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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
**FOTR EE Appendices Discussion: Editorial Demonstration -- really fun, don't miss this post!**


Nov 15 2009, 10:12pm

Post #1 of 6 (272 views)
**FOTR EE Appendices Discussion: Editorial Demonstration -- really fun, don't miss this post!** Can't Post

This is the final post for the Post Production: Editorial feature on the 2nd Appendices disk of the FOTR EE DVD.

If you've not checked this out before, go put it in your DVD player or computer right now! It's a very nifty demonstration that shows a variety of the footage shot for the end of the Council of Elrond scene, plus the final sequence from the film, so you can see what shots were available to the editor, and which ones they selected.

Because I had no idea how to present this for a discussion, I called in the calvary, and Ohio Hobbit came to my rescue by coming up with a way to do it. Praise him with great praise!

Here is the introduction on the DVD to this segment:

“This 90 second sequence, comprised of 36 ‘takes’, illustrates the challenges faced by the editorial team. Six windows comprised of the raw footage play above the final film. The portion of each ‘take’ chosen by the editor for the final film will highlight as the sequence plays.”

And here's Ohio Hobbit's explanation about what's going on :

"The actual demonstration is what comes directly after the introduction. All 7 windows are playing in synchronization and for what is being shown in the Final Film window; the “take window” that it came from is highlighted. It is absolutely fascinating to watch.

I wrote down the sequence of how the editor jumped between the different takes to assemble the scene. It’s maddening! Here is the sequence:

1, 2, 6, 2, 3, 1, 4, 2, 5, 6, 5, 6, 3, 4, 6, 4, 5, 2, 6, 1, 6, 1, 5, 2, 3, 2, 3, 6, 2, 6, 4, 6, 2, 3, 2, 6

Not too many years ago, they would have done this by physically cutting up film and taping it together. Now they can do it all on computers!

Ohio Hobbit also gave me some screencaps, complete with captions, from this section so here you go:

Left shot – Used in movie. Nice shot of some costumes here, both Aragorn and the Elf on the left. We also get a close-up of the back of Frodo’s head LOL.
Right shot – Used in movie – Interesting shot of the set in the background.

Also used in the movie. I thought that this was an interesting expression on Elrond.

Far left – The movie cuts just before this. Again, interesting view of the surroundings, good shot of Elrond’s chair.
Center – A great angle not seen in the movie.
Far right – This is where Elrond says, “You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring.” The shot in the movie is actually face on to Elrond for this.

I thought that this was a rather odd expression on Gandalf and was surprised that it was actually used. I think that it looks better in the movie because they don’t linger on it.

I thought that this was neat, how Merry and Pippin keep popping back and forth here. You really have to see this in motion. Only the very end, with both showing, is used in the movie.

Not used in the movie. An interesting little exchange between Pippin and Gimli here.

Questions for you, if you would like some to answer!

1. Would you have kept any of the unused shots above in your cut of this scene?

2. What shots especially stand out to you in the end of the Council of Elrond sequence? Do you feel the editing team did well here, or did you wonder about some of their choices -- the actors expressions, the angles selected, etc.?

3. What kind of skills do you have to have to be a good editor? Would that field suit you?

4. Other comments, questions, observations on editing FOTR?

Please join me in a big round of applause for Ohio Hobbit and Alcarcalime, who provided all of the screencaps for the entire Editorial discussion -- all three posts!

And please join me in a toast to John Gilbert, editor of the FOTR film (TE and EE versions). Here's a link to the Wikipedia page on him, if you'd like to know more about his work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gilbert_(film_editor)



Nov 16 2009, 3:14pm

Post #2 of 6 (146 views)
And the award for Sheer Awesomeness goes to... [In reply to] Can't Post

Weaver & Ohio Hobbit & Alcarcalime!! What a fantastic discussion! You guys just keep raising the bar. I'm sure if someone went back and pulled these together, there's a book in there somewhere. Ya' think ;-)??

Some rambling thoughts ....

I think the amount of time and focus spent on this editing section really emphasizes just how important editing is, not just to these, but any films. It must be wonderful, if you're working on a film you really like, to be able to spend hours lost in all the individual shots and scenes. Of course, unfortunately, they always seem to be under tremendous time pressure. It might seem the perfect editing job would be one where you had enough time to do it the way you really want to ... on the other hand, maybe at a certain point, they find themselves in Tweaking Hell, and the deadline is what enables them to get out of it ... they finally must stop, because there simply is no more time, that's it, time to call it finished.

