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The Blink of an Eye

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Walter Murch wrote the book The Blink of an Eye, in which different ideas about how cuts work, and how using good cuts can create meaning in a film.
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  Meza 1Sandra Meza Prof. Jean-Paul DiSciscio CJN3455- Production II 18 December 2017 The Blink of an Eye: Walter Murch is a talented film editor who has work with Francis Coppola. He has edited The Godfather II and many other films. Walter Murch wrote the book The Blink of an Eye, in which different ideas about how cuts work, and how using good cuts can create meaning in a film. Walter Murch explains how most film cuts; “Represent a total and instantaneous displacements of one field of vision with another, a displacement that sometimes also entails a  jump forward or backward in time as well as space” (2001, p. 5). Murch also argues that the appearance of edited film is something new. I must disagree, cuts are not something new to the human eye, unlike Murch believes. During centuries people had been used to watch plays as a form entertainment. Theatre has been available to humanity since Greece, all the way to the Middle Ages, but unlike theatre; films usually cut some scenes in the editing room, scenes which were previously approved. Therefore, once the play is staged there are not cuts, you can even consider plays as a long shot, but they are not. Plays are divided in scenes and acts that tend to  jump between space and time. Plays jump from a scene to another explaining different situations that contribute to the plot development. Plays have even had breaks between acts so that actors can change costume, and the crew change the set dressing. Films and Plays are not created non-commonly created as a one big long shot because it is hard to do so: “Filming a movie in a long shots is possible, the film may look more artistic. However it is though to do it, as actors may  Meza 2forget their lines, a light may burn out, or a special effect can crash (2001, p. 7)”. Films often copy similar techniques from theatre, including cuts, as they have a tendency to portray the highlights of a story. Long shots indeed look more artistic and beautiful than cuts, but are long shots realistic? Murch believes that humans perceive their life as a long shot. Murch does not understand how edited films are a success since during millions of years humans have perceived reality in ‘stream of linked images’ (2001 p. 5). It is true that humans are constantly receiving images, sound and even smells throughout their entire lives; but are they perceiving and saving all of this information in their memories. Although I agree that daily life happens in a long shot, humans may not remember every single second of it. During the day a lot of things happen, but at the end of it, we only remember the most important parts of it, just like film present the most important  part of the character’s story. Every time we blink, there is cut, not exactly a scene but rather a though. Murch argues each time an actor blinks is because the actor has changed or completed his. Murch explains how that blinking is can be used to edit, as the actor shift its idea the editor can cut to the next idea, to generate a better flow of information. Cuts can also be disorientating if the editor does not follow a specific rhythm. These disorientating cuts are known as Jump cuts;  jump cuts are known for abruptly forwarding the passage of time. Jump cuts have been accepted over recent years, as the audience has adapted to them. The audience easily adapts to jump cuts  because of our lack of memory, like cuts, more or less represent our fragile mind. Cuts also make the film more bearable, as it discards unnecessary scenes that make a film tediously long. People accept edited movies because it resembles their perception of reality, as people only remember what made an impact on their personal growth  Meza 3 Murch explains there are many reasons for having more than one editor working on a film; a disadvantage is how the editing may be absence coherence. The lack of time is the main reason to work with multiple editors, as “time pressure of post-production is not quite forgiving (2001, p. 29). Having people to help you out can be nice, as you can divide the work and end it faster. However, communication with each other is key to producing a good film. Both editors must reach an agreement that would benefit the film. Sometimes editors maybe dull-minded developing a: “Locked viewpoint about the material, this particular troublesome if the director and the editor have not worked together before” (Murch, 2001, p. 30). Another reason that you may consider to work with other people. Sticking to our ideas is great, but occasionally the chief editor’s ideas can crash with the director’s, having someone to intercede between can be helpful. Another reason for working with multiple editors is what you, as a director, want to achieve. Time is money, therefore having various editors can help you to explore different ideas. Each editor can help you out with different ideas you want to explore.Maybe you, as the director, are undecided if you want a color film or black&white film. Having multiple editors can help you to save time. As a result, you save money. Even if the director chooses an idea, and stick to it, having multiple editors can be helpful; editing a film can get complicated because deadlines are usually stressing the editors out. The director may start to play with the structure of the film as time passes, delaying the editing process. The chief editor may divide the work between the team to save time and money. Working with people can be hard, especially if they have a different  perspective yours. However, in the film industry teamwork is common, as an editor or anything you aim to do, you must understand teamwork is a crucial part of the industry so we must learn to work with other people.  Meza 4 Murch explains how electronic film editing reduces costs; it also gives more access to the material, making easier for the filmmaker to review each scene (2001, p. 83). Murch also wrote about digital editing is an advantage for independent filmmakers.Usually, independent filmmakers are in charge of most of the pre-production and post-production of the film, which means that they have to organize their time to fulfill deadlines. Having a digital film editor reduces saves money because the filmmaker does not have to deal with a film work-print (Murch, 2001, p. 83). Not only digital film editors, but also digital cameras help to reduce costs. The filmmaker can pass the information from an SD card, directly to the editor in a matter of hours. Nowadays, the filmmaker does not need to hire multiple assistants for; “Filing trims, making lists, etc.” (Murch, 2001, p. 83), as all of that can be done by the one assistant, in the computer. Saving time is the crucial part of digital editing, as the film can be finished by half the time. Digital editing is one of the most important advances in the industry, as it helps low-budget films to improve their quality. Superheroes became extremely popular because studios have chosen to use digital editing to add computer-generated special effects to their films; making those films more realistic catching the majority of the audience. Digital editing also helps to “file multiple attempts of the scene, for future reference” (Murch, 2001, p. 84). Sound quality in films can be easily added and improved, as the sound designer can access to multiple online platforms that stream different sounds, and music. In digital film editors, the editor has the liberty and the facility to add the sounds, previously approved by the sound designer. These digital film editors can carry many tracks of sound and sound can be easily be synchronized with the image. Digital editors help independent filmmakers to improve their work, making editing easier.  Meza 5Bibliography Murch, W. (2001). In the blink of an eye a perspective on film editing. Los Angeles: Silman- James Press.
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