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Hemingway & Gellhorn: Financing from HBO


Hemingway & Gellhorn: Relearning Final Cut Pro 7
Walter Murch Film-maker
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I was back to using Final Cut 7, the Apple program. So I had gone from using Final Cut on Tetro, to Avid, using Avid on Wolfman, and then now back to Final Cut. Changing from the Steinway to the Bösendorfer, and back again. And, you know, it all... I go through a period, even when I'm not... When I haven't switched pianos, so to speak, if I haven't edited in a while, meaning in a couple of months, a lot of the instant reactions to, what key do I press to make this happen? Goes away on a, kind of, a superficial level. And I call those my 'shoelace' moments, because it's... I have to ask somebody, usually, one of my assistants, 'How do you get from here to there?' Yes, it's that key structure. But it feels like, 'How do you tie your shoelaces? I forgot.'

So, elementary things, I have to relearn. But I haven't really forgotten them, they just don't come to me immediately. So... But once I remember them, then they pretty quickly come back. It usually takes about a week to get back up to speed again. In this case, it was slightly more awkward, because I had to make the transition from another program to... Avid back to Final Cut. And I had been doing this animation in the meantime, which is a completely different system entirely. So it'd been a year at least since I had worked in anything editorial, and almost two years since I had worked with Final Cut. So... But this is just what... This is the world we live in these days. It's... There's lots of changes, and it's very fluid. Unless you have a regular job and you're not working freelance, then you can, kind of, stick with the same program, but that's not, certainly, not what's happening in my case.

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: Hemingway & Gellhorn

Duration: 2 minutes, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2016

Date story went live: 29 March 2017