The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

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Garrett Gilchrist
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The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 5Post Garrett Gilchrist »

AC3 Workprint audio:

On Thursday Oct 04, 2007, I wrote the following:

Demonoid user Aikousha recently posted a very interesting workprint of the Jim Henson/Frank Oz classic The Dark Crystal.

She actually got to see the film in this state, as a child, as a test audience member, before changes were made to the film based on poor test audience scores. She was disappointed to see that the final product had been reworked and redubbed to be more accessible to a general audience.

Her copy of the film, on VHS, is a black and white workprint, very poor quality. Apparently the purpose of this workprint was to test different versions of the score to the film. Trevor Jones' great score is present, but so is about 15 minutes of a version by Vangelis which was also being considered. I don't believe she included the Vangelis version when she posted it.

The DVD of The Dark Crystal also contains excerpts from a slightly earlier workprint, this time in color. It's taken from VHS and the quality isn't great either, even on DVD. You can tell this workprint is earlier because Frank Oz's voice is still present as Aughra! The ostensibly female character sounds very much like Yoda at this point.

According to the DVD, this version of the film no longer exists on 35mm film.

Most notably, in this version of the film, many characters don't speak English. The Skeksis in particular speak English very rarely, and mainly speak their own language. In this version of the film, English is the Gelfling tongue. Characters only speak English when they are speaking Gelfling - speaking to the heroes Kira and Jen. Otherwise they have their own languages.

The film thus relied a lot more on pantomime, and the intonation of voices, to get its ideas across. Their speech and actions were made very simple and broad so they could be understood without speech. When the characters were all dubbed into English, the dialogue couldn't be witty or clever - it was simple and broad because the original version was simple and broad because it didn't have dialogue.

Several scenes were cut and restructured mainly from the beginning of the film, particularly in regards to introducing the hero character of Jen. A lengthy voiceover was added which explains the entire plot of the story up front. In the workprint, there is no voiceover, no explanation. The viewer has to learn the story gradually. In the theatrical cut Jen is also given voiceovers, the thoughts in his head as he prepares for his journey .... A lot of scenes with Jen are redubbed and reedited so that they are more focused on the plot, that Jen must heal the Dark Crystal. A lot of extra dialogue is added throughout to explain what is going on in every scene, and character traits like the Chamberlain saying "Mmmmmm" are emphasized more.

It was a leap of faith by Henson that audiences would understand what his characters were saying and doing without English dialogue. The film has a very alien feel, a film from another planet. We never see human beings, only Henson's marvelous puppets. With The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth I think both have failings as films - they're very simplistic in terms of story and the scripts aren't great - but nobody did fantasy quite like Jim Henson did fantasy, and no one ever will. You have to respect what he was trying to do. Of course no one did puppets like Henson did, nor will they. In many ways his art died with him. The Dark Crystal shows the peak of what puppets can do, and also shows the limitations. In our days of CGI, he could probably disguise the limitations of puppetry better, but then CGI sadly replaced puppetry, so it's a double-edged sword.

The film feels very alien - it's a whole different world, and this early workprint feels even more alien, because it doesn't attempt to explain itself. It is what it is, and viewers have to accept that and get on with the ride. The first cut seems to respect viewer's intelligence more. There's a lot more dialogue in the theatrical cut, and it doesn't really seem too necessary, since the film was originally edited and written without it. There's also some interesting lines and moments here and there which were lost in the theatrical.

Since seeing the excerpts on the DVD, I've wondered what the film would be like without this extra dialogue. I don't feel that Jim Henson ruined the film by redubbing and reediting it. His altered and redubbed versions of certain scenes actually have a very similar feel to the original, and until you compare the two versions really carefully it's not always clear that anything has changed. I haven't watched The Dark Crystal a million times or anything, as far as Henson's fantasy work goes I prefer The Storyteller, and in some ways Labyrinth I suppose .... So editing this is hard for me - I have to really go in depth and study the film.

I do feel that a more subtle, more adult version of The Dark Crystal can be made from this material and that it's worth doing. With the extra dialogue gone, the viewer is free to focus on the puppetry. Certainly people who've seen the film before don't need it explained to them anyway.

