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Scott Pilgrim vs. the Editor

Sorry for not posting any updates along the way with this! It’s 99% done. Most of the edits mentioned above have now been done, and the colour grading and matching is complete. Only the Lee’s Palace scene is still unfinished, and I think I’ll probably just have to restore something approaching the theatrical version; there just isn’t enough footage available anywhere I could find to include the whole song.

I still like the idea of the “serial killer” post-credits ending, but I’ve lost contact with the guy I had in mind for it. If anyone’s interested and can do a Canadian newsreader impression, I have a script ready to go, but I’m not going to hold up the edit any longer for the sake of a stinger gag. The “Summertime” music video will take its place.

I’ll be tinkering with Lee’s Palace over the next week or so, and after that it’ll just be a matter of putting together the titles and a Blu-Ray ISO.

The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition ❖ FIRST TEASER NOW ONLINE ❖

I may consider doing a shorter “no-frills” version without most of the narration and roadshow trappings, once the main project is done. In some cases it would be relatively trivial to do. On the other hand, I’m not just throwing the narration in for the sake of it; each use of it (there are five or six total) serves a purpose.

At this stage, I’m using narration:

  • in the prologue,
  • at Rivendell,
  • on leaving Lake-town,
  • for the battle flashback, and
  • for the epilogue.

The first and last serve to bookend the film and create scenes from whole cloth. I can’t see them working without the narration.

The second and third are used to reinforce the montage style of the sequences in question, and suggest the passage of time. I find that the Rivendell sequence in particular feels far too rushed without the White Council scenes, whereas it should be one of the slower parts of the film; using some quick dissolves and narration, I’m able to make it feel like a longer stay without actually lengthening the sequence. It also allows me to give Elrond an introduction that doesn’t depend on either (a) the viewer having previously known him or (b) the nonsense with Radagast and Azog.

The battle flashback (to clarify, not all of the battle will be shown this way, just the parts after Bilbo is stunned) uses it in a similar way, to give some narrative distance and set it apart as a flashback, and similarly doesn’t really work without it.

I may add some in one or two more places — I still haven’t decided on how best to bridge films one and two, even whether to cut the Eagles entirely, and a narrated montage might be one option, although I don’t want to have too many of them. I’m not wedded to keeping the Lake-town one; but one reason for it, to be honest, is just so that there isn’t an enormous gap between bits of narration, and the next one isn’t jarring.

The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition ❖ FIRST TEASER NOW ONLINE ❖

Here’s the scene!

I’ve taken excepts from Clamavi de Profundis’ 20-minute recording of the entire poem, of which I plan to use a few more verses in the second act of the film to accompany the Roäc scene.

It was a lot of fun but a lot of work to do the day-for-night grades, especially in shots including fire (ie. most of them). What may not be so apparent is that the entire flashback sequence has also received a subtle Technicolor-effect grade to give it an antique look, most apparent in the shots inside the mountain (although there are a couple of visual artefacts there I’m still working to remove) and the landscape shots at the end of the sequence.

The soundtrack isn’t final; while it does work as an entirely silent sequence, I intend to put together what I call a “partial” foley track, underscoring the scene but deferring to the music, for the final edit.

The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition ❖ FIRST TEASER NOW ONLINE ❖

Mainly behind-the-scenes stuff with relatively little to show for it, I’m afraid. The last several months have been mainly teaching myself Blender so I can create the scene of Roäc carrying Thorin’s message to Dáin (among other things, including my other edits). I’ve acquired a serviceable raven model that’s detailed enough for my needs and similar enough to the one in the original film, but it’s insufficiently rigged for flight animation, so I’m going to have to do that myself.

I am finally happy enough with the day-for-night grades in the prologue flashback to share it, and the final animation for the opening titles is now rendered and locked. The soundtrack won’t be final (I need to do a little more work to cover the seams where I’ve made cuts in the music, and I want to do a partial foley track as well), but it should be up some time next week. I’ll post a link here when it is, of course.

Work should be easing up from next week, so I’ll have more time to work on editing. The main things that need doing editing-wise are the new sequences in the second act; the only major part of the first act that isn’t more or less locked down is the Rivendell sequence, though I am still trimming here and there.


A bigger question is, what would Scarif look like a few days after the battle? My guess would be, very different.

Also, not sure if Ady has answered this, but is the Imperial March being kept in the Death Star reveal, given the full march treatment of the Death Star theme in Rogue One?

