On Film Editing: An Introduction to the Art of Film Construction

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On Film Editing explains, in simple terms, the principles of film editing, using examples and anecdotes. Written in an informal "how-to-do-it" style, renowned director Edward Dmytyrk shares his expertise and experience in film editing in an anecdotal and philosophical way.

In On Film Editing, Dmytryk contends that many technicians and professionals on the film crew– from the cameraman and his assistants to the producer and director– must understand film editing to produce a truly polished work. In this book he explains in layman's terms the principles of film editing, using examples and anecdotes from almost five decades in the film industry.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (November 2, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240517385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240517384
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces

Customer Reviews

A concise monograph for an aspiring movie editor

2 people found this helpful.
 on May 12, 2017
By Great Spectator
Half a century later this book is still relevant. The reason – it does not delve into minutiae of film stocks and editing machines, but talks about the principles of combining visual and aural elements to obtain something that is more than sum of its parts. The book explains concepts of straight cut, dissolve, jump cut, timing, pace… The rules – if you want to treat them as hard rules – are substantiated by explaining how human perception works. The last chapter is almost completely taken by a piece of movie script, this may be a less engaging read just because it is a one big example. Still, it shows how a movie can be re-shaped in the editing room after it has been shot.

A classic

One person found this helpful.
 on June 30, 2012
By Tezza
I’m an amateur video editor however I thought reading this book would help my editing work look more professional.

Really good…

 on November 6, 2015
By Leonidas Kossis
Delivers on its promise of containing the wisdom of a master. I had to skip over some parts where – as so many other similar books do – the author walks you scene by scene through the process, but I did get what I wanted from this book (which is more than I can say for other books on editing), i.e. a taste of the mindset of a master of the art.

Timeless Editorial Wisdom

 on May 8, 2015
This is another true classic if you wish to learn the craft of editing. It is a quick read packed with truisms and axioms about film editing. One of the best is the last one: Substance first, then form. There is much wisdom in this small book. If you call yourself an editor or are trying to be one, you have to have read this.


 on February 25, 2016
By David
One of the greatest book on editing. This small book is packed with knowledge on editing and you will not be disappointed. It’s a fun little read that teaches you the principles on editing.

editing is tricky buisiness

 on November 9, 2006
By amblin
this is an excellent book on this very delicate craft. I also liked “the eye is quicker” but this was very informative and a better read. there is no substitute for actually editing and what works is hard to descibe in words but this book demonstrates some very subtles points and Mr. Dmytyk is a film maker. If your just starting read the eye is quicker but if you have some experience and want to go to the next level, this is a good one.

A very great read that highlights the important principles needed when editing

 on June 8, 2015
By Gabe
A very great read that highlights the important principles needed when editing. Translates very well to the modern digital age.

Five Stars

 on April 26, 2016
By Captain M&M
great book with some caveats – it’s a little dictatorial

Five Stars

 on February 13, 2015
By Noah rosenstein
I’ve been a film and TV editor for 15 years. I still learned a lot reading this book.

Four Stars

 on July 3, 2015
By Gregory Gunder
Excellent book on the basics of editing – film or digital.

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