I'm working on it now, and it's already clear that this is going to be a tricky edit to do.

The quality of the workprint is exceedingly poor, and black and white. The quality of the excerpts on the Dark Crystal DVD is also poor, although actually in color. This isn't like The Thief and the Cobbler where the film is unfinished so I can get away with using all kinds of poor quality material. I would love to include the scenes particularly toward the beginning that were cut out of the theatrical version - most notably they do a better job of introducing the Jen character in a different way. However, I don't think this is possible. The scenes are just too poor in quality - black and white - and there isn't a huge enough amount of footage that was cut out to make use of the black and white material worthwhile.

My original idea was just to change the soundtrack, and leave the picture alone. I am trying to see if this is possible. This does mean that I have to cut out scenes that didn't make it to the theatrical version, but oh well. I'm really stumped by the scene early on where Jen talks to his dying Mystic friend, who he calls Master. This scene was completely redubbed and reedited for the theatrical cut. The tone of the scene, and the performance of it, is very similar in both versions, but the theatrical version was rewritten from scratch to include more information about the Skeksis and Aughra. The workprint version is a little more vague and mainly just talks about the Dark Crystal. Jen is only told about Aughra in a second scene at the Mystic's funeral which was deleted (but appears on the DVD in poor quality.)

I have to carefully look at the footage to see if any part of the workprint version can be approximated from the footage present in the theatrical.

Interestingly, since so much of Jen's introduction was cut in the theatrical cut, my cut of the film so far is even more vague and unexplained than the workprint. Once you cut the voiceover, there's less dialogue than in any version of the film. Kind of arty. But I'll keep thinking on what I can do here.

Only present in the workprint, in black and white, is the original introduction of Jen. There's extra footage of the woods, the creatures, and the stream. We first see him swimming naked - there's a closeup of him getting out of the water. Nothing explicit. He then plays his pipe, which we see in the theatrical cut, but due to the editing I don't think most viewers notice he's nude in this scene! The theatrical cut has a voiceover here. The theatrical cut also added a scene of the Mystics "singing," which is taken from later in the film, so that the voiceover could explain who the Mystics are. Originally, we see Jen playing his pipe, and then the hand of a Mystic appears behind him. We think it's a creature about to attack him, like in a horror movie. But of course the Mystic is actually a friend. It tells him that someone needs to speak to him, and that a storm is coming. Jen gets dressed and runs through the storm, as we see in the theatrical.

The workprint version has a female voice as Aughra, but it's a completely different performance than what was used in the theatrical. The version in the theatrical sounds more like a woman imitating Frank Oz's original. I'm not sure if it's the same actress.

Aughra, in her planetarium, has some extra dialogue which I quite liked (it's on the DVD spoken by Frank Oz, but spoken by a woman in the workprint) .... she talks about the possibility of her own death. "Oh well. We all turn to smoke in the end. Come from smoke too, some say. I don't know. Maybe not so bad, smoke. Float around. See the world ...."

I'd love to include this full line in my cut, but there's not time enough with the available footage, since the shot was cut. Unless I used the shot seen on the DVD in low quality.

I was able to do a cut which included most of the line though. Except for "Come from smoke too, some say. I don't know."

The Frank Oz version on the DVD omits a bunch of dialogue in this scene too, as Aughra goes to get the box of crystal shards. However, this is still present in the workprint.

Most of Jen's dialogue, apart from lines added later, is identical in the workprint to what's in the theatrical.

I wish the DVD had more workprint scenes on it, like the introduction of Jen. But the scenes they did include let us hear Frank Oz as Aughra, and also show two scenes that were definitely altered a lot for the theatrical.

On the DVD, and in the workprint - Jen and Kira hang out at the Podling music festival. The original dialogue has Jen asking how long they can stay here. Kira says, as long as we want. Jen says he never wants to leave. The theatrical version redubbed and reedited this to include more talk about the Dark Crystal. A very plot-centric dub.

The thing is, this movie doesn't have too big of a plot, so I think it will work better if they're not talking about the plot all the time.

The DVD, and the workprint, also includes a scene of the Skeksis sucking out a Podling's life essence. This originally played with no English dialogue. The theatrical version adds a lot of English dialogue from the Skeksis explaining exactly what is going on.

