Digital / desktop video editing book review: Technique of Film Editing

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Technique of Film Editing

Digital/desktop video editing book reviews: Technique of Film Editingby Karel Reisz, Gavin Millar

Publisher: Focal Press, 2nd edition, June 1995


This is the only book I recommend which was first published last century. Not only that, it has not been revised since its 2nd edition in 1968. Both editions have been reprinted many times and translated into many languages. If there is only one book on film/video editing I can suggest, this is the one.

Digital video editing is new. The techniques, hardware, software and tools are coming out and changing very fast. However, the principle of editing, for both film and video, remains the same. How a film or video is edited is essentially the art of how shots, scenes and sequences are put together. In different software, you may use different command to do a cut. But the way to find out the perfect cutting point, so that the sequence looks smooth, has not changed for decades. 

Technique of Film Editing will teach you just that, where to perform the perfect cut, in a very clear way. It has been a standard text for decades on the art of editing and covers every traditional aspect of the editor's craft. The techniques it describes applies to both film and video editing.

It provides a concise history of editing and describes editing style as it applies to every genre of moviemaking, including the many types of narrative and documentary films. Reisz and Millar's account of the differences between smooth and abrupt editing and their remarkable sense of editing for dramatic effect rather than for realism make this book an essential for apprentice editors.

Obviously you can't expect topics that didn't exist when the book was written, such as music video (MTV) style, compositing as it has become integrated part of editor's work, special visual effects, home videos.

However, if there's only one book I can recommend, this is the one.

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