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Hemingway & Gellhorn: The use of colours


Moving to Adobe Premiere Pro
Walter Murch Film-maker
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My personal path at the moment is that I'm using Adobe's product, Adobe Premiere. I don't feel comfortable using Final Cut X, partly because I was so emotionally bruised by the experience. It was as if I was – again, the piano metaphor – as if I was playing the piano, and somebody came down and closed the fallboard on my hands as I was playing it, because not only did they introduce Final Cut X, but they took away support for Final Cut 7.

So they simultaneously zombified abandonware Final Cut 7, which was no longer... It was just a piece of floating software that you could use it, but it wasn't being maintained or brought up to date to any new things. And they pointed you in the direction of this other software, which I felt was like saying, 'We're disconnecting the plumbing to the house you have been living in, and there's a nice house over there', and I looked at it and I said, 'Yes, but it... I don't see any roof on that house yet.' 'We'll get there. You'll love it.'

So my response at the moment is to be using Adobe Premiere. And I'm new to it. I've been using it for the last year or so. Still, every day, learning new things about it, which you would expect. I mean, in fact, I was learning new things about Final Cut even after using it for seven, eight years. The good thing about Premiere so far for me, other than the fact that it's a very pleasant environment –  I like the feel of the keys, so to speak – is that there's a good relationship between myself and other editors, and the people who are running the software at the corporate level, and the engineers who do the actual code writing. And they encourage filmmakers to say, 'It would be good if you did this and that, the other thing.' And so they're listening... We feel that they're listening to us, and actually implementing suggestions that we make.

And the turnaround for their software is that they certainly issue new updates, major updates every six months, maybe every four months during the year, so maybe two or three times a year, rather than our previous experience, which is you have to wait probably a year and a half or two years between major rewrites of the program. So there's a quick turnover. And we feel, I think correctly, that we're being listened to. And so far, that's a very good sign. At least it's very healthy, I think, that now we have three options to choose from. Ironically, they all begin with A. There's Avid, Apple, or Adobe. And you, as an editor, you can choose which piano, so to speak, you want to use, depending on your own preferences and the needs of the particular project that you're working on.

It means that you, to really be effective in that environment, you have to know how to play each of these things, so it's more work, and keeping on top of all the changes. But that... Again, that's the environment that we're in, is very changeable at the moment, and probably for the next, certainly, the next five years, which is about as long as we can see into the future at the moment.

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: Adobe, Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, Final Cut 7

Duration: 3 minutes, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2016

Date story went live: 29 March 2017