The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition ❖ FIRST TEASER NOW ONLINE ❖

Continuing to work on the animation; I’ll post a rough cut of the title sequence (probably without the titles themselves) once I have it.

Meanwhile, this week I received my CD of the operatic adaptation of The Fall of Gondolin, which just came out. There’s no particular connection to the edit, other than that both use elements of the original Tolkien text, but it’s just so gosh-darn amazing that I had to share it here. Seriously, I think it’s criminal that this isn’t the Tolkien adaptation everyone’s flipping their lid over, rather than the Amazon series.

The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition ❖ FIRST TEASER NOW ONLINE ❖

Roadshow format basically means including an intermission, and in this case also an overture, entr’acte, and full animated opening titles — in the style of the widescreen epics of the ’50s and ’60s.

The main purpose of the edit is to make a coherent single film out of the material; I’m using “Roadshow Edition” because it’s the most obvious distinguishing feature, and I didn’t want to just use my name.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Editor

Current changes planned for the edit, in chronological order:

  • Added custom vanity plates
  • The Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation short runs before the feature (edited to remove titles and one use of the word “retarded”)
  • Added custom retro “Feature Presentation” card
  • Added scene of Scott meeting Knives
  • Added in-scene, and Roccondil Rínon credits and my name to editor credit in opening titles
  • Added brief scene of Knives catching the bus home
  • Cut another use of “retard” (at this point, I’ve managed to cut it mid-shot, but I may try to do something a little more creative)
  • Extra lines from Sandra & Monique and Julie at Julie’s party
  • Extended version of package delivery scene
  • Extended/alternative version of first date scene, including added snow FX
  • Extended “morning after” scene
  • Reincorporated original song by Crash & the Boys “We Hate You, Please Die”, and additional business for the band
  • Extended song “Garbage Truck”
  • Added short gag with Evil Ex #1 having to introduce himself twice
  • Added short bedroom gag after the first Evil Ex fight
  • Deleted Scott’s inane comment about “being allowed to date outside your race or whatever”.[1]
  • Added a few lines at the castle
  • Added “Envy’s jealous” gag
  • Extended/alternative freak-out/hair dye scene for Knives
  • Added “even briefly-er” line from the comic
  • Added Nega-Scott’s appearance at Lee’s Palace
  • Extended Clash At Demonhead song “Black Sheep” (need to find some extra footage for this; there’s some screen test footage of Brie Larson lip syncing on the blu ray but it doesn’t match well enough. Might even see if I can dig up some location footage from the real Lee’s Palace.)
  • Slightly extended backstage confrontation scene
  • Added Envy & Ramona’s “crummy way to end things” exchange
  • Extended Pizza Pizza scene
  • Added Nega-Scott’s appearance at the after-party
  • Added a couple of bits of business to the Roxy fight (eg. “Or possibly his feet!”)
  • Added intro subtitle for Gideon
  • Extended exchange between Scott and Knives after the Katayanagi fight
  • Extended breakup (using footage from the original ending)
  • Extended “Ramona” song
  • Extended scene with Scott walking in on Wallace and Chris (twice)
  • Restored Knives’ cut line about “advanced American slut technology”
  • Extended afterlife scene

I’m not sure whether to muck with the credits yet, but I do have a few ideas. There’s some very cute screen test footage on the blu ray which could potentially be used for video cast credits, although it isn’t complete: Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick are absent entirely, as are all the Evil Exes save for Mae Whitman. I’m far from wedded to the idea, but I’ll have a bit more of a poke around on the blu ray and see if I can’t dig up something that would fit. Other ideas include:

  • Restoring the full version of “Ramona” by Beck
  • Recreating the “serial killer” ending concept considered for the movie but never filmed, as a mid-credits stinger (would need to find someone who can do a convincing Canadian newsreader impression)
  • Making use of the “Summertime” music video, which can’t be incorporated into the film proper, but the song already plays over the credits.

I also have in mind a handful of minor edits to existing scenes — often as little as half a second here or there. It feels somewhat sacrilegious to do this to Edgar Wright, of all directors, but there are parts where I feel the chemistry between Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead needs a little tightening, and with the shifting of a line here, the deletion of a pause there, I may be able to improve it. We’ll see.

