This account is linear. It will, however, almost certainly be read by you, the reader, in the multi-dimensional space of the internet. It is an appropriate venue, therefore, for me to recount the story of one of the key cultural moments of the latter half of the last century, the point at which we started to rewire our brains to inhabit such crosswise spaces: the advent of non-linear editing.
In 1991, one of Britain’s most important filmmakers, Michael Powell, gave a talk at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. Later, in the bar, we realised that his wife, who had accompanied him, was none other than the legendary film editor Thelma Schoonmaker. We asked her whether she might tell us more about her work; she agreed and, the following morning, I arrived armed with a VHS of Raging Bull. She talked us through how they recorded and dubbed smashing fruit sounds onto the images of boxing blows, the innovation of using the first 48-channel mix down and how the fight sequences benefited from changing the camera speed during shot.