(1) INTRODUCTION I remember when I owned a supposed "Linux" box (supposed because it was not an Enigma2, then) but I could not do almost anything with it. What I needed most was cutting recordings and that box was simply useless about that. That's why my favourite plugin for my VU+ is MovieCut that is really useful, if not indispensable, to cut away the parts leading and following our recordings and, of course, advertisements. Frankly, I can't watch any TV programme live any longer, nowadays. But this is not a problem, thanks to MovieCut, because, in a matter of 5 minutes, I cut any recordings and I'm able to watch it in peace (and also knowing how exactly it lasts and so how many minutes are left while watching). Before going on, it must be clear that, because of the lack of the keyframes feature, MovieCut cannot be used if you want to save a perfectly cut recording, something to be part of your video archive. Without the use of keyframes the result of cutting cannot be perfect. It is quite good but not perfect. So, whenever I want to perform a perfect cut I use Avidemux (available for every operative systems) where you can set the cut points by the key-frames. But for the everyday life, MovieCut is great. I actually tried to contact his author in the GitHub to ask if he can add the key frames capability but he has never answered. Maybe, if you also use this plugin and you contact him, too, we can get an answer Now, I felt I should write this sort of guide because this great plugin might be a bit tricky and I actually did some mistakes the first times I used it some years ago. So, I'd like to help other users to avoid to get into any problems. (2) BEFORE CUTTING: THE MARKERS Even if, in theory, it's possible to cut a recording without passing through this stage I'm going to explain, it would be far more complicated: you need to set markers in your recordings. Actually, some markers might already found in a TV recording because they can be automatically decided by the broadcaster, for instance at the beginning and at the end of an event. Unfortunately, you can't rely on them, usually: only a few channels are able to insert them properly; for instance, Swiss, German and Austrian channels, where you can also use safely the VPS plugin. But, in general, for the majority of channels without a good VPS system, they are often set by the broadcaster not at the actual time the event was supposed to begin or to end. So you have to set markers manually and also remove the possibly wrong ones you'll find. To add but also to remove a marker to a recording you have just to press 0 while playing it, considering that: a) when you insert a marker, the corresponding actual cut point will be a little bit BEFORE the point you chose, up to a couple of seconds before the marker. So, if you set it exactly at the beginning of an advertisement, for instance, you'll loose a little bit of the recording before that. So, an initial good strategy is to put it a little bit after the point you want to cut from. To move forward and back more precisely, I do so: I pause the playing some seconds after my desired point and then I go backwards by <<. using this k_ey you move about a couple of seconds backwards each time you press it. Unfortunately, I keep saying "about 2 seconds" because this amount of time, as well as the amount of time the actual point of the beginning of CUT, varies from recording to recording and for the same recording, too. Only I can say is that, for HD recordings, I've never observed a difference above 2s. b) To remove a marker you don't need to press 0 exactly at the same point where it is set but simply about 2 seconds near it, just for the same reason I said previously. c) The markers make also possible to jump to the time they were set just by pressing < or >. So, the most comfortable way to remove a marker, is by pausing the recording and then pressing < or > to jump to them and then pressing 0: as you are in pause, you won't need any precision. (3) CUTTING Now it comes the final stage that's more complicated than it might appear. What needs attention is not just settings the cutting points but the fact that each time you set them, you'll create a sort of duplicated point for each original marker, immediately a little bit before it. So, the danger is to be cheated by this fact while going through the markers. Let's clarify what happens. First of all to enter the Cutlist editor the normal way is by pressing MENU after having highlighted the recording you want to cut and choosing it (actually, as I use OBH, I took advantage of the huge easiness in customizing many aspects, and I chose the coloured buttons for this function, because I use it many times a day). Now you will be prompted with the list markers you previously set. Imagine we recorded a film by a timer (and then including safety margins before and after the time foreseen) and now we set 4 markers at: 1) 0h:10m:08s:250 (the actual beginning of the film) MARK 2) 0h:40m:30s:500 (the beginning of an advertisement) MARK 3) 0h:44m:15s:100 (the end of the advertisement) MARK 4) 1h:20m:40s:700 (the film's end) MARK (in the markers' list, clearly, you won't have the numbering of the lines, 1), 2), 3), 4): I wrote them to explain the procedure afterwards) and you'll also have an automatically added marker named LAST, corresponding to the point at which you have stopped the playing the last time. So, before everything else, be careful to just ignore this extra marker and don't confuse it with the real ones. Now select the first marker (1) by OK and choose, according to this example, REMOVE BEFORE THIS POSITION. Notice that a new line has now just appeared in the list, that approximately might look like 0h:10m:06s:700 IN So, it comes immediately BEFORE the marker set by you and you'll have to go further (down in the list) pressing twice the down button, otherwise you'd be on the line you set 1) 0h:10m:08s:250 (the actual beginning of the film) MARK Now, you'll be on the 2nd mark 2) 0h:40m:30s:500 (the beginning of an advertisement) MARK Select it and press OK. Then choose START CUT HERE. Notice that this time nothing seems to happen at this stage. So, go to the next line 3) 0h:44m:15s:100 (the end of the advertisement) MARK press OK and then choose END CUT HERE. Now, instead, 2 new lines appear, before the respective original lines they refer to. They appear only now because the plugin will do what you want only after having completed the IN-OUT sequence produced by the two commands "start cut here" and "end cut here": it's a couple, in this case. Now select the original 4th line 4) 1h:20m:40s:700 (the film's end) MARK select it and choose REMOVE AFTER THIS POSITION. As it was for the "remove before this position", the actual new line immediately appears because it's an action not made by two commands like the previous one, the IN-OUT. So now you'll have something like (not writing the automatic marker LAST): ----0h:10m:06s:700 