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Alien Trilogy: Custom Cuts - Do-It-Yourself Guide

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 (Edited)

Hi all! I know I’m a day late for this, but, if you’re still in the mood after Alien Day, then here’s options for a new way of watching the big three. This “preservation,” as stated in the thread title, can be recreated on your own computer, provided you get the original Blu-Ray files/structure (BDMV/Certificate) copied onto your hard drive.

To my knowledge, this possibility hasn’t been discussed before, but, because the official Blu-Rays rely on seamless-branching, you can quite easily use a program like TSMuxer to play the various M2TS files in whatever unique order you specify. You will, of course, lose menu capability, instead producing a 1080p BD Remux of your custom cut. I have not tried to, as of yet, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to burn the final result onto a disc and play on your home theater system.

Anyway, here are the instructions:

  1. Rip the Blu-Ray files, untouched, onto your computer. There are various ways how to do this, so I’ll not delve into specifics here.

That being said, you shouldn’t use a program like MakeMKV, which though handy, would result in one single MKV file that is unsuitable for our purposes. Similarly, don’t try to obtain some sort of “BD Remux” as this already has the seamless branching disabled and all the disparate parts assembled together in a fixed order.

You can confirm that you’ve successfully obtained the original Blu-Ray files if the folder STREAM (found: BDMV -> STREAM) has multiple items, none of which are too big in size, and not just one big 20 GB+/30 GB+ file like most BD discs.

  1. Once you have all the Blu-Ray files in their original structure on your computer, open up the program TSMuxer (downloadable here: http://www.videohelp.com/software/tsMuxeR).

  2. Here is where the process gets specific to each movie:

—Alien- The Extended Edition—

This version of Alien basically takes the theatrical cut but reinserts the main deleted scenes (Signal Deciphering/Lambert Med. Fight/Dallas Cocoon) found in the otherwise shorter director’s cut. It’s not meant as an improvement on the perfect theatrical cut, as much as a supplement to those who want a deeper Alien experience.

Because this version is dependent on where the BD authors at Fox chose to set the branch point, it is not as long, as say, the Extended Edition fan edit on the unofficial Alien Appendix Disc 2. Regardless, this version is much higher video quality, as it is lossless from the BD with no re-encoding.

It comes in at 120 minutes and 39 seconds.

Open the STREAM folder (BDMV -> STREAM) and then drag the file 00983.m2ts into TSMuxer. Alternatively, you could press “add” on the right of TSMuxer and then select the file in the resulting finder window. These are the first few minutes of the film.

Leave everything as-is (983 in the Input Files window should be automatically highlighted), then simply click “join” on the right of TS Muxer, in between “add” and “remove.” In the resulting finder window, go back into the STREAM folder (BDMV -> STREAM) then select 00985.m2ts.

00985.m2ts should appear in your Input Files window joined (indicated by “++”) to 00983.m2ts. Now, 985 should be automatically highlighted. As before, leave it as such. From here on out, you just need to keep using the “join” function to assemble the whole movie from start to finish, taking all the various parts and branching them into a unique order.

The final file order for Alien (quite long) can be found on a .pdf file on MEGA located here- https://mega.nz/#!yFlTSYrL!LnoKReBbcOJMABzXcFG54oMV3MQExYKVxfqIMnkC7mI

—Aliens- CBS TV Cut—

This version of Aliens is a recreation of the extended CBS TV cut, in which much of the footage (the holodeck park/“You mean dead”/sentry guns/Dwayne-Ellen exchange) later seen in the “Special Edition” first debuted. Yet, because it doesn’t have all the “Special Edition” footage (Hudson bragging/bee analogy/the much reviled suspense-ruining “Shake and Bake” colony sequence), it keeps up a much tighter pace without losing the emotional gravitas of the “Special Edition.”

For me, previously an advocate of the “Special Edition,” this is truly the best of both worlds. On another forum, it has been even suggested that this version most closely represented the version that Cameron wanted released in cinemas in 1986 before the studio cut it down. I choose to believe that theory. Some of the “Special Edition” footage was then simply added when Cameron then had carte blanche to include everything; like his cut of Terminator 2, too much added material winds up over-bloating the movie.

Needless to say, this doesn’t have the censorship of the CBS TV Cut.

Kudos to PDB and Stamper, whose description of this alternate cut on another forum, I followed, when assembling this edit.

It comes in at 143 minutes and 57 seconds.

Open the STREAM folder (BDMV -> STREAM) and then drag the file 01106.m2ts into TSMuxer. Alternatively, you could press “add” on the right of TSMuxer and then select the file in the resulting finder window. These are the first few minutes of the film.

