Cuts are the most basic of all editing techniques and form the foundation of the style of your film. But also, somehow, one of the more misunderstood terms from it comes to film language.
The cut is simply where the film jumps from one shot to the next, creating a change in time and/or space.
The majority of films depend on cuts to tell their story.
While you can do some interesting things with single, long takes (as in Birdman), for most films, cuts are an essential tool for conveying information about characters and plot to an audience.
What Is a film cut
What Is a film cut?
The term film cut refers to a single edit. In fact, a film cut is one of the most complicated movie editing terms out there, and it has a few different meanings.
A film cut is either one shot or a series of shots that have been edited together. This can be done for any number of reasons: to rearrange the order of events, to completely change something in an edit, or simply to condense the length of time needed to tell a story.
Being able to create effective cuts is an essential part of successful movie editing. If you can’t make cuts work and have them seem seamless, you’ll never be able to do much with your editing skills as far as movies are concerned.
So what’s so complicated about a film cut? Well, what makes a cut a cut and not just some footage that’s been edited together? There are some technical considerations you need to take into account. For example:
The shot must be continuous—you can’t show something changing in between two cuts.
The action in each shot must match up perfectly—this is what makes it a cut instead of just two pieces of footage next to each other.
The edit must be invisible—you don’t want your audience wondering where the edit happened.
What Are The Types Of Cuts In Film Editing?
A film cut is a transition between two shots or scenes.
The term derives from the physical cuts that were made in the first films, using scissors to separate different pieces of celluloid film, which would then be spliced together in order to make an edited version of a movie.
This required teams of editors and assistants to spend hours or even days completing a single feature-length movie.
Film cuts are created by the editor and director during the editing process, and there are many different types of cuts that can be used to achieve a variety of effects.
In every case, a cut should add something significant to the story as well as giving the audience an idea of where they are in time and space (i.e., who is speaking, what their surroundings are like, etc.).
There are three main types of cuts in film editing:
Cut to a new shot – this is the most common type of cut. It’s a cut from one shot to another.
A cut from one shot to another is also called a changeover or a wipe (though not always).
The new shot may be similar to or different from the previous shot in terms of angle, coverage and position.
The cut can be accompanied by a variety of different transitions. Transitions are used when you want to help the audience follow the flow of your movie.
Cutaway – this is a type of cut that is used to show something subjective or abstract rather than what we see or hear on screen.
It’s usually done with close-ups and it helps us understand what’s happening in the scene better.
We can use a cutaway when we want to show how someone else is reacting, like their facial expression, without revealing their identity.
Silhouette – this is similar to a cutaway, but it uses the shape of objects and characters instead of close-ups.
It gives us some details about them, but doesn’t reveal everything about them.
The most basic type of film cut involves moving from one shot to another shot of the same scene, but from a different angle or at a different time.
For example, if we see an actor sitting at his desk working on his computer, we might see him writing something down on paper before continuing to type.
To edit this sequence together, we might begin with an establishing shot of the office room and then follow with closeups of his hands typing on the keyboard.
Film Editing Scene Transitions
A scene transition is a change in the location or time of a film. There are many different types of scene transitions, and they are used to provide clarity, smoothness, and visual interest to a story.
Titles have been used to distinguish between scenes since the beginning of motion pictures.
Scene transitions can be created using special camera shots that are designed with consideration for the content of the scene.
The most common transitions are dissolves, fades, cuts and wipes.
Dissolves and fades are used to gradually introduce new elements into a scene, or to update elements within the scene without “jumping” the viewer through abrupt cuts.
Wipes transition from one image to another by “wiping” from one shot to another.
This can be done in many different ways including both vertical and horizontal wipes, diagonal wipes or circular wipes (often referred to as “iris wipes”).
Another form of transition is the split screen or split-screen effect which shows two different scenes at once (usually side by side) on the same screen.
Splitscreens can either be merged together (by fading out one split-screen while fading in another) or separated by a line of text indicating a new time or location.
Types Of Cuts In Film
Whether you want to become a professional filmmaker or just want to learn the basics of film editing, knowing the different kinds of cuts is important. In this guide, we’ll cover the different types of cuts and demonstrate how they can help tell your story.
A film cut is an edit in which two adjacent shots are joined together. The cut is so common that viewers often don’t even notice it.
But there are many different kinds of cuts, and each one serves a specific purpose in your film.
Here are the most common types of cuts:
- Continuity Cut – The most basic type of cut, continuity refers to the idea that films should flow naturally from one shot to another.
- Jump Cut – A jump cut is a quick edit that jumps forward in time. It doesn’t necessarily need to be very long (a few frames will do), but it’s jarring if done improperly.
- This is commonly used for comedic effect, such as for a character who starts dancing mid-scene.
