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Terminator 2: The Eyepainter Fanedit (a WIP)

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 (Edited)

T2 Introduction_1 9 2 T

As I’ve toiled my way through a long and tiresome move, I’ve been entertaining a lot of ideas to play around with during my spare time when I’m not moving boxes around (and while I still have an internet connection). One of those ideas happened to be James Cameron’s legendary sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Like a lot of folks, I enjoy this film. I don’t think that will come as a shock to anyone. However, I’m also a very indecisive viewer when it comes to which version of the film to watch. For most of us, there are two versions: The 137-minute theatrical version and the 152-minute special edition. Both versions have their strengths, but they also contain several weaknesses that I find hard to glance over. There are scenes in the Special Edition that I wish had seen the light of the film projector back in 1991, but there are also some things that I’m glad were left on the cutting room floor for the theatrical version. So, my motivation for making my own version of T2 was to create a compromise. Of course, my version is still its own thing, and I’ve even removed a couple of things that were around in both versions. However, my main concern was to create a balance between both versions of the film.

For this edit, I brought out my trusty ol’ Skynet Edition Blu-Ray. This edition contains both the theatrical version and the special edition, plus a secret third version that adds 2 more minutes to the special edition, labeled as “the future is not set” if you answer the 5-digit code on the blu-ray menu correctly (If you’re stumped about the code, here’s a hint: it’s the date for Judgment Day). I ripped the theatrical version and this “future is not set” version. These two versions alone should contain every last bit of footage that’s available for the home consumer. That said, though, the Skynet Edition isn’t perfect, as these two reviews below perfectly illustrate:

https://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/review/37191
https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Terminator-2-Judgment-Day-Blu-ray/4024/#Review

The video quality is perhaps the biggest elephant in the room for the Skynet Edition. For this reason alone, I’m planning on doing some color grading to the edit in an attempt to fix some of the issues with the video. While the picture quality isn’t “terrible” per se, it could use some improvement. Plus, I really want to experiment with a lot of the ‘film look’ LUT’s I have on DaVinci Resolve, and this is a perfect opportunity to exploit that desire (In fact, that picture of Arnold up there is using a Rec. 709 Fujifilm LUT with a D65 color temperature. The more you know). Hopefully, if I’m playing my cards right, this edit is gonna look really cinematic.

Otherwise, that’s about all I want to say for an introduction. I will conclude this with a list of the changes I’ve decided on so far, plus a couple that I’m still feeling indecisive about. Feel free to state your thoughts on the indecisive ones.

Special Edition changes I’m keeping

Sarah Connor’s Kyle Reese dream sequence
John and Sarah’s CPU reset scene
T-800 smiling scene
Sarah’s extended conversation with Enrique
John and T-800’s extended conversation during the weapon stock-up
John and T-800’s extended conversation on why killing Miles Dyson is a bad idea
Dyson chopping the Cyberdyne CPU

Special Edition changes I’ve removed

T-1000 stealing the police car
T-1000 killing the dog and scanning of John Connor’s room
Miles Dyson talking about going to Raging Waters theme park
All moments of the T-1000’s glitching up during the final battle to keep the tension going

Things that are different from both versions (updated 11-22-21)

Re-edited Sarah Connor’s assassination attempt on Miles Dyson as follows:
https://youtu.be/AKjmOWYBN0E (updated 11-21-21)

Changes I’ve removed from both versions (updated 11-21-21)

The opening 2029 action sequence, so that Sarah Connor’s narration takes center stage
T-1000’s line, “Thanks for your cooperation.”
Miles Dyson’s introduction at Cyberdyne
T-1000 talking to the girls about John Connor being at the Galleria
That subplot involving Sarah Connor and the “pervert”
Removed a couple of shots where Sarah Connor beats her oppressor senseless, since that subplot no longer exists
Shot of the T-800 and John Connor riding the motorcycle to the asylum (updated 11-21-21)
The lines, “John, you’ve got to go now.”, and “John!”

Changes I’m undecided about (updated 11-21-21)

The ending. Original or alternate? For those of you who’ve never seen the alternate ending, here it is:
https://youtu.be/KEaS8X1_gcU

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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I’m excited for this!

I’m just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe.

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Glad you are, JackNapier! I hope it lives up to your expectations.

Anyway, I’ve been fooling around with the film look LUTs on DaVinci Resolve, and I’ve narrowed my selections down to just four.

