Selected Takes: Film Editors on Editing
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Interviews with 21 prominent feature film editors highlight this long-overdue look at the role of film editors, the importance of their work, and the nature of their craft. Organized to provide historical continuity and to trace professional collaborations among the subjects, Selected Takes features editors whose credits include such diverse films as Ben Hur, The French Connection, The Godfather, and E.T.
Each chapter includes a brief introduction to the artist, background information, a filmography of feature-length works, and personal recollections of specific films, producers, and directors, as well as helpful comments on editing techniques. A glossary of terms commonly used in film editing and pertinent references found in the interviews complement the work. Film students, scholars, and educators, as well as film industry professionals and moviegoers, will find Selected Takes both entertaining and instructive.
those your ideas and how did they develop? Yes, those are mine. I thought about it as I was going along in the editing. The idea of chapters was scripted. The detail of making it a page turn was something that I thought of. I thought, here's a chance to play around and do things optically with page turns and irises. Did your studio background prepare you for this kind of optical work? Definitely. I was more aware of what could be done. You don't see too much optical work now. You don't even see
one for the left eye, the other for the right eye. The editor cuts one eye only, usually the left, then his assistant matches the right eye, which is not too difficult because the film has been coded. All the assistant has to do is match the code numbers. When 3-D was first shown in theaters, two projection machines ran simultaneously. They had to be lined up perfectly. If one frame in one of the projectors was a little higher or lower, it would pull the spectator's eye right of the socket.
we pared the actual race down to eight minutes—that's a little over 700 feet. What did that long version look like? All of the elements were there but it didn't have the pizazz, the tempo, and pacing. You have to start to build the rhythm. The cuts would start to get shorter and shorter. You might wind up with an insert of the spokes that was a few frames long, a split second on the screen. Certainly, the first time you put it together, you wouldn't put it in that short. There was a lot of trial
the correct level. What is a click track? A click track gives you the beat in the same tempo. Like a metronome? Sure. I used a click track when I didn't want to waste the time with an extra track. You find sync and you hit it from there. What is your approach to cutting scenes with music? You have to know where you want to start and stop and for what reasons. What story am I telling? What emotion am I going for? Is it a waltz? Is it a tango? That has to be established. In ballroom dancing, it's
head so I enjoyed working with him. I wouldn't see him in the cutting room until the polished first cut. He never bothered me while I was cutting. When I got it to where I liked it then he would sit down and look at it. Then in re-editing, if he had something he wanted to do, he would be very precise in articulating it. It made my job easy. The editing of Brewster McCloud was very innovative, especially in the way the story was structured with intercutting. Can you give an example of a scene that