Making Music

Pt.1 Style counseling. Long before movies had sound, they had music. Not the 10,000 piece orchestra of Hans Zimmer*—instead, a single pianist on a cheap upright piano, or later a cinema organ, improvising to the picture as it played. Nonetheless, from near the beginning, moving images relied on music as a trusty guide, steering the […]

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Executive Stress

When Money People Monkey with your Cut ☛ In the Oscars this year Harrison Ford unpocketed a set of notes that had been given by the Executive Producers on his 1982 film Blade Runner. His intention was clearly to ridicule the wrong-headedness of Hollywood executives and the way they blunder into the editing process; these […]

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How to Travel in Time

The Art of the Flashback ☛ Flashbacks are on my mind at the moment. I’m currently working on two feature projects – one as writer, the other as editor – which are structured around multiple time periods, so my brain has got well-used to jumping around in time. Flashbacks are pretty common these days, but […]

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“One for Lloyds”?

How many takes to shoot ☛ “One for Lloyds…” is a phrase often heard on movie sets in the UK. It means shooting a second take, even if take one was perfect; y’know, just in case. Lloyds is the centre of the British insurance market – I believe their policies once demanded that a minimum of […]

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How Long You’ll Need to Edit…

…and When You Should Stop ☛ One question that I’m often asked when interviewing for a low-budget feature is: “how long do you think you’ll need?” The answer is… it’s complicated. There used to be a rule of thumb for feature films: 1.5 times the length of the shoot. This was based on the assumption […]

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Brando recognition

When is a good actor not a good actor? ☛ A weird thing sometimes happens when two or more people sit down in a cutting room and look through takes. They will agree on which take has the smoothest camera move or focus pull, there’ll be little disagreement about whether the shoot looks better with […]

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The Invisible Art of Editing?

Invisible vs. high-profile editing   I started in the cutting room at an exciting time for editing. The high-octane style popularised by music videos shown on MTV and made possible by editing on computer rather than on celluloid, was starting to filter through to feature films. In some cases it led to the sort of […]

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Inspiring Belief

An Editor’s Guide to Working with a Director ☛ Last time I wrote about how directors should approach working with an editor, this time the shoe is on the other foot. A lot is written online about how editors should work with their editing software – hints and tips. Books on editing have much to […]

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