[1] I know Scott is meant to be kind of a dick, but there’s a difference between being kind of a dick and casually racist. Same goes for Kim’s two uses of “retard”, already cut — it’s true to life for how hipsters speak, but it’s unnecessary. It may be considered ironic, given I’m reincorporating a few elements that were originally cut for rating reasons, but this is more for characterisation purposes — I think the original line makes him too unlikeable. Michael Cera does play it well; Scott does appear to realise partway through the sentence that it’s inappropriate. But Knives’ response, “I don’t care,” really doesn’t help. I’ve managed to edit it such that she interrupts him at the word “date”, which serves the additional purpose of giving her a little more agency.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Editor

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Editor | the first fan edit by Roccondil Rínon

So in the process of assembling my 3-in-1 Hobbit edit, I found myself becoming more and more ambitious, and having to teach myself many of the necessary skills, such as compositing, colour grading and sound mixing, that I hadn’t really done before. I decided I care too much about The Hobbit to be comfortable with making it my first effort, and, to be quite honest, I want to make a name for myself as an editor and build some anticipation for the main event. So I’ve decided to revisit a couple of earlier edit ideas first.

Obviously, the main point of The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition is to assemble a single coherent film telling the whole story. These edits are comparatively much smaller in scale, and the first one is an extended edition of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, incorporating a few full-length songs that were only heard as snippets in the original movie, adding in a number of deleted scenes and alternative takes, and so on.

It’s not strictly just an extended edition, as it removes a few elements and includes alternative takes or scenes, not just extra shots or scenes. Additionally, because the deleted scenes included on the Blu Ray were cut at various stages of the production, not all of them feature completed visual effects, and most of them require colour grading to fit in with the rest of the movie. Some were partially reshot, and so require more extensive work to match them to the reshot footage that in some cases is the only available version of the rest of the scene.

So it’s a pretty good test for putting together footage from disparate sources, which I’ll be doing a fair bit of for The Hobbit, in terms both of using bits from elsewhere in the films (see this scene for an example) and of creating whole new scenes (for example, the all-new prologue featured in the teaser trailer).

The editing process itself is fairly straightforward, and is in fact pretty much finished; after the picture’s locked, I’ll need to do some work to make sure the colour grading and sound mix all balance, and add in a handful of VFX, but that shouldn’t take too long. In the first post below is a list of changes intended for the edit.

The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition ❖ FIRST TEASER NOW ONLINE ❖

Thanks, I’ll definitely count you in. For now, I have a request to put out there.

I want to be able to composite some birds into a number of shots. First, a thrush flying when they first arrive at the mountain (in the scene I uploaded earlier) and possibly in a couple of other shots, to make a little nod at the thrush in the book telling Bard about Smaug’s weak point. Second, a raven (or crow) for a landscape sequence, to parallel the lighting of the beacons in ROTK, carrying Thorin’s message to Dain. I’ve got some wicked landscape footage I want to use for it, but I need the bird.

If anyone knows where I can get hold of decent green-screen footage of a thrush and/or a raven or crow in flight, that would be fantastic. I can handle the composition itself, it’s the raw footage I’m after. I’m not against using CG birds at all (that’s what they use in the actual movie, after all); CG or real or a mix would be just fine. With the thrush, any flying footage would be fine, so long as I can isolate it from the background; with the raven, soaring would be best, and mostly flying toward or away from the camera.

The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition ❖ FIRST TEASER NOW ONLINE ❖

March update

Day job is still insanely busy, although I’ll be pulling less overtime once daylight savings ends here. I’ve had very positive feedback from a few friends who’ve seen the day-for-night grade, but I’m not ready to upload a preview of the sequence as yet. I’ll include several examples of the grading in the final trailer, which I’ll make once I’ve reached picture lock on the whole movie. I’ve got a way to go yet; the end of the film in particular is still very much up in the air. Updates to the various chapters below.

Vanity plates:
I may want to create a new “Roccondil Rínon” plate in light of ET’s concerns about using an one.

May need some slight grading touches.

An Unexpected Party:
May need a bit of attention to the sound at transitions.

Misty Mountains song:
Day-for-night grading 95% complete. May yet move around a handful of shots.

Opening titles:
Draft rendered for pacing purposes; music edits done. No point locking until the film’s complete.

Roast Mutton:
Could potentially use some further cutting. Might do some grading experiments as well.

A Short Rest:
Not complete, but in much better shape than before. Need to do some work with sound and narration as well as the editing itself.

Over Hill and Under Hill:
A few small cuts; more may be required for time.

Riddles in the Dark:
Some minor tidying up required towards the end.

Out of the Frying-pan, Into the Fire:
Orcs cut completely, without sacrificing continuity, but the scene now feels less personal as a result, and loses all focus on Bilbo. I may eventually have to cut the whole sequence after all. If so, the edited version will show up as a deleted scene on the blu-ray.

