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Community Focus Threads - Index and Overview

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 (Edited)

(New OP since relaunching this idea in Jan 2022)

Focus threads:

COMMUNITY FOCUS THREAD 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE
COMMUNITY FOCUS THREAD 2: RETURN OF THE JEDI

The Idea

Like many here on the forums, I’ve been absolutely amazed by the things we’ve been able to collectively achieve when we rally around a single movie as a community and share our insight, ideas, feedback, found resources, and myriad technical talents.

There are many edits which are fantastic examples of this, with Hal’s Rise of Skywalker Ascendant as perhaps the best example of a challenging movie being improved so much by community collaboration. Elements like the puppet show, the Knights of Ren voices, the masses of new CG shots, and of course all the community voices in the “For Skywalker!” moment, were all wonderful collaborative additions. But the thread itself was also a place for new ideas to be analysed, challenged, worked through, and solved by masses of different fans, whether they had technical skills or not.

So now that TROS 2.0 is released and collective community focus is a little lighter, and there are no immediate new movies to contend with, what if we channel that great community momentum towards the existing movies?

The Proposal

This is up for debate, but my idea right now is to produce about one new thread every so often, focusing on a single movie in the saga, to provide a focused channel for similar collaborative thought and discussion on that movie. The original idea was one per month, but I think realistically just ‘when it feels like focus has died down’ is most sensible now.

I know we have some major episode working threads, and we also have the radical ideas threads, but the difference here would be about drawing as many people as were interested in to consider the same content at roughly the same time. I’d produce an OP for each thread with a semi-detailed overview of the movie and its scenes, and add as much useful information as I could that might help guide the collective thought process, then I’d maintain those OPs over time adding suggestions, ideas and resources provided by the community.

For a given movie’s active focus thread, everyone who was up for it might:

  • Optionally choose to rewatch the source material or their favourite edits of that source
  • Analyse the original or edits on their plot, scenes, shots, dialogue, pacing, direction, video quality/source, audio, aesthetics, tone, etc
  • Highlight their favourite elements from their favourite edits, which perhaps others are unaware of
  • Identify elements from the source material which might provide unexplored opportunities for further editing
  • Highlight any forgotten ideas in the various threads for edits of that source, which they think deserve to be brought back to the fore
  • Resurrect any older radical ideas which are maybe more possible with the new technologies we now have
  • Consider priorities for editing based on the strength of the individual movie, its place in its trilogy, or what it contributes to the wider saga
  • Discuss, review, mock-up, revise, create new elements which editors can choose to use

The Approach

I’d see my role in this being to remain neutral and to simply provide and maintain the resources, and foster a collaborative environment. I wouldn’t seek to impose a particular structure, so much as plant as many seeds as possible that might make it easier for new trees to grow.

In each thread I’ll take each original movie and list it out in scene order, list out common criticisms and popular edits for that movie, then conclude the OP with perhaps a few leading questions to generate discussion.

This Thread

This thread is intended to explain the intentions behind this project, act as an index for the focus threads, and provide a place for feedback on this project’s approach (what can I do better in the focus threads, etc?)

It’s also a place for thoughts on editing the franchise as a whole. Not to review the entire franchise or anything crazy like that, but to share thoughts about the ‘big picture’ which might later affect individual movie discussions. I’m thinking things like how we feel as a community about adherence to wider canon, consistency between movies (like TFA Starlight and TLJ Legendary setting up more of TROS), elements that appear in a few sources but are unpopular to some (midichlorians, chosen one prophecy, etc), elements which are conflicting or retconned (“I remember my mother even though she died in childbirth”, etc), aesthetic priorities (OT-first, modern-first, consistency vs respect for older sources), and so on.

Is there anything else worth thinking about in terms of how I structure and approach these threads? Anything you’d like to see me include in the OPs?

Interested in any and all thoughts here, folks!

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Me after saying V7 would be the absolute final version of my prequel projects…

lol, but really this might be a good idea. It seems like it helps to have a definite project to contribute to but open sourced clips and ideas could be useful as well and generate discussion.

I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently.

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I like the sound of this idea! To be honest I’m having trouble totally envisioning what you are trying to describe, though. Maybe you could potentially get the ball running with a thread for March? Maybe you can pick a good place to start the conversation.

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Yeah, I’ll definitely try to get it kicked off with a bang, so it’s nice and clear what the idea is. If it ends up falling flat I can just… not continue it for future months.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Hal 9000 said:

Me after saying V7 would be the absolute final version of my prequel projects…

Haha, that’s exactly the reason why I tend to delete my editing projects once their “finished”.

Ups! Butzenscheibenputzer Lutz putzt Butzenscheiben, die Butzenscheibenputzer Lutz schon geputzt hat.

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This might not be the right place for this, but I wanted to have a discussion with you guys regarding some thoughts I’ve had that could potentially be used for fan edits.

Something I love about the OT films, especially the very first Star Wars film, is the texture you get from 35mm film and analog music recording from that era that no longer see very much in modern cinema. With Star Wars being a used, lived-in universe, I think the imperfections of film grain and analog saturation really added to that aesthetic. When you go back and watch the films, especially the Project 4K or Puggo Grande versions, it makes the films feel almost like an artifact or a treasure from some bygone era.

