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on 20 October 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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on 20 February 2010
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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on 28 June 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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on 28 March 2006
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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on 9 June 2004
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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on 5 August 2015
I found this book a bit like Marmite; sometimes I loved it, sometimes I wanted to roll around in it, oh wait . . .
While it is a bit old school and probably aimed at feature film editing, there are some great ideas in there (the main one being represented by the title) that have definitely helped me in my editing since reading it.
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VINE VOICEon 26 November 2013
A must read for any filmmaker and definitely aspiring editors - he has a way of using the most beautiful metaphors to easily explain the methods of editing film. It's only a thin book too, so those who are visual types who skip introductions and head to the pictures can handle it. It's in no way a manual and how to actually edit isn't something you'll learn from this - there are hundreds of books out there that can tell you that - this is more philosophical and will make you think before making a cut, and the thought and impact that you require from your edit. I love how 'with it' the guy is too (for lack of a less teenage way to describe it) as his whole life experience is based on editing film, yet he embraces digital editing in the modern age, and understands the way technology is going. A premonition of "channel 648 will be a live transmission of planet earth as seen from the moon, in stunning detail, occupying the entire liquid-crystal wall of your media room" said in a quasi-sarcastic tone is easily my favourite line.
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on 13 December 2014
This is a thin but interesting volume by a master film editor. The original lectures on which it is based took place some years ago, and this edition has an updated sectiojn on electronic editing. Possibly a more interesting volume for the general reader, or film enthusiast, would be "The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film".
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on 13 November 2010
This book is an easy read. I'm fascinated with the concept of editing, film editing in particular. The figures that this book bandies around give you a real insight into the world of the film editor. I bought it sat on a plane to Dubai and read it in one go. Thoroughly satisfying and left me wanting more. Walter opens up a window onto his personal and professional life that gives you a real feeling for what editing used to be - standing at a machine and physically moving heavy rolls of film around - to what it is now - sat at a computer where you never physically see the footage. He makes many noteworthy anecdotes which I regularly repeat when lecturing. I would only wish to meet him in person!
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on 3 March 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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