Queer Lodgings:
Cutting the eagles would also make the arrival at Beorn’s more manageable.

I may need to trim it down for time, but that will have to come later, when I’ve a better idea of whether I need to lose more time and how much.

The Wood-Elves:
I’d like to at least have the option to use the deleted scene where the dwarves meet Thranduil, but I fear I won’t be able to manage the level of FX required. I would still like to reinstate the Tauriel scene, but as it is it’s not working.

Barrels Out of Bond:
May need some work for pacing and (haha) flow, but I’m cutting almost the entire thing so I’ve got heaps of options.

A Warm Welcome:
It looks like the song I wanted to insert here won’t work, but I’m mostly ok with the sequence itself.

On the Doorstep:
Colour grading a massive success here. Would like to incorporate a CG thrush if I can find one, or for that matter footage of a real one if I can extract it. The only green-screen clip I’ve been able to find is of one sitting and singing, not flying.

Inside Information:
I may yet want to regrade the inside of the mountain to be less green. Pretty happy with the cut itself, though.

Smaug the Magnificent:
The shot of Smaug leaving the mountain ended up being easy to cut.

The entr’acte needs a little work to make the music flow smoothly.

Fire and Water:
I may trim this down a little more, but the only major thing left to do (althoough it’s a doozy) is to paint out Bain in one shot where I can’t crop him out and can’t cut the shot. I also want to add in a few shots at the beginning from the second film. Finally, I haven’t decided how best to deal with the on-screen title: I don’t want to cut the music or the shot short, but I don’t know how to paint it out. I’d hoped that I’d be able to combine elements from foreign-language versions of the film to complete the backdrop, but it looks like they don’t change the title on-screen.

The Gathering of the Clouds:
Needs some editing work for pacing and time, but nothing too technical. I’ve cut the reveal that Bilbo in fact has the Arkenstone, saving it for him giving it to Bard.

The Clouds Burst:
The battle is definitely in first-draft shape, and will almost certainly be cut a bit more. I’d like to reincorporate the deleted scene with Bilbo planting the acorn if I can. I understand why it was cut, but I like it.

King Under the Mountain:
The End of the Beginning, as I’ve said before, works perfectly here. I haven’t yet put together the flashback montage; unlike the rest of the film, this segment will be effectively cut to music (as well as the audiobook narration), and I haven’t yet settled on what music to use. The structure of the scene will also depend significantly on whether I end up having to cut the Eagles’ appearence in act one.

The Return Journey:
The trimming of this part is pretty much done (including an Adywan-style reordering of Gandalf’s farewell scene to restore how it seems to have been originally scripted and shot). However, it ends abruptly, due to my elminination of Old Bilbo; the transition into the epilogue will need to be done after it’s at least in a presentable draft form.

Similar to the battle flashback montage, this is the other segment that doesn’t exist yet. In addition to cutting it to narration and music, I don’t know what sources I’ll end up using for the footage itself. There’ll be some more from the Team Supertramp Hobbiton shoot, and some more from the AUJ Blu-Ray, and I’ll see what I can squeeze out of the Appendices. I’m still confident it can be done — I knew I’d need to scrape together footage from a range of sources for this bit — and I need to cut together the soundtrack first.

End credits:
I’ve fiddled with the draft credits (in the process making them more closely resemble the credits of the third film) and got them down to about 13 minutes. Dave’s agreed to do the song, and the rest of the music will come once we’ve got that recorded.

After I’ve got picture lock, I’ll need to add in a lot of sound effects during the new sequences (Misty Mountains song, battle flashback) and in a handful of other places. I shouldn’t have trouble sourcing the sounds, but there’s no point trying to put them in yet.

The Hobbit: Roadshow Edition ❖ FIRST TEASER NOW ONLINE ❖

Thanks, guys!

Having played around a bunch more with Davinci Resolve, I’ve now decided to attempt to not just regrade a substantial proportion of the picture to better match LOTR, but to attempt to do a time-of-day regrade on some of the prologue scenes I’m using with the Misty Mountains song (to show Smaug’s initial attack occurring at night), which ought to help with making the flame effects look a little less animated/fake (in large part by the simple expedient of brightening them up the proverbial). I’ll be doing similar flame-brightening for the pine-tree scene and the destruction of Esgaroth.

If I can’t pull them off to my satisfaction, then that’s fine, and they can stay as they are. But I’m so impressed with this piece of software — especially running on a tiny old laptop — that I’d be mad not to at least give it a try.