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Moving to Adobe Premiere Pro


Final Cut Pro X – the 'rebarisation' of professional editing
Walter Murch Film-maker
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So that became a shorthand, apparently, in Silicon Valley in those decades. All anyone had to do when there was discussion around the table: what should we do? And somebody... All somebody need... had to say was: 'rebar', and everyone knew what they meant. Meaning, we have to disrupt our own technology, because if we don't, somebody else is going to do it. So, in a sense, I think, Final Cut X is the 'rebarisation' of professional editing, and that... What we are left with in the other systems is this high-end, very specialised, very necessary... You have to have this stuff, just like you have to have somebody who's making high-end steel products. But in terms of the economics of it, the hope is, which is being realised, I think, is that the switch to a simpler model that doesn't require such hand-holding, and so many precise details to it, and you offshore those precise details to third-party people and let them take the risk, that's a wise decision for a corporation. The problem for us filmmakers, of course, is that we are now totally dependent upon these pieces of software to do what we do.

In the old days of the Moviola, you, at a certain level, you didn't even need the Moviola. You could edit the film on film the way they used to do it, just cutting it, making inspired guesses, looking at the still images on your cut here, and then taking it to a projection room, looking at it, taking notes, going back and trimming and refining it that way. So you didn't need any more complicated technology than a bench, a synchroniser thing to hold things in synch, and then a projector. But we're not in that world anymore. The film doesn't exist to even begin to put a film together. You need to have digital machines that can deal with it because you can't hold that in your hand. There's no way to deal with it other than with these machines.

And so we find ourselves in a bit of a dilemma at the moment, because we are dependent upon, certainly, Avid. We want Avid to stay in business, because if they don't, what are we going to do?

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: Apple, Final Cut Pro X

Duration: 2 minutes, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2016

Date story went live: 29 March 2017