Digital Interesting

Walter Murch on the Digital Revolution

The art and science of cinema is undergoing seismic changes as it completes the transition from analogue to digital.

Who better to guide us through this transition than legendary editor and sound designer Walter Murch?

He recently discussed the evolution of film technology from 5.1 sound to Final Cut Pro with Lawrence Weschler at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

As an editor Murch’s career has straddled the transition from traditional celluloid to modern digital cinema.

But he is equally important as a sound designer, virtually inventing 5.1 surround sound with Coppola on Apocalypse Now.

You can watch the hour long discussion here:

Among the subjects they discussed were:

  • The episode of Clone Wars he recently directed
  • How THX 1138 (1971) began as a student project
  • The last completely analogue film he worked on was Fred Zinneman’s Julia (1977)
  • How the work print of Apocalypse Now (1979) weighed 7 tonnes
  • The link between information, energy and money
  • A truly brilliant comparison between the financial meltdown and cancer

> Walter Murch at Wikipedia
> Collected articles on Walter Murch at Film Sound
> From Celluloid to Digital


Walter Murch on Cinema

Veteran editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient) recently gave this fascinating talk about ‘the three fathers of cinema’, with reference to Ludwig van Beethoven, Gustave Flaubert and Thomas Edison.

Murch once had a shrewd observation about the impact of film on audiences:

I believe that one of the secret engines that allows cinema to work, and have the marvelous power over us that it does, is the fact that for thousands of years we have spent eight hours every night in a “cinematic” dream-state, and so are familiar with this version of reality.