a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Can sound effects editors also be mixers?


Becoming creative with film sound
Walter Murch Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

We also wanted to change the nature of film sound and all of us were very excited by the possibilities of film sound because it was very flexible and relatively speaking to the picture, very inexpensive. If you did something really creative with sound, you could do something and do it relatively inexpensively. The crumpling of a piece of cellophane at the right moment in a film can energise an entire audience if the concept and the recording is correct and probably at an unexpected moment. And we felt that this was a woefully underutilised aspect of cinema and in fact, the technical nature of film sound in 1969 was identical to film sound in 1939. So the films we were making in 1969, the optical track of a film was exactly the same as Gone with the Wind or Wizard of Oz. There had been a behind the scenes shift from optical to magnetic sound in the 1950s but the ultimate release pattern of film was this optical track which had been frozen in place for various reasons and we were kicking against this, trying to push it forward.

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: Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz

Duration: 1 minute, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2016

Date story went live: 01 March 2017