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So I did the sound edit and final mix for a short film a few months ago. The director was happy and signed off the film. Great. But now he has got in touch to ask if I will again do the sound edit for a director's cut of the film. Strangly, the film is only a few seconds longer than the final cut, but the edit is completely different; different takes, new shots that I haven't seen before, cuts in different places and basically an entirely new edit.

When given the final cut and now the director's cut, both versions were delivered as an MOV with a septerate AAF with embedded audio. The audio was recorded with a non-timecode recorder. I did a lot of work with the final cut audio, making stuff that shouldn't have worked, work. It was a quite poorly recorded production so I had to work hard to make the best of it.

As far as I can tell, now I have been given this completely new cut, I've got to start from scratch again. I'm just checking that this is the case and there isn't a miracle technique that I've never had to use before?

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sounds like you've got a common mess on your hands.

as much of a pain as it is, you'll probably get a better result from going through the reconform steps than from re-doing the entire thing from scratch.

There are utilities that can help with this. Maggot Software's conformalizer has tools that can compare edls from the first cut and the second cut - detect the changes - and reconform the session. after that all you have to do is import the new aaf, drag down the additional clips, and smooth out the music and sfx edit.

This can take time, but it takes far less time than redoing it from scratchn.

If the editor can't give you edls - conformalizer will let you generate your own change list by comparing the two quicktimes. this will take forever, but it will still be faster and more accurate than re-doing the entire mix from scratch.

check the turoial videos that they have on the website. Its an expensive program ($1k USD) but there is a free 6 day trial. If you can get the conform done in 6 days, it will have been worth the effort.

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I agree with rene. This doesn't sound like a complete redo rather than a chunky re conform with additional work to do with the new material.

Products like conformalizer and virtual katy exist to help this process but with some thought, and careful editing practice, you should be able to work through the film.

Save a new session as the director's cut, make a region group of the whole film timeline, copy the entire time line over and from there start hacking wholesale scenes to the new locations and lengths. Region grouping is your best friend. Work in GRID mode at frames obviously and use the audio from the quicktime of the director's cut against your edit, play them along together in a nice phasey mess and when the two tracks go wheels off (a different edit) address the edits and move forward. You can use the original version of the film you copied over from to lift whole scenes and copy them into place.

different folks have different methods of doing this type of work but you will learn a ton having gone through the process and will tweak your own methods along the way.

hope that helps.

  • as a last resort you can also simply open up the EDLs with a text editor and adjust the cuts by hand. I won't do this for a full feature film, but for a short movie it's doable; even though there are lot's of things that are more fun to do ;) – Michael Manzke Dec 14 '12 at 19:15
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After thousands of re-conformed cuts, I have gone back to doing it manually, as have some other editors and mixers I know. Virtual Katy et al do a great job, but every cut needs to be checked manually too. And the time it takes to smooth out the cut far outweights the time to do the cut... So, in my experiance, automatic re-conform will save you some time, but on the other hand, it will do some un-intellignet cuts, and you will lose the time you've gained by repairing the damage. The only situation I would use the automatic reconforms would be quick turnaround TV shows, where you can leave most of the cuts without even smoothing them. If you go that way, for a budget option, check out http://www.maisch.at/TLC/TheLittleConformer.html - it won't compare the EDL's like the afore-mentioned programs, but there are tips on how to produce the change-EDL on the author's website. It works with both Nuendo and Pro Tools.

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    Good tip! Nice to see you here too Danijel. You've shared lots if useful stuff over on Gearslutz so looking forward to hearing your advice on things over at SSD :) – Andy Lewis Dec 15 '12 at 17:09
  • Thanks Andy, I think I've registered here a long time ago, but the whole reputation-system was putting me off. However, the concept of the board is great, so I guess I'll have to live with it :) – Danijel Milosevic Dec 15 '12 at 18:31
  • Got to agree with Andy on this one! – Fred Pearson Dec 16 '12 at 1:10
  • :D . . . . . – Danijel Milosevic Dec 16 '12 at 3:06
  • really danijel? you must be talking about VK. conformalizer lets you see the proposed changes with the pix following so you can tweak the list if it's not perfect. you'll get a much better and more accurate result with the machine... unless your pix editor has seriously botched the EDLs. the patchup job is another discussion altogether. – maggot Dec 27 '12 at 7:55
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I'm not sure what other people's experiences have been, but I have been in a similar situation before where I've worked on different versions of a production (i.e. different cuts but essentially using the same source material). Although working for the same agency, these were for two different end clients. I therefore treated these as two separate projects without ever really trying to incorporate my edits from the first film into the second.

Many of my processes were the same meaning the second project took a little less time than the first. But I never really saw any other option. I did use some noise-reduced vox stems that I had processed in the first project, but as for editing I began the second project from scratch.

One piece of advice however: ask the director for an omf as well as the .mov. This will make things a lot easier from the outset.

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