Arijon, Daniel. Grammar Of the Film Language. New York: Hastings House, 1976. A discussion of the most basic of editing concepts ­ the shot, especially in regard to how one shot will cut with another. Extremely thorough though undeniably dull. Useful for directors, editors, and script supervisors who want to have an encyclopedia (in the smallest detail) of how scenes should be staged so they will cut together.

Baker, Fred, and Firestone, Ross. Movie People. New York: Douglas Book Corporation, 1972. Has a wonderful interview with the late editor Aram Avakian in it, in which he discusses some of the thought processes behind cutting.

Bayes, Steve. The Avid Handbook: Basic and Intermediate Techniques for the Media Composer and the Avid Xpress. Boston:Focal Press, 1998. Bayes has assembled a series of techniques for both the editor and the assistant, but his book shines most when it discusses the technical knowledge that separates the good Avid assistants from the rest of the bunch. Written in an informal style, Bayes gives many tips on organization as well as discussing how to accomplish back and intermediate tasks on the Avid.

Bazin, Andre. What Is Cinema, Vols. I and II. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971. Not really a book on editing, though parts of it discuss the theoretical aspects of montage.

Burder, John. The Technique of Editing 16mm Films. Boston: Focal Press, 1988. A reissue of an older text on the nuts and bolts of cutting 16mm films. It has a lot of detailed information, though some of it is still woefully out of date.

Case, Dominic. Motion Picture Film Processing. Boston: Focal Press, 1985. A very good, often technical, discussion of what exactly a lab does to film. It spends a lot of time discussing the properties of light and how film stock reacts to light, but the last half of the book works as a companion volume to the Happé book listed below.

Chambers, Everett. Producing TV Movies. Los Angeles: E.C. Productions, Inc. 1986. Discusses the role of the editor within the television movie process. Useful for the light that it throws on the shortening of the editorial process in the interests of time and money.

Chell, David. Moviemakers At Work Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press, 1987. An entertaining, but out of print, book which contains interviews with cinematographers, editors, sound recordists and mixers, production and costume designers, makeup artists, animators, computer graphics specialists and special effects designers. The interviews with Carol Littleton and Thom Noble both give some personal stories and advice on how to get started in the editing profession.

Cohen, Steven J. and Pappas, Basil. Avid Media Composer Techniques and Tips. Venice, California: Self-published, 1995. A valuable collection of Avid techniques compiled by two of the editors who have been associated with the machine since its earliest days. Though it is primarily directed to editors, there are a number of sections which have a lot of advice and tips for assistants, particularly about digitizing, cut and change lists, audio, and titles.

Dmytryk, Edward. On Film Editing. Boston: Focal Press, 1984. A rather entertaining, and sometimes enlightening look at the process of film editing as told by an accomplished director. Also valuable from the same author are On Screen Writing, On Screen Directing, and On Screen Acting and On Film.

Eisenstein, Sergei. Film Forum and Film Sense. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949. Both of these works show the initial stages of an editing philosophy. Eisenstein, perhaps justifiably, is considered the titular father of montage. These works are a careful combination of theory, experiment, and inspired conjecture on the nature of editing.

Happé, Bernard. Your Film and the Lab. Boston: Focal Press, 1983. A very easy-to-read and informative book on what happens to your film in the lab, discussing different printing stocks and processes. A bit out of date but very useful.

Hollyn, Norman. The Film Editing Room Handbook - or How to Manage The Near Chaos of the Cutting Room. Beverly Hills: Lone Eagle Publishing, 1999. Yes, this one is my book (it is, in fact, your textbook for this semester -- this is better than nepotism) but it is still considered the Bible of the editing room for its thorough and entertaining discussion of how to organize editing rooms of all types. This new Third Edition, containing almost 600 pages of technical and organizational guidance on film and digital systems, has just come out and should be available at most bookstores for $24.95. I would heartily recommend the book even if I didn't write it.

Kerner, Marvin M. The Art of the Sound Effects Editor. Boston: Focal Press, 1989. A very succinct (sometimes, too much so) and nicely written book focusing on the job of the sound editor. Kerner gives a lot of information on the organization of the sound editing room, as well as a general overview of the entire sound editing process.

Lipton, Lenny. Independent Film Making. San Francisco: Random House, 1972. This is one of the many how-to books for the independent or college filmmaker who knows very little to start with. It is also one of the best of the lot. It caters largely to the 8mm and 16mm filmmaker, but discusses much terminology and procedure that all filmmakers need.

LoBrutto, Vincent. Selected Takes: Film Editors On Editing. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1991. A wonderful series of interviews with some of the top editors of the past and present. It is a great way to learn about the craft of editing.

Lustig, Milton. Music Editing for Motion Pictures. New York: Hastings House, 1972. A little reference work on the details of preparing a motion picture for scoring, and dealing with other musical problems in films. Though not particularly thorough or detailed it does compile many facts for the first time, all in one place. It has not been updated since its original release, which makes it woefully behind the times in regard to the music editor's new friend ­ videotape.

