The films in which Paul Hirsch was involved as editor are probably among the most successful feature films: These include "Star Wars", "The Empire Strikes Back", "Mission Impossible", "The Mummy" and more. Consequently, he also received the Oscar for the best editing of Star Wars in 1978. In this interesting interview he gives insights into his way of working and his understanding of art as an editor:
For the 1st cut it is important for Hirsch to get as little input as possible from the director (except directing intentions for certain scenes.) In the 1st cut Hirsch collects - as pretty common - as much material as possible to give the director an overview of what useful material is available at all.
When asked if the (software) tool is important for the editing, Hirsch answers with a clear no. However, he brings a nice example from "Ray" with luma-based overlays and how tools can then also change the content of the film.
For Hirsch, the term "editing" is misleading because the first step is to create the structure of the film - according to Hirsch, "editing" takes place at a later point in time.
When asked what the most important characteristic of a good editor is, Hirsch answers: "Timing and adds: A good editor has empathy and recognizes the "intention" of a scene. Then all available means must be used to work out and maximise this intention.