So yeah, definitely going to be a different version of the film, this. But we'll see how much I can actually pull off without using the black and white video.

I will be changing some of the video. At this point I have decided to change only one scene, the early scene with Jen and the dying Mystic. We'll see if I change more. I am interested in putting the scenes back in the correct order, but since the film makes heavy use of dissolves from one scene to another, this isn't really possible I don't think.

For example, the scene of the Mystics calling out in one voice, "singing," originally took place after Aughra dumps the box of shards at Jen's feet. It was moved to be the second scene of the film. It makes more sense in its original place. But there are heavy dissolves on either side of it, so it's hard to move.

At the moment I have decided to live with the theatrical cut's shuffling round of scenes, and just rework the audio.

However, I did recut the early scene with Jen and the dying Mystic. This scene was heavily reedited for the theatrical cut, and it was difficult to find footage for every line the Mystic originally said. Since the theatrical cut is largely made up of different footage, this footage just didn't exist in the edit. I did my best with it. I didn't have to cheat too much, since in most cases I figured out what the Mystic was actually saying in the shot as seen in the theatrical. But I did reuse footage. There's a long shot of the Mystic talking which I use twice, once when he's talking about Aughra. I also reuse a shot of Jen. Hm.

In general I'm giving more prominence to Trevor Jones' score, since it's pretty prominent in the workprint.

One difference with this edit is, I had found Jen a bit annoying, because of the extra lines where he constantly repeats the plot, or asks a lot of extra questions, or talks out loud - he comes off a bit stupid in the theatrical. So this is an improvement there.

In the workprint Jen refers to the Mystics as The Uru, their more proper name.

Aughra's voice is definitely different and I sort of prefer the one in the theatrical, but oh well.

I'd prefer that my edit be obviously a better version of the movie, but maybe I'll settle for different in this case.

It's more subdued and understated at least. And some of the dialogue better written.

Sync is a major problem here. Because the puppets don't have perfectly accurate mouth sync, it's really hard to figure out when any of the sound is in sync or not. Especially since I know that the sync will be different when I print my edited audio to the original M2V video. I'm sort of approximating the sync at this point, assuming I'll have to fix it later.

When I ripped the video and audio, I had the usual sync troubles. I ripped them separately, and the video for the movie came out about 6 seconds shorter than the audio.

I assumed that the length for the audio was correct, and not the video. That is usually the case. I roughly made cuts in the video so that the sync would sort of match the audio a little better throughout.

Now, when editing the audio, I use the DVD version's audio as my way of determining sync, not the DVD version's video. This is a very odd way to work, since the video is never quite in sync. I generally use Jen's lines as my sync points because they are often the same take in both the DVD and workprint.

I am actually working from a low quality AVI of the workprint, although Aikousha intends to post a full DVD of the workprint, which would give me better quality sound. Perhaps I'll try to swap out one sound source for the other when the DVD workprint is available.

Still, the workprint sound isn't too bad. I've equalized out the hiss which helps a bit, although it does make the sound quite low.

I think Aughra's voice might be male in this workprint actually. I'm getting used to it.

October 5th:

The scene of Aughra in the planetarium - ick. The audio is terrible in the workprint, the voice of Aughra is very hard to understand. I think because there's rumbling sound FX under it.

Also, the way the actor or actress delivers Aughra's lines, I couldn't edit the "We all turn to smoke in the end" dialogue the same way I edited Frank Oz's version. Best I could do was cut off the line at "Might not be so bad, smoke." Which leaves out some of the more interesting part of the line.

This is the longest version of the scene on record, with some extra lines. Before Aughra says "End, begin, all the same," she talks about the two races splitting apart, the 3 suns, all that.

The low quality of the workprint audio gets me in trouble in scenes where there are lots of sound effects, or music that needs to sound decent.


When the Garthim attack, I sort of split the difference between the two.

The editing of the theatrical cut matches the workprint a lot more as the movie goes on.

More voiceovers from Jen before he meets Kira in the theatrical.

