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Learning From Classic Films:

Part 4: Cuts and Transitions 

Director/Editor Joey Scoma is here to talk to you about something simple: cuts and transitions. Except... there are so many different kinds!! In this video essay, Joey lists and defines the different cuts and transitions available to you as an editor, with examples from classic and modern films. It's up to you to decide when and why you'd use them!

There are many different types of cuts and editing techniques film editors use to compile  footages in cinematography, such as:

The hard cut: Also known as a standard cut, this editing technique cuts from one clip to another, creating smooth edits without the use of a transition. Editors contain most hard cuts within a scene, as using a hard cut to transition between scenes can be visually jarring for the audience.

The jump cut: A jump cut is an editing technique that cuts between two sequential shots. In these shots, the camera position doesn’t change (or only changes a small amount), but the subjects move, giving the appearance of jumping around the frame. Jump cuts give the effect of moving forward through time.

The match cut: A match cut is an editing transition where visual elements at the end of one scene are matched, either visually or aurally, with elements at the beginning of the next scene.

Split edits: A split edit is an editing technique where the video and audio transition at different times. In a split edit, the audio from the next scene precedes the video or vice versa. Editors use split edits to cut together conversational dialogue scenes and reaction shots.

J-cut: A J-cut is a variation of a split edit where the video from a scene transitions before the audio that matches it.

L-cut: An L-cut is a variation of a split edit where the audio transitions from a particular scene before the video that matches it.

Cut-ins: Cut-ins emphasize a particular part of a scene, offering a close-up or detailed view of a specific point-of-focus. Cut-ins can enhance the mood or understanding of a moment, and add to the smoothness and continuity of the scene.

Montage: A montage is an editing technique that combines a series of short shots or clips into one sequence, often set to music. Montage sequences often imply the passage of time or multiple simultaneous events, and are a vehicle to present the audience with a lot of information at once.

Cross-cut: Also known as parallel editing, this editing technique cuts between the action happening in two simultaneous scenes as they progress. Editors use cross-cutting to establish that multiple scenes are occurring at the same time.

The cutaway: A cutaway shot inserts another scene into the existing continuous cut, occasionally cutting back to the original scene afterward. Cutaways allow the viewer to see what is happening outside of the current scene, offering a different perspective or context, or providing a moment of comic relief.

Smash cut. The smash cut is a sharp, abrupt cut from one scene to another. Smash cuts occur at an unexpected moment, sometimes even cutting off a character’s dialogue mid-sentence. A smash cut is perfect for contrasting the tone between two scenes, ending a scene in mystery, or creating comic irony.

And so much more: Cut on actions, match cuts, Fade in/ outs, Dissolve, Wipe, Invisible Cuts, Music rhythm,...

You can see, we have so many types of cuts and transitions. But in wedding films, we just use some of them.

1. Hard cuts: I use it a lot, a basic cut. I often combine this one with music bass, kicks and I use it also with another cuts.

Now let's analyze this short film of mine:

- I use J-Cut with Fade in from black for the intro 0:00 - 0:07

- I use L-cut ( Sound of previous scenes) to transit from the intro to establishing drone shot 

- I use hard-cuts for many shots after

- I use Cut away at 1:20 to the past wedding scenes

- I use the old films effects with hard cuts in the past wedding scenes 1:21 - 1:50

- And Cut Away combine with Match cut from the TV to another Time Dimension 1:51

- Then hard cuts

- Then I use Cut on actions at 2:26

- Cut away at 2:35

Cut on actions at 2:51 , 2:56 , 

- Cut away 3:02

- Match cuts 3:18 - 3:28, I use the jungles and trees to match to another locations

- 3:32 J-Cut with the sound of birds

- Cut on actions at 3:40

- Match cuts at 3:42

- Montage from 3:40 - 3:45

The last 3 cuts I've just mentioned call the combination cuts =)). And so many types of cuts to the end of this short film.

Okay, now we move to the next types of cuts in my wedding films.

I used lots of wipe cuts and montages  from 1:38 - 2:38

I use the combination of: Montages, Invisible Cuts, Music Bass and Dissolve Cuts in dancing scenes 3:50 - 4:40

Smash cuts at 4:24 ! Real one =)) 

That's all for the Cuts and Transitions. You can have a look at my portfolio to see how I use cinematic cuts in my wedding films. Using different types of cuts will make your wedding film more dramatic, cinematic looks and more professional.

See you at Part 5!    

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