, if they can create something at all. But whatever your reason is to do it, take good care of what the audience will see and give us some quality releases rather than crap.

(by killbillme)To REALLY properly test your final version: Have a Screening Party.
Movie watching is a communal event. we subconsciously pick up cues from the audience as to what works and what doesn't. Watch your cut with friends, preferably those that haven't seen the film before. Have a notebook and jot down their comments and your feelings. The screening should give your tired fanedit new life and you will see it through your audience's eyes. If any issues come up (Hey! how did the dog get to the roof?) deal with it. Don't compromise. Be more critical than they can.
Believe me, the worst thing is having a fanedit that you're unhappy with 6 months down the line. Take your time now and enjoy it all later for longer.


Good luck, and now let's get back to fanediting.

to be continued soon with a list of software.
 

boon23

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I finished my first draft.
 

joebshmoe

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great generalized how-to.

a "format standards" addition/supplement would be nice, too. so people know how to release their edits for the masses.

thanks
 

boon23

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added format standards.
 

Remixed by Jorge

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nice guide Boony.
One addendum to 6. Properly test your final version: Have a Screening Party.
Movie watching is a communal event. we subconsciously pick up cues from the audience as to what works and what doesn't.
watch your cut with friends, preferably those that haven't seen the film before.
have a notebook and jot down their comments and your feelings.
The screening should give your tired fanedit new life and you will see it through your audience's eyes.
if any issues come up (Hey! how did the dog get to the roof?) deal with it.
Don't compromise. Be more critical than they can.
Believe me, the worst thing is having a fanedit that you're unhappy with 6 months down the line.
Take your time now and enjoy it all later for longer.
 

messenjah14

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killbillme said:
nice guide Boony.
One addendum to 6. Properly test your final version: Have a Screening Party.
What if you have no one to invite to your party :-(
 

boon23

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screening party is good! That's what I always do. And it REALLY helps. And if you have no one to invite, just ask in the forum if someone is willing to watch a preview. You could be lucky.
 

GyRo567

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I did a screening party and then recut it again, but I haven't screened the final version. It brings up another point: Screen it AGAIN if you make changes - preferably with a new audience, so don't exhaust all your friends with each edit.
 

dark jedi

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You have at the bottom of your guide:

"to be continued soon with a list of software."

Can you add what software you use?

thanks
 

bionicbob

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boon23 said:
to be continued soon with a list of software.

Okay my PC has crashed/been virus infected for the last time. :evil: I have the money and I am shopping for a new computer this week (have not decided yet if I will stay with PC or go back to MAC). One of the things I definitely want with my new system is the proper software for finally try my hand at some fan editing. And I want to do this right, not buy some cheap knock off software that only does a third of the job. So I was wondering if you could list specifically what would be needed with an easy definition of the starting out layman.

I think to start I need...

1. a dvd ripper of some sort...."DVD FAB DECRYPTER" maybe?
2. then some sort of soft to conduct the actual edit....
WOMBLE MPEG DVD WIZARD seems to be the one most talked about, but what about SONY
VEGAS? Does this do the same thing or is it something different entirely?
3. and then something to build the dvd.... DVD LAB PRO maybe?

Is that all I need to start or am I missing some stuff? I know with MACs it seems much more straightforward as to the software you need, but with PCs it seems there alot more to choose from, each doing something slightly different and none doing everything required. So before I shell out my hard earned cash, I thought I would turn to the pros for advice. :grin:
 

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boon23 - This is a very helpful guide, thanks. Much appreciated. Newbies like myself are grateful to be 'standing on the shoulders of giants' like yourself along with ADigitalMan and others here! :)
 

stomachworm

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To all the newbies, this may sound stupid or trite but the best way to start (after you've got your software & idea) is to start. Don't worry about the massiveness of collossuses like ADM and others. Thinking of them from a newbie perspective can be a bit intimidating. Don't focus on the work of others, think of your task at hand and do your best. Naturally we'd all like to be as good (or better) as ADM but don't let that stop you from getting your vision completed. Cut, cut, cut!!! You will improve as you learn. Now, get to it!
 

p3jedi

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Really dumb question from a newbie: How do you rip a DVD to the hard drive?
 

BridgetKFisher

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someone should sticky a list of applications

also another critical part of making a movie is having a movie poster.
 

reave

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Short answer, no.

Long answer, if you edit in 5.1 and you are lucky enough to have the audio isolated in those channels then it is sometimes possible. This is not usually the case, and even when it is it requires some work and skill. You'll just have to separate your audio channels and see what you have.
 
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