The video editor's role is to create a sequence that is continuous and flowing from a series of separate clips. These editors utilize a wide range of strategies and techniques to ensure the cuts between shots are unnoticed, letting the audience be swept away by the unfolding story. So, why would a video editor want to introduce an edit that creates a jarring effect and draws attention to the filmmaking process? This is where the jump cut comes in.
Welcome to our discussion today, where we learn about this technique, its examples in movies, and an app that can help you create seamless jump cuts. First, what is a jump cut?
What Is A Jump Cut?: Definition Of A Jump Cut
Well, traditionally, a jump cut refers to an edit in a single sequential shot that appears to make the action in the video jump forward in time. Imagine you are shooting a race using a continuous shot featuring the runners moving across the frame, from left to right. When you cut a few seconds of that clip and join the two split halves together, you can visualize what happens. That's right. The race's runners will appear to jump forward across the frame. This is what a jump cut is all about.
The 30-Degree Rule
A jump cut also transpires when you cut between two different clips that have been shot from the same camera position. This will be perceived by the viewer as a jump in the position of the subject rather than a change in the perspective. To avoid this, you must always modify the camera angle by at least 30 degrees between shots. This is known as the 30-degree rule.
Cutting On The Action
In addition, jump cuts also happen when you cut between shots on an action. Reel this in: imagine you have a wide shot of a person walking toward a shelf to get a book. You then cut to a medium shot when they lift the book from the shelf. If you cut from this wide shot prior to them touching the book to the medium shot once the book is already in their hand, you got a jump cut. This book will appear as if it is magically flying into the person's hand.
Ways You Can Use A Jump Cut
The goal of continuity editing has always been to create a series of different clips appear to the viewer as a singular continuous experience. The viewers must get engrossed in the story and not notice the edits as your cut in-between various shots.
In these events, thus, a jump cut would be considered a mistake. Why? This is since jump cuts can be a distraction for the audience and break their suspension of disbelief. Nonetheless, when used deliberately as a stylistic choice, jump cuts are a powerful film editing technique to either add humor or tension.
1. Special Effects
The first way to use this technique is with special effects. Georges Méliès was a proponent in the early days of movies at the beginning of the 20th century. He used jump cuts to add special effects in the films he created, making people disappear or appear to turn into skeletons (like seriously!).
This illusionist and film director simply used the trick of stopping the camera, and removing or replacing the subject. He then started filming again without moving his camera. Legend has it that he actually and serendipitously stumbled on this technique when his video camera jammed while filming on a street in Paris, France.
The unintentional stopping and restarting of the video camera created a sequence when a bus appeared to change suddenly into a hearse.
2. In Order To Show The Passage Of Time
Likewise, jump cuts can be used to show the passage of time in a very stylistic and visually interesting manner.
For instance, a character in your movie may be waiting for a parcel to arrive. You can set the camera up for a static shot in a single room, then cut between the character sitting and standing in different locations. This will be incredibly effective in conveying to the audience that time is passing. Depending on the poses of your actor, this can be used for a funny scene or for presenting a growing tension, such as in a thriller movie.
3. To Showcase A Character's Emotional State
Despite the magic of jump cuts, they can at times be disorientating for the audience. Having said this, you can rather use them to provide the viewers with an insight into a character's emotional state.
For instance, using rapid jump cuts as a police officer attempts to defuse a ticking time bomb with create a sense of urgency, at the same time, panic.
Alternatively, you can also use jump cuts in a sequence as a character attempts to explain their emotions to another person. This can help your viewers understand the distressed mental state of the character. Moving a lot across different places in the frame means the person is restless and uneasy.
4. As Part Of A Montage Sequence
Furthermore, jump cuts are also often used as part of a montage sequence. It works since audiences understand that the usual rules of continuity editing do not apply during a montage. Hence, jump cuts in montages may be used to create tension, such as a soldier preparing their kit for a battle.
This technique is also ideal for creating funny scenes, perhaps showing a character repeatedly failing at a task in a comedic way. If you watched "Spider-Man," the 2002 edition, this technique was used when Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker was trying to shoot a web for the first time.
5. In Social Media
These jump cuts are also proliferate in social media, particularly in online videos and content created by digital content creators. Different YouTubers often use jump cuts to edit out any pauses, awkward moments, and stumbles in their production. This then creates a swiftly flowing sequence with a high level of energy, especially with some upbeat music playing in the background.
For documentaries, one would normally use B-roll or cutaways to hide the jump cuts. However, for videos on social media, the disjointed nature of this editing style has become quite the norm.
More Jump Cut Examples In Mainstream Movies
In order for you to learn more about jump cuts, there are literally several examples in mainstream cinema that you can take a look.
“Breathless (À Bout De Souffle)” (1960)
During the French New Wave cinema movement, the late Jean-Luc Godard was a pioneering figure. His 1960 crime thriller, "Breathless," is often cited as one of the films that classically brought jump cuts into mainstream acceptance.
The use of jump cuts during dialogue sequences can be viewed as illustrating the mental state of the main character. Yet, there are also rumors saying that Godard utilized the technique to make the film unmarketable after a producer commanded him