The workprint doesn't have Jen say "Oh no, right in the mud" when he meets Fizzgig, although his lips are still seen to move. Kira says "Take my hand" instead of "Let me help you," and there's no voices of Jen and Kira over the "growing up" montage. Nor do we see their two faces together at the beginning of the montage.

The montage itself leaves a bit to be desired here too. I'm having it play with just the music and some surround rumble, since I can provide that in high quality, but I don't really have any sound FX to add to it, which it seems like it needs.

In the workprint, it sounds different, but it's hard to tell if there are any sound FX. The sound quality is terrible so I won't be using the workprint sound. I hear a couple of lines by Kira in there, and I'll use them as best I can.

More missing footage after the dream fast montage. There's a closeup of Jen. He doesn't say "I'm sinking" or "Where would I go?" There's also more dialogue talking about the dream fast. Kira explains this to him.

Because there was explanatory voiceover over this montage, it wasn't felt that this footage was necessary in the theatrical cut.

Without it, my cut of this scene becomes a bit choppy.

Ah well.

I made the decision to use Jen's line "Memories - I saw memories of you" over the footage used in the theatrical cut of him saying "Your name is Kira." In the workprint he says both lines (with a better performance on "Your name is Kira" than the poor performance in the theatrical). The "memories" line is much more important to making the scene make sense.

Kira's call to the swamp monster is different in this, more singing like, and not as good.

I will probably do at least two different edits of the audio for the film - I'll do an edit where I include more audio from the theatrical version, where I prefer it. I like the voiceovers over the dreamfast montage, as well as Jen saying he's sinking, and in many places the theatrical version of Aughra's voice ....

I had wanted to provide a superior experience here but in some ways I'll settle for "different and less explained."

The scene ends with Jen asking Kira where she lives. In the theatrical this was replaced with some quips about Fizzgig and warnings that the Skeksis are near. The workprint dialogue is much simpler.

October 6th:

Well, here's a clip from my edit. The death of the "wisest of the Uru."

(clip removed)

If you don't have a DVD of The Dark Crystal to compare this to, you probably won't notice any difference. All the dialogue is different in this edit, basically. All of it. This is the original dialogue from the workprint, with the theatrical cut's very different footage re-edited to match it as best I could.

As I said, I repeated some footage to make this edit work, notably when the Mystic talks about "healing the wound of the Dark Crystal" and Jen as the "Gelfling wanderer." But in general, he is actually saying the lines I'm suggesting he's saying. I looked at the footage pretty carefully to figure out what lines each shot corresponded to.

In some cases I've shortened the workprint audio, because the theatrical footage was cut shorter and cuts had to be made.

The Mystic's first line - Jen cuts him off in this edit, he doesn't get to finish talking about the three suns. Not much I could do about that, and the sync isn't right either, but I wanted to get the line in.

I ought to create a video file of the theatrical version so you know what the heck I'm talking about.

Skeksis eating - there's English dialogue added to this in the theatrical cut, whereas it's dialogueless in the workprint - apart from some minor Skeksis non-English dialogue here and there. The theatrical also adds some slightly comedic music to the scene, which I don't like too much, although it might be in the workprint too, just inaudible due to the low quality of the VHS. At any rate, I have added that music cue to the workprint audio I'm using too, because having more than one audio source makes the sound appear to be higher quality.

Aughra and the Skeksis - again, Aughra's voice is rather hard to hear in the workprint, and doesn't work nearly as well as in the theatrical cut.

My feeling about the redub of Aughra is that they felt that this performance was lacking the humor of Frank Oz's original version, and they did another attempt to try to make it more Frank Oz like, but also more feminine.

Again though we get Aughra speaking more of a language that isn't English.

The leader of the Skeksis tends to speak English and his takes are usually exactly the same in the workprint and the theatrical. As with Jen's lines with Aughra, I've usually used the workprint audio rather than trying to drop in the theatrical audio, because it would stick out too much compared to Aughra's lines. I have however taken his audio from the Frank Oz version, which is higher quality and also helped me plug a gap in the workprint (there are lots of dropouts in the workprint).

As Jen and Kira sail along in a little boat, Kira sings a wordless song. In the workprint, this song is pretty simple. The only words are "La la, la la la la." For the theatrical cut, clearly Jim Henson decided he needed a more haunting voice here. It is probably a different singer singing in the theatrical - the words are now "Ah" rather than "La" and it's much better sung, a more haunting melody.