McAlister, Michael J. The Language of Visual Effects. Los Angeles: Lone Eagle Publishing, 1993. A thorough dictionary of most of the terms that you will run across in visual effects. Inevitably, some of the more recent advances are not covered here, but it is a vast compilation of words that you will often encounter in dealing with optical and CGI houses.

McBride, Joseph. Filmmakers On Filmmaking, Volumes One and Two. Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, Inc., 1983. Two books which collect many of the American Film Institute's interviews with working filmmakers. Some of the directors discuss the editing process and one editor, the late Verna Fields, is interviewed. Among other things, she discusses the flow of work in the editing from the editor's point of view.

Miller, Pat P. Script Supervising and Film Continuity. Boston: Focal Press, 1990. A good overview of what a script supervisor's tasks are. Much of what Miller says impacts on what the editor and assistant editor must do.

Murch, Walter. In The Blink of an Eye, A Perspective on Film Editing. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press, 1995. An examination of the thought processes of one of the most accomplished and artistic film editors in the field (he exquisitely edited the film THE ENGLISH PATIENT as well as the recent THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY). More theoretical than most books on the subject he also discusses how digital editing is changing the way editors work.

Nizhny, Vladimir. Lessons with Eisenstein. New York: Da Capo, 1979. Notes from Eisenstein's teachings. Largely concerned with the purposeful choice of camera angles and blocking. There is much to be learned from all of this as it applies to editing, though not necessarily assistant editing.

Oakey, Virginia. Dictionary of Film and Television Terms. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1983. A very thorough dictionary of most of the technical terms involved in filmmaking.

Ohanian, Thomas. Digital Nonlinear Editing: New Approaches to Editing Film and Video. Stoneham, MA, 1993. Butterworth-Heinemann. A detailed and very technical, though somewhat outdated, guide to the techniques, evolution and machinery of digital editing. It is slanted towards the Avid but much of the book could be applied to digital editing in general.

Pudovkin, V. I. Film Technique and Film Acting. London: Vision Press Ltd. Possibly the seminal work on film editing. Though a bit dated by developments in other branches of film (notably writing, sound, and acting) his theories stand up today as among the most basic and important.

Reisz, Karel, and Millar, Gavin. The Technique of Film Editing. New York: Hastings House, 1968. A down-to-earth discussion of editing principles which never gets too theoretical and nearly always has a valid point to make with pertinent examples.

Rosenblum, Ralph, and Karen, Robert. When The Shooting Stops.. New York: Viking, 1979. Basically an anecdotal look at the editing process. Some amusing incidents are recounted.

Rowlands, Avril. Script Continuity and the Production Secretary in Film & TV. New York: Hastings House, 1977. A short book describing many of the duties of the script continuity person. Much of the discussion is valuable in regards to the paperwork as well as the aspects of continuity.

Rubin, Michael. Nonlinear: a Guide To Electronic Film and Video Editing, Second Edition. Gainesville, FL, 1992. Triad Publishing. A short but interesting overview on the evolution of digital editing with a brief guide to many of the systems available today and in the past.

Schneider, Arthur. Electronic Post-Production and Videotape Editing. Boston: Focal Press, 1989. A good, thorough discussion of the methods of various forms of video editing.

Sherman, Eric. Directing The Film: Film Directors On Their Art. Los Angeles: Acrobat Books, 1976. More interviews with directors who've spoken at the American Film Institute, this time grouped by subject matter. The chapter on editing is fun to read, though not particularly illuminating for an assistant editor. There is a lot of discussion of the director/editor relationship.

Solomons, Tony. The Digital Editing Room Handbook: An Assistant's Editor's Guide To The Avid. Sherman Oaks, CA: Hazeldean House Publishing, 1997. This is a nuts and bolts look at the Avid from an assistant's point of view. It gives good advice on ways of organizing your editing room. In some areas it is detailed, in others it is too brief. This is a book that will hopefully get more valuable with every new edition.

Walter, Ernest. The Technique Of the Film Cutting Room. New York Hastings House, 2nd edition, 1982. An excellent and thorough work on the editing process from the technical point of view. It primarily covers the English system and is, at present, quite a bit out of date. But it remains a readable and reliable guide to the editing room.


Many of these magazines have web sites associated with them, which publish some of the articles that are in the magazines. Some of them (Millimeter, Post, New Media, Film & Video) are available free to "qualified professionals," whatever that means.

DV. The low end digital editing machines are getting better and better. This magazine, designed for the professional or semi-professional doing digital filmmaking for CD-ROMs, the Internet and the low end market, is beginning to be of more use to film professionals. Every so often they compare all of the nonlinear editing software and hardware systems available, an article which is fascinating for a look at what might be coming up in the future or professional filmmaking.

Film + Television UPDATE. A quarterly magazine from Avid, which spotlights people and trends on their system. Usually there are several good tips and techniques. Also available on their Web site.

Film & Video. This monthly magazine is an interesting blend of technical information and aesthetic discussions of films. They often have one or more well-researched interviews with directors and members of their crew. There are also sections devoted to sound and new technology. They cover features, television, music videos and commercials equally. Usually a good read.

