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Cutting vertically within the frame


Youth Without Youth: Experimenting with 'blowing the image up'
Walter Murch Film-maker
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Armed with this information about digital structure, I plunged into the film and started experimenting, but I never went as far as George was suggesting, until I was working on a scene where the camera was positioned above Tim Roth, the main actor of Youth Without Youth, and he was lying on a bed and looking at the camera, and the camera moved down and made him into a big close up. However, there were three takes, and the two takes that... Where the camera did move, when it ended at the end, they were out of focus. It was just something technically wrong at that point. But there was another take, where the camera did not move at all, where it just stayed in this position.

So here's a good chance to try this blow up. So I did the appropriate things to the software, so that it appeared as if the camera were moving down by enlarging the image until I had a final big close up of Tim Roth. And when I looked at the numbers, it turned out to be, again, 230%, meaning, if the original image was 100%, we have gone 130% over that, so more than two times larger than it originally was shot. And now, I could actually test this by looking at my... The shot that I had blown up, and then going back and looking at the grain structure of the shots, which were out of focus, but at least I could... And sure enough, I couldn't tell the difference. And so I thought, 'Well, that's very interesting, because it gives the editor the ability to recompose the material.'

Born in 1943 in New York City, Murch graduated from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. His career stretches back to 1969 and includes work on Apocalypse Now, The Godfather I, II, and III, American Graffiti, The Conversation, and The English Patient. He has been referred to as 'the most respected film editor and sound designer in modern cinema.' In a career that spans over 40 years, Murch is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Francis Ford Coppola, beginning in 1969 with The Rain People. After working with George Lucas on THX 1138 (1971), which he co-wrote, and American Graffiti (1973), Murch returned to Coppola in 1974 for The Conversation, resulting in his first Academy Award nomination. Murch's pioneering achievements were acknowledged by Coppola in his follow-up film, the 1979 Palme d'Or winner Apocalypse Now, for which Murch was granted, in what is seen as a film-history first, the screen credit 'Sound Designer.' Murch has been nominated for nine Academy Awards and has won three, for best sound on Apocalypse Now (for which he and his collaborators devised the now-standard 5.1 sound format), and achieving an unprecedented double when he won both Best Film Editing and Best Sound for his work on The English Patient. Murch’s contributions to film reconstruction include 2001's Apocalypse Now: Redux and the 1998 re-edit of Orson Welles's Touch of Evil. He is also the director and co-writer of Return to Oz (1985). In 1995, Murch published a book on film editing, In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing, in which he urges editors to prioritise emotion.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Youth Without Youth, Tim Roth

Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2016

Date story went live: 29 March 2017