Which leads me to chimpanzees

A Reading Note

Chimps and humans have ninety-nine percent of their DNA in common; that is to say, we’re made up of more or less identical building blocks. But those building blocks are executed in different orders and with different priorities, with one set of priorities concluding with our hirsute cousins, and the other with our mostly bare skin. What does this have to do with film editing?

My point is that the information in the DNA can be seen as uncut film and the mysterious sequencing code as the editor. You could sit in one room with a pile of dailies and another editor could sit in the next room with exactly the same footage and both of you would make different films out of the same material. Each is going to make different choices about how to structure it, which is to say when and in what order to release those various pieces of information.

Murch, In the Blink of an Eye, page 12

This reminds me of Frank Chimero’s reframing of design as a “response” rather than a solution. Give two designers the same material and constraints, and they’ll emerge with work as potentially disparate as humans and chimps. Neither is right or wrong; they are merely unique.

Related books

In the Blink of an Eye

Walter Murch

Murch’s brief collection of essays (they were originally lectures) was first published in 1995, and refreshed in 2001 with new attention to digital editing.

The Shape of Design

Frank Chimero

Chimero’s meditation on design is thoughtful and lovely, a welcome refresher from the more logistical ethos that has been ascendent in recent years.