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In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing [Paperback]

Walter Murch
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.50
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In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing + On Film-making + Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen (Michael Wiese Productions)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press,U.S.; New edition edition (1 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879505622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879505629
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.4 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


In the Blink of an Eye is celebrated film editor Walter Murch's vivid, multifaceted, thought-provoking essay on film editing. Starting with what might be the most basic editing question - Why do cuts work? - Murch treats the reader to a wonderful ride through the aesthetics and practical concerns of cutting film. Along the way, he offers his unique insights on such subjects as continuity and discontinuity in editing, dreaming, and reality; criteria for a good cut; the blink of the eye as an emotional cue; digital editing; and much more. In this second edition, Murch reconsiders and completely revises his popular first edition's lengthy meditation on digital editing (which accounts for a third of the book's pages) in light of the technological changes that have taken place in the six years since its publication.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one and only! 20 Oct 2008
If you're going to edit a film or music video or any kind of media like that THIS IS THE ONLY BOOK YOU NEED TO READ. I don't make that statement lightly. Murch's book is without a doubt the best book I've read on the theory, thought-process and intention behind WHY an editor makes an edit. There are a multitude of boring books (I know because I bought many of them) on editing and why you should do this and that. Whatever. Murch has won loads of awards for his work and even directed a feature himself (Return to Oz) so he knows a much about the filmmaking process.

This book will not be helpful during the edit of your footage. You will not be able to turn to page nineteen and find out when to use a jump-cut to best effect. What this book helped me to see was the approach you need to have towards the editing process as a whole. Maybe not even just as an editor but as a filmmaker and story-teller too.

I can't stress enough how useful reading this book was to me. I used to be very frightened of getting into the edit but when I read this I found a new way of looking at my footage and became able to accept that things are different. Murch's writing style is very informal and as a result I think that the book requires a few reads (at least I've read it three times now and I get a better understanding of his ideologies each time).

Forget all the other rubbish people charge through the nose for. All you need to teach yourself editing is the software, footage and this book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really good and very interesting.
Walter Murch is a film hero and this book goes some way to explain why. It tells in his own words how and why he works and is refreshing in that the writer talks about new technology in a positive light, despite being grounded in traditional methods.
Going in to detail about when and why we blink he takes this and talks about when to cut and how blinking so important. If the audeince blinks at the wrong time then you've lost them. ie Don't cut when the actor blinks - cut when the audeince blinks.
Stuff like that and lots more.
A modest book, jam packed with stuff to think about.
I think I'll edit my next film standing up - see if his advice helps my film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-Provoking 28 Jun 2010
I found this little book to be very interesting. The title refers to an editing theory of Walter Murch, in which he ponders why we accept film editing as seamless and "truthful" at all; nothing in our collective history has prepared us to see the world in a series of disjointed fragments. In short, this theory proposes that we accept discontinuity in films (editing) because we see them in the same way that we might a dream and that "good" cuts should occur when we would naturally blink our eyes. Fascinating stuff for anyone interesting in film editing or editing theory.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This book was bought for me for my Birthday and after a short amount of time it became my favourite gift. I am studying TV Post Production at University and this book has helped hugely. It briefly goes through some history of previous editing systems which is something handy to know. In terms of learning - there isn't much technical information, BUT there is so much more in this book. If nothing else, I now simply think differently about editing, it's made things I hadn't previously thought about a lot simpler to understand!

I still rate this book as my favourite for editing. Murch talks about his past experiences, which I have noticed in other reviews here that his little anecdotes aren't loved by everyone, but I think they are fantastic. They don't need to be scientific, editing isn't scientific, it is an art, and so the anecdotes throughout this short book make it very interesting to read. They explain simple editing theory which you could repeat to your Nan and she would understand, but they are not patronizing to the reader at all. It's such a fun book to read compared to other editing theory. It's the only textbook I haven't been able to put down, wanting to read the next chapter to find out what happened next! Basically, learn little facts and the odd trick, open your mind slightly, and just enjoy it. I did so on the train, and loved it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB 28 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you want to get into video / film editing then buy this book as its a wonderful insight into the editing process - this guy has been editing since the 60s-present and its written in a really freindly, matey sort of way - very ingrossing and intriguing. The book is also fairly short so can be read quite quickly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The editing Bible 9 Nov 2007
An absolute must for anyone even remotely interested in film and film practice. If you haven't read it, read it! and if you have read it, read it again!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A necessity for any film editor in training 3 Mar 2008
I found this insight to Walter Murch and the world of editing truly remarkable. Once I'd started the book I wanted to know more, whether it was about the techniques of editing or how to judge audience reactions of screenings or what is going on in the editing world in terms of what software is out there and available with the advantages and disadvantages clearly listed for you.
Overall, a truly enjoyable read and a useful insight into the mind of an editor.
A must-read for any trainee film editor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WM is a great professional
I probably read 4x already ... and its is never out of date or irrelevant ... WM is a great professional
Published 1 month ago by R. B. Figueirado
5.0 out of 5 stars Art over process
Excellent book which highlights the thought process and treasures editing as an art and not simply a process. A must read for all who work or wish to work in 'the business'
Published 1 month ago by Mr D
3.0 out of 5 stars okay
Just ok and i mean the bare basics, some good from the book some not so good but a complete beginner great
Published 2 months ago by steve
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't rate books that i still haven't read!!
I don't rate books that i still haven't read!!So the stars are mainly for what i already know about the author and the quality of the book and delivery!
Published 2 months ago by Tiago
4.0 out of 5 stars insightful
Very insightful, worth a read for anyone with an interest in editing or just learning. Great for film students too
Published 3 months ago by bwsedits
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend reading for film fans and movie makers alike.
I'm still reading this, but what I've read so far gives a great insight into what goes into a movie. It won't necessarily improve your own editing, or film making, but it may do. Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Allsopp
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for a start in the film industry
I work in the film industry and feel this is an essential read for anyone in this field. Not just useful for editing but also for philosophical guide to why shots work.
Published 3 months ago by JTilla
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential
The best and most illuminating book on film-making I ever read. Short punchy and packed full of inspiration. If you make films, buy it.
Published 3 months ago by Jim G.
3.0 out of 5 stars It was a gift so I cannot comment on the content but it arrived in...
Cannot write a review as the book was not for me and I have not read it. My son wanted it and he seems to have been happy with it.
Published 7 months ago by Ms Rosalind Gregory
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book!
This book help me a lot on the way i done my editing for my University project.
Good Book for any editor
Published 7 months ago by henry
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