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.