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The Invisible Cut: How Editors Make Movie Magic [Paperback]

Bobbie O'Steen

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The Invisible Cut: How Editors Make Movie Magic + In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing + On Film-making
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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions; 2nd Ed edition (1 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193290753X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932907537
  • Product Dimensions: 25.5 x 17.8 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 335,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

The Invisible Cut The book reveals how the editor like a magician manipulates his audience by using sleight of hand and seduces them by anticipating their needs and desires. Only then can he create those invisible cuts that grab them and keep them on the edge of their seats. Part One lays out the rules, strategies and techniques as well as the evolution of editing in movie history. Part Two shows the actual work of master editors by using 248 frame grabs individual frames from thirteen famous scenes.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book for both film-makers and film-fans! 16 Mar 2009
By Matthew Terry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My film is too long. First cut was over two hours, second cut I had trimmed nine minutes bringing it to 115 minutes. A few members of my "brain trust" (people who work in Hollywood and actually do this for a living) had told me to "cut it down substantially" but no one was giving me good examples of where or how. It was, simply, "cut it."

Easier said than done.

The task in front of me was to slice and dice my film in a way that would get my points across and tell my story as best as possible without, certainly, putting the audience to sleep.

When I got this book in the mail, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. It was exactly what I needed/wanted at this time of trial.

Using classic films (and all films I have seen and have in my collection - thank God she didn't use obscure/little seen films!) Bobbie O'Steen goes FRAME-BY-FRAME through certain scenes and situations; giving the reader a clear understanding of how the film was cut the way it was. How the director and/or editor worked to fix a performance. Whether it was the classic chase in "The French Connection" or the seduction scene in "The Graduate" - using her insight or, on occasion, interviews with directors and editors, she got to the heart of what made the scene work - or usually, how they MADE it work.

Who knew that the initial sex scene in "Body Heat" was actually a mistake, fraught with camera issues and footage that was unusable? Did you realize that a pivotal scene in "Chinatown" actually went on for a number of lines - but it was trimmed not so much for time, but for performance?

Not only does O'Steen's book take you into the cutting room, it takes you into the minds of the film-makers behind the scenes.

Where I felt the book could have been improved, slightly, was to take an approach in the book for that new director who doesn't have a clue (i.e.: me). Sort of a question and answer: "So you want to shoot a seduction scene, first, ask yourself: Who is the seducer, who is the seducee? Etc." I should, of course, glean this from seeing how Mike Nichols directed and Sam O'Steen (Bobbie O'Steen's late husband) filmed and edited the scene in "The Graduate" - but I sometimes like my lessons spelled out very clearly.

Second, and similar, there should have been a chapter, or two, dedicated to the first timer picking up the camera. A quick overview of what "coverage" is, clarifying the basics of shooting. Though she touches a bit on this, I would have liked there to be just a little more.

Bottom line, though, that by using scripts and frame shots from classic films, Bobbie O'Steen takes you inside the world of editing - turning it inside out to show you most everything you need to know about the process. An excellent book for both film-makers and film fans.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently written by someone who knows the facts personally 22 Jun 2013
By Michael Amundsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent guide into the minds of those that do it. No theory just a lot of reality from someone who was there.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT 8 Mar 2013
By Katerina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Very good book, both for students and for those who already work as an editor. Theory and practice, scenes from famous films - very useful.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three-Lifetimes of Know-How 2 Mar 2009
By Richard D. Pepperman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Here is a perspective on film editing from an iconic legacy: If ever there was someone who signifies the heart of post-production it is Bobbie O'Steen. "The Invisible Cut: How Editors Make Movie Magic" presents (no less than) three-lifetimes of practical and creative insights that few have attained, and fewer can explain.
3.0 out of 5 stars It's hard to describe film editing in a book 27 May 2014
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While this book contains many screenshots, they fail to help convey how the pacing and the feel of a movie is affected by editing. This subject is probably better covered in a DVD than a book.
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