Walter Murch at the Boston Supermeet

By Chris Portal

Walter Murch, a long time Final Cut Pro user, and editor of Apocalypse Now, The Godfather Part III, The English Patient, Cold Mountain, Tetro, among many other films, headlined the Boston Supermeet on Thursday October 28, 2011. It marked his first public appearance since the launch of Final Cut Pro X.

A group of us met up to go and listen to Walter talk about the craft of editing and his thoughts on the transition from film to digital. There was such a huge turnout for the event, tickets to the auditorium were sold out, causing the Supermeet organizers to arrange a special spillover room with a live feed of the talk.

Introduction

Walter Murch started his talk by discussing how Cinema is composed of Motion Picture & Montage, and how of all crafts of film, editing is the craft most specific to film. Everything else – photography, costume, sound, etc. – have much longer histories that stretch back to the dawn of time.

Editing for Walter Murch breaks down into 3 strands:

  • Plumbing – Which is the means of determining how to get here from there, i.e. how to get your media assets into the right bucket.
  • Writing – Editing being the final draft of the film, you deal with the more experiential elements.
  • Performing – The editor is creating. You’re on your feet like a musical conductor or cook or brain surgeon. All the things involved are time dependent. Aside from it being good for your health, this is part of the reason Walter Murch stands while editing. read more...
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