- Lateral Cut – A lateral cut moves from one side of the screen (left or right) to the other side. It’s used to transition from one place or person to another place or person.
Basic Cut In Film Editing
Here is a short video tutorial on how to create a basic cut in film editing.
Tutorial Video Transcript:
Step 1: Open your footage and drag the clip that you’d like to cut out into the timeline.
Then, right click on the clip and select “create new bin”.
Step 2: Create a new bin in the same way as you created the one for your clip and drag it into the timeline.
This will be your future deleted bin.
Step 3: Right click on your original clip, select “copy” and then right click again on your future deleted bin and select “paste”.
By doing this, you’ve created a duplicate of your original clip that has been moved to the future deleted bin. You can cut or trim this clip however you’d like but keep in mind that step 4 is where you’ll be inserting your transition so make sure that you’re happy with this before moving forward.
Step 4: Now, we’ll create our transition which will take us from our current shot to our future deleted bin shot. To do this, right click on your current shot in the timeline and select “create transition”.
Then right click again on the button that pops up and select “transition settings”.
J CUT And L CUT In Film Editing
J-CUT and L-CUT are the most basic and most frequently used cuts in film editing. Simple as they may look, J-CUT and L-CUT can be tricky to use properly.
A J-CUT happens when the action moves from one shot to another without any overlap or cut. In a J-CUT, we rarely take notice of the change.
However, sometimes a slight reaction shot is included to enhance the effect of the change.
An L-CUT happens when the action moves from one shot to another with an overlap or cut (a brief pause).
The two shots are edited together so that they appear continuous. An example of an L-Cut is shown below:
L Cuts are commonly used to avoid jump cuts and invisible edits in editing. Even though both types of edits can be achieved using dissolves, it is not always desirable to use dissolves as it depends on what kind of mood you want to create for your scene.
Dissolves are also used to indicate a passage of time or a shift in location in your movie.
Cut In In Film Editing
A cut in film editing is an edit made to a piece of film. This can happen in a number of ways, one of the commonest is a jump cut.
A cut in represents a change in time and/or space between two scenes.Chapters are breaks within the story usually indicated by “———“.
A chapter may be used to mark off certain parts of the story that are not related. It may also be used to indicate a change in location or time within the story.
A fade is a transition from one scene to another where there is no apparent movement from one location to another. This is usually done slowly, over a period of time, so that there is no distinct change between the two scenes.
A dissolve takes place when two different shots are shown on screen at the same time that slowly fade into each other. The new shot replaces the old shot as it fades in and out.
This shows a definite change between two locations or times. There may be some overlap between the two images as they fade away into each other.
A wipe occurs when the frame wipes from one scene to another. If this occurs across the screen it is called a horizontal wipe, if it wipes down vertically it is called vertical wipe and if it wipes left to right it is called a vertical wipe.
Match Cut In Film Editing
The creative use of cut-aways and match cuts is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal as a film editor. Match cutting has been used for centuries by filmmakers from Eisenstein to Hitchcock.
It can be a subtle tool for building tone, or it can be a bold, unmistakable creative choice.That’s why it’s so important that you understand what match cuts are, how they work, and how to use match cutting creatively.
What is a match cut?A match cut is when two shots are edited together so they appear to be continuous shots of the same scene or location.
It’s called a “cut” because it precisely matches the action of one shot with the action of the next shot.
It’s called a “match” because the content of one shot matches the content of the next shot.If you’re not familiar with film editing, you probably associate editing with cutting away from one shot to show another shot (or several other shots).
Those are also called cuts — but they’re not match cuts.
Jump Cut In Film Editing
A jump cut is a method used in filmmaking to cut from one shot to another without any kind of special transition, such as a fade-in or fade-out. A jump cut is the abrupt change from one shot to the next, with no visible edit between the two shots.
In this film technique, there is no cross dissolve or fade out and no transition of any sort to show that one scene has ended and another begun. The cut occurs right in the middle of a scene, but there is no indication of where one scene begins and the other ends.
For example, if a person is sitting on his couch reading a book in one scene, and then you see him sitting on his couch reading the same book in the next shot, the camera didn’t do anything to transition from one scene to the next. There was no fade out or cross dissolve and there was no title card; all you saw was a cut right into the second scene.
This type of editing is common in television shows and movies.A jump cut can be disorienting for an audience because it does not give them enough warning about what will happen next.
Cutaways In Film Editing
Cutaways are used in film editing to create a sense of continuity and to help the viewer follow the storyline more easily.Tight shots are used to show facial expressions, gestures and body language.
This is especially important if the dialogue is not audible or cannot be translated easily into other languages. It’s also helpful for non-native speakers so they can better understand what is being said.
