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Old December 16th, 2004, 09:45 AM   #16
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Dennis,
There are a few interesting books on editing, some already mentioned. There are many more books on how to use specific editing software.

But, at the the end of the search, none of these books will teach you much of anything about film/video editing. I've looked at (and bought) many. It is just not a subject that lends itself to any meaningful instructional treatment in books. You learn film editing by doing it, and/or watching someone else do it, for many, many hours across many different projects.

So if you're looking for the Walter Murch books to reveal the art of film editing to you, save your money. "In the Blink of An Eye" and "The Conversations" are interesting reads but that's about it. You will not be any more skilled at editing than you would be more skilled at space flight after reading John Glenn's biography.

As Nike likes to say, "Just Do It".
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Old December 16th, 2004, 12:22 PM   #17
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I recently checked out a book called "Transitions" which is more specifically about digital video editing and is a series of essays from professionals. It's a very easy read and contains a lot of useful info. I've enjoyed it a lot.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 01:07 PM   #18
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Ditto on "Transistions". I find books like this, with professional insights very usefull in terms of approach and workflow. The same can be said about attending writing workshops or reading about the approach of famous authors. There is NO substitute for doing it of course, but it helps if you hear that others have an approach that is similar to your own.

One editor or author might say "I can only work standing up, while listening to music" - or - "I always quit for the day, knowing what the next cut/line is going to be. That way, I start with something ready to go the next day."

That might reinforce your own approach, or it might open you up to a new approach to help free up a creative block.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 02:28 PM   #19
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Hi everyone,

Ken, that's very enlightening, I'll keep it in mind, maybe I can borrow some of those books from libraries etc. instead of purchasing them (specialist 'film' related books here in NZ are not that commonly found in libraries...).

As for Transitions, that sounds interesting, I'm gonna check it out.

Basically the original reason I asked the question was I was wondering if I was doing anythign, 'wrong'. I know that there's no such thing as 'wrong', however, I just didn't know if there was a 'standard way' of working for editors -i.e. first you should select these takes blah blah blah, then you should piece them together like this, then eliminate this and that and then re-cut to this etc. etc.

I suppose in the end, I'll just stick to the way I'm editing and just develop my own method. Still, it would be cool to know how some 'pro' editors (who do it for a living) go about the task...

Dennis
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Old December 16th, 2004, 02:45 PM   #20
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Dennis,

"Transitions" is exactly that, a book of essays by editors of everything from Feature films, to documentaries, to music videos, to animated films, talking about "Here's how I approach a problem, works for me, might work for you" sort of attitude.
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Old December 16th, 2004, 04:55 PM   #21
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Well it took a bit of a hunt for some reason, but Amazon has Transitions in their "used" listings for $3.55 plus $3.49 shipping. They would make great presents if I had any friends that were editors. :) But they are NEW copies, just not from Amazon directly. Amazon also has it in inventory for $33.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1903450535/
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Old December 16th, 2004, 09:07 PM   #22
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Thanks John for the link.

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Old December 21st, 2004, 04:38 AM   #23
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I have to slightly disagree with Ken here (that's a first!).

It is true that (probably) no editing book will learn you how to edit,
as with everything, experience and just doing it is the best way
to learn how it works or doesn't work.

However, in the book "in the blink of an eye" I do believe Walter
drops some very interesting tidbits and things that work for him
that do make you think differently about editing (in my case). He
talks about things like:

- placing a small cut-out person besides your screen to more easily fool your mind you are editing something for the big screen

- cutting at places where you blink your eyes (hence the title of the book)

- he also talks about what he believes is important for a shot/cut to succeed (the rule of six) and which of those are important in which order (so if you can't do it all, you can choose the most important ones)

- he also talks much on cutting while the film is playing at full speed (so you can let your mind and your subconscious do the actual "cutting"), this technique seems to work great for myself for example

In the new (2nd) edition there is also a whole new section on
digital editing on computers which points out pro's and con's.
It's also quite funny to read about that he cuts a movie STANDING.

For $10.46 at Amazon I would personally at least get that book:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1879505622/
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Old December 21st, 2004, 11:58 AM   #24
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Thanks Rob. Either way I'll find a way to read those books at least - it can't hurt to know more about the subject. What you've mentioned so far seems interesting... I'll be sure to get that book (and The Conversations).

Does anyone think it's weird that there aren't as many books written on editing as books written on other sides of filmmaking? I mean, you obviously get truckloads on screenwriting and directing, but I've been searching on Amazon for a while, and there's only a handful compared to say, sound books or cinematography books.

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Old December 21st, 2004, 01:58 PM   #25
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dennis Liu : Does anyone think it's weird that there aren't as many books written on editing as books written on other sides of filmmaking? I mean, you obviously get truckloads on screenwriting and directing, but I've been searching on Amazon for a while, and there's only a handful compared to say, sound books or cinematography books.
Dennis -->>>

Not really. The market for editing instruction material is awfully small and, as I noted, it really is not a subject that renders very effectively in books. I own both "In The Blink of An Eye" and "The Conversations". They are more entertaining than instructional reads, as you're basically reading philosophy and reminiscences. Sound subjects lend themselves reasonably well in books due largely to waveform display illustrations. Cinematography works in books because it uses a lot of verbiage wrapped around some stills (usually b&w) and line drawing illustrations. But illustrating cut-aways, transitions, and other editing topics in a platform-neutral book would be largely impossible. There is one such book that I reviewed last year that attempts to do this but it was, in my opinion, a noble failure. The authors could not avoid the second half of the book from becoming a very platform-specific dance step manual.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 03:10 PM   #26
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I sort of agree with Ken, in that there is no one book that can teach or show you how to edit. Editing is so much of a creative process, that to succeed and be good at it, you need to be creative.

You could read a book that would give you the basics of editing, and allow you to learn how to do the basics. But nothing that you edited would be particularly interesting if you only applied the methods the book suggested. What makes editing good is the passion and creativity of the editor that does it.

I find the books people have mentioned as useful though, in that they reveal how other successful and renowned editors approached problems and found innovative solutions. They are a great source of inspiration. But ultimately it is a filmmakers, and an editor's goal to create something that is unique. And you can only do that by learning from your own experiences.

I certainly think it helps to read about how others have done it as well. The books can save you time and help you learn, but there is absolutely no substitute for going out there and doing your own work.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 07:15 PM   #27
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dennis Liu :
Does anyone think it's weird that there aren't as many books written on editing as books written on other sides of filmmaking?

Dennis -->>>

Ultimately its about telling the story. So what is the difference between learning how to write a screenplay and learning how to edit at the other end of the process? I have some editing philosophy books (Walter) coming in, but I am also adding some writing books and maybe a directing book or two to my library. If I could find a book on childrens storytelling, I would read one of those too. Keep it simple an dentertaining and meaningful.
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 12:09 AM   #28
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I guess you guys are right - editing is very hard to describe/explain in a book format now that I think about it. I've ordered a couple of editing books, I'll report back if I find any of them any good.

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Old December 22nd, 2004, 05:51 AM   #29
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Please do Dennis! Always interesting to hear what others think
and it can be very helpful for others. Happy reading! <g>
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Old December 24th, 2004, 06:10 AM   #30
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Richard, Thanks for letting us know about Transitions. My copy arrived late yesterday and after a quick skim, I know I am going to enjoy it and learn a bit. It looks to be a very easy read.
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