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MACWORLD FCPUG SUPERMEET 2006 featuring Walter Murch

January, 2006




MACWORLD FCPUG SUPERMEET 2006 featuring Walter Murch


Main event photography:
Michael Pliskin,

Photo Panoramas: NeoTron Design,

Slide Show photos of the event can be found HERE


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An Evening with Walter Murch took place at the Club Mezzanine in San Francisco during Macworld Conference and Expo, on January 12, 2006.

The video features the legendary Walter Murch, a three time Academy Award winning Editor and Final Cut Pro user who has worked as a sound designer, film editor, writer and/or director on feature films such as JARHEAD,  COLD MOUNTAIN, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, THE CONVERSATION, GHOST, APOCALYPSE NOW and many more.

Running time: 1 hour 14 minutes

Requires QuickTime Player 7.0.4 or better.

Special thanks go to Pixelcorps for taping the podcast and to Kevin Monahan for editing and encoding.

Other photos supplied by user group members.


By Loren S. Miller

Co-produced by the major User Groups from Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, the FCP User Group SuperMeet was a special event sold out weeks in advance, drawing over 700 attendees, held as last year at Mezzanine Club a few blocks from the show.

Line to get into the SuperMeet stretched a long city block just prior to the doors opening.

The usual array of solid sponsors such as AJA, Automatic Duck (the real one), FileMaker, Panasonic (for the excellent projector), Focal Press and Peachpit Press, GenArts, Silverado Systems, ProMax, Flip4Mac, Bogen Imaging, LaCie, Blackmagic-design, Jungle Software,Frame Forge 3D, Focus Enhancements, Lowel were parked on the mezzanine itself, a nice layout.

Conducted masterfully as always by LAFCPUG chairman Michael Horton, there were useful demos of the HVX 200 camcorder by CHIFCPUG's Gary Adcock and Jeff Merrit, followed by Apple guys Alec Little and Phil Jackson revealing Soundtrack Pro's strengths.

We got a look at the future FCP upgrade path.

This slide tells the story. Final Cut Pro is no longer available for purchase as an individual application; you'll be able to upgrade your current edition to FCP Studio at a reasonable cost, depending on how new your version. None of the component apps in Studio, (retailing at $1300.00 total), such as Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Compressor or Cinema Tools is available separately. The newest versions of these will be revealed in the Spring at NAB.

Apple wants you to employ an all-in-one solution. Since they don't own Adobe's Photoshop, Illustrator, or the new After Effects 7, this is unlikely to be completely satisfying to everybody, but all the components are handsome, powerful, and easy to use. For instance, Soundtrack Pro should not be confused with the original Soundtrack, since it now sports audio processing similar to SoundSoap Pro. MIDI-controlled foley for quick track spot effects like footsteps, body movements, etc is still not in, but what else could they add?

After an intermission, LAFCPUG's chair Michael Horton introduced "rockstar editor" Walter Murch, and the crowd agreed with applause. Walter took the stage with his PowerBook.

He opened with an interesting note that his career really began only a couple blocks away from the club, so the venue was special for him.

Walter is a veteran in the industry going back to the early 70's, collaborating with USC student filmmakers George Lucas on THX 1138, Francis Coppola on The Rain People, and performed both sound design (a term he coined) and picture co-editing with Richard Chen on The Conversation, a classic, very much an audio puzzle, starring Gene Hackman as a haunted and obsessive electronic eavesdropper. Walter is the only editor to win dual Oscars for both picture and sound editing, on The English Patient, and the first editor to employ Final Cut Pro (4 workstations plus laptops!) on a major studio feature, Cold Mountain, assisted by Sean Cullen.

His book In The Blink of an Eye is a slim masterpiece in which he outlines most of his editing theory. The book Behind the Seen by Charles Koppelman is a luxurious exploration of Walter's and Sean's FCP work on Cold Mountain. Both recommended reading.

Walter showed alternate cuts of sequences from Jarhead, an extremely intense war movie directed by Sam Mendes, and Walter's most recent work on Final Cut Pro. The scenes he demonstrated were suggested interpretations for the director's consideration. Those which don't appear in the film will be included in the DVD "extras" when released.

To our amusement, he then showed a sequence from Raging Bull,Martin Scorcese's powerful biodrama edited by Thelma Schoonmaker, which Walter first used in a class overseas. He noted certain scenes had been flopped, apparently to "improve" the eyelines between characters. This became a mystery; the flips do not exist in the actual release, although he seemed to feel it a useful enhancement, and he surmised it was done during overseas telecine by a creative student filmmaker.

He followed up with a good Q&A session, and graciously did significant overtime by pulling the super-raffle tickets, calling out things like "White, blue edge, 890230" in a booming deep voice, and eliciting great emotion with each call - especially sheiks of joy from winners.

Walter genuinely seemed to enjoy the deserved adulation. He looked comfortable among those of his own hive. He was one of the last to leave the hall.

All agreed it was an evening well spent, and a MacWorld Expo highlight.

copyright©2006 loren miller

LAFCPUG/BOSFCPUG member Loren S. Miller is an award winning editor, filmmaker, digital media writer, and KeyGuide™ developer. Reach him anytime at and buy his KeyGuides at


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