I’ll start by showing a small example of the 4 LUTs using Arnold’s head before I show examples for the main course. Our first LUT is the DCI-P3 Fujifilm 3513DI D65 LUT. That is a mouthful, so to simplify it, I’m just going to call it the DCI Fuji:
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Next is the DCI-P3 Kodak 2383 D65 LUT. Just call it the DCI Kodak to keep it simple:
T2 Samples_1 9 6 T

Next is the Rec709 Fujifilm 3513DI D65 LUT. Yeah. They all have names that long. Let’s just call it the Rec709 Fuji. Not to be biased, but this one’s my favorite:
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And finally, we have the Rec709 Kodak 2383 D65 LUT. Or just the Rec709 Kodak:
T2 Samples_1 9 8 T

Before we begin, yes, all 4 LUTs are overly bright. That is normal. This will give out an indication of what the black levels will look like underneath. Don’t panic, the winner will be color corrected.

I will be placing all the examples below under spoiler tags, so that this already long post is made shorter. Click the expand tabs to see the examples.

Let’s begin by showing off 2029 downtown L.A.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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Here’s what the T-800’s red viewport looks like.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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This shot of the T-800 grabbing the shotgun shows the balance between orange and blue.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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This shot of John Connor prepping up his ride shows the warmer side of all 4 LUTs.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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The opening shot of Sarah Connor’s dream sequence from the Special Edition is a very low contrast shot, giving an indicator over how the LUTs handle gamma.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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This shot of Sarah Connor’s dream sequence is another example of the balancing between warm colors (Red, orange and yellow) and cool colors (Green and blue).

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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The Galleria’s white exterior reveals the color tones of all 4 LUTs.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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This shot from John Connor’s POV shows the contrast and dynamic range of all 4 LUTs.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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This shot shows how each LUT handles T2’s blue color scheme.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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Here’s a shot that shows off some of the cooler tones of each LUT.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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While we’re at it, let’s see how the CGI of the T-1000 is handled.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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This one shows the varying skin tones contrasted with the blue color scheme.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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This shot of Sarah Connor arming up at Enrique’s showcases the film at its brightest.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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…Followed by this shot showcasing the film at its darkest. Again, I will correct the black levels, but this reveals what tones the black levels will take on when it’s finished.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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The Dyson family household shows the differences between white and blue for all 4 LUTs.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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And finally, I end this with a popular shot of the T-1000.

DCI Fuji

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DCI Kodak

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Rec709 Fuji

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Rec709 Kodak

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Hopefully, that will give you an idea of what each LUT does to the movie. Which one’s your favorite?

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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I think I’ve come up with a solution to the Miles Dyson assassination attempt. Here’s a link to a video I created that goes more in-depth over what I’ve done. Let me know what you think:

https://youtu.be/AKjmOWYBN0E

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Very good good work Eyepainter 👍, I think your version works much better as we don’t need to see too much of miles typing away as we already know he’s doing, really looking forward to see what else you end up doing with this👍.

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Atom-88 said:

Very good good work Eyepainter 👍, I think your version works much better as we don’t need to see too much of miles typing away as we already know he’s doing, really looking forward to see what else you end up doing with this👍.

Thanks, Atom! I hope it meets your expectations! 😃

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Knowing how much work and effort you put into your edits I’m sure it will👍

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Time for an update on the color grading. Since I’ve gotten no second opinions on the color grading, I’ve decided to go ahead with the Rec. 709 Fuji LUT for the grade. Several reasons. Reason #1: It’s my favorite of the film look LUT’s I have on DaVinci Resolve. Reason #2: It’s the bluest of the film look LUT’s, which works perfectly for T2 due to its already blue color palette. So, congrats Rec. 709 Fuji. You win by personal bias!

Smile for the camera, please!
T2 LUT Winner_1 9 1 T

So, with my LUT selected, I’ve gotten to work on the grade. I started off by changing the timeline color space from Rec. 709 (Scene) to Rec. 709 Gamma 2.2, which immediately fixed the brightness issue:

Rec. 709 (Scene)
T2 Color Space Examples_1 9 6 T

Rec. 709 Gamma 2.2
T2 Color Space Examples_1 9 7 T

It looks good, but there’s one thing that bothers me in this shot. If you look at the Rec. 709 (Scene) cap again, you’ll notice the power lines behind the T-800. Those details have disappeared in the Gamma 2.2. So, I decided to adjust the black levels using the curves. I tried adjusting the red, green, and blue channels separately, but this altered the color scheme of the film look LUT I was aiming for. So instead, I decided to combine the three channels together and adjust the Y channel, which is basically all three channels combined to make white. I decided to brighten up the black levels like so.

