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In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition Paperback – August 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-1879505629 ISBN-10: 1879505622 Edition: 2 Revised
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walter Murch is the winner of multiple Academy Awards for his work as a film editor and a sound designer. Among his many notable credits are The Conversation, American Graffiti, Julia, Apocalypse Now, The Godfather (parts II and III), The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Ghost, Crumb, Romeo Is Bleeding, First Knight, The English Patient, and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Silman-James Pr; 2 Revised edition (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879505622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879505629
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 99 people found the following review helpful By william k wuorinen on January 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
OK I can't believe the guy who was looking for tips on how to put a scene together. I have been a film and commercial editor for 25 years and Mr. Murch's work is what all who have ever wanted to be an editor look up to. The joy of this book is that it doesn't delve into the nuts and bolts of editing-which is the worst part of my craft-but it focuses on the zen of editing, which is the true joy. I have had the opportunity to cut nine feature films in my life and before I started each one, I read "In the Blink of an Eye" to get me back in that feature film mindframe. God Bless Mr. Murch for his insights. As a fellow editor-and I struggle to live up to the bar you have raised for us-I can only bow down and thank Mr. Murch for passing on his knowledge to us.
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170 of 214 people found the following review helpful By avalon on August 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Despite the admiration I have for Walter Murch, "In the Blink of an Eye" was a waste of money. The book is actually the transcript of a lecture he gave at a film school, and to his credit, it was not Murch who came up with the idea of marketing it as a full-length book. He did attempt to lengthen this edition by adding a section on digital editing, but still, the book falls short of expectation.
Murch's insights into film editing, both analog and digital, are valuable, and I would recommend picking up the book from the library or sitting down and reading it at your local bookstore - it really is that short, but it's not a keeper.
I bought this book hoping to get some real-world tips to editing - what makes a good cut and what doesn't, pacing, etc., etc., etc., but I came away with just one - cut when you blink. Murch's "blink theory" is interesting, but there's much more to editing than just that. I was looking for more from one of the best editors in the business.
Murch does discuss some of his own experiences while editing movies such as "Apocalypse Now" and "The English Patient", but doesn't really delve into the cutting itself and why he chose certain shots or cut a scene a certain way. The book also discusses the history of digital editing and its future but seems to focus on the attitudes of older directors and editors alike who seem to be afraid of change and insist, like Stephen Spielberg who bought up every Motorola editing system and hired enough technicians who can fix the ancient editors so that he will never have to fire up that computer, that "the old way" is better than the new one.
Murch seems to be in the middle of the debate.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. Trout on February 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
Murch is brilliant, there is no doubt of that, and I found this book to be quite inspiring. It is certainly not a guide to how to operate an editing system, (be it analog or digital,) or even a means of telling you how to assemble wide shots and close ups into a cohesive narrative.

It is about how Murch approaches a project. How he creates. Aspiring and seasoned editors alike can take much from this short work, and incorporate it into their own style and approach. I don't think that I will ever look at film the same way after his anecdote about blinking and editing "The Conversation."

Many reviewers have mentioned that they expected more, (length, content, etc.) I wanted more myself, but I think Murch says all he needed to say. It is WELL worth the read. I suggest getting it from a library, reading it, and then deciding if you wish to add it to your own library.

I now own a copy, and expect to consult it in future for every editing project that proves difficult.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By BG from TN on July 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's like having a conversation with a really smart, educated and thoughtful person on a variety of topics relating to film. I feel angry with the people who gave it negative reviews because it's not a textbook about editing; it's not intended to be. Don't troll-rate a book because you don't know how to find a book on the subject you're looking for.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ulises D. Ramirez on November 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book gives insight into film editing like no other. the other reviewers said that the book did not really help into any actual editing technioques in real life, well perhaps that is why there are NO actual ways to edit. With today's editing suites, you drag and drop, cut, and you're done. What Walter Murch is giving you are lessons that go deep beyond that. How to tell when a good cut is there, when the emotional moment tells you to cut, how to recognize it. If you want to learn a jump cut, or editing tricks, then pick up something else, but if you want to learn how to recognize the story in your film, and how to tell it in the way that only you can, then pick this book up, and read in between the lines.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By indycine on April 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
To merely explain "what film editing is" would be worth the price of this book, and

what I expect when I read a book on film editing, but this book goes far beyond that.

This book almost effortlessly explains "why film editing works," "how film editing works,"

and "what the human experience expects and wants from film editing."

It does this in an engaging style, with a remarkably-few,

well-chosen words. This is a truly great little book.

It teaches some slippery concepts easily, with simple historical examples.

(How filmmaking is like opera, or like music, or literature or art, for example.)

Its concepts are clear, and they stick in the mind, and return

to one later, usually while in the middle of doing something else.

That means to me that not only my conscious mind

understands what Mr. Murch has written, but my

unconscious mind as well.

I am very grateful for that, as

my unconscious mind is my source.

Mr. Walter Murch is not only one of the most gifted film editors ever,

he has clearly thought and mulled and quantified what he knows in his bones,

so that others can learn from it.

Beethoven wrote great music, (and, according to Mr. Murch, was one of

the fathers of cinema), but did Beethoven write a little book that explained

what he was trying to do, or the principles behind it, or what he had learned

about how it worked, and how to make future projects work in the same way?

No, alas. I've read letters from Beethoven, but found

his process elusive.
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In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition
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