It probably makes more sense to simply modernize the OT to fit a more contemporary level of quality, but I think there is something special to that old school look that I think would help make the newer films feel more like Star Wars, strangely enough.

I would really love to explore ways to “age” the other Star Wars films to be more in-line with the Original Trilogy. I could see how a film like Rogue One could benefit from this treatment, with it’s narrative proximity to Star Wars 77. But I’d also be interested in seeing how this would work with the other Saga films.

I believe Nev has made some LUTs that has some film grained added. I might be wrong. I also know snooker had made some tests with some of her prequel trilogy edits that gave them a more grainy film look, plus remixing the audio to sound more analog. She even redid some effects shots to feel more in-line FX wise with the OT. It’s kind of ironic, but I find an appeal to actually making some of the effects worse. Perhaps trying to “age” the newer films would feel inauthentic, but on the other hand, it could be a clever way to make all the films, new and old, feel more cohesive. Would love to get some thoughts on this.

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I saw a trailer for AOTC from a 35mm copy that was super grainy and it actually looked great and made the CGI look 1000 times better. I think the prequels definitely need that. The sequels look pretty good already but some grain could look nice.

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I actually almost shared that too! I know people over on the preservation threads are working on prequel film preservations, or filmized versions of the prequels. I could see how one could use those as a base for a potential fan edit.

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 (Edited)

This is as good a place as any, RogueLeader!

I’m so on the fence about this. On the one hand, I totally get it. There’s such a warmth and charm to this aesthetic, and the films do suffer from a lack of cohesion.

On the other hand, it’s like I was saying in my Clone Wars thread about the “rocks in the stream” approach to editing: There’s such a momentum now behind the current output, that the volume of ‘new’ stuff is going to quickly eclipse the ‘old’. If we want to bend the new content to match the old, we risk giving ourselves a Sisyphean task as new content is constantly output. Should we add film grain to the existing eight non-OT movies? And future movies? And episodes of the live action shows?

That said, I see exactly where you’re coming from, and perhaps there is a middle ground. I think the ‘best’ Star Wars aesthetic is somewhere between:

  • A sharper and colour-fixed Original Trilogy, with improved but not overwhelming CG (like Adywan’s)
  • A slightly less shiny Sequel Trilogy, with a bit less obvious CG, and a bit more of the ‘lived-in’ aesthetic.
  • A more PERSONAL Prequel Trilogy. This one’s hard to explain. I feel like everything other than the Prequels is about character moments and close-up face shots, but in my mind the PT all happens at range, it’s either full-body shot walk-and-talks or it’s full-body shot combat. I don’t feel ‘drawn in’ to the characters - literally, in terms of how it’s shot.

I would then conclude that the Mandalorian probably nails this just right. Lived-in, realistic, good-looking without being CG dependent, modern direction, but compatible with the OT source. And luckily, that’s likely what they’re going to continue with.

So, I’d argue that yes, there’s certainly value in normalising the aesthetics - but into the ‘modern’/Mando standard, because I think (1) that standard best represents what we’ll get more of and (2) because it’s good, what it may have lost in classic charm it gains in its ability to tell a story via a modern directing language.

Therefore, I’d propose the following:

  • Prequel trilogy gets a humanisation pass. Via zoomed-in/cropped AI upscaling, careful shot selection etc, the actual shots themselves are modified and re-timed to best match a modern directing style. Removal or changing of the most egregious CG which takes you out of the experience - gungans, the featureless Naboo fields, the plasma chambers finale (change it to more of what a Star Destroyer’s power core looks like [since they have similar geometry] via the mammoth task of extreme shot masking). Absolutely then applying a good colour grade to match the (modernised) OT and then, certainly, some film grain - but film grain with the goal of matching say Mando, rather than necessarily the OT.
  • Solo gets a regrade to match the OT (I think it’s very teal, isn’t it?)
  • Rogue One, yes, there’s a good argument to make it the first part of the “Original Quadrilogy”, so you could perhaps go heavier on matching it to the OT.
  • Original Trilogy gets Adywan. Thanks, Adywan. The only thing I can think to highlight here over whatever Ady has proposed is the removal of any obviously CG creatures that just didn’t age well. Jabba and some of the Mos Eisley creatures stand out the most. But you could possibly do a little more with shot selection and pacing to make it feel a little more modern.
  • Sequel Trilogy gets toned down on the lens flare front, and coloured to match the originals/modern standard (TROS is very yellow?)

But the goal, with all of this, would be to kind of bring everything up to the modern version of the classic aesthetic, rather than to bring everything down to the classic version.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Oh, and regarding this thread’s core idea: I absolutely will start making focused threads sometime soon, but I’m going to wait until the massive fantastic chat around TROS dies down, because right now that’s where the community’s focus is. (Essentially I’d hope that my focused threads can inherit all of that lovely momentum once TROS doesn’t need it.)

