Hey there fellow filmmakers and video editors!
I’ve had the privilege of shooting in various conditions and locations and have picked up a few video editing techniques that are trending in 2023.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you 12 of my favorite video cuts every filmmaker should know to take their videos to the next level.
You should also check out our article on the different types of video editing to familiarise yourself with the basics of the craft first.
Table of Contents
12 Types of Video Cuts & Transitions Every Filmmaker Should Know
1. The Jump Cut
Jump cuts have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. They can be a great way to add humor, emphasize a change in time or mood, and keep your audience engaged. I often use jump cuts in my projects to create a dynamic and fast-paced feel.
To achieve a jump cut, you simply cut out a portion of the footage and place the two remaining parts together. The result is a sudden jump in time or a change in the shot’s angle, creating a jarring effect that can be used to great comedic effect.
One example of a jump cut being used effectively is in the TV show The Office. The show’s documentary-style format allowed for jump cuts to be used to add humor and emphasize awkward moments.
The quick cuts between characters during interviews created a fast-paced, dynamic feel that kept the audience engaged and entertained.
Jumpcuts are increasingly popular for YouTubers who are aware of their audience’s lack of attention, particularly for long-form video content.
When using a jump cut in post production of your own projects, it’s important to use them purposefully and not overuse them.
Overusing a jump cut can be disorienting for your audience and detract from the story you’re trying to tell. Instead, use them sparingly and purposefully to add impact and keep your audience engaged.
2. The Match Cut
Match cuts are a versatile and effective editing technique that can be used to create a sense of continuity and flow in your storytelling. As a filmmaker, I’ve employed this technique in my work to create seamless transitions between shots by matching movement, sound or visual elements.
A match cut is when two shots are connected through a visual or aural cue. For example, you could match the movement of the camera or the subject, or find a visual element that connects the audio from the previous two shots.
By doing this, you can create a seamless transition that keeps the story flowing and your audience engaged.
In the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, match cuts are used throughout the movie to create a sense of continuity and foreshadowing. For example, the match cut from a bone in the air to a satellite in orbit shows how technology has evolved.
By using the match cut technique, the director, Stanley Kubrick, was able to create a strong visual and thematic connection between the two shots.
When using match cuts in your own projects, it’s important to use them purposefully and creatively. Don’t just match elements for the sake of it; ensure that the matches enhance the story you’re trying to tell.
By matching movement, sound or visual elements, you can create a seamless transition between shots that helps your story flow and keeps your audience engaged.
3. The Cross Cut
Cross cuts are a great way to create tension and contrast between different storylines. By alternating cross cutting between shots from different scenes, you can create a sense of continuity and build suspense that keeps the audience engaged.
They can be used in action scenes to show what different characters are doing simultaneously. They can also be used standard cut, to contrast different storylines, create a dramatic effect, or compress time, showing several events that occur over a longer period in a short amount of time.
When using cross cuts, it’s important to consider the pacing and rhythm of your scene. If the cuts are too frequent or abrupt, it can be jarring for the audience and disrupt the flow of the scene. On the other hand, if the cuts are too infrequent, the tension and drama may not build effectively.
In conclusion, cross cuts are a powerful technique for building tension, contrast, and continuity in your storytelling.
Whether you’re using them to show simultaneous action, contrast different storylines, or compress time, cross cuts can add a lot of value to your work.
Just remember to use them purposefully and creatively, and always consider the pacing and rhythm of your next scene first.
4. The Smash Cut
As a filmmaker, I’ve used smash cuts to create a dramatic effect and change the tone of a scene. This technique involves cutting from one shot to another without any transitional elements, creating a sudden and unexpected change that will leave the audience reeling.
Smash cuts are often used to create surprise and shock in a scene. For instance, in the opening scene of the movie Pulp Fiction, the smash cut from the opening credits to a diner conversation creates a jarring transition that immediately captures the viewer’s attention.
Another way to use smash cuts is to create a contrast between shots. For example, you could use a smash cut to contrast a slow-paced scene with a sudden and intense action sequence, creating a dynamic effect that can keep the audience engaged.
Smash cuts can also be used to compress time, showing a sudden and significant change in a character or environment. For instance, you could use a smash cut to show the change in a character’s appearance or situation over a long period of time.
When using smash cuts, it’s important to consider the impact on the viewer. If the cuts are too frequent or jarring, it can be disorienting for the audience and disrupt the flow of the scene. On the other hand, if the cuts are too infrequent, the dramatic effect may be lost.
5. The L Cut
L cuts are a valuable tool for creating seamless transitions between shots and emphasizing important sounds or dialogue. This technique involves continuing the audio from one scene into the next, even as the visual changes and can have a subtle yet powerful impact on the overall scene.
With a recent short film idea that I came up with and directed, I utilized an L cut to create a sense of intimacy between two characters during a phone conversation.
By extending the audio of the wife’s voice from the previous shot into the next shot, I was able to emphasize the importance of her dialogue and make it feel as though the conversation was taking place in the same space, despite the shots being taken from different angles.
The result was a scene with a natural flow that highlighted the emotional depth of the characters and their relationship. By using an L cut, I was able to create continuity between shots, add depth to the story, and emphasize key elements in a way that felt natural and organic.
