Film making involves three stages named Pre-Production, Production and Post-production, these stages are each further divided into sub stages.
In the post-production stage of film editing and video editing, the entire work takes place on a computer system using different software to compile all the raw scattered clips and are then assembled together as per the story. A cut is an abrupt, but usually inconsequential film transition in the middle of one sequence and another. It is synonymous with the term edit, though “edit” is a vast term and can imply n number of transitions or effects. The cut, dissolve and wipe serve as the three most basic and most important transitions. The term ‘cut’ refers to the physical action of cutting a film or videotape, but at the same time also refers to a similar edit performed in the software, it is also often associated with the resulting ‘break’ in the visual.
Cutting for or in the films is as important as writing a film script. It is often said that a film is made on the editing table and the statement is indeed right. A film is nothing but mere unassembled raw clips and footages before they are placed together in a succeeding manner as per the plot of the story, the result of that is a complete film. The most important tool in editing is a cut. In film editing, cuts and they alone set the tone and pace of the film.
In fact, an editor writes an entire film without a pen or paper but a simple tool, a cut.
There are several kinds of cuts used in the process of film editing, each with their own importance like – Standard / straight / hard cut; Jump cut; J-cut; L-cut; Cut on action; Cross- cutting; Cutaways; Montage; and Match cut.
- Standard / Straight / Hard Cut – Straight cut simply means cutting or trimming footages and joining two footages together. If there are two footages of a single sequence, using straight cut, one footage is succeeded by the other.
- Jump Cut –As the name suggests, the spectator will feel a jump in the visuals because of a slight variation in visuals. There are two aspects of “Jump” in editing, the first one is the glitch where cut gives the feeling of some unwanted elements or uncertain activity and the second one is a good one or deliberate, it gives the feeling of an occurrence or happening of something/ jumping forwards in time.
- J-Cut – There are times when it becomes difficult to choose two shots to place next to each other, because the two are not compatible together and a jerk can be felt when placed together, disrupting the flow of the film, in such situations both J and L cut can prove to be a useful tool for the editor.
J-Cut is an audio-based transition where the cut is placed in accordance with the shape of “J” on timeline. The upper portion of J shows the cut in the video element and the lower portion is for audio.
For example, assuming there are two shots (Shot A and B), before the end of the clip A, the audio of clip B will start playing to create a certain relationship between both shots. It also helps with the amalgamation.
- L-Cut – L-Cut is the exact opposite of J cut, here the visual of clip A will end and the visuals of clip B will start, but the audio of Clip A will follow in with clip B. As the letter ‘L’ suggests, the upper portion is the mark for video and a lower portion for audio.
- Cut on action – Cutting on the action is the most basic but most important cutting technique which is majorly used within an action sequence where an editor tries to match the action of one character or object with different camera angles, keeping in conscience not to break the continuity of the on-going scene, the editor smoothly sets a narrative with different shots of the same character or object.
- Cross- cutting – The use of cross-cutting most of the time can be seen in the climax of a film, where an editor uses shots of two different locations and puts it together in one sequence. It gives the feel of a real-time happening of events to the audience.
- Cutaways– Cutaway can be called as a lifesaver for an editor, but it is more than that, as it enhances the narrative and gives a full picture of emotions. Cutaway simply means inserting some other clips in the timeline to make one particular scene more meaningful. There can be several ways for using a cutaway.
- Montage – Montage is in fact a very vast topic but for basic understanding, one can say that it’s a compilation of log sequences in a shorter time span or it’s a technique of summarizing the long shot. Montage is the compilation of short shots condensing the entire story. For example – Montage can be seen at the very beginning of a news report the short clip comprising of short shots placed together give an essence of the entire story or about film, location or character.
- Match cut – Match cut can be used in order to make a sequence interesting or to set some corrections between two shots, then the use of a match cut can be one of the useful techniques which can be embedded that could prove beneficial. In match cut the editor cuts the action of one shot and tries to match the same action with other shots for the sequence to continue smoothly without causing the continuity error. It not only looks interesting but can pull a powerful narrative in the story.
The cuts, each have their own characteristics and uses, in order to make a film properly / professionally one needs to have a deep understanding of the above techniques and much more.
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