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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I love this idea. I tend to randomly bounce between working on ideas for one of the movies, get distracted by life or some other idea or something, forget about the previous ideas, start working on ideas for a different edit, etc. (Kind of like how I kept up with watching and giving feedback for your TCW edits for a while, then got distracted and still haven’t gotten to catching up…) This could better channel that energy into something collaborative.

A month is a good length of time for each subject, I think; it’d keep discussion fresh. I’d certainly try to contribute, at least.

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Ace! I could be flexible around the months thing, based on how much volume of discussion each is seeing. But the core idea is one shared focus at a time, so those that are interested in principle can manage our bandwidth and interest around that.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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I think a good focus point for this could be the Rey Nobody alternative for Ascendant seeing how there’s not really an official one yet.

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I think this is a great idea. I think one of the things that made the TROSA thread work was having someone to steer the ship and gently veto some ideas to keep us all pulling in the same direction; obviously, that’s harder to do when it’s a democratic community project than someone’s individual project that everyone wanted to chip into. But I think it’s possible, if the Senate votes to give the Chancellor (EddieDean) emergency powers; he can then approve the creation of an army without a vote (make captain’s calls when necessary, in response to what it looks like the community consensus is on the overall direction).

“It’s like rhymetry. They poem.” - Leorge Gucas

TROS Novelisation: The Faraday Edit, TLJ: Stoic Edition, ROTS: The Faraday Nudge, ROTS Ultracut: Order 66, Kenobi: Faraday Cut, Godzilla Vs Megalon, Godzilla Vs Gigan, Godzilla: Final Wars, The Light Rises, Faraday Jr.'s Star Wars

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Super! I think Hal’s role in TROS was (among other things) a producer. Fan producer, if you like! Since these threads wouldn’t necessarily be producing a specific edit, I don’t think they require anyone to carry such authority, and I don’t think I should be directing the conversation; rather, I think I should just do what I can to make it as easy as possible for ideas to grow.

For example, earlier I spent a few hours watching through the original version of Phantom Menace, writing it down from a ‘faneditor’s perspective’ - scene ordering, key topics of dialogue, plot linkages, etc. I think written in that way it makes for a digestible but practical overview of the movie, where it’s easier to spot plot threads, character development, issues and connections. A resource like that might help individuals spawn new ideas, without having to pore over the movie and try to keep track.

When that becomes a new thread’s OP at the appropriate time, I’ll add things like common objections, different official and fan sources, commonly edited changes, unique edit approaches, etc. I’ll add information about the context of the movie which might help focus an editor on their personal priorities, and list a few different goals that other editors have had. Anything that makes the process of actually thinking up new approaches and ideas more likely to occur.

So I don’t think I should be the head chef, like Hal’s been, so much as the guy who makes sure the kitchen is full of ingredients and tools that anyone can pick up and cook with.

Of course, I’ll also be participating in the threads too, but that’ll just be subjective stuff!

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Having it all laid out like that will be a fantastic resource, I reckon. It’s easy to only remember select bits of movies, or get so focused on individual moments that you miss the forest for the trees.

“It’s like rhymetry. They poem.” - Leorge Gucas

TROS Novelisation: The Faraday Edit, TLJ: Stoic Edition, ROTS: The Faraday Nudge, ROTS Ultracut: Order 66, Kenobi: Faraday Cut, Godzilla Vs Megalon, Godzilla Vs Gigan, Godzilla: Final Wars, The Light Rises, Faraday Jr.'s Star Wars

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 (Edited)

I actually appreciated the movie a lot more because of it. It made me feel like the narrative was actually really well put together, even if a few elements within it were a bit off. It made me spot a few things where there was good character work in commonly cut scenes, for example, and where cutting a lot of those scenes might have the compound effect of leaving the audience with little to connect to.

It also made me spot a few smaller things I hadn’t noticed before, like, when the group are travelling back to Naboo, they see the Trade Federation capital ship and Obi-Wan says “That’s a droid control ship”. Well, where was that observation when you literally boarded that ship at the start of the movie? Also why has the blockade gone from like ten ships down to just one?

Thinking of the movie less as a prequel and more in the context of “first chronologically” also helped. It made a few of the connections (C-3PO and R2-D2) and journeys (kid Anakin to Darth Vader) feel less jarring when this movie doesn’t follow the originals in watching order.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Perhaps whomever suggests an idea could oversee the production. Essentially “do so and so a favor” month.

I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently.

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This is a good idea. As I watch others’ edits and work on my own I wish there was a convenient way to workshop scenes.

The blue elephant in the room.

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EddieDean said:

When that becomes a new thread’s OP at the appropriate time, I’ll add things like common objections, different official and fan sources, commonly edited changes, unique edit approaches, etc. I’ll add information about the context of the movie which might help focus an editor on their personal priorities, and list a few different goals that other editors have had. Anything that makes the process of actually thinking up new approaches and ideas more likely to occur.

That sounds fantastic (but also a bunch of work)! I foresee a lot of neat new ideas coming out of these threads, which editors can reasonably easily find and incorporate into future fanedits, even if the collaboration thread itself doesn’t ultimately produce any kind of final product - like how my Palpatine face change thingy wound up in Octorox’s ROTS edit some time later.