Whenever we have these discussions I find myself wondering what it would be like to have one of these types of jobs, in the creative arts, what it would have been like for it to have been my career, and whether I would have liked it. So what kinds of skills are required? I think it takes a special type of person to succeed in these types of positions, beyond just being of course super creatively talented, and being able to accept not having a steady paycheck ... you also have to have the personality for it -- what I call a High FOT - High Freak-out Tolerance :-). Because you're dealing with personalities and deadlines and time crunches and LOTS AND LOTS of rework, rework, going back and doing it over because it needs to be just that much better. You just have to be able to go with it. So, job requirements are, a high FOT and most definitely, a sense of humor, to get you through it all. And you see a lot of that humor in these appendices pieces, these folks are sometimes just so laugh out loud funny, even in their casual conversations. And lastly, remember that phrase, I'm not sure who said it - something about if you're working on a project "check your ego at the door"? That's important too, the understanding that you are part of a team, you're a contributor, you do your part and then have faith that the whole will turn out well.

And regarding all the unused shots - I just love looking at little treasures that weren't in the films. Wouldn't it be great if they issued a calendar with only unused shots?!

P.S. I'm going to hold off for a few days on posting the next discussion, on Digital Grading, to give folks a chance to digest and comment on all the great stuff in the editing discussion -- you guys are a tough act to follow :-)!


Nov 16 2009, 9:13pm

Post #3 of 6 (119 views)
Editing seems like a very different kind of creativity challenge to me... [In reply to] Can't Post

In everything else, they are trying to come up with creative ways to do things -- the scale tricks, the lighting, the music, the script, whatever -- but in editing, the focus is more on making creative choices about things other people have created, if that makes sense...it's about eliminating certain things so you can focus on other things. I would guess it takes a very discriminating kind of brain...I would bet editors would make good jurors -- which makes me realize I'd never make a good editor, as I am a lousy jurist!

Looking forward to the digital grading discussion -- and thanks for nice comments and the extra time for folks to chime in on this one!


(This post was edited by weaver on Nov 16 2009, 9:14pm)


Nov 17 2009, 1:12am

Post #4 of 6 (114 views)
The one thing that has always bothered me [In reply to] Can't Post

about the closing scenes of the Council of Elrond is that they cut Sam out of the shot when Merry and Pippin trot in and talk about intelligence. Sam's not at all happy about this Quest, precious... oh no... not at all. When they finally do pull away, his arms are crossed and he's scowling. Here he thought he had Frodo freed and able to go home... and here they are off again.

I really love Frodo's expression when Aragorn steps forward. He's finally smiling and relieved. I wish they'd left in that instant when Gimli puts his hand on Pippin's shoulder. I wonder what was being said or done as it was going on.

Most excellent journey through the editing process, m'dear! Kudos to you and Major Bows to Ohio Hobbit for his generous talent and support!

*applause* DANKA GUYS!!! :D


"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."
~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.

TORn's Observations Lists


Nov 17 2009, 4:10am

Post #5 of 6 (136 views)
1, 2, 6, 2, 3, 1. . . [In reply to] Can't Post

This little demonstration really has me in awe. I didn’t really pay very close attention to what it was at first. I just clicked on each window and watched each sequence in turn. Each sequence doesn’t seem all that impressive, but the final result is. I find that just amazing and the demonstration, after I finally figured out what it is actually doing, is a real eye opener.

I think the main thing that an editor needs to be is a good story teller. Out of all the images that you have available, how can you best tell the story? I guess that part of editing is all the technical stuff of telling stories with movies, like pacing and that sort of thing.

Thanks for a most entertaining trip through the Editorial section, weaver. And about the screencaps --- those were good, weren’t they? Wink

Movie Technical Discussion -- Index

frederica bolger

Nov 17 2009, 8:06pm

Post #6 of 6 (146 views)
expressions... [In reply to] Can't Post

These pictures really reinforce how fleetingly caught expressions have to be very blatant to make an impact at all in a fast moving scene. But then, in freeze-frame... oh, hell.

On the other hand, Elrond's expression always amused me. It made me think of a Wilhelm Busch drawing (anyone here know Busch, a 19th century German satirist?)

For example, here is Master Lampl, the schoolteacher...

... or is it only me that sees the similarities?

Rain may fall and wind may blow
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree I will lie
And watch the clouds go sailing by.


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