Right, let’s take a look at some edits from my episode 7 (of 8) from season one (the Hobbit season). This was the first episode I recreated in Vegas for the proper 23.976 fps video output.
Episode 7, ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’, begins shortly after the killing of Smaug, and the prior episode’s cliffhanger that refugees are pushing onto the mountain. It features the build-up to the battle, Thorin’s descent into madness, Bilbo’s betrayal of the group, the initial skirmish between men, dwarves and elves, and the first half of the orc attack on both the battlefield and within the city where the refugees are. It ends on a quiet moment amidst the fighting, where Bilbo gives hope to Dain and Gandalf.
(Episode 8 picks up after, with Thorin coming to his senses and the party dwarves joining the battle.)
The only real change I made to AdamDens’ source for this episode is trimming some of Dain’s dialogue.
These are just a couple of simple cuts, to remove Dain shouting “Sodding off” and calling the elves “bastards”. I don’t think it really suits the Middle Earth setting. Gandalf himself calls him unreasonable, so it’s appropriate to maintain a sense of that, though I think this version better shows both Dain and Thranduil as equally unreasonable and arrogant in this conflict. I’d like to have removed “Pointy-eared princess” (since that rings as almost a racial and sexist slur), and “Ya buggers” (in my episode 8) but I couldn’t find a clean way to cut around them while preserving their scenes.
Here I cut from Dain’s “How are we all?” (taken in this context as a sarcastic but implicitly aggressive address) to Gandalf’s “Come now, Dain” (now taken as an immediate attempt to calm an unreasonable belligerent). I think this still works since Dain here is marching for war, with an army behind him. The threat is implied before this dialogue.
I then cut from Dain’s “You here that boys? We’re on!” to his commander’s war cry. I think that’s perfectly clean, and having it be an immediate response implies a little more martial discipline than in the original, where the commander didn’t respond till he said “Let’s give these bastards a good hammering”.
Now, since I’ve not shared them yet, let’s also look at how I’m planning to do my titles and credits:
Here’s the opening disclaimer transitioning in to the start of the episode.
As AdamDens did, I’m using the LotR font throughout, matched to size and colour where necessary.
This opening scene does have a couple of light touch cuts - I took out an Alfrid shot and slid forwards the establishing shot to allow the scene to open out of the disclaimer onto the music, which I think lands quite nicely. I’m not sure if it was an AdamDens or original score here but the use of the Rohan ‘refugees’ music track does a good job of reminding us that these are refugees, as well as maintaining that connective tissue with LotR.
Here’s the episode title, in its context in the episode.
https://vimeo.com/440997349 (skip to 1:30 to get to the point quicker)
Since Middle Earth was captured in books before films, and I’m cutting the films into episodes, I’ve opted to go with bold, large titles, to give the impression of book chapters. I think this works nicely - especially in the Hobbit season, where it breaks down into very clear thematic chunks.
As a rule, I’m trying to drop my titles within the first 10 minutes of a 45-ish minute episode, and they’re always centred, with ‘The Third Age’ appearing a second before the episode title, then six seconds of full display.
I break this rule once in episode one (‘The Hobbit’), where I place it right of frame next to a Bilbo in left of frame; and in my final episode eight (‘There and Back Again’), where I place it very close to the end of the episode. This latter allows the Battle to conclude unimpeded, with the episode’s title only appearing as Bilbo finally returns to the shire. To my mind this plays out as a kind of subtle, subconscious catharsis.
Here’s the transition to end credits.
https://vimeo.com/440991842 (main transition at 1:30 to 1:50)
A bit less interesting, but still necessary. Having had a good ten minutes of battle by this point, I end this episode on AdamDens’ beautiful hope scene, a natural break in the conflict, before the flow of the battle changes at the beginning of the next episode.
You can see here how I’m crediting myself - “a fanedit by JAM the HUMAN based on a movie edit by ADAM DENS”. I don’t think it would be appropriate to do any less, since I’m so reliant on his work, and I certainly don’t want to be passing it off as my own.
Since we end on Bilbo giving a little hope, I chose a far lighter, Hobbity, innocent track for this episode’s end credits. This serves to give us a little reminder before the final episode of how far we’ve come, and what Bilbo is now fighting for. This is in contrast to most of my other episodes, which tend to land on a darker moment which I follow with a darker track, since I’d like the majority of my episodes to emphasise the growing threat. It’s important to pick a thematically suitable track for each episode’s credits since, by nature of cutting the movies into episodic chunks, I need to allow what could otherwise be a fairly abrupt stop to feel like a moment that has a little longer to land.
You can also see here the credits I’ve created. It would be too much to place ten minutes of original credits at the end of each episode like the movies do, so I’ve tried to find a middle ground. Faneditor’s credit, then the production team’s credits, then ending on the visual credits for the production companies, for 1:30 of credits in total. My final episode in each ‘season’ will use the beautiful hand-drawn credits and all other credits in their full original length.
As always, feedback is very welcome.