This is similar to when Kira sings to the swamp creature - Henson replaced her original singing with a more unusual, otherworldly call.

The result in the theatrical cut is quite beautiful, so I had a choice here. Use the workprint version, which is not as nice and suffers quite a lot from the poor sound quality, or use the theatrical even though it's different.

I made an unusual compromise - I play both at once. You hear Jen singing "La la," but the more haunting theatrical cut version serves as a sort of echo, giving it extra resonance. It actually works this way.

However, I will be doing another version of the audio where I drop in more material from the theatrical cut, and I'll use the theatrical version of the audio for that cut.

I will also be using Aughra's voice from the theatrical for that version .... although I'd like to see if I could use mostly the voice from the theatrical but a few lines from the workprint. Not sure if that would work, but hm.

Again though, I feel that the "La la la" version is in character for the workprint version. Kira and Jen are portrayed as much more naive and childlike. Strangely they never come off as stupid, as I think Jen sometimes does in the theatrical - they just come off as coming from a more innocent time and place. The dialogue redubs attempted to make them come off as more clever and heroic, more concerned with the quest, more like Hollywood heroes. Although there's not a big difference, the dialogue in the workprint tends to be more simple, with no attempt to be clever.

Again as Jen and Kira visit the Podlings, the beginning of the scene is redubbed to mention that the Garthim killed Kira's parents - information we already know. It's interesting that so many scenes were redubbed when the information is already known to the audience. The redubs are unneeded, and the workprint version works better because we get an extra slight bit of humor with Fizzgig ....

The theatrical cut includes the podling dialogue as intended, but they are not nearly as loud in the mix - their dialogue not treated as dialogue. The background sounds and music are much louder in the workprint, perhaps because of the limited audio range of VHS. The theatrical cut has some extra Podling dialogue, which I'll leave into my cut since it's not English. The workprint shows the Podlings sometimes talking without any sound ...

I'm only noticing now that Jen has a slightly British accent in the workprint, and an essentially American accent in the theatrical. The difference is not huge, but it's there.

Again, as the Podlings party there's extra dialogue in the theatrical talking again about the three suns, the great conjunction, Jen's quest ....

In the workprint this dialogue is kept to a minimum, with more emphasis on the fun the podlings are having. You actually see Jen's mouth moving at the beginning of a shot but saying nothing, which probably inspired them adding dialogue here.

As I said earlier:
The original dialogue has Jen asking how long they can stay here. Kira says, as long as we want. Jen says he never wants to leave. The theatrical version redubbed and reedited this to include more talk about the Dark Crystal. A very plot-centric dub.

Jen saying "I never want to leave, ever" was cut entirely. The footage showed Jen starting to dance and Kira looking kind of shocked.

I've put this dialogue over a shot of Jen dancing, which is close enough.

After the Garthim attack, Jen throws away the shard. It's hard not to think of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings here, now. "I wish the ring had never come to me" ... and the Chamberlain's Gollum-like behavior.

In the theatrical cut, Kira shouts "Jen, no!" when Kira throws the shard. She also says "They hurt your arm" instead of just "Your arm." A minor change, but it shows the desire to explain things more in the theatrical (and again, the workprint performance is better).

Jen and Kira sleeping in each others' arms. A very annoying Jen voiceover is added to this in the theatrical. Quite possibly this voiceover was intended to distract viewers from the romantic content of the scene.

Kira says "Jen, the shard" as she finds the shard in the theatrical, instead of just "Jen."

Jen and Kira's lines as they look at the hieroglyphics are different at the beginning and end, and again, the lines in the workprint are simpler and have a more innocent feel to them. In the theatrical, Jen and Kira are rather quicker with figuring out what the hieroglyphics mean, and they talk more.

The workprint also has Jen mention in passing that he looked into the crystal and saw the flashback of it being shattered - which indeed he did, earlier. "I saw this in the crystal!"

Having the isolated score on the DVD is really saving my bacon in this edit, lemme tell you.

You know, there's no way in heck the audio of the workprint and the audio of the DVD are running at the same speed. Maybe the VHS is running at PAL 25fps, who knows.

