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Technique of Film Editing, Reissue of 2nd Edition Paperback – 29 Sep 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (29 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240521854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240521855
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 19 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By VideoTim on 25 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The early part of this book (a history of film editing in the silent movies) and the main body, written by Karl Reisz, I found very interesting and informative and a good read. Unfortunately the additional material, about film movements and specific directors since the original publication, reads much more like a text-book, and whilst I've no reason to doubt its accuracy it did little to tempt me to explore films of these genres. So four to five stars for the first 2/3rds but only 2 stars for the final part.
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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Nov 1997
Format: Paperback
First you have to find it. Incidentally, I am sure it is not extremely difficult to find, for I happen to have found it accidentally in a film book store in Hollywood. Needless to say this book provides any potential film maker with an exciting view of the craft, turning mechanics into art. It is written in a clear style and in an almost profound way it will change the way you understand cinema and editing. Reisz and Millar will teach you how to turn the art of film into film art.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B Glew on 14 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides an excellent background and overview of film editing, using a wide range of examples and film styles. Very useful as a resource tool or if you are looking for inspiration or new ideas, or even if you just want to watch films from a different perspective. Recommended!
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By Steve on 17 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Best I've read yet
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 28 reviews
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Want to make films? Read this book! 24 Nov 1997
By dartprod@concentric.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First you have to find it. Incidentally, I am sure it is not extremely difficult to find, for I happen to have found it accidentally in a film book store in Hollywood. Needless to say this book provides any potential film maker with an exciting view of the craft, turning mechanics into art. It is written in a clear style and in an almost profound way it will change the way you understand cinema and editing. Reisz and Millar will teach you how to turn the art of film into film art.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
THE Book on Film Editing 29 Jan 2010
By givpilot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This review is for the enhanced second edition, published in 2010. The Technique of Film Editing is the seminal work on the subject of editing cinematography. It was originally published in 1953 and revised and expanded as a second edition in 1968. The 2010 printing is essentially a reprint of the 1968 second edition with an updated forward. That does not diminish the book in the least, the 1968 edition is as valid today as the day it was published.

Although we live in an increasingly digital world, this book is every bit as pertinent to the digital editor working with Final Cut as it is to a celluloid editor working on a Movieola. For this book is not about software or hardware, but about the process and art of editing. It makes no difference whether the images were captured on silver halide film, video tape or a silicon chip.

The Technique of Film Editing is comprehensive, it begins with a history of editing and then moves on to the practice of editing in a variety of cinemagraphic styles, from action and comedy sequences, documentary reportage, montages and dialog sequences, to name only a few. What follows next is a discussion of the timeless principles of editing, such as timing, pace and rhythm.

In the second part of the book, Reisz and Millar explore the work of some notable directors and editors. They point out to us how seemingly minor choices in framing and editing can have a profound impact on how the scene is perceived by the audience. The real examples (film frames are printed that coincide with the text) from real films make this section particularly useful. Through the printed examples, you can precisely see the various points the authors are making. This was my favorite part of the book - I could understand the choices the directors and editors made and I learned much from that.

If you are involved with film editing, in any of its various forms, this is a book you should not be without. Prior to this reprinting, older copies were selling at several times this price in used bookstores and online. Focal Press is to be commended for bringing back a great work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
IF YOUR INTERESTED IN MAKING FILMS, THIS IS FOR YOU! 25 Feb 2010
By ! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have dabbled in many fields and one of them was film making on a very experimental level. I learned a lot by trial and error, but I would have loved to have had this book 15 or 20 years ago. If you're into film making or just like the art of film making, this book is an interesting read and could be considered priceless to those who are really into the craft. Editing is so important in film making, but I don't think most people realize just how much so.....it can make or break a film regardless of how good the story or actors are.
The Language of Film 11 May 2010
By Daniel G. Lebryk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a book that every aspiring serious film maker should own and read. The Technique of Film Editing speaks not to the step by step instructions or DIY of film editing, but the reasons behind editing a particular montage and the message the director is trying to deliver. This is the bible of film editing. This book teaches the lexicon of film editing. It assumes you already know how to splice film, synchronize a soundtrack, or use your non-linear digital editor.

