Every Editor Should Hear How Walter Murch Describes His Job

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Sound design and editing legend Walter Murch talks to Indiewire about his cutting philosophies as well as his career working on some of the most indelible films in cinema history, such as Apocalypse Now and The Godfather.

"Our medium is called motion pictures, but it could also be called emotion pictures," he eloquently states. "That seems to be the main driving force behind it. When I made a list of six criteria for determining what kind of things you weigh when you choose to cut from one shot to another, emotion is at the top. But it's notoriously difficult to wrangle with or even to identify. When editing is being taught, it is being taught from the bottom up, which is, you begin with spatial geometry. That has a virtue to it, but what happens is that as you learn more and more, you have to flip more and more. And, in fact, at a certain point, spatial geometry is the last thing you want to really obsess over. You need to achieve emotional and intellectual — which is to say story — coherence. And you need to have rhythmic values, or visual music."