2nd Edition

Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures
A Guide to the Invisible Art

ISBN 9780415828178
Published July 18, 2013 by Routledge
448 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

Produce professional level dialogue tracks with industry-proven techniques and insights from an Emmy Award winning sound editor. Gain innovative solutions to common dialogue editing challenges such as room tone balancing, noise removal, perspective control, finding and using alternative takes, and even time management and postproduction politics.

In Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures, Second Edition veteran film sound editor John Purcell arms you with classic as well as cutting-edge practices to effectively edit dialogue for film, TV, and video. This new edition offers:

  • A fresh look at production workflows, from celluloid to Digital Cinema, to help you streamline your editing
  • Expanded sections on new software tools, workstations, and dialogue mixing, including mixing "in the box"
  • Fresh approaches to working with digital video and to moving projects from one workstation to another
  • An insider’s analysis of what happens on the set, and how that affects the dialogue editor
  • Discussions about the interweaving histories of film sound technology and film storytelling
  • Eye-opening tips, tricks, and insights from film professionals around the globe
  • A companion website (www.focalpress.com/cw/purcell) with project files and video examples demonstrating editing techniques discussed in the book

Don’t allow your dialogue to become messy, distracting, and uncinematic! Do dialogue right with John Purcell’s all-inclusive guide to this essential yet invisible art.



Emmy recipient John Purcell has over 30 years of varied studio experience in picture and sound. He has edited projects ranging from documentaries and concerts, to presidential campaigns and television series, to feature films and classical albums. On top of editing dialogue for movies, he writes training programs for audio engineers, and teaches at film schools in the Middle East and in Latin America.


Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures, Second Edition is the indispensable reference source for learning the concepts and processes involved in transforming the words of the script into the most important element of the motion picture sound track. It contains an entire career's worth of insight and detailed practical knowledge explained in straightforward, easily understandable language. This book is essential reading not just for prospective dialogue editors, but also for working directors, picture editors, sound mixers and those engaged in numerous other filmmaking disciplines.
- Gary Gegan, rerecording mixer and sound editor, In Treatment; Being John Malkovich

I have always emphasized the crucial role of dialogue editing as the basis of film sound design. This is a book that I will keep coming back to and share with my students for years to come. I only wish I wrote it myself!

- Svetolik Zajc, film sound designer and dialogue editor, Black Cat, White Cat; Super 8 Stories

Support Material

Companion Website

Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.