Film Editing: the ‘Rule of Six’

film editingFilm Editing: the ‘Rule of Six’

If one considers him or herself to be a film editor and doesn’t know who Walter Murch is, allow this article to introduce him to you. I am thankful that back when I was in school, this rule was taught to me before I knew about the impact that Walter Murch had upon film editing. For those who know of the ‘Rule of Six’ this will be a review. But for those who don’t, maybe after reading this article, you will begin to understand more about the choices that must be made when film editing. Although one may view a particular editing choice as a mistake, it was the best choice the editor had at that time when it came to the flow of the story and the success of the movie. If you have ever referenced a movie in the IMDB database and read the section that discusses “Goofs,” most often you will find items that pertain to continuity (i.e., the cigarette was in his left hand before he ducked out of frame, and after he arose it moved to his right hand). This fits into the sixth rule of the Rule of Six which has the lowest priority. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then read this article by Nicole Boyd. If you take it to heart, you will become a better editor. I guarantee it.

— Stu Brown

Walter Murch and the ‘Rule of Six’ – Film Editing

film editing
Multiple Oscar winning film editor & sound designer Walter Murch‘s distinguished 50-year career reads like a ‘best of’ list of feature films. His work as both editor and sound designer on classic films such as  Apocalypse Now, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Ghost, The Godfather II & III, The English Patient and the Talented Mr Ripley mean his word is virtually gospel when it comes to filmmaking. He has been the subject of numerous books and documentaries over the years and was also the first filmmaker awarded an Academy Award for editing on a digital system (Avid). Not one to rest on his laurels however, Murch is slated to edit Disney’s next animated classic Tomorrowland and he also spends time mentoring with the Rolex Mentors & Protégés program (pictured above with protégé Sara Fgaier). Read more: Walter Murch and the ‘Rule of Six’ – Film Editing | Video & Filmmaker magazineVideo & Filmmaker magazine

 

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