Avatar - Chapter 1: The Last Airbender

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Brief Synopsis:
Part of an ongoing project to convert the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series into an alternative, less "bite-sized" format, this edit connects the first three episodes into a single narrative, removing all blackouts/titles/credits. Some tweaks to humour and minor changes to narrative have been made, such as a less melodramatic exit for Aang, tweaks to dialogue to foreshadow episode 3, and a slight shift in the order of events.
The overall intention is to transform the series into something that I can enjoy and digest in a format other than 20-minute chunks - since I never sit down and watch just the one episode. "Breaks" in the narrative, with fades to black (where commercial breaks once were) and repeated plot points also get tedious. With the early episodes particularly, there were also some off moments of humour and cheese which I have taken the opportunity to tone down.
Other Sources:
Shot of the moon taken from the season climax, "Siege of the North".
Special Thanks:
To my friend, Joao, for proofing the draft and providing feedback.

Thanks to all who have expressed interest in the project thread.
Release Information:
Editing Details:
The changes are small, but they stack up. The series is in stereo, so foley and re-scoring is often required in order to sell changes. Even though the aim of this edit is to keep the episodes relatively intact, changes have still required the insertion of new establishing shots, re-ordering of scenes and rebuilding of audio in order to make them work. Since there is no official release available of the soundtrack, samples have to be drawn from other episodes where music is more or less isolated and then pieced together into something usable.

As the episodes are generally short, the scenes originally cut back and forth in fairly quick succession and the pacing is snappy. For an hour-long edit, it becomes necessary to tweak this slightly for more appropriate pacing. Some scenes are rearranged so we are not cutting back and forth quite so often, and some establishing shots are added or lengthened to make things feel a little less quickfire.
Cuts and Additions:
- 0:00:00 - added custom source warning
- 0:00:11 - added custom FE logo
- 0:00:17 - added Scribbling Man branding
- 0:01:35 - added faneditor credit to titles
- 0:01:43 - changed episode title to reflect edit title
- 0:07:10 - cut episode break
- 0:10:01 - Tweaked comic timing of Sokka's attempted objection
- 0:13:36 - Cut "call me gran gran"
- 0:17:32 - Straight cut to penguin sledding (rather than fade-to-black and back in) after Sokka says "He's kidding, right?". Shot is lengthened slightly to accommodate.
- 0:22:00 - Katara no longer says "Aang let's get out of here" twice. Now after cutting we just hear her say "This place is creepy"
- 0:22:00 - cut fade to black and "to be continued". Straight transition into next episode.
- 0:24:06 - Cut Aang's "you should try it sometime". Manipulated frames to help in merging the two shots of Sokka together.
- 0:25:15 - cut Aang's failed attempt to make Appa fly, as well as Sokka's mocking reaction.
- 0:25:19 - Cut "Aang! I'll miss you (wah wah)" from random minor character we've never seen before
- 0:25:26 - Masked out little girl from shot of her and Katara watching Aang leave, then cut to shot of Katara's face as Gran Gran arrives (in order to dodge the shot where she and the little girl cross paths)
- 0:31:09 - Cut episode blackout after "no way" (sokka)
- 0:31:46 - Trimmed Katara's expressive grunts before "no, Aang - don't do this!"
- 0:32:18 - kept cut to black, as it is a fitting transition. The wait before fading back is paced differently though
- 0:36:00 - Tweaked musical cue, cut blackout, smoothed audio into next scene
- 0:42:48 - cut "we're in this together", partly to tone down the cheese of the scene, partly to lessen the feeling that the episode is coming to a close
- 0:42:48 - Tweaked Aang's mouth movement and masked sky in background to accommodate. This was to allow his dialogue to spill over into the next shot, while still having the complete animation of him jumping down and unrolling the map.
- 0:42:51 - rescoring starts here (same music) in order to give me full control over the dialogue. Aang points to one spot on the map instead of three. Aang no longer describes several "fun" locations for their next trip (which aren't relevant to the edit's narrative)
- 0:42:52 - kept Katara saying "what's there?". Shot is very quick in original, as are others which have now been cut, so shot is lengthened slightly to work for new pacing of scene.
- 0:42:53 - Tweaked Aang's mouth movement. Masked sky in background to keep its movement consistent. Aang now responds with "the southern air temple" which is where they actually go in the next episode.
- Changed ending music queue
- 0:42:55 - kept and trimmed reaction shot, removed dialogue
- 0:42:57 - kept wide shot of appa, different scoring
- 0:42:59 - cut episode 2 credits and replaced with a very brief day-to-night montage to imply the passage of time. Utilised audio swell from elsewhere in series. Shot of sun is cut and recycled from later in episode 3. Shot of moon is the blood red moon from season finale now colour corrected to be a "normal" moon.
- 0:43:03 - to further help convey the shift in time, the first thing we see from episode 3 is Zuko and Iroh docking to have their ship repaired. Length of shot is extended slightly. The original episode opens with the avatar gang waking up.
- 0:44:20 - we now cut to the original opening scene with team avatar.
- 0:45:12 - instead of cutting to Zuko and Iroh, we stay with team avatar as they approach the temple
- 0:46:40 - Aang no longer announces they are at the southern air temple, since this audio was used earlier
- 0:46:43 - extended shot to aid new crossfade. merged establishing shots to help pace of transition. We again transition to the gang at the temple as opposed to going back to zuko and iroh
- 0:48:28 - we cut to Zuko and Iroh instead of staying with the gang. Rescoring and foley to accommodate.
- 0:49:50 - we cut to team avatar, but a different scene than in the original episode. Establishing shots lengthened and score tweaked to accomodate. Pan down to Sokka and Katara is tweaked, and there is some masking to allow Sokka to start speaking sooner (mainly to allow some of my audio edits to work)
- 0:55:16 - cut episode break; Katara no longer says "you're making a sound!" when told to keep quiet. A bad bit of humour and a moment of stupidity during a potentially dangerous situation. Tweaks to score and masking to accommodate
- 0:56:09 - the chasing of Momo now happens uninterrupted.
- 0:58:03 - cut to Zuko, as in original episode, but a different scene.
- 0:59:26 - lengthened shot of zuko, tweaked music cue to aid transition into next scene
- 1:00:24 - instead of moving to the final scene, we cut to agni kai
- 1:03:12 - cut to "wrap up" with the avatar gang. Some foley and tweaks to score to accommodate transition
- 1:04:23 - white out to main credits, skipping past the usual preceding ones. Rescored to keep the vibe from the ending scene. Regraded mountains backdrop to be the same time of day as the ending scene. Credits updated to reflect all three episodes. We eventually transition to another piece of music from the soundtrack.
Aang Is Banished - Comparison (Password: fanedit)

