2 min read

#104 - What Walter really meant by the Rule of Six

Over time, it's easy to be misunderstood.

Since sound designer and editor Walter Murch first shared the idea about the six attributes that go into making the perfect cut - the Rule of Six - things have gotten a little twisted.

If you've not heard of the rule of six before, then Walter outlined it in his book, In The Blink of An Eye, which was itself written up from a presentation given in Sydney in 1988, after Australian editor Ken Sallows pushed for it to be turned into a book - first published 7 years later in 1995.

What makes the perfect cut? The Rule of Six...

This video essay by Nikole Hidalgo McGregor demonstrates the rule of six in action in under 5 minutes. Or you can hear Walter explain it himself here.

You have a cut in a film from one thing to another, what makes it work?

What, in an ideal sense, would be the perfect cut?

And what I was suggesting was that a way to think about this is to say "Well let's say there are these six things, are they all satisfied?"

— Walter Murch

The Rule of Six

  • Emotion - 51%
  • Story - 23%
  • Rhythm - 10%
  • Eye trace - 7 %
  • Two Dimensional Plane of Screen - 5%
  • Three Dimensional Space - 4%

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