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History of Film Editing


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#1 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 12:48 PM

Hello all.

I'm looking for a comprehensive website or book about the history of film editing dating all the way back to the silent era. If anyone can recommend one, I'd really appreciate it.

Thank you.
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#2 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 05:25 PM

Well, you should check out The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing DVD. I don't know if you would consider it "comprehensive" but it does have a lot of good stuff abut the old days of film editing and some mention and analysis of the first editing done as well as early landmark editing in film like Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery, D W Griffith's Birth Of a Nation and Sergei M. Eisenstein's milestone The Battleship Potemkin. It's also explains that early editors were women and that it was most definitely NOT considered an "artform" They cut film with scissors little stuff like that. The documentary follows editing up to the present day and is well worth a watch though it never gets too much into the nuts and bolts or practical skills of the editing process until they talk about modern digital editing. I was hoping for a tutorial on the practical mechanical aspects of editing a film together using a splicer, tape, synchronizer, rewinds and editing machines but to no avail, so IT'S gonna be trail and error for me using books like the Editing Room Handbook as a guide.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 20 November 2008 - 05:30 PM.

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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:44 AM

Well, you should check out The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing DVD. I don't know if you would consider it "comprehensive" but it does have a lot of good stuff abut the old days of film editing and some mention and analysis of the first editing done as well as early landmark editing in film like Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery, D W Griffith's Birth Of a Nation and Sergei M. Eisenstein's milestone The Battleship Potemkin. It's also explains that early editors were women and that it was most definitely NOT considered an "artform" They cut film with scissors little stuff like that. The documentary follows editing up to the present day and is well worth a watch though it never gets too much into the nuts and bolts or practical skills of the editing process until they talk about modern digital editing. I was hoping for a tutorial on the practical mechanical aspects of editing a film together using a splicer, tape, synchronizer, rewinds and editing machines but to no avail, so IT'S gonna be trail and error for me using books like the Editing Room Handbook as a guide.


Back in the day when I did a bunch of old school 16mm Ethnographic film editing with my ex-wife; The Anthropologist) (As opposed to ex-wives; The Jewish American Princess Media Buyer, The Para-Legal, & The 9th Grade Schoolteacher.) the most important thing was a good set of homemade bins and very good record keeping to keep track of everything. When you've got clips hanging all over the place it's real easy to lose track of a piece of film and waste a lot of time hunting for it.
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:49 PM

Back in the day when I did a bunch of old school 16mm Ethnographic film editing with my ex-wife; The Anthropologist) (As opposed to ex-wives; The Jewish American Princess Media Buyer, The Para-Legal, & The 9th Grade Schoolteacher.) the most important thing was a good set of homemade bins and very good record keeping to keep track of everything. When you've got clips hanging all over the place it's real easy to lose track of a piece of film and waste a lot of time hunting for it.


That brings back memories. Miles of film carefully dropped into a cloth lined bin such that it all came back out without hanging-up. THAT takes real skill. Remember shelves of 3 ring binders with page after page of trims taped in with roll, footage and descriptions?

Man, computers are so much easier! But, I do miss all that film editing hubbub. I especially miss the smell of it.
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#5 Owen Parker

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 10:50 AM

Bill,
I can recommended three books, non of which is specifically about the history of film editing, but cover the subject and are great reads.
'On Film Editing' by Edward Dymtryk - Director & former Hollywood editor - ISBN 0-240-51738-5
'In the blink of an eye' by Walter Murch - Editor of Jarhead, The English Patient, Godfather III - ISBN 1-879505-23-1
'The Story of Film' by Mark Cousins - UK Film critic, author - ISBN 1-86205-574-2

The first two are more concerned with the technique of film editing but are great reads and cover the history in some part. The Dymtryk is a personal favourite and having dug it out, to get the ISBN, I intend to read again.
The last one covers the history in some detail and is a fantastic read, highly recommended.

hope this helps.

Owen
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#6 Luis Reis

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 08:15 AM

I recommend: "The Technique of Film and Video Editing, Fourth Edition: History, Theory, and Practice (Paperback)
by Ken Dancyger (Author)"

He explain the technique while tells us about the history.
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Metropolis Post

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Tai Audio

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

Willys Widgets

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Broadcast Solutions Inc