- Yeah, that seems about right. Too fast, yeah.

Friend! Friend! The Skeksis Chamberlain's dialogue at the very beginning of the scene is different and peppered with non-English words, as well as an accent which makes him sound ... Russian, maybe. I like it. His pretending to be a friend is actually more convincing in this dub.

Also, he doesn't break character at the end. Memorably, in the theatrical cut, it was very obvious at the end that the Skeksis was evil, talking in a crazed evil voice. That's nowhere near as obvious here, and we get even more non-English dialogue.

More voiceovers in the theatrical as the landstriders appear. Jen asks what they are, and how Kira learned to call them.

This is done more subtly in the workprint - Kira asks him if he's ever ridden a landstrider before. Tells you what they are without asking.

Skeksis sucks the energy out of a Podling - lot of English dialogue added here in the theatrical cut. The original is dialogue-less (apart from some non English dialogue). It's on the DVD also.

Landstrider fight with the Garthim - theatrical adds the lines:
Jen: "Come on!"
Kira: "Hang on!"

Workprint adds the lines:
Jen: "You can fly?"
Kira: "No, not fly."

A door that looks like a demon's mouth.

More dialogue in the theatrical. Jen says it must lead to the lower levels.

When Kira says she doesn't want to go in there, Jen says they have to.

In the workprint, Kira says she doesn't want to go in there, and Jen ignores her. Or can't hear her. She says "Jen?" and follows.

The shot of Kira is different in the theatrical - they found footage of Kira not talking.

Kira and Jen in the caves. Workprint has some extra footage I think, they come across a featured little puppet monster and Kira says "Jen!"

Theatrical cut adds voiceover to when the Chamberlain Skeksis and his corresponding Mystic both suffer hand injuries. That's annoying, because it's telling the audience they're too dumb to understand through visual cues alone. And if they don't understand, surely they don't need to know it now and can figure it out later.

Workprint features non-English audio instead of the Chamberlain saying "Gelfling, you die!"

Sounds like "Exeunt and tie!" Or, exeunt and die.

The Chamberlain brings Kira to the Skeksis. Dubbed into English for the theatrical. The original is on the DVD. Although it's said very softly, the Skeksis seem to call the Chamberlain something similar to "Chamberlain" ... sounds like "Kymberlain."

Jen having the essence partly sucked, some Skeksis dialogue in English here in the theatrical. Aughra tells her to "Free the cages" in the workprint, a stranger way of speaking than in the theatrical. The Skeksis goes "Ah! Ah!" more as the animals revolt in the workprint, a different dub (even though it's not English!) ... the theatrical cut has a more Muppety sounding voice here, which doesn't seem as appropriate.

More alternate Aughra dialogue. Kira seems much more weary when she asks "When is the great conjunction?" She can barely say it.

Instead of "Go Gelfing ... I fear ... to death ..."
In the workprint, Aughra says "Go Gelfling ... to your friend ... to death ..."

More sinister sounding .... weird.

Theatrical cut adds Jen being a jerk to Fizzgig: "Yeah, big help you've been."

What the hell, theatrical cut?

In the theatrical he also says "Now where am I?" when he's fallen down, and his take of "Fizzgig!" is a different one.

In the red shaft he says "Is that the Crystal?"

The workprint has more comedic music for Fizzgig rolling along.

The theatrical has Jen say "You're alive!" when he sees Aughra again.

Jen sees the Dark Crystal. Theatrical adds a voiceover "This is what I came for. The Dark Crystal."

No shit, sherlock.

"The three suns. The shard." "Kira."

Yes, it seems he now states the names of things as he sees them.

Skeksis speak English. "The Great Conjunction comes!" Sounds very very Muppety. Jerry Nelson I think. They chant that they'll live forever. This is silent in the workprint, with the only vocalizations coming from Fizzgig.

Jen shouts "No!" as he drops the crystal in the theatrical.

Lot of English Skeksis dialogue in the theatrical - "The shard is mine!" "She's got the shard!"

There is one English Skeksis line in the workprint too - the Chamberlain says "Give us the shard and you can go free."

