Stephen van Vuuren
The Director's Cut: What's New.
This Saturday, October 13th, the first public showing of the "Director's Cut" of the film will show in public at Marbles IMAX in Raleigh, NC (several more shows available too). If you've already seen the film, don't worry, there are no critical differences, just some smoothing and shining - the film is now 2 minutes shorter and is a smoother film with that final round of polish on it. Here's a guide to what's new...(and scroll to the bottom to see a gallery of the changes)
Normally, "director's cuts" come out years or decades after the film's release. But in our film's case, the production and assembly of the film was a brutal technical undertaking (read more here). And we had committed to the May 4th release date over a year before that.
So, there simply were some things we could not do in time for that release. Plus, it's always good to get a little time and space plus audience feedback before making the very final list of changes.
So we are also not adding a "director's cut" title or any special marketing. This will just become the final version of the film going forward. We are fortunate to have "final cut" rights on the film, so rest assured, this is the version of the film I want out in the world.
Most of the changes from the version that opened on May 4th, 2018 are simple and understated:
New Galaxy Color Corrections: Getting the right color balance between the Hubble foreground galaxies and background galaxies with our multiplane meant normal color correction techniques could not be used. We just ran out of time - so now they are all looking at their best. The cover image for this post is a 100% crop of a new shot.
Improved sound mix: We've had a chance to test the final mix in various theaters and this mix just improves the overall richness of the sound.
New visual metaphor for passage of time in human history- shorter and smoother: This was also a "ran out of time" issue. We had lots of challenges working with the amazing 11 day & night five camera timelapse footage. But we had too much high speed "spinning" and choppy breaks during the historical imagery. It would have delayed the the film over a month to fix before our May 4th release. Now, we've had time to smooth and shorten this section by over 2 minutes.
New font: We had mixed reactions to the cursive title card font for the film's sections - some loved it, some hated it. We changed it the film's title font which makes more sense and still looks great.
New sound mix for LeVar/JFK: This was also a lack of time issue. The original mix of JFK's "we choose to go to the moon" archival audio (which is in rough shape) and LeVar's version of that was a bit muddy so this version is improved.
Less cluttered title cards: We reduced text in places on title cards to keep critical information but allow audiences, especially in domes and planetariums, enjoy the imagery more without distractions.
A few extra bits of information on title cards e.g. galaxy distances in light years
1 minute of historical image shots
1 minute of spinning timelapses
GALLERY OF BEFORE & AFTER IMAGES