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  • Writer's pictureMathias Choo

Splicing Stories: Top 3 Books Every Video Editor Should Read

The journey of a video editor is one of constant learning. Beyond the practical experience and online tutorials, books remain a cornerstone for deepening one’s understanding of this art form. They unravel the deeper concepts and methodologies that shape our visual narratives.


Here are three essential reads, each offering valuable insights into the craft of video editing.


1. "In the Blink of an Eye" by Walter Murch


The iconic cover of Walter Murch's 'In the Blink of an Eye', a thought-provoking exploration of film editing.

Walter Murch, in his influential book, discusses the concept of the emotional cut over the purely visual. He posits that editors must cut not based on the image alone but where the emotional beat dictates. This book also introduces the idea of the 'Rule of Six,' a hierarchy of editing priorities that places emotion and story at the top.


Key Points:

  • The importance of emotion in editing decisions.

  • The 'Rule of Six' and its application in editing sequences.

  • The relationship between human blink and a cut's timing.


2. "Cutting Rhythms: Shaping the Film Edit" by Karen Pearlman


A page spread of Karen Pearlman's 'Cutting Rhythms', shedding light on the rhythmic intuition behind film editing.

Karen Pearlman's 'Cutting Rhythms' dives into how editors can shape the rhythm of a film. The book elucidates on different types of rhythms and how they influence the audience's engagement with the story. It’s a guide to understanding the pacing of scenes and the energy they convey.


Key Points:

  • The various types of rhythm in editing and their emotional impacts.

  • Techniques for creating and manipulating timing in a scene.

  • The role of pacing in viewer engagement and narrative flow.


3. "On Film Editing" by Edward Dmytryk


The cover of Edward Dmytryk's 'On Film Editing', an invaluable resource for film editing professionals.

Edward Dmytryk's 'On Film Editing' outlines the editor's role as a storyteller and the technical aspects of cutting film. He shares the 'rules of editing' that he developed during his career, emphasising clarity, simplicity, and the importance of the 'invisible cut'—making edits seamless and unnoticed by audiences.


Key Points:

  • Dmytryk's rules of editing for maintaining continuity and narrative clarity.

  • The concept of the 'invisible cut' for seamless storytelling.

  • Practical examples and exercises to refine editing skills.


These books are more than instructional; they are inspirational, each offering a unique perspective on how to approach the editing desk. They've been instrumental in refining my understanding of editing not just as a technical skill but as a storytelling tool.

 

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