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Multimedia Inspiration: Books worth reading

This past week, I enjoyed two books discussing opposite ends of the filmmaking spectrum, Hillman Curtis on Creating Short Films for the Web by Hillman Curtis and In the Blink of An Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing by Walter Murch. Although these two authors appear to be diametrically opposed in their philosophies and experiences in filmmaking (Curtis is a Flash and New Media designer who took up digital filmmaking as a creative outlet, Murch is a premiere Hollywood editor) there are clear lessons to be learned from each.

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Taken largely from Murch’s lecture notes, In the Blink of An Eye, is a deep treatise on the philosophical approaches to editing a film. Given the sheer number of camera angles, mountains of film and multiple takes, a Hollywood editor has to navigate a million decisions of where to cut, which angle to choose, which take has the most emotion and what order is the truest to the story, to assemble a seamless story from the fragmented pieces. Murch understands both the technical and philosophical aspects of his craft and discusses them with great clarity, providing deep insight into the filmmaking and editing process.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Hillman Curtis purchased a digital video camera to break out of a creative rut following 9/11. Without any training, expensive equipment, budgets or paying clients, he managed to create a strong portfolio of films. Although Hillman Curtis on creating Short Films For the Web lacks the deep insight of In the Blink of an Eye Curtis’ book serves as a strong reminder that with today’s digital cameras, powerful, yet inexpensive video editing software and video publishing platforms, one doesn’t need permission to go out and make a film.

Together, the two books give insight, and inspiration to experiment with digital video, photos, audio and multimedia. Conceive a story, grab a camera and get out there and do it.

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