Every video editor’s cheat sheet: the cut-sheet
One cannot really imagine the power that is wrapped within a ‘cut’. It’s almost like a pinch of mustard sauce added to a mushroom stroganoff. One small pinch infuses the entire dish with immense flavour! (Try it)
Cuts have a story in themselves and bring together the narrative in a way powerful manner, rather than simply following a standard edit treatment. Editor Thelma Schoonmaker’s freeze frames in most of Martin Scorcese films bring about such a difference. Or, imagine the absence of those flash-bulb cuts in Scorsese movies. Edgar Wright’s films bearing those phenomenal match cuts are worth noting.
The standard cut, placing two clips back to back, is what we call as ‘basic’. It is almost like a basic shirt – it’s tried and tested and doesn’t really do much to elicit any feelings/ emotions. Learning more about different cuts and using them in your works, can help you develop your creative editing style. You’ll realise that different cuts, when used in correct context of the scene, add so much more valuable drama.
So, let’s get straight to decoding the different types of creative world and exploit their untapped powers.
Jump Cut: Influence time passage
While no one can alter time, we say: the jump cut can! This cut helps to influence the perception and passage of time. Jump Cuts work wonderfully with montage-styled video treatments. The idea is to show quite a lot of information/ emotions/ expressions/ activities of characters in a relatively shorter time frame. Here’s an example from Frank Oz’s Little Shop of Horrors, wherein the characters wait across a period of time.
Wipe: Stir up some comical effects
A play of interlacing swipes. Just the way one swipes on a dating app from one page to the other, a wipe is simply that. It’s swiping from one scene to the following one. Wipes innately are very stark in nature; these can work well with comedy genres. Nowadays, even many parodies use it as popular movies from the past like Star Wars had a lot of wipes.
Fade In/ Outs: Best to depict entry and exit points
These are no brainers when the fade in is used to begin and fade out is out to exit a scene/ video. Going beyond the standard usage of it, it can be used creatively for instances when one switches off the lamp, or when one retires into his sleeping bag. A fade in can also be used while entering a new location. It signifies a new plot going to occur in that space.
J/ L Cut: Bring some drama into your documentary
Here’s the basic distinction simplified in a table.
|Audio arrives from clip B.|
But, we are still seeing clip A.
|Audio arrives from clip A.|
Audio from clip A continues even when clip B comes in.
Documentaries make great use of this cut to keep the audience immersed into reactions of characters (in clip A or B).
Cross Dissolve: quite the weapon for sci-fi
While the cross dissolve too helps to depict passage of time, its overlapping layer effect alters what the eye is not used to seeing in daily life. For this very reason, it’s used a lot in sci-fi genres or scenes wherein something unnatural is occurring (say, a spirit has entered). Check out how it is used in Spaceballs.
It can also be used to show two different events happening in different locations at the same time.
It does take time to make the cut. The knowledge of when to use which cut in the most apt and creative fashion surely takes time to develop. Below are few points to address before deciding which cut can work best.
- What is the value (positive or negative) of the scene?
- What is the emotion that the scene needs to give out?
- If I try an ‘x’ cut, will it look too cheesy?
- Is time passage needed here?
At Twisted Frame, we’ve an experienced pool of video editors who excel in a myriad of video edit styles. The narrative can change its value with the power of edit. Do you want to engage customers through video-marketing and kick-start business? Let’s have a chat as to how your business can leverage from the different video types through our Toronto video editing, production and motion graphic services. Reach out for a free chat at (416) 619-1116