Did the White House Use Morph Cut to Alter Videos of the President?

Donald Trump at Walter Reed
Credit: Tia Dufour/The White House
They're calling this film movement the "corona new wave."

Looks like Donald Trump has someone with a basic knowledge of Premiere Pro on his side. A recent video of the President has made the rounds on the internet and many editors have suggested that it contains technical cuts that make it easy to remove certain beats. 

In his recent Walter Reed address while being treated for COVID-19, Trump appears to begin to hiccup, cough, or sneeze after saying the word “therapeutics” (around the 1:04 mark in the video), but some Twitter users claim it is an exit cut in the footage.

This jump cut is both startling to the eye and easy to dissect with even a basic knowledge of editing software. 

What's on display in these videos seem to be morph cuts. A common challenge that comes with editing footage with a "talking head" is that the subject can stutter, cough, or make use of "umms", "uhs", or unwanted pauses. Morph cuts take them out to make the speaker look more fluid. 

The morph cut smooths out jump cuts between sound bites, allowing you to edit around unwanted verbal cues, like coughing from the coronavirus. This allows you to cut the footage without having to go to B-roll. 

This video from Adam McCune shows the techniques involved. 

It certainly seems like the Trump White House is using Premiere Pro, although SNL Editor Adam Epstein posited that, "There's a small chance it could be AVID Fluid Morph..." You can check out his thread below. 

No matter what, this raises all sorts of ethical concerns. 

Should the President be editing out coughing and the effects of corona while trying to tell us it's no big deal? I'm sure different sides have different opinions. I'd love to hear from more editors in the comments with edits they saw in the video.      

Your Comment

17 Comments

Yes he used a morph cut, no they shouldn't be editing this out of the video in a deceptive way such as this, and yes he should be called out for doing so. Major ethical concerns are raised here, but that's par for the course with this guy.

October 6, 2020 at 11:10AM, Edited October 6, 11:10AM

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Never mind the morph cuts - show us the four year clip replacement edit

October 7, 2020 at 6:52AM, Edited October 7, 7:01AM

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I’m still smiling. That’s hilarious!

October 9, 2020 at 6:50AM

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Avid's Fluid Morph is literally orders of magnitude better in what can be done.
If they used Adobe, they don't know what they're doing.

October 7, 2020 at 7:39AM

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Morph cut is in most NLEs and is not an exclusive feature of Premiere Pro. It's built into FCPX, Resolve and Avid.

October 7, 2020 at 10:18AM

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Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
646

What? Is this true? Where is it in Resolve. I've never noticed it.

October 7, 2020 at 10:23AM

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It’s called smooth cut in Resolve

October 7, 2020 at 12:18PM

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Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
646

And called "Flow" in FCPX.

October 8, 2020 at 9:20AM

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Craig Anthony Perkins
Composer • Filmmaker • Photographer • Sound Designer
116

my goodness, can't we leave politics out of some parts of my life? stop feeding the machine.

October 7, 2020 at 3:15PM

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It seems we live in an era where it’s inescapable. I’ve found myself watching old late night shows reaching for nostalgic moments that I’ve never actually experienced. People had restraint and realized the folly of alienating others to a good degree.

October 8, 2020 at 9:16AM

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Aaron Harper
Rental House Manager
486

No Film School is an absolute genius website and like many other places they opened the door to the political circus. Many people around are very unhappy about this tendency and still, various institutions will do it for commercial reasons because it's clickbait, or for political agenda. No Film School and Jason Hellerman, if you have any kind of compassion for your fellow film industry professionals, don't turn this website into political trash. You're better than that.

October 8, 2020 at 1:33PM

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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
- Plato

October 8, 2020 at 3:32PM

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Nigel Simpson, the issue isn't about refusing to participate in politics, it's about not transforming any field of life into political arenas - even though I understand the commercial motivations of this approach, see how many views already for the Trump article compared to other articles. No matter if you quote Plato or Abraham Lincoln, politics should be discussed in appropriate places, which are countless. Once you open this door, you bring all the hate and divisiveness which come with it and I don't think it is welcome in an educative website like No Film School. Still, there have been already 3 papers based on politics since October 5th - the others are the ones about SNL and Shyamalan. Read all the comments on this page and see how many come from people who are deeply frustrated.

October 9, 2020 at 3:36AM

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Why preference Premier Pro when all the NLE's have a version of Flow as it's called in FCPX ?

October 8, 2020 at 6:56PM, Edited October 8, 6:56PM

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Are you really interested in politics? Shouldn´t. Huge mistake. We´re not here for politics.

October 8, 2020 at 10:20PM

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Jose Rangel
DP/Editor
21

It's weird delivery sure but his body is in the same position as before which if he was coughing his guts out that badly I doubt it would be, if he is that ill a few umm's and ahh's mid sentence would not even remotely compare.

I saw something interesting on Reddit recently though that there are major colour differences between shots on the last debate which adjusted Donalds skin tone etc - someone used colour pickers on the background, white shirts etc to point out a obvious shift.

October 9, 2020 at 3:39AM

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Wow! This is really big stuff. TDS!

October 9, 2020 at 5:30AM

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Please don't do this kind of shit. We film to escape the politics. At least I do. Half the people on here are not on board with this. Twitter is a good place for political ranting or editing conspiracies. From now on I will think twice about recommending this website to my friends or actually coming back myself.

October 9, 2020 at 12:12PM, Edited October 9, 12:12PM

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