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Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple's Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema Paperback – October 31, 2004
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Cold Mountain, the recent film based on the Charles Frazier novel, is a love story set during the American Civil War. Behind the Seen, being the story of how accomplished film editor Walter Murch (of Apocalypse Now fame), is also a story of love in a time of internal conflict. The difference being that Behind the Seen has to do with how Murch used Final Cut Pro, a software package that runs on any modern Macintosh and costs less than $1000, to edit Cold Mountain and thereby incite debate among professional film editors. Can such a mass-market product, accessible to anyone with a camcorder and a FireWire cable, be a serious tool for professionals? Murch proved that it can.
Behind the Seen deals with the technical accomplishment of using Final Cut Pro to assemble a feature film, but more importantly explains to its readers how shooting and editing work--and how the personalities involved in Cold Mountain worked together. This is a book of nonfiction that you can read from beginning to end; it is a technical book but not in the click-and-drag sense. Rather, it's a story about a creative team and the tools they used to deliver a work of drama. --David Wall
Topics covered: How Cold Mountain was shot and edited, using Final Cut Pro as the principal editing suite.
About the Author
With Academy Awards for his work on Apocalypse Now and The English Patient ,sound and film editor Walter Murch is one of the few universallyacknowledged editing masters in cinema. Along with George Lucas and FrancisFord Coppola, he is one of the founding members of the Northern Californiacinema community. Co-author Charles Koppelman has been writingscreenplays and directing video and film since the early 1980s, including theindependent feature film, Dumbarton Bridge , award-winning documentaries, andcommercials.
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Top Customer Reviews
The meeting of Silicon Valley and Hollywood industries creates a riveting plot that is hard to put down. The gorgeous graphic layout and attention to detail also help.
Only grumble was the detachment of one page from the binding, but if you don't sleep next to your copy, it probably won't be a concern.
Anyone interested in cutting edge (hah!) technology and/or legendary Bay area genius Walter Murch must read this book.
Instead the bulk of the book was spent in excruciating detail about the selection of Final Cut Pro as an editing platform. There was much talk of the concerns around using FCP3 to edit a feature-length film project. Likewise there was too much detail about the worries they had about shipping these systems to Romania for the edit. Would they have tech support?!? Would they have enough hard drive space?!? Would it survive customs?!?
There are even copies of e-mails of the order of the system and how grand a moment it was... Sorry, I found the inclusion of this material to be boring. I lost interest well before the edit actually started.
To me it was more a story of how Digital Film Tree (God Bless 'em. They ARE good people.) took a big chance on championing this effort and how they supported Murch and his Assistant Editor to provide the technical knowledge of FCP than it was about the actual Edit of Cold Mountain.
The information IS dated now that FCP is in version 5.1 (as of 4/2006) and that may have tainted my read of the book.
There are some interesting things about the filmmaking process and the editing of a picture in general, but Final Cut specifics are kind of moot. Murch's "In the Blink of an Eye" and also the "Conversations" book are great reads on his process and how he thinks about editing. Also, the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro Users Group ("LAFCPUG") sells a DVD of Murch talking at one of the meetings.
But again, if you want to learn about using FCP to do a feature, this really won't help you.
I'm not a big book reader, but I couldn't put this book down.
Walter Murch is a true pioneer.
A must have for your book collection!
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