Don't Know a Cutaway from a Cross-Cut? This Video Breaks Down Edit-Speak
As editor, you are a god. These cuts are your disciples.
"A lot of these cuts are so common and feel so natural that you don't even think about it," says the narrator of the latest video essay from Rocket Jump Film School, which outlines some basic tools in the editor's arsenal.
Indeed, the editor's job is to be invisible—or, rather, subconscious. She wants to get inside your head and make you feel something without realizing why. Of all the below-the-line talent that goes into the making of a film, the editor is arguably the most important and under-appreciated.
You've seen all of the cuts in this video before, but unless you're an editor, you may not have recognized just how crucial cuts and transitions are to the life of the narrative.
Glossary of Cuts
- Cutting on action (cutting while there is movement on-screen)
- Cutaway (cutting to an insert shot and then back)
- Cross-cutting (back and forth between locations, ex: phone call)
- Jump cuts (disjointed edits in the same shot or action)
- Match cut (cut from one shot to a similar shot by either matching the action or composition)
Glossary of Transitions
- Fade in/out (to/from black)
- Dissolve (blend shots)
- Smash cut (abrupt transition)
- Iris (old-fashioned; circle that opens and closes in camera)
- Wipes (screen wipes from one side to the other)
- Invisible cuts (impression of a single take)
- L-cut (audio transition)
- J-cut (audio of the next scene starts before you get to it)