Alexander: The A to B Cut

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Brief Synopsis:
This edit is based upon the straight chronology of the Theatrical Cut, interweaved with much of the Final Cut’s additional material. I also excised anything that insults audience intelligence or prevents this film from being the sweeping, ever-moving-forward epic it so desperately wants to be.
This film is an epic. Epics are stories that convey a great span of time. There is no better way to do that than by presenting the story in chronological order. I wanted the 30+ minutes of material that Oliver Stone added in his subsequent edits, but I wanted to watch all of that material chronologically.
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Editing Details:
I cut this version together from two sources: a Theatrical Cut (TC) HD DVD and a Final Cut (FC) Blu-ray.

The TC HD DVD was, in my opinion, the superior source of the two. The VC-1 video encode was not as good as the FC’s AVC—and there was a yellow tinge to the highlights, which I removed (and Stone removed in the FC)—but it was obvious in a direct A/B comparison that the TC was more finely detailed and had a more natural color palette. In addition, it was less matted. The FC boasts a 2:40:1 aspect ratio, while the TC is around 2:34:1, but the FC isn’t wider—it’s more matted. We’ve lost picture off the top and bottom of the frame.

I had to decide on a common aspect ratio, and in the end I chose to conform the FC to the TC. I cropped the FC slightly to the left and right to fill the picture out to a 2:34:1 frame. It seemed a shame to crop the FC even more than it already had been, but I didn’t want to matte my better source. For this reason, I used the TC as much as possible in my edit, but forgoing the task during radically recut scenes.

After a series of visually lossless conversions, I created Apple ProRes 422 files for both sources to edit with. My final master is similarly exported.

Both edits have gone through no small amount of color correction, which in the end I had to scale back a bit due to my relative inexperience in the art. The FC is just too hot—the reds too punchy, color saturation verging on excessive. I much prefer the steelier look of the TC. I conformed the FC’s color palette to that of the TC where necessary (and possible), but changes were made to both. It was usually with one of the following aims in mind: 1) Neutral blacks, 2) Neutral whites, and 3) Reasonable color saturation.

I downmixed the 5.1 audio to stereo. It’s not that I couldn’t do a 5.1 mix—I just have no 5.1 equipment with which to do quality control on it. So why bother?

I’m a video professional, and it was important to me to create a professional edit. I wanted polish more than I wanted to include every second of footage. When a splice didn’t work, I’d keep trimming until it did. Where I couldn’t color correct without introducing distracting video noise, I didn’t color correct.

I found this whole process challenging. Achieving precise audio sync was maddening. Doing initial conversions on PC, and then getting those files in a Mac-happy format for editing—without further loss of quality—was not easy. Color correcting material of varying quality… it seemed hardly worth it at times.

To do this sort of work, as a perfectionist, could drive a person crazy. I just had to settle on “good enough” at some point. I hope you find it to be of better quality than most fan edits.

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