I posted this piece back in June 2008 after I had cleaned out a closet and found my old Highlander: Uncut editing package. It was cutting edge at the time but unfortunately this package is no longer for sale.
Long before there was the opencut.org project, cheap digital camcorders and even Final Cut Pro there was always the question of where could you get footage for digital non-linear editing. An even bigger question was where could you get REAL footage to practice and hone your story telling and NLE skills. There was always the outdoor forest footage that I vaguely remember Avid providing or there was Highlander: Uncut
Highlander: Uncut was revolutionary for the time. This was footage from a real episode of the Highlander tv show. The disc featured raw footage from the show (on a CD-ROM!) that could be edited in any non-linear application, which pretty much meant Adobe Premiere or Avid. The files were tiny as you can see from the specs below:
That’s postage stamp sized video. The actual frame size is just as it says:
The Highlander: Uncut lessons were really a great way to learn about filmmaking. In addition to the digital files that were included was a binder with detailed descriptions of the various aspects of filmmaking from the shoot all the way through post. A number of special effects like lightning and sparks were also included so that you could “optically insert into a scene.” The best thing about the set was the inclusion of a fully lined script with script notes:
Click here for a larger view of the script page.
After all, how are you going to cut a Hollywood television show without a script! Also included were supporting notes from the shoot like the daily shooting log, wild sound log, foley log and music log.
From what I remember there were other Highlander editing packages planned and the materials even included a questionnaire about the usefulness of the package and what series one might want to see in future editions but I don’t know of any others that were published, Highlander or otherwise. It was a fantastic way to learn the aesthetics of moving picture editing as well as the application.
Thanks to the magic of You Tube there are a number of finished scenes from the Highlander: Uncut. Apparently this is still being used in editing classes as source material. The quality of some is better than others as the scenes were also available on Beta for purchase as well as the CD-ROM that I have. It’s fun look at the different ways that people cut this scene, all from the same source material. It’s crazy to think about today but some of these clips had to be uprezed for You Tube ….