Theatrical adds lines for Aughra saving Fizzgig - silent in the workprint.

Aughra has an extra line in the workprint - "The wound of the world is healed." Footage was actually cut of a closeup of this line. I like her delivery of the poem better than the theatrical Aughra. There's a tape fault right on this line, which annoys me as I have to use it. I use the "wound of the world" line in my cut, over a shot of Jen.

This entire last scene is pretty much all shot on bluescreen or black screen or something - various methods used. Almost none of it is composited properly yet in the workprint.

The Urskeks I still find terrifying.

The Urskek has a different, creepier voice in the workprint. Hm. Not too different but the line delivery is a little less wise, a little more hammy at the ends of lines.

I won't be using that, as there's no difference in what he says, very little difference in terms of delivery, and the sound quality ought to be as good as possible at the end of a film.

Hey, it's the end of the film!



I picked the wrong horse.

I knew I'd have sync troubles with this edit - when I ripped the video and the audio for the film separately, they came out as different lengths. I decided that the audio was probably the correct length rather than the video, and edited my entire edit to match that.

Nope. I did the entire edit and got it into DVD Studio Pro to check how the sync was, and nope. The video was closer to the correct timing. The audio sync isn't even close, being over by 6 seconds or so.

Which means I have to redo the entire edit for sync purposes. Which I'm not in the mood for right now, but give me a minute, I'll get up to it.

As usual I'm never sure why the video is 6 seconds shorter than the audio as ripped in MPEG Streamclip, but I assume there are missing frames here and there, probably at VOB break points.

To be perfectly accurate with the sync I will probably do what I've done before, which is to burn the out of sync version to DVD, play it on a DVD player into my camcorder, and capture it in a DV, analog way into the computer. That way shows me exactly what the sync is like, and I can conform my edit to that.

This way also requires more hard drive space than I currently have, even though I spent today clearing my HD of some things .... so I'll have a go at that first.

Oh yes, I reedited the Mystic Master death scene for the DVD. The version I edited originally was done from a low quality 30 fps source and was only intended as a placeholder. I ripped the footage at 24fps and full quality and edited it into the scene to match what I'd done before.

I also added a number of special effects so that as the Mystic is talking about the crystal shard, it's always in shot as it's intended to be. I really cheated with the footage in this section and I used effects to hide that.

However, looking at my edit now, the footage is shaky and juddery, and doesn't quite composite together perfectly. I think I'll replace some of the moving footage with still images for the final.

October 8th:

Hmm. I actually missed editing a couple of scenes entirely when I was first doing this. The Skeksis looking at the crystal and summoning the Garthim, and Jen walking before meeting Aughra - that section.

Ton of English Skeksis dialogue in the theatrical of course, again having a Muppety feel to it.

The editing in the workprint is a bit different from the theatrical, I've had to shuffle the audio around a bit. There's a second closeup of the Skeksis leader summoning the Garthim in the theatrical.

It seems to be an alternate angle of what in the workprint is the line "Yabeh! Gelflink!" I'm spelling this phoenetically here, no idea how it's really spelled.

Especially as Jen walks around the music is quite different between the two also, which isn't good for me because the music is the most annoying part of this edit, having the music be in poor quality. People can accept dialogue in poor quality a little easier.

There's another unneeded voiceover before Jen meets Aughra.

Whenever the music comes up especially the sound quality of this edit is so disappointing.

Not much I can do about that, but I suspect I'll include more Theatrical audio in the alternate audio track where I ... use more Theatrical audio.

December 3rd, 2007:

Gah. So this weekend, I checked up on my near-finished Dark Crystal fanedit to see if I could finish it quickly.

And after ALL the work I did syncing it, it had gone out of sync. The entire thing. All the stuff from the workprint had gotten out of whack. The edits weren't where I'd put them. All the stuff from the DVD was still the way I'd done it, but the workprint stuff? Nope. All the edits were wrong - all the audio had shifted maybe a second or two. It was a huge mess.

Let me take you back. At the beginning of October, I was excited to tackle this project. I did all the editing, and was quite pleased with what I'd done.

Then when I burned the test disc, everything was out of sync. Way out of sync. I would have to do all the editing over again.

