What I’m Reading: In The Blink Of An Eye

I just finished reading In The Blink Of An Eye by Walter Murch. Walter Murch edited The Conversation, American Graffiti, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather II and III and that was just the first few movies listed on the back of the book. The book is a collection of essays based on several lectures the author had given.

I really enjoyed to book for a few reasons:
– I realize when it comes to editing, I’ve focused on how to edit instead of why. In other words I’ve focused on the mechanics of the program and editing techniques. This book gave me a fresh perspective on the basic question, “Why edit?”
– I’m always fascinated when an artist can articulate the thought process behind their creative decisions. So many artists seem to create out of an intuition but don’t take the time to analyze the what and why behind their decisions.
– I started editing in 2000 on a Adobe Premiere system. I’ve never worked on a linear editor and have never worked with film. The perspective the author brought from learning to edit on film to being the first to win an Oscar for editing on a film that was cut digitally (it was The English Patient if you’re wondering) was unique.

So what stood out to me in this book? The two biggest things:
– Two approaches to film making, sculpting with clay or stone. When you work with clay you are adding a little here and there to your piece. Working with stone you are removing a little here and there. Both valid art forms.
-The Rule of 6 to define a good edit. An ideal cut satisfies the following criteria, but weight is given to the criteria listed first: 1) The emotion of the moment 2) Advances the story 3) Right or interesting rhythm 4) “Eye-Trace” or what the audience is focused on flows 5) 2-D plane of screen/ stage lines etc… 6) 3-d space of screen/ actors are in proper spatial relationship with each other.

I’m looking forward to my next narrative piece to edit. I want to see how these ideas can make me a better editor.

Anyone have other book suggestions?


September 17, 2008. Tags: , . Personal Growth, Video.


  1. Ian Lankford replied:

    I’d like to see any book suggestions people have too.

    I use Vegas Pro 8.0 for PC. It was in our proce range and does what we need to do right now.

    Pastor wants to move into a more ‘media driven’ service. We dont know quite what that means yet, we’re still trying to figure that out, but I’m sure we will be doing more narrative type videos. Our videos currently are more in the informative announcement catagory.

    Right now I basically just pick the best ‘take’ that we did, slap a logo and some text in there, add some music, and make sure it gets the message across to the crowd. Oh, and keep it as short as possible lol.

    The closest thing I’ve done to naritave is put together some captured game footage to learn Vegas lol.

  2. Dave replied:

    I’ve heard “Behind the Seen” and “The Conversations” are also good but haven’t checked them out.

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