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Cuts & Transitions 101

Cuts & Transitions 101

The most basic edit you can do is the cut.
Which is simply going from one shot to another. Changing perspective. Advancing the story. Now I’m gonna be showing you a series of examples that help illustrate the types of cuts that
I’m about to mention. A lot of these cuts are so common and feel so natural that you don’t even think about it. Whoa what the… what the fuck happened there? Doesn’t matter. You can do whatever you want. But if you want to make your cuts a little
less jarring, let’s begin with the technique that’s used all the time… Cutting on action. Now all this means is
cutting from one shot to another while the subject is still in motion. It doesn’t always have to be on a punch… or a kick… it could be something a simple as a character turning. Or throwing something… or a character going through a door… or another door…. or ANOTHER door. BOND
“I’m through.” Then there’s the cutaway, which I can
best describe as cutting to an insert shot of something, and then back. The insert could exist in the same space as the characters… like this. GEORGE BAILEY
You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down! GEORGE BAILEY
Hey, that’s a pretty good idea. [WEREWOLF GROANING] Or you can use a cutaway to get
inside the head of a character. Crosscutting. This is when the editor intercuts cuts back and forth between locations. For example, most phone
conversations are usually cross cut and when used effectively, crosscutting
can certainly amp up the tension and suspense of a sequence. [TENSE MUSIC] This technique is also used to show
what’s going on inside the character’s head. Jump cuts are when the editor cuts
between the SAME shot. And they are often used to deliberately show the passing of time. And that looks like this. So you can naturally find these in montages.
Here are a few examples. Jump cuts are also used to add a level of
urgency to the scene. And there’s a LOT of jump cuts in baseball. Now let’s move on to the match cut. Match cuts look like this: Match cuts are often incorrectly referred to as jump cuts… however, there is a difference. A match cut cuts from one shot to a similar shot,
by either matching the action… …or the composition. Match cuts are mainly used as scene
transitions, because you’re often JUMPING… from one place to another. Which is most
likely why there’s confusion on the matter. Match cuts don’t always have to be visual either.
There’s also a verbal match cuts, like this: UMPIRE
That looks just like an enormous– TEACHER
Wang! Pay attention! WANG
I was distracted… by that enormous, flying– GUITARIST
Willy! What’s that? WILLY NELSON
Well it looks like a giant– ADMIRAL: Johnson!
JOHNSON: Yes, sir!! Now let’s move on to transitions,
starting off with fade in, fade out. We’ve seen this a thousand times,
and it’s just dissolving either to, or from, black. Pretty self explanatory. Now, a dissolve is
when you blend one shot into another, and that could look something like this… These are commonly used in montages as well, and also can represent a passing of time. Now, you could easily dissolve between
the same shot, and it looks something like this. SMASH CUT!!!
Smash cuts are abrupt transitions. The obvious example is someone waking
up from an intense dream, or a nightmare. Going from something intense… to quiet.
Or quiet to intense. MR. PINK
Everyone started shooting,
so I blasted my way out of there. [SIRENS & SCREAMING] [LOUD CAROUSEL MUSIC] [RUG SNAPS] Another transition is the iris. Now the iris used to be an in-camera effect back in the day, when you could manually open and close
your iris to transition from black. Nowadays, it’s used as a stylistic choice.
And a lot of these transitions you may often find within a scene. Some other transitions include… the wipe. And a wipe is a wipe… look at that. It wiped. Oh look, there’s another. Ok, moving on. Oh, no… there’s more wipes? Oh. There are many types of wipes. Then, there’s the invisible cut. Invisible cuts are used to give the impression of a single take, however cuts are hidden in blackness, like in Hitchcock’s “Rope” Or Evil Dead 2. And, most recently, “Birdman.” Cuts are also hidden within whip-pans, where you can hide the cut on the motion of the camera
movement. Here are a few examples. An editor might also hide a cut with an object crossing the frame. Or you can hide a cut when the subject leaves the frame. This is my favorite example, because it’s pretty seamless unless you know what you’re looking for. Just like any good magic trick. So there is an invisible cut hidden right… here. This shot was cleverly designed to make it appear as if Paul Newman was actually doing those card tricks. But really… he can’t. Now let’s move on to something else.
The L Cut is an audio-based transition. [MAN SINGING TERRIBLY] This is when the audio from the current shot carries over to the next shot. [PAINED SCREAMING] [DISTANT PAINED SCREAMING] [EVEN MORE DISTANT SCREAMING] Now keep in mind, this doesn’t have to just be for scene transitions. This is used all the time, even when characters are just talking to each other. QUINT
Hooper!! Full throttle!! HOOPER: I don’t have to take this abuse much longer! SGT HARTMAN
They don’t serve fried chicken and watermelon
on a daily basis in my mess hall! PVT SNOWBALL
Sir, yes, sir! PVT JOKER
Is that you, John Wayne? Is this me? The J Cut is when the audio from the next scene
I can’t, I gotta go home! So you hear what’s going on,
before you see what’s going on. [OCEAN WAVES CRASHING] These are very subtle editing techniques that people might not even notice, and that’s the point. The J Cut and the L Cut are designed to specifically create a seamless flow… a seamless transition… from one scene to another,
with audio guiding the way. (DENNY)
Hey Gordie, I got somethin for ya. DENNY
This, my friend, is for you. HENRY (V.O.)
That’s all it is, they’re like the police department
for wise guys. [SOUND OF GLASS SHATTERING] The J Cut is also great for revealing a new element
within the scene. [PIANO NOTES PLAY] JOSH
Neat!! Once you know all the types of cuts available to you,
then you can start mixing & matching them. “The Graduate” does this match cut… … into a J Cut. (MR. BRADDOCK)
Ben, what are you doing? Or, there is the Match J Cut. [BATHTUB SPLASHES] (TYLER DURDEN)
If you could fight anyone, who would you fight? NARRATOR
Fight my boss, probably. And here is a verbal match J cut: LITTLE BOY
And the lion goes… (MAN)
Roaaaarrr. Here is a cross-cutting cutaway. “Mad Max” does this cutaway jump cut. Let’s just take a look at that one again. They cut from Max… to his vision… cut back…
and they jump cut the impact to really sell the hit. Here it is again at full speed. Here’s a jump cut / cross cut / smash cut. “Gladiator” has a great cross cutting / match cut
thing going on in this sequence. “The Green Mile” also has a great
match / cross cutting sequence. Then there’s the match / dissolve. And here’s another example. “Saving Private Ryan” does this morph… match… thing… So that’s about it. Now you know the kinds of
cuts and transitions you can use. Next is to ask yourself when and why you would use them for telling your story. And I am sure I’ve left out plenty of other great examples, so I encourage you to share some of your favorite cuts in the comments below. share some of your work in our forums,
and if you’re curious about which movie that clip was from, just turn on Closed Captioning. Okay. That’s enough. I’ll talk to ya next time.