I started work and did half the movie again. All over again. In my haste I'd actually missed editing a scene or two previously, so I fixed these. I was pleased with my work.

But by now I'd lost interest in doing the film. There were more important things to be done. I put it aside.

So now I check it again, and it's all out of sync AGAIN. It has to be done all over again, from scratch.

I give up. I give the hell up.

I have ZERO interest in editing this film a third time.

Would anyone be interested in finishing this edit for me? Putting it in sync?

I can send you what I have - I have the out of sync DVD version, which is actually somewhat done, except a couple of scenes are screwed up and it all needs to be cut down to be brought into sync with the picture.

Then a post by SirQuacky on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:28 pm
I know this is probably a stupid question but, is that offer still open?

I have a copy of The Dark Crystal on DVD that I've loved watching over and over due to it's spectacular visuals, and I thought the workprint scenes included as a bonus were pretty nifty and had a certain mystique to them, but these days I feel kind of cheated that I can't have a "workprint audio" option. When it comes to editingI probably couldn't add any of the scenes from the workprint back into it (unless I felt I had the time and the drive) but I definitely know I could edit a new audio track using the 5.1, 2.0, Isolated Music, and Workprint audio into something a little less dumbed down.

But, yeah, this thread hasn't been active since 2008 so I guess this project is probably null and void by now. But hey, to quote ZigZag, "I just thought I'd ask."
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Re: The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 90Post ChrisWTF »

I'd actually really like to see this finished. Probably won't though. I would offer to try and put it all back in sync if I wasn't up to my nipples in other projects already. Maybe down the road.
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Re: The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 127Post Emulgator »

Back again !
Now that I finished the 5.1 and 2.0 restoration of the workprint audio of "The Thief and the Cobbler" I had time to read the history
of The Darker Crystal and had a short go at the compressed-to-death workprint audio.
I will try to undo some of the audio mangling in the coming days.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 133Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Exciting news!
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Re: The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 199Post ctlw83 »

While I fully understand why one might not want to use the low quality black and white workprint or poor VHS deleted scenes, I think that using the workprint might still be a good idea. In Thief, there are all sorts of materials of various qualities, including pencil sketches. As long as the audio can be cleaned up, the audience would accept a slightly lower quality in video. That isn't to say that one shouldn't attempt to clean up the workprint video but, that bad audio is less acceptable than bad video to most viewers.

I did think it might be possible to "colorize" the workprint based on matching the colors from the DVD characters and footage. However, that would mean a HUGE amount of masking in After Effects and could, if done improperly, yield very artificial results. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of time it would take.

However, I do think that a simple fade/transition could work between the black and white workprint and the colored DVD version. The audience would accept it and would gain a better sense of the original vision for the film.

I was also wondering if there was any kind of extended or workprint version of Labyrinth that differs greatly from the theatrical cut. I believe Henson died during the end of production or post-production on the film. So, the question would be, is the final edit his or was there another workprint/director cut originally devised for the film?
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 207Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Henson did not die during Labyrinth.

The workprint is very poor quality (almost unwatchable) and contains no important footage that isn't seen elsewhere in much better quality. Shots go on a bit longer, that's about it.
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Re: The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 208Post ctlw83 »

OK, perhaps I got confused because of the way something was said in one of the behind the scenes things gave me that impression.
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Re: The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 221Post TheTimeWanderer »

For people who haven't seen the full workprint, this is just how unwatchable the footage is (as well as the same shots from the 25th Anniversary DVD for comparison):


It's pretty damn bad and understandably unusable (though I'm still in the camp that's all for editing in workprint scenes just so the original audio can be the same).
Last edited by TheTimeWanderer on Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 223Post Garrett Gilchrist »

The workprint edit is also nearly identical to the finished film, just a bit looser in places.

The opening is admittedly different, but even those scenes exist in better [color VHS] quality on the DVDs.

Using a DVD-quality picture is really the only way to make the workprint audio palatable!
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Re: The Darker Crystal: A FanEdit

Post: # 225Post ctlw83 »

I did not realize how poor the condition of the workprint video was in. This is one of those scenarios where we again, long to have a better copy that may or may not even exist at this point. I can understand you not wanting to use it for video Garrett.
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