There are many books on the technical aspects of film and video editing. Much rarer are books on how editors think and make creative decisions.

Filled with timeless principles and thought-provoking examples from a variety of international films, the second edition of Karen Pearlman’s Cutting Rhythms offers an in-depth study of the film editor’s rhythmic creativity and intuition, the processes and tools editors use to shape rhythms, and how rhythm works to engage audiences in film. While respecting the importance of intuitive flow in the cutting room, this book offers processes for understanding what editing intuition is and how to develop it. This fully revised and updated edition contains:

  • New chapters on collaboration and "editing thinking";
  • Advice on making onscreen drafts before finalizing your story
  • Tips on how to create and sustain audience empathy and engagement;
  • Explanations of how rhythm is perceived, learned, practiced and applied in editing;
  • Updated discussions of intuition, structure and dynamics;
  • An all-new companion website (www.focalpress.com/cw/pearlman) with video examples and links for expanding and illustrating the principles of key chapters in the book.

chapter |8 pages


chapter |21 pages

Rhythmic Intuition

chapter |20 pages

Editing As Choreography

chapter |18 pages

Timing, Pacing, and Trajectory Phrasing

chapter |19 pages

Tension, Release, and Synchronization

chapter |8 pages

Physical, Emotional, and Event Rhythms

chapter |19 pages

Physical Rhythm

chapter |22 pages

Emotional Rhythm

chapter |26 pages

Event Rhythm

chapter |27 pages


chapter |31 pages


chapter |11 pages

Collaboration and The Vulcan Mind Meld

chapter |17 pages

Editing Thinking and Onscreen Drafting