Leave everything as-is (1106 in the Input Files window should be automatically highlighted), then simply click “join” on the right of TS Muxer, in between “add” and “remove.” In the resulting finder window, go back into the STREAM folder (BDMV -> STREAM) then select 01107.m2ts.

01107.m2ts should appear in your Input Files window joined (indicated by “++”) to 01106.m2ts. Now, 1107 should be automatically highlighted. As before, leave it as such. From here on out, you just need to keep using the “join” function to assemble the whole movie from start to finish, taking all the various parts and branching them into a unique order.

The final file order for Aliens (quite long) can be found on a .pdf file on MEGA located here- https://mega.nz/#!WVdSkJKC!XvAoxnO5mxNy1Tha_xrilRtSSiJiVSwV-PCgl3R2XqY

—Alien 3- Hybrid Cut—

This version of Alien 3 is more or less the Appendix cut. It simply reverts it so that the alien burst out of a dog, as in the theatrical, as opposed to an ox.

That being said, I did keep the Appendix Cut opening sequence where Clemens finds Ripley while wandering alone, as it’s just infinitely more lively than the alternative in the theatrical cut. I question if the scene from the theatrical cut, with its bland lighting and low-energy acting, was not shot by David Fincher. The obvious drawback is that the dog is not explicitly shown at the crash site, but I think you can leave it for the viewer’s imagination.

Unfortunately, I have to note that this is the discs where the seamless branch points at Fox started to work against me. In reinstating the dog footage, I had to choose to forego some other extended footage, namely the sequence where Clemens asks Ripley if Newt is her daughter and Dillion berates the other inmates for mocking Golic. Furthermore, had I kept the theatrical discovery of Ripley (which I dislike for reasons discussed above), then I would have to leave out footage establishing the religious order of the prison, as well as the Company sending a communication.

I did not restore the theatrical ending, with the Alien actually bursting out of Ripley, as I agree with David Fincher and Sigourney Weaver that it’s a bit too over-the-top. However, I did include an alternate branching order if you wanted to keep it in.

It comes in at 140 minutes and 8 seconds.

Open the STREAM folder (BDMV -> STREAM) and then drag the file 00750.m2ts into TSMuxer. Alternatively, you could press “add” on the right of TSMuxer and then select the file in the resulting finder window. These are the first few minutes of the film.

Leave everything as-is (750 in the Input Files window should be automatically highlighted), then simply click “join” on the right of TS Muxer, in between “add” and “remove.” In the resulting finder window, go back into the STREAM folder (BDMV -> STREAM) then select 00752.m2ts

00752.m2ts should appear in your Input Files window joined (indicated by “++”) to 00750.m2ts. Now, 752 should be automatically highlighted. As before, leave it as such. From here on out, you just need to keep using the “join” function to assemble the whole movie from start to finish, taking all the various parts and branching them into a unique order.

The final file order for Alien 3 (quite long) can be found on a .pdf file on MEGA located here- https://mega.nz/#!aM8RiBoI!vA2vb0h6hzWyki0lJ49stpXx8V11mbCkmOQUisMWtOo

If you want, the alternate file order with the theatrical chest-burster ending, it’s here- https://mega.nz/#!SYMBwADC!qh14V2Nyq0CJ4ZXz_IzRm1xc5i8tdYTQ83kyjz8OitA

  1. Now, the process becomes the same, regardless of what disc you’re working on. (Note that you need to assemble these discs one at a time; you can’t make all three in just one window of TSMuxer.)

Anyway, simply select in the Output Window: “Blu-Ray ISO” or “Blu-Ray Folder,” depending on your preference. Alternatively, if you’re just using it on a computer, you could even just assemble an M2TS file.

Then specify a file name and location in the bar: Folder.

If it suits you, remove any extra tracks (eg. ukranian subtitles) in the “Tracks” window that you do not need. This would only be to save space for the eventual file.

Press “Start muxing” down below and then your custom BD will start being built.

  1. After this, you should end up with custom cuts in a BD structure, for each movie! What’s lovely about doing it this way is that there is no re-encoding whatsoever from the original BD, so you keep 100% HD and audio quality. Furthermore, this can be easily done without the aid of HD editing software.

I have not yet tried burning these versions, but I see no reason why they shouldn’t work.

If this guide is somehow confusing, don’t hesitate to post a reply, and I’ll try to clarify anything I’ve said.

