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Anyone Interested In Editing Movies Should Watch This Video Essay

Updated: Jan 22, 2023

This video essay completely changed the way I edited my next film.

That’s why I believe anyone interested in editing movies should watch: Walter Murch’s Six Criteria While Editing

Here are my 6 reasons why this video can help you start editing your first (or next film):

Reason #1: Walter Murch’s insights on editing are truly valuable.

He explains his six criteria for what’s going on in his head when he’s putting a film together.

He talks about the importance of emotion, story, rhythm, eye trace, 180-degree rule, and 3D continuity of space.

Reason #2: He highlights the importance of rhythm in editing.

A good editor must have some sense of how to tell a story, and that involves a sense of rhythm.

He compares it to telling a good joke, where the timing is crucial for it to be funny.

Reason #3: The importance of eye-trace.

Murch also emphasizes the importance of understanding where the audience’s eye is at any one point.

As an editor, you have to have a pretty good intuition about where the audience is looking at any one point, just like a magician does.

Reason #4: He talks about the 180-degree rule, which is important to consider when editing.

It’s about how to represent the three dimensional world (our life) in two dimensions (on screen).

Reason #5: Murch emphasizes the importance of practice.

He says that the best thing you can do as an editor who is trying to learn how to edit: is to edit.

And now, with the internet, there is a lot of material that you can download and practice editing with.

Reason #6: Murch’s approach to editing is both analytical & creative.

He talks about the technical aspects of editing, and the emotional & creative side of it.

The editor’s role is to cut the film, and to shape it into a story that evokes emotions in the audience.


When I first watched this video essay, it changed the way I think about editing for film.

Walter Murch’s holistic approach to editing makes this video essay a great watch for both beginners and experienced editors.

See you tomorrow. Matt Cici

Follow the journey here or on:

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