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The Eye Is Quicker: Film Editing Making a Good Film Better [Paperback]

Richard Pepperman

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Book Description

7 April 2004
Did you ever want to know how to apply simple and practical work techniques to all that film editing theory? Here is an authentic 'How-to' guide - adapatable to all tools and technologies - to make you a better editor of film or video.

Pepperman's vibrant approach uses dozens of terrific sequences from a wide array of films to teach you how editing can make a good film better. He defines what is constant in all great work and gives you all the tips you need to achieve your own greatness.

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The Eye Is Quicker: Film Editing Making a Good Film Better + In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing + Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen (Michael Wiese Productions)
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"...a voice that is caring and supportive. To read THE EYE IS QUICKER is to attend a master class." -- Vincent LoBrutto, Author, Stanley Kubrick: A Biography

"...passion, curiopsity, humor, and humility make this book as alive and enticing as a class or conversation with Richard." -- Jennifer Dunning; New York Times

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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I encourage students to develop their skill at storytelling: Structure, Inflection, and Pacing. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had read this book in school... 21 Jan 2006
By Thomas S. Pellet - Published on
I first saw this book in Barnes & Noble and was wondering why I had never seen it before. After flipping through it, I was curious to read it. I am always looking for good "technique" books. When I was about to read the book, a friend of mine said to me, "it's good, but it covers basic techniques, so you probably won't learn anything new technique-wise." That was odd because I still found things I could take from it. I keep it as a reference book on my editing desk. It's nestled next to On Film Editing (definitely a technique reference--that book blew my mind when I read it and I wish I had read it in college) and In The Blink of an Eye (for inspiration--also mind-blowing). I basically look at it as a very strong supplement for storytelling and structure. It made me think more about my cuts, the scenes, the shots, etc.--how I was arranging things and what I was putting in or taking out and why. Above all, it's a book that makes you think and question (which leads to better filmmaking). The Crucible example on page 38 & 150 and the example from Fargo on pages 145-147 would be a few that stick out in my mind (although there are several others).
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to tell a great story 24 Oct 2005
By MJ - Published on
This book is truely a rare find. I was looking for a book on editing that would explain how to visually communicate a great story through editing, a book that would tell me more than just the history of editing or the techniques of operating the Avid or Final Cut Pro. The Eye is Quicker thoroughly goes through the rationale, the reasons why you make or don't make a cut. Using several examples from films. But more importantly this book provides you with the knowledge how to enhance the story, or how to transfer the dailies into a story. The beauty of editing is that one is essentially providing the last rewrite of the script and the beauty of The Eye is Quicker is that it gives you the fundamentals how to enhance(edit) the story(movie).
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and comprehensive 21 Oct 2005
By Nikolaos Tsakonas - Published on
This is the kind of books I enjoy reading.I am not a professional filmaker or editor, but as I like to know all the details behind everything I wanted a book to cover the most important theory (not techniques or tools) about film editing.I really felt as this book "revealed" some secrets that most of us (I mean ,the amateurs) simply ignore.

It explains all those facts that makes you perceive films as good/average/bad in such a detailed way, that most of the times you will run to watch your favourite film to see if he is right , and believe me , he is deadly right!

By using all this theory and these invisible tricks he describes you cannot only make scenes look good (even if they are not) , your whole film will look even better and finally acquire that magic ingredient that you can "feel" on good films but you cannot actually identify what it is. The most importnat thing is, that it gives you the power to quide your viewer eyes at exaclty where you want him to look and see exactly what you want him to see, which can greatly affect the way your material is communicated to your audience.

The only "drawback" after reading this book ,is that your eyes are more trained in identifying "bad edits" in the films you are watching , but I think we can leave with it !!! I think that such good books should be on every filmaker's hand.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn Editing from a Professional Editor & Teacher 10 Aug 2004
By Lily - Published on
Can film editing be learned from a book? Not really. Can film editing theory be learned from a book? Probably, and Richard D. Pepperman's The Eye is Quicker is as good a place to start as any. Film editing seen through the eyes of Pepperman is fresh and dynamic and alive. His tone is personal, humorous and engaging, taking tech books out of the realm of dry and removed tomes we're forced to read for edification purposes, and transforming them into something we actually enjoy reading. At least once per chapter, I found myself wanting to rush out and edit something, anything.

The strength of The Eye is Quicker lies in the fact that Pepperman himself is a longtime teacher and knows how to present his craft in a way that students can connect with. His aim with this book is to bring editing back to the basics, instead of all about new technology hyped bells and whistles. He opens with a statement that I think best sums up his intentions: "I'm concerned that the tradition of passing on essential knowledge from an experienced mentor to new assistants and apprentices might be lost and `replaced?by tool-intensive training alone. I hope this book can help preserve that vibrant, more complete way of learning.?

Pepperman manages to employ an anecdotal tone that only the best educators ever manage to carry off. Like all good teachers, he partially holds your hand and coddles you, while simultaneously challenging you to jump off the precipice into the unknown and have faith in your own abilities.

Pepperman reveals himself as a person first, allowing the reader to become comfortable with him, and then he gets into the mechanics of his subject. He makes editing into a life view, rather than simply a cut and paste exercise. He humanizes editing, making it more about instinct than precision. By the end of this book, you begin to view editing as a way of being and seeing the world, not simply as a nine-to-five job performed by rote using a set of basic principles.

Don't get me wrong, the basics are offered in this book. Things that every film student learns in Editing 101. Pepperman also includes a list of Nine Key Codes that all editors should constantly keep in mind and strive to remain true to. He also supplies specific movie references that the editing student can turn to for examples. This makes his teachings more concrete and tangible, taking his book from a one dimensional study of a two dimensional discipline to a more complete representation of editing. He supplies countless frame by frame pictures to illustrate the differences in cuts and their impact on the finished films. My only problem with this approach is that it's still too static for a visual medium such as film. At times, I found it difficult to visualize the cuts just by seeing the storyboard pictures alone. Books on film, especially on editing, should come standard with interactive CD's or DVD's.

Each chapter begins with a perfectly placed quote that adds layers of meaning to the context. Everyone from Godard to Einstein is referenced. My favorite quote, though, comes from a slightly less conspicuous source. It's by Rob Nillson and is placed at the start to chapter seventeen. Nillson states, "The magicians who bottle the genie are the actors. The magician who lets the genie out of the bottle is the editor.?

The underlying message in The Eye is Quicker is that editing is all about subtlety. Visual logic is key. Technique can only take you so far ?the rest resides in your gut. Pepperman reiterates that we must never get so caught up in the aesthetics of editing that the film's drama takes a back seat to stylistics (there are quite a few people I can think of in Hollywood that would be well served by this advice).

The Eye is Quicker is a rarity in the world of trade books ?it teaches technique but it also affects perception.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning from a great teacher 10 Jun 2005
By Stephen Elliot - Published on
I just finished reading this book cover to cover, and I must say it has truly been one of the most inspirational books I've read in quite some time. After high school I spent approximately 18 months studying things like editing, graphic design, motion graphics, etc... That period of time was no doubt invaluable, but lately it feels as though I'm drowning in tutorials and software features. I set out to find the best book on editing, not as a series of mouse clicks, but as a way to approach filmmaking. I'm glad to say I've found that book ...The Eye is Quicker. I was particularly delighted to discover that the author is also a teacher. I've found that those who have an excellent resume don't necessarily understand how to "pass on essential knowledge" as this author does. Being a college-age, young editor myself, I was particularly drawn to the comments about frequent pitfalls he sees in his students. I truly felt like I was learning from someone with tremendous experience who genuinely wants to teach others.
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