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Sweet! I was just considering trying to mux a version of Aliens without the colony scenes and you did all the work for me. The TV cut of Aliens sounds like just what I need.
Playing with the seamless branching files is really fun. I once used my HDDVD of Blade Runner to create a lossless version of the 1990s director’s cut which also included the international cut’s violence.

Edit: Also Aliens begins with 01106.m2ts rather than 00750 (the pdf is correct, but your post accidentally uses the Alien 3 guide.)

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Director’s Edition HD Recreation
Duel (1971) - The Hybrid Cut
The Phantom of the Opera - 1925 Version Reconstruction - Rare Scores Collection - Roy Budd Score

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So, how do they look and play, when done like this?

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The resulting BD is the movie-only but plays fine, no awkward pausing or duplicated frames at the seams.

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Just to clear up up a bit cinfusion for me, am I assuming correctly that the BD has the deleted scenes in an “extras” section and by doing this, you are able to insert those scenes where ever you please into the main film and then burn a new disc resulting your very own extended cut SE film?

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BobaJett said:

Just to clear up up a bit cinfusion for me, am I assuming correctly that the BD has the deleted scenes in an “extras” section and by doing this, you are able to insert those scenes where ever you please into the main film and then burn a new disc resulting your very own extended cut SE film?

If you own the Blurays you would not need to ask this question and you probably shouldn’t be until you do own them.

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Jetrell Fo said:

BobaJett said:

Just to clear up up a bit cinfusion for me, am I assuming correctly that the BD has the deleted scenes in an “extras” section and by doing this, you are able to insert those scenes where ever you please into the main film and then burn a new disc resulting your very own extended cut SE film?

If you own the Blurays you would not need to ask this question and you probably shouldn’t be until you do own them.

I know what you mean, and to be honest, I really dont know which versions I own. I have several versions of the first 2. Im fairly new to the preservation community and have to do a lot of reading and guessing without asking a million questions. Until I stumbled on this community, I admittedly was very naive to the shortcomings that the releases the studios gave us were so crappy. I alsways assumed they gave us the very best. Boy was I wrong. My eyes have been opened. With that said, I am aware of the ettiquette of this community. So Im guessing the answer to my question is, “yes.” Along with what I have, my GF has a fairly extensive colletion of LD titles as well. Ill ask her what she has, and check my own.

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I’ve longed wished for a version of extended cut of Aliens w/o the Colony sequence…though I’m fine with the rest of the extended cut material. Thanks for all this great info!

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Jetrell Fo said:

BobaJett said:

Just to clear up up a bit cinfusion for me, am I assuming correctly that the BD has the deleted scenes in an “extras” section and by doing this, you are able to insert those scenes where ever you please into the main film and then burn a new disc resulting your very own extended cut SE film?

If you own the Blurays you would not need to ask this question and you probably shouldn’t be until you do own them.

Watched both 1 and 2 last night from my GF’s collection and now realize how stupid my initial question was.

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Hey man, thanks a lot for this. I will try to rip my Aliens Blu-ray and do the custom TV cut.
I wonder if there is a way with Terminator 2, to do also a middle of the road cut, that would involve the best scenes from the SE and remove the stupid parts like the smile scene. But what to keep?

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Richard Stamper said:

Hey man, thanks a lot for this. I will try to rip my Aliens Blu-ray and do the custom TV cut.
I wonder if there is a way with Terminator 2, to do also a middle of the road cut, that would involve the best scenes from the SE and remove the stupid parts like the smile scene. But what to keep?

You might just want to wait for PDB to finish his project, he’s doing exactly this…the TV cut, only w/corrected colour to match the THX LD. He’s already done Alien and it’s excellent.

http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Alien-Aliens-Color-Regrade/id/17002

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Oh I know I’m awaiting it! But it’s nice to get a full lenght one (the TV cut has some slight edit that PDB will follow) with the subs & all. Just done it and it’s perfect.

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I also did this myself, mainly to get rid of the Hadley’s hope/colonist scene (which is really all I’m interested in ditching in the SE). The only thing I don’t like is, in the theatrical version there’s a dissolve between the ICC hearing and Ripley smoking in her flat, whereas in removing the scene out of the SE the result is a hard cut. In this case the dissolve just works better.

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Can’t you use the TC seam for this point? It plays that way in the TV cut as listed here.

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Oh, it plays with the dissolve? Is the rest of the SE ICC hearing scene intact (the added lines)?

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Can’t remember. Falcon, how do you figure out the order? Do you watch all the videos in the Blu-ray folder and sort it out, or is they a software way that can produced the seamless order list of each version?