Filmmaker. A monthly magazine for the independent filmmaker. Though they are primarily interested in the directing and writing facets of filmmaking, they occasionally discuss editing as it applies to low budget film.

Millimeter. This magazine deals with features, television, commercials and more. Less technical than Post it looks more like Film and Video but has been around quite a bit longer. There are a lot of pieces about gadgets mixed in with interviews with filmmakers.

New Media. Much like DV Magazine, this monthly concentrates on reviews of new hardware and software, as well as publishing articles which give advice on digital techniques.

Post. Though primarily designed for people working in the commercial industry there is a wealth of information in this thick magazine for everyone interested in the more technical side of editing.

Internet Sites

Internet locations, like everything else in this fast-changing world of computers, rarely stay the same. It is not only possible, but quite likely, that some of the sites listed below will not be active when you go and type in their exceedingly long addresses. Internet search engines like Yahoo, Lycos and HotBot can help you locate any new sites or new addresses.

In the interest of saving space, I am not listing the increasing number of personal Web home pages put up by a series of capable and entertaining editors. Some of the sites listed below may offer connections (called "links" in Internet parlance) to them. I am also omitting the mandatory "http://" which precedes the addresses.

Hardware Related Sites
Avid -
Avid-L - an archive of many discussions about the Avid, from the Avid-L Newsgroup can be found on this site:
Fast - Fast is a rapidly up-and-coming non-linear editing system which is cheaper than the Avid and Lightworks systems. Born in Europer, and moving heavily into digital video, it is a definite up-and-comer. You can reach them at
Kodak -
Media100 -
Media100 Users Group -
Pinnacle Systems - Pinnacle is a maker of video boards which are used extensively in Adobe Premier systems. You can reach them at /
Postforum (contains articles, software and user forums about Media 100, Avid, animation and other Macintosh-centered topics) -

Stock Footage Libraries (the BBC television network)

Related Sites
All Movie Guide - A large site devoted to reviewing films and listing their credits. Its credit listings are not as thorough as the Internet Movie Database listed below, but it is still a good way of getting credit lists for people who you will be interviewing with -
Australian Screen Editors -
California Job Description - Here's an amusing job description of what a film editor is according to the California EDD (they're the government office that pays us our Unemployment Insurance when we're not being film editors). My favorite quote is the one that: Editors must estimate how long audiences will laugh at each gag line or situation in order to space scenes so that one funny incident is not lost in the laughter of the previous one. You can see the entire document at Don't forget to leave room for the extra laughs.
Daily Variety - Articles from this newspaper bible of the entertainment industry are available in two places, at Yahoo's entertainment site and at Variety's own web site. Much of the information on the latter site is not free but there are still a number of news articles daily which you can read without charge: - is the Yahoo site, Variety's site is at - A collection of articles and resources for the small filmmaker. They also have a section devoted to non-linear editing help ( There is also a good collection of links to other sites -
Hollywood Reporter - Like its competitor's (Variety's) site, much of the information here is for a fee, still it is a well organized and newsworthy site -
IATSE - The web site for the grandaddy of all film unions. They maintain a long list of films and television shows which are scheduled for production.
Indiewire - A site devoted to independent film. They will also, for a small fee, send you the news everyday in your e-mail. You might find some interesting job search possibilities at the site: -
Internet Movie Database - This is an excellent source of credits for most films released worldwide in the last fifty years. You can use it to find an editor's or a director's credits when you send them a resumé -
Los Angeles and New York Editor's Guild -
Telecine Interest Group - This is a collection of papers, contacts, and information related to telecine facilities and operators. - This site has been up and down as of late, so keep trying if it's not there.

Newsgroups, sometimes called mailing lists or listservs, are like large electronic bulletin boards. People post notes asking for help or information, or make comments on something that interests them. All of these postings are collected and sent out to whoever is on the mailing list for the newsgroup. The people who receive these postings send back their own notes, often answering questions or making comments on what they have read. Newsgroups are excellent alternative sources for technical support because the answers come from people who actually use the machines.
Avid-L. Send mail requesting information to:
Editing-L. Send mail requesting information to:

The above Bibliography appears in my book The Film Editing Room Handbook - or How to Manage The Near Chaos of the Cutting Room, by Norman Hollyn, published by Lone Eagle/iFILM, Los Angeles, CA. As I mentioned in the bibliography above, this new Third Edition, containing almost 600 pages of technical and organizational guidance on film and digital systems should be available at most bookstores for the low low price of $24.95. I would heartily recommend the book even if I didn't write it. If you're taking the 535 course (rather than stumbline across this page in some other way) you'd better already have the book, since it's a required text.

Though I've tried to accomodate other browsers THIS SITE IS DESIGNED FOR BEST USE WITH IE for the PC, SAFARI for the Mac, and FIREFOX for both the PC and the Mac. It also looks reasonably good on the iPhone. Lucked out on that!

All material, except where noted, ©1999-2013 by Norman Hollyn. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an e-mail at my office
Last Modified - October 15, 2013