100 thoughts on “Cuts & Transitions 101

  1. cool stuff. really. however, i was searching exactly what you said at 11:00 in other words i know the type of transitions i just want to lear when and why to use them

  2. wow! wow! wow! amazing, amazing…. really really good material. You are a really amazing Film School for sure!

  3. Thank you for providing so much info without talking about yourself, promoting your channel, blah blah blah.

  4. Questions:
    1- How are these cutting techniques written in the scenarios? Is it should written?
    2- And what are the interrupts where the actions of the characters are shown with music? For example:
    – Royal Tennenbaums (2001): Gene Hackman and the kids having fun.
    – Dumb and Dumber: Pretty Woman plays in the background and the characters are preparing for the party.
    3- Breakfast Club: Dance scene.
    6- 50 First Date: Father and son prepering next same day with "just another day" song by Paul McCarthy.
    7- Austin Powers 2: Funny moments on 60's London streets with music scene.
    5- In the last 10 seasons, the Simpsons have most of these musical scenes.

  5. J-Cuts and L-Cuts are most common in documentaries. Especially going from a “scene” to an interview and vice versa.

  6. Great video. Pls make vol.2. And Ok, what is montage types? Pls make montage type videos. 🙂

  7. No lie, I have watched this 5 times now. Much appreciated for this video, I have a reference vid now to go back to study. Those combos blew my mind.😁🤙🏼Have a great day and thank you once again🙏

  8. I'm very happy that my observation in movies has increased drastically…..i noticed j- cuts and l-cuts all the time but didn't know what do we call that technique

  9. Can someone help me figure out the name for this type of transition? It involves characters having to do something or get somewhere and the camera moves away from them and across: the house; the road they are traveling down; the land; the ocean, anything. Basically the camera moves forward in a line and not a circle, and sometimes the 'passage' is sped up. And when the camera pans back to the characters they are already at the place they needed to reach, or done with whatever they needed to do, or they are way older. Anyways it is usually used to move forward or even backwards in time by having the camera "travel" down a path really quickly.

    I don't know if that's too confusing. I'll try to think of an example…

  10. Fantastic stuff once again, learned this things back in the days of my film school. Very fun and informative lessons, as a filmmaker you got a lot of tools to tell your story the most effective way, it's so awesome 🙂

  11. baby driver has this one scene in a hall where you can hear a faint alarm clock going off in the background. Scene last for about a minute & you think the alarm is nothing but ambient sound of that place, until suddenly the alarm becomes louder & we cut to the next morning with baby driver in his bed, the alarm going off. Baby driver in general has stunning audio design.

  12. wow. That was actually really informative. And well done.
    Do you work in film as a professional? You seem very experienced.

  13. I need to go back and watch Goodfellas and Gladiator. The cuts and transitions in those were incredible and a great tool to learn from I imagine. Thank you for the content!

  14. wow this is the best video!
    im motivated, interested, awake and i understand whats going on,
    now i only need to figure out when to apply which cut.

  15. So you would never say that you had one thing "fade into the next"? I know it is a "dissolve" technically speaking, but would you always call it that? For example, I've never heard someone say I "dissolved" this sound into this other sound on the audio track. I believe we would call that "fading", as in "I faded this sound into the next sound" in referring to that transition, am I wrong?

  16. To know I have obeyed the laws of cuts and transitions without knowing all this information amazes me! I taught myself through sight but this really elevates my eye now!

    This video has not only helped identify what I've done but helped me title my video reels. Thank you for this!

  17. brilliant piece of work.
    and my special Thanks to the person who made a timed list synced with names of each technique followed by a lill description.

  18. The cut when John Travolta throws his jacket on the bed in pulp fiction, to unzipping his needle bag. Favorite cut

  19. There's a simple cross cut/cut away in Spiderman Homecoming, which transitions from the classroom to a lab, and then seamlessly into to the Cafeteria. It uses the clocks as an anchor, cutting to them when they go to the next room. It's simple, but invisible at the same time

  20. this is awesome, I am from Jos, Nigeria and also find this useful for my editing and training participants in my Film academy for beginners. you rock my world with this video. my green white green thanks

  21. If you are looking for our own film scoring, I am currently looking for a project. You can have a look at my previous works on my website : http://deykin-music.com/index.php

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