This first three quarters of this book were originally published in 1953, the final quarter was published in 1968, and a small number of essays were added in 2010. The editors were very careful to treat this book with reverence and historical significance, being very British, and not disturbing the original chapters. Each chapter was written by a different person. Reading this book, there is a sense of awe looking at the past.

For a modern film editor working with digital editing, this book may seem like a waste of time. It doesn't ever mention how to apply a particular digital effect, or what to apply where. It doesn't come packed with a DVD full of sample footage demonstrating the key points from each chapter. No, the book relies on shooting scripts and still images to illustrate editing techniques. This is decidedly old school, long before anybody could easily replay those clips. Oddly, the book is much like shooting and editing a film in real life. There are no example film clips in the film you are trying to edit. There is only the shooting script and the director trying to explain what they mean.

On the one hand, the book is very successful at describing masterpiece film sequences. On the other hand, it requires an incredible amount of imagination and concentration from the reader to understand when or when not to use a particular technique. And there is the problem with the book; it is a lot of work to understand.

The other problem with the book is the reverence and unwillingness to change a word of the 1953 edition. That reverence becomes almost ridiculous with two pages in the preface to the 1968 addition where the author calls out pages and paragraphs that should be changed. Footnotes would have worked infinitely better.

The early works are the foundation on which film was built. They are the language that every current film maker uses today, and are as relevant now as they were back in the fifties. The later works are how film makers took those rules and turned film upside down. How they used what the viewer expected from years of watching films, and delivered something completely different.

This book reminded me of the film history and film semiotics classes I took long ago. It was a good feeling to see detailed descriptions of films that I love and know well. From D.W. Griffith, through Eisenstein and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, through Hitchcock and Orson Welles, through non-descript newsreels, documentaries, and educational films, to Truffaut and Antonioni. The amazing historically significant piece, every detailed discussion of a film is marked by the film reel (when film was delivered in cans on individual reels spliced together at the theater).

In the day of digital editing, when anything is possible, '...the most important discovery in film editing was not computer editing systems after all but the simple Italian tape splicer...giving editors the freedom to make changes with out having to lose two frames every time they made a cut." Imagine losing two frames, how insignificant that sounds today.
Quickly becoming a museum piece 26 Mar 2010
By Grant Beaudette - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm currently in the middle of editing on an hour-long documentary, so I was excited to get the chance to review a book on editing. Unfortunately I didn't come out of it with the knowledge I was hoping for. The Technique of Film Editing is somewhat outdated and inaccessible for modern uses.

The major problem is that a temporal art form like film (especially the editing of it) is very difficult to capture in text form. I find it nearly impossible to judge shot selection and flow from simple text descriptions, even with footage lengths and stills. (which are given only occasionally)

It's hard to really tell what's going on without actually watching the films. And with such an out of date selection that's often easier said than done.

I checked every film that the book mentioned in-depth to see how easy they were to track down. And while the majority of them are easy to come by, I found about 20 that weren't available on Netflix and of those only 4 were readily available on Amazon.

The forward to the added second section pretty much says it all. It states that not only is the first part outdated (even for 1968) the second part will likely age even faster; and it's right. So much of the later part of the book is about the current film trends of the time like cinemascope and the French New Wave and only some of it has much to do with the actual editing.

I learned far more about editing by spending an hour and watching The Cutting Edge - The Magic of Movie Editing, which hits the highlights of pretty much everything mentioned in this book, plus some bits of knowledge from editor Walter Murch that are far more readily useful than much of what's written in this book.

If you have some experience editing you may be able to glean a few interesting tidbits from this book, but in this day and age The Technique of Film Editing seems more important for its contribution to the craft than continuing to teach it.
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