Rec. 709 Gamma 2.2 corrected
T2 Color Space Correction_1 9 1 T

Next, I took on one of the biggest issues with my Skynet Edition blu-ray: the lack of detail. As mentioned in the blu-ray reviews in the main topic, this transfer suffered from the dreaded DNR that plagued a lot of blu-ray releases at the time. So I cranked up the midtone detail (abbreviated as MD) all the way up to 11. Midtone detail increases the perception of image sharpness, giving the image a fake ultra high definition look.

Before MD
T2 MD Example_1 6 1 T

After MD
T2 MD Example_1 6 2 T

I’m not sure if it’s an instant fix for more detail, but I will say that it does look a lot sharper. And in this movie’s case, that’s never a bad thing.

So, that’s the progress I’ve made so far. Let me know what you think about the above improvements.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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I have another update on the color grading. I’ve been fortunate enough to find this video on YouTube which I’ve been taking notes on for the last day or two:

https://youtu.be/mt4FMClxhbc

I went further down the rabbit hole and found the website from the creator, which I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from lately:

http://www.mononodes.com/

I’ve also been working on the concept of powergrades, which is a major theme of this colorist’s work. I’ve been taking even more notes on this video, which has been insanely helpful so far:

https://youtu.be/PchQ0fWGUR0

I’ll still be using the LUT I’ve mentioned, as well as the adjustments I’ve already made, but I will be applying the powergrade on the individual clips themselves and seeing how it turns out. I will post some screencaps showing the differences between the LUT as is and the LUT with the powergrade in the future.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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 (Edited)

As promised, here are the screencaps I mentioned.

Let’s break down the process with an example shot.

Here’s what the movie looked like with just the LUT:
T2 Powergrade Process_1 8 1

Taking notes from the YouTube video by Mononodes, I began the process by adjusting the offset printer lights. I decided to adjust the RGB values towards green and blue because T2 was never really that red to begin with. I then adjusted the contrast and pivot controls, but the results were barely noticable, so they’re both included in this screencap. Trust me. You won’t see a difference between the two if I turned off the contrast.
T2 Powergrade Process_1 8 2

After looking at a few scenes on my 1080p HDTV, I noticed that the colors looked rather pale, so I raised the color saturation:
T2 Powergrade Process_1 8 3

Finally, I worked on the standard color wheels. I wanted to really go all the way with the film look, so I grabbed my flash drive of Puggo Grande’s 16mm Star Wars trilogy and ingested all three movies onto DaVinci Resolve to study what they look like on the scopes. Episode IV had a much bluer color scheme than V and VI, so I decided to adjust the black and white levels accordingly. I tried the redder color cast from Empire and Return onto T2 to see what would happen, and it turned everything into a copper yellow. That finalized my decision. The black levels in Puggo’s Episode IV had a blue tint, so I raised the blue in the lift feature. The white levels, on the other hand, have a green tint, so I lowered the reds and blues in the gain feature. Finally, the midtones were bright on Puggo’s Episode IV, so I raised the gamma a lot. I tested it on my 1080p HDTV again, and the blacks looked way too blue and the whites looked way too green, so I readjusted the color wheels again to make the blue and green tints more subtle. Now the black levels are only faintly blue and the whites are only faintly green now. With that lengthy wall of text done, here’s the LUT with the powergrade:
T2 Powergrade Process_1 8 4

Now with that example out of the way, let’s go to the main attraction. I’m placing all of the screencaps under a spoiler tag so as to make this post shorter. Plus, there are actual spoiler warnings in these screencaps anyway (although I don’t think that’s gonna be a big issue since almost everyone has seen the movie by now). Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

T2 Powergrade Stills_1 3 1
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I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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The new colour grade look really good and so much better especially with the blue tint gone, looking forward to seeing this edit👍

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Atom-88 said:

The new colour grade look really good and so much better especially with the blue tint gone, looking forward to seeing this edit👍

Thanks, Atom! I think I’ll stop playing around with the color grading and say that it’s done for now. Moving on to the sound editing sometime in the future.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.