Great Britain has no educational centre where would-be craftsmen can study the technique of the fi lm.
Neither is it within the scope or the resources of the British Film Academy to fulfi l this need. The excellent
book and fi lm libraries attached to the British Film Institute provide the only reasonable stop-gap for those
who are capable of guiding their own education.
We , members of the B.F.A. Council, have examined the literature of the cinema, haphazard as it is, with the
idea of helping to fi ll the gaps among those subjects which the existing text-books fail to cover. We have
found that some crafts like sound recording, set design (or art direction), script writing, even fi lm direction,
have in fact been discussed in an articulate manner, but that the pivotal contribution of the fi lm editor has
never been analysed objectively. Film editing has only been dealt with in the personal theories of Eisenstein,
Pudovkin and others, and only in relation to the styles of cinema of which they have had experience.
To ll the gap, we approached those among our members who are practised in fi lm editing and found nine
volunteers willing to pool their joint experience of a wide range of fi lm styles in shaping an objective intro-
duction to their craft.
To compile the book we chose, not a fi lm editor who might be biased towards the style of fi lm in which he is
expert, but a layman with a scientifi c background and an analytical skill in sifting a maze of material, most of
which has never been stated articulately before. Karel Reisz, over months of gruelling experiment, has patiently
sifted the relevant technique from the personal reminiscence and has projected miles of fi lm in search of the apt
sequence, analysing on a hand projector the chosen sequences, noting every detail and measuring every foot.
This collaboration of enthusiasts has resulted in a work which falls into three sections.
The rst and third are general; the second is drawn from a series of particular statements, each under the
control of the appropriate expert or experts. The whole may therefore be regarded as a symposium, bound
together by a prologue and an epilogue.
Now a word about our use of the words lm editing and editor. The responsibility for the editing of a fi lm rests
with a number of people the writer, the director, the editor, the sound-editor and so on. No attempt has

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