IN 1) 0h:10m:08s:250 (the actual beginning of the film) MARK ----0h:40m:29s:120 OUT 2) 0h:40m:30s:500 (the beginning of an advertisement) MARK ----0h:44m:13s:900 IN 3) 0h:44m:15s:100 (the end of the advertisement) MARK ----1h:20m:39s:900 OUT 4) 1h:20m:40s:700 (the film's end) MARK The plugin also shows a graphic representation of the job to avoid mistakes: it is a line with segments blank only for the parts you excluded by the cuts. It's important to look carefully at it: it tells the whole cut plan much more clearly than the IN-OUTs. (4) FINE TUNING OF THE CUTPOINTS First of all, I immediately tell you that you could skip this 4th paragraph if you don't need a quite precise job. You can go to the 5th and last paragraph of this guide. Otherwise, go on As I initially said, this plugin is not ideal if you need a perfect cut, for a recording you want to save in your personal collection. Nonetheless, sometimes I want to watch my recording in a proper way, surely not wanting it perfect but... almost, even when I'm not going to save it forever. To do that, I need some tricks and a bit of a strategy. What I'm going to say it's also useful to know how to remove a cut point either if you are not satisfied with it or if you made a mistake. Imagine that, in the previous paragraph, the beginning of the cut of the advertisement, the one resulted this way ----0h:40m:29s:120 OUT 2) 0h:40m:30s:500 (the beginning of an advertisement) MARK cut also a bit of your film (because you marked the beginning at 40m:30s:500 but the actual beginning set by MovieCut was, as you see, was 40m:29s:120. That is because the plugin set the cut 1,380s before your mark and it might be enough to cut some important words pronounced at that moment. You would ask: how do I know how much was it cut? Simple: browsing your cut list, you can press play and it'll start from the point you are on. So, if you are not satisfied with the cut, you need two steps: a) remove the cut point: go to the ORIGINAL mark point for the END of the advertisement. Remember that this kind of cut point is a COUPLE. To remove a couple you need to be on the SECOND MARK and it's better if it is your mark, not the one set by MovieCut, although it should work with both. Now, select it and choose "delete cut". This is true for the "internal" cuts. If you try to use this command after setting only the "start cut here" nothing will happen because the couple start-end is not complete, yet. Instead, the cuts set by "remove before" or "remove after" work differently because they are single: so they can be removed immediately after being set. b) Now, you are ready to do another try to set the beginning of the cut (as, in this example, you were not satisfied just with it, not also with the end). Obviously, you need to change the way of setting it: you can't just select the mark in the line 2) (at 40m:30s:500) because it will again decide for 40m:29s:120. So (remembering my advice to browse the cutting points while in pause) go to the mark in line 2) and, this time, press just for a split moment PLAY on your remote and the immediately Pause again. This way, you'll be a little bit forward this time. Press OK and give the command "start cut here". Then repeat what you did the first time and select the mark corresponding to the end of the Ad. Now, MovieCut produces the actual cut points and you can check if, this time, the result is satisfactory. If not, repeat the process... (5) THE STRATEGY FOR MAKING THE CUTLIST PROCESS FASTER As I said, you need also a strategy in this process and it is quite simple. I proceed this way: knowing that there is and advance in timing for the actual cut points, whenever is possible I put the marks a little bit after the time I would normally set them. This is usually easier after the ads, because serious channels don't just interrupt films or programmes at random, in the middle of a scene. So, also the restarts, after the commercial break, usually don't have dialogues or quick change of scenes. This way, putting a mark a couple of seconds after (and considering that the average advance is about 1sec) you won't have issues. The same can be done to mark the beginning of the ads, especially if you don't mind just a split second of "non-film". (6) END OF THE TASK This part is simple and it probably won't need any explaining. But, just for completeness, let's say that, after having set the cuts, you'll be able to finalize your work and execute the cutting. Again, select your recording and press MENU then choose "Execute cuts...". You'll be prompted with 4 options: 1 Don't cut 2 Replace the original movie with the cut movie 3 Place the cut movie in a new file ending with "cut" 4 Advanced cut specification... Let's immediately say that I've never really explored the 4th, Advanced cut specification, because it's far more complicated and you need to enter a lot of IN, OUT cut points by the not easy to use virtual keyboard of the VU+ images. And, also, because if I need a perfect cut I use Avidemux (available for every OSs). The 1st command is obvious: if you are not sure of your cut points and want to review them, is like "Cancel" and go back to your editing. Now, the 2nd is also clear because you'll overwrite the original, uncut, recording by the cut one. And the 3rd? Usually I don't choose it but imagine that you want to save two or more parts of a recording as distinct files: there is no other way to do that but using this option. If the parts are two and let's say you want just split in two your recording, you can do that in two steps: in the first you can set only one cut point of the kind "remove before this position" or the equivalent "remove after this position"; imagine you choose "remove before this position". Now, choosing this 3rd option, Movie Cut will save the part you chose, the initial part, as a different recording with the extension .cut. In the second step, you'll get back to your original recording and you'll now remove the previous mark and you will change it into the other equivalent one: in our example, "remove after this position" and you can use the option 2 or the 3, indifferently. If, instead, you want to split in two or more but also cut away ads or unwanted parts, you'll need more steps, but it's again possible. §§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§ In the end, as everything in our life, you need a bit of practice but then you'll enjoy the possibility of watching a film or a programme the proper way. The last advice concerns only the OBH users who use this plugin quite often: as I already mentioned, you can take advantage of the huge possibilities about its customization, deciding (as I did) to assign the commands " Cutlist editor..." and "Execute cuts" to two of the coloured buttons: this way you'll be able to immediately launch these tasks. OBH made me happy by the chance of customizing the buttons just because I use this plugin everyday and, sometimes, more times per day! Enjoy!