As a filmmaker, I’ve come to rely on L cuts as a versatile and effective technique for enhancing my work. Whether I’m looking to create intimacy, emphasize important dialogue, or simply create a smooth transition between shots, this technique has proven to be a valuable tool that I can turn to time and time again.
6. The J Cut
J cuts are one of my favorite editing techniques to use as a filmmaker. They can be an incredibly effective way to introduce new sounds or dialogue before the visuals catch up, creating a sense of anticipation or surprise for the audience.
I remember using a J cut in a short film I directed a few years ago, during a suspenseful scene where the main character was hiding from an intruder.
Just as the tension reached its peak, I used a J cut to reveal the intruder’s dialogue before the visual cut to his face, creating a powerful and unexpected change that left the audience on the edge of their seats.
These cuts can add impact to a scene and keep the audience engaged by creating a jarring change that adds a new level of emotional depth to the story.
7. The Cutaway
The Cutaway is one of the most powerful techniques you can use to add visual interest and complexity to your video. It’s particularly useful when you need to convey important information or emphasize a specific emotion.
By cutting to a shot of something else before returning to the main action or previous clip, you can create a sense of context and nuance that will keep the story flowing smoothly and capture the viewer’s attention.
When used effectively, the cutaway can take your video to the next level and help you tell a more compelling story.
8. The Point-of-View Cut
I’ve used point-of-view cuts to create a sense of immersion or to show a character’s emotions. This technique can be a powerful way to engage the audience and create a sense of empathy.
By using a camera mounted on the character’s head or by shooting over the character’s shoulder, you can create a sense of intimacy and closeness that will draw the audience in.
9. The Fade Cut
The Fade Cut is a classic technique used in video editing to signify the passage of time or create a dream-like effect. It is a transition where one shot gradually fades out while the next shot gradually fades in, creating a smooth and seamless transition.
The fade cut is great for adding depth and nuance to your video work, as it can create a subtle emotional impact on your audience. For example, using a fade cut to transition from a happy moment to a sad one can evoke a feeling of nostalgia or loss.
You can also use fade cuts to create a smooth transition between scenes shot at different times of day, like a sunset fading into night. In short, the fade cut is a versatile technique that can add a lot of value to your video editing.
10. The Iris Cut
Iris cuts are my favorite way of revealing something in a shot. This technique involves opening or closing a circular mask to reveal or hide parts of the frame. By slowly revealing something in the shot, you can create a sense of mystery and intrigue.
11. The Wipe Cut
Wipe cuts are a great way to add a retro or stylized effect to your videos. This transition involves wiping one shot off the screen and replacing it with another.
This can be achieved using a wipe effect in your editing software or by creating a wipe with a physical object in front of the camera.
12. The Split Screen Cut
Split screen cuts have been a great way for me to show multiple perspectives or actions at once. This technique involves dividing the screen into two or more sections and showing different shots simultaneously.
This can be a powerful way to create contrast and comparison or to show two or more characters’ actions at once.
So there you have it, my top 12 trending video cuts for 2023! These techniques can help elevate your storytelling, keep your audience engaged, and add depth and nuance to your work.
Remember, the key is to use these cuts creatively and purposefully to enhance your story, not just for the sake of using them. Happy filming!
How Do You Add Jump Cuts to a Video?
Jump cuts are a common technique used in video editing to create a fast-paced and dynamic feel. To add jump cuts to a video, you can use video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro. S
imply import your video clip, and use the razor tool to cut out sections of the footage you want to remove. Then, adjust the timing and position of the remaining clips to create the desired effect.
With a bit of practice, you can easily add jump cuts to your videos and enhance their visual impact.
How can I stop jump cuts in video editing?
Imagine you’ve just finished editing a video you’re really proud of, but as you watch it back, you notice that there are jarring jump cuts all over the place. You can’t help but feel frustrated and disappointed.
This is a common issue that many video editors face, but the good news is that it’s fixable. One technique I’ve used to stop jump cuts in my own projects is to use cutaways to cover up the transition.
For example, if you’re cutting from a shot of a person talking to a shot of the same person walking away, you can insert a quick cutaway shot of something else in between the two shots to smooth out the transition.
This can be anything from a shot of the environment to a close-up of an object. By doing this, you can keep the flow of the video going and create a more seamless viewing experience for your audience.
5 Tips for Adding Cuts to Your Video
1. Plan your cuts ahead of time
Before you start editing your video, make a plan for where you want to add cuts. This will help you avoid making random cuts that disrupt the flow of your video.
2. Use jump cuts sparingly
Jump cuts can add visual interest to your video, but too many can be distracting. Use them strategically to emphasize a point or add emphasis.
3. Match your cuts to the beat
If your video has music or dialogue, try to match your cuts to the rhythm of the audio. This can make your video feel more cohesive and polished.
4. Use transitions to smooth your cuts
Sometimes, a sudden cut can be jarring. Use transitions like fades or dissolves to smooth the transition between shots.
5. Keep it simple
Remember, less is often more when it comes to editing. Don’t overuse cuts or transitions – they should serve the story you’re trying to tell, not detract from it.