Tight shots are also useful when you want to show close-ups of objects such as food and drink, guns, weapons and so on.Wide shots are used to establish the environment and give us an idea of where we are.
They can also be used visually to show distance between characters or objects, such as a gun resting far away from its intended target, for example, or showing someone running through a long corridor. Wide shots can also be used to emphasize something in the foreground that would otherwise get lost or overpowered by something behind it.
Cutaways include close-ups of hands writing a letter, playing cards and so on, as well as any other tight shot that is relevant to the story but isn’t directly related to what is being said or shown at that moment in time.
Cut Transitions And Edits
Editing is an art form. I’m not saying that it’s a hard thing to do and I’m not talking about creative editing, I mean the technical editing that goes into making your video look good.
There are a lot of things you can do wrong when editing your video which will make it look amateur. One of the most common mistakes people make is adding too many cuts to their videos.
Not only does this make the video look choppy but it actually makes it harder for people to watch for long periods of time.The human mind is naturally attracted to motion and so when you add a bunch of extra cuts to your video, it will draw people’s attention away from what you’re saying and onto the edits.
The first step in fixing this problem is to limit how many times you cut per second. The general guideline is 3-5 cuts per second.
This may seem like a lot but if your video is over 5 minutes long then each cut only represents 1% of your video. It’s much easier for people to follow along with what you’re saying if they aren’t constantly trying to reorient themselves in the video.
You should also avoid overlapping edits as well as hard cuts at the beginning and end of each clip.
Cut Film Transitions In Action
There are many ways to create transitions in your films. You can simply use a wipe from one shot to another, or you can use a film transition.
A film transition is a special effect that takes place during the editing process and not during the filming process. A film transition usually involves one scene dissolving into another scene through the use of a title card or through the use of a “cut” that takes place between two scenes with no title card.
Film transitions can be anything from simple dissolves to complex composite shots that are made up of multiple pieces of film.Arri offers a wide range of films effects and tools for creating professional looking film transitions.
I have used many of these tools and effects on my films, including my award winning films “Beneath The Waves” and “Lost In The Desert.” I hope you enjoy this video demonstration of some cut film transitions in action.
Film transitions can add a great deal of drama and impact to your footage. Using them correctly can help you emphasize certain moments within your films, and cut down on the time spent editing your films.
TIP: Using quick cuts of similar length will create flowing, dynamic feeling to your film, and make it more interesting to the viewer. Use longer shots only when you need to load the emotional impact or a moment of climax in the film.
Color transitions are used when you want to “cut” from one scene to another, but don’t want the start or end of the transition to be too abrupt for the viewers.
TIP: You can use color transitions that go along with your film’s theme (i.e., red for romance, blue for sad) without making them look like they were added artificially. Color transitions are best used when you’re cutting between scenes with similar moods or feelings
How To Use Cuts In Film
There are tons of different cuts in film, but they all fall into one of two categories: match cuts and parallel cuts. While the difference between them seems subtle, it makes a big difference in the effectiveness of your edit.
Read on to learn more about the difference between match and parallel cuts and when to use each.
TIP: If you’re going to make movies—even if you’re just making little ones with friends—you’ll need to get comfortable with editing.
There’s no way around it. The hours you spend cutting together pieces of your film will be worth it when you see how much better your movie is for it.
Match CutsA match cut is a cut that uses a similar shot (or angle) to transition from one scene to another. For example, imagine you’re editing a short film about a boy on vacation with his family at the beach.
In your first scene, he’s building a sand castle with his mother, then in the next scene he’s playing in the water with his father. You could intercut these two scenes with a hard cut or you could use a match cut.
A match cut would transition from a wide shot of the boy building his sand castle at the beach to an extreme close up of him splashing.
Cross-Cutting & Parallel Film EditingCross-cutting and parallel editing are two special techniques that film editors use to give the audience a sense of what’s happening in other places while the focus is on another part of the story.
These techniques are used to keep the viewer engaged, though they’re also very common in action scenes for pacing purposes.
TIP:It helps to think about these choices as you would in editing a narrative scene. In an action sequence, cross-cutting and parallel editing can be used to show two characters performing similar actions at the same time.
For example, in one cut, we see Jane duck for cover behind a car as the bullets fly overhead; meanwhile, over in another location we see Bob duck for cover behind a tree. Since we’re following both characters’ actions, it’s easier to follow the action overall.
Parallel editing is when two or more events are edited together without cutting away from either event. So if one character ducks behind a car while another character ducks behind a tree, both ducking moments would be edited together by cutting back and forth between them.
TIP:It’s important that you stick with one character or event at a time so that viewers don’t get confused.Cross-cutting is used when there are multiple concurrent events happening at once that.