Episode 2-3 Transition

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This is a great edit to introduce anyone to the series, even more specifically to those that have extremely low patience to go from one episode to another. This edit has the chance to catch and hook 'em, then they will go willingly watch the rest episode by episode.

"0:42:59 - Not a big fan of the moon transition but you did what you could and there was a lot of editing in this scene already. I think if I hadn't seen the original I would have noticed but to me the moon sticks out like a sore thumb."
I half agree that cutting to the moon and THEN transitioning to the sun just doesn't sit right. Could be the length of the shot, but something takes me out of the scene

skipping the moon entirely and cutting to the sun would work better, but then you wouldn't have your intended "passage of time", so not much to work there. I have some of that in my own edits, so i can relate to the struggle.

As for the comment about 1:04:23 I can only rate it based on this specific edit, not the upcoming ones or the overall stuff.

Maybe there could be a compromise where you leave the calm music at the start of the credits, then the pause happens at 1:04:40 and you insert the other track.

I apologize if I rambled too much. Not great at expressing my feelings in a coherent and concise way.

Thanks for your work. I also have problems with motivation (have some stuff done since 2019 taking dust) so keep it up.

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Owner's reply February 04, 2024

Thanks for leaving your thoughts. Greatly appreciated :)

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(Updated: April 07, 2022)
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– 0:01:43 - I prefer Boy in the Iceberg but I understand that it's call The Last Airbender because of how important that is to the narrative in these first few episodes.

0:13:36 – I know why you cut "call me gran gran" but without that introduction, characters will refer to her by gran gran later in the series and by removing that you'll confuse a new viewer on who that is. Instead, I recommend keeping the line in, but remove the comedic audio cue that plays after she says the line and remove the pause, making it less of a joke.

0:25:26 - I love all the editing you do here, from the removing of the attempt to fly, to the masking of the little girl who literally is never seen before or ever again. I never thought to mask scenes and it gives me ideas for other shows.

0:42:59 - Not a big fan of the moon transition but you did what you could and there was a lot of editing in this scene already. I think if I hadn't seen the original I would have noticed but to me the moon sticks out like a sore thumb.

0:55:16 - I understand why you cut this as you explain in the cut list, but I feel the importance of the line is less about humor and more characterization of Katara and Sokka's relationship. They're 14 and 15 year old siblings, this is how they talk, even in potential dangerous situations. I would personally leave this moment untouched. Not sure if that affects the episode break, though.

1:04:23 – Call me a purist, but I don't like this change at all. The scene has its break at the end where the music ends and we see some main title credits. There's a pause, and then the original end credits music plays. That music is iconic, and absolutely does not ruin the mood of the ending scene. Personally, the only thing I would do is change the credits to fit all three episodes but I would not change the flow or regrade the credits either.

For the most part, I like this edit. It's higher in scope than your previous Avatar edit, with more scoring changes as well as some masking. I can tell you're a better editor than the first one you did, and your changes are appreciated and well thought out. On the other hand, I disagree with a few of your narrative choices due to the reasons I laid out above.

That being said, I'm very curious to see what you do in future chapters.

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Owner's reply April 17, 2022

Thanks so much for taking the time to review. Really glad you enjoyed it overall :)

– 0:01:43 - yes, that was my reasoning, and also I didn't want this edit to have the same name as any single episode. I did consider that as my title though! "The Boy in the Iceberg" is a good title.

0:13:36 – I have to disagree. If Katara never called her gran gran again it wouldn't matter, and the fact that she does just means there are other opportunities for introduction. She is introduced as her grandmother and it couldn't be more obvious to the audience that "gran-gran" is an affectionate term they use for her. I don't see any difference between hearing her introduced as "gran gran" here and her being called that later.

0:25:26 - Thanks :) Definitely a tricky edit!

0:42:59 - that's fair enough, though I'm not sure what it was about it that made it jarring for you? (aka, the grading, length of shot etc.). I think it matches similar transitions that are used in the series and I felt that something extra was needed to communicate the passing of time. I will keep this in mind in case it doesn't work for others in the future, but if you don't think someone unfamiliar would have noticed then i'm content for the time being.

0:55:16 - it wasn't vital for the episode break to work, but it always irked me so I took the opportunity to remove it. I don't think it has any major effect on character and whether it stays or goes is subjective IMO.

1:04:23 – again, I think this is subjective. I wanted to retain the mood of the closing scene, so I opted to tweak it. I don't think I'm robbing the series of anything iconic, since there will be several edits and most of them will keep the original music. The very last episode in the series changes the music as well, so that alone I think justifies a similar change elsewhere.

Thank you again for the honest feedback. I appreciate hearing your thoughts :)

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