Conversations with Film and TV Editors
By Steve Hullfish
282 Pages - 50 B/W Illustrations
Art of the Cut provides an unprecedented look at the art and technique of contemporary film and television editing. It is a fascinating "virtual roundtable discussion" with more than 50 of the top editors from around the globe. Included in the discussion are the winners of more than a dozen Oscars for Best Editing and the nominees of more than forty, plus numerous Emmy winners and nominees. Together they have over a thousand years of editing experience and have edited more than a thousand movies and TV shows.
Hullfish carefully curated over a hundred hours of interviews, organizing them into topics critical to editors everywhere, generating an extended conversation among colleagues. The discussions provide a broad spectrum of opinions that illustrate both similarities and differences in techniques and artistic approaches. Topics include rhythm, pacing, structure, storytelling and collaboration.
Interviewees include Margaret Sixel (Mad Max: Fury Road), Tom Cross (Whiplash, La La Land), Pietro Scalia (The Martian, JFK), Stephen Mirrione (The Revenant), Ann Coates (Lawrence of Arabia, Murder on the Orient Express), Joe Walker (12 Years a Slave, Sicario), Kelley Dixon (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), and many more.
Art of the Cut also includes in-line definitions of editing terminology, with a full glossary and five supplemental web chapters hosted online at www.routledge.com/cw/Hullfish. This book is a treasure trove of valuable tradecraft for aspiring editors and a prized resource for high-level working professionals. The book’s accessible language and great behind-the-scenes insight makes it a fascinating glimpse into the art of filmmaking for all fans of cinema.
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Table of Contents
1. PROJECT ORGANIZATION
Cards on a wall
Scene Bin Organization
Scene Bin Organization with JPEG Markers
Selects or KEM Rolls
Organizing a Timeline Layout
2. APPROACH TO A SCENE
Screening Dailies (Rushes)
Watching Dailies Backwards
Finding a Starting Place
Fast and Rough to Start
Using Select Reels
3. PACING AND RHYTHM
Pacing is Musical
What Determines Pacing?
Letting it Breathe
Pacing Due to Screen Size
Length of First Assembly
Working the First Assembly
Killing Your Babies and Eliminating Shoe Leather
First Assembly in TV
Editing is Foundational to Storytelling
Speaking into the Script
A Student of Story
Editing as Stewardship
Finding the Performance
Performance that Tells the Story
Editing Bracketed Performances
Using Audio from Different Takes than Picture
Split Screen: The Invisible Weapon
Performance Needs Context
7. SOUND DESIGN
Sound to Sell Visual Edits
Selling the Environment
Collaboration with Sound Team and Assistants
ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement)
The Purpose of Temp Music
Choosing Temp Music
Cutting Without Temp
Songs and Diegetic or "Source" Music
Temping a Franchise Film
Landing the Gig
Styles of Collaboration
Don’t Edit the Way you think the Director Wants
TV’s Collaborative Environment
Approaching the Material
Pacing and Rhythm
Notes and Revisions
Miscellaneous Documentary Wisdom
11. MISCELLANEOUS WISDOM
How Did You Break Into the Business?
Learn From Your Mistakes
How Do You Judge the Editing of Others?
Steve Hullfish is a feature film and TV editor with credits including, "Courageous," "War Room," "Champion" and the theatrically-released feature documentary, "Clinton Inc." Hullfish is the author of five other books, including The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction and Avid Uncut. Hullfish also trains editors and colorists around the world.
"The greats like Schoonmaker and (the late) Coates are here. But so are the current blockbuster cutters like Eddie Hamilton . . . their methods and style are as individual as the individual themselves. And you as a reader will find yourself muttering ‘Absolutely’ or ‘Nope…that does not work for me.’ And you find yourself seated at the table as this masterclass is going on. And it’s a really big freakin’ table."
—Book Review, by Jonathan Dowler, Canadian Cinema Editors
"Steve Hullfish has interwoven great swathes of interview and made them flow like a well-constructed movie. You get concentrated information fired at you from the most eclectic, dynamic range of editors from all genres, mediums and nationalities . . . Most editors, when asked how they do what they do (a question we are all perhaps a little tired of now) answer ‘Instinct!’ This marvellous book is the first I’ve read (sourced from many horses’ mouths rather than books written from a single perspective) to refute that. There are concrete techniques to learn here as well as aesthetic considerations that stay our hand or entice an ‘I’ and an ‘O’ on a favoured shot. There is something for every editor on every page whether they’re new to the industry or, like myself, with many decades behind me."
—Book Review by Alan Miller, GBFTE’s First Frame, Spring 2018
Art of the Cut may indeed be the essential tool for the cutting room. Here is a reference where you can immediately see how our contemporaries deal with the complexities of editing a film. In a very organized manner he guides the reader through approaching the scene, pacing and rhythm, structure, storytelling, performance, sound design and music. I am placing this book on my shelf of editing books and I urge others to do the same.
—Jack Tucker, ACE
"In addition to having ready access to the experiences of so many editors in one volume, the book also makes great use of its formatting, structure and layout to enhance the learning experience and make sure you take away some practical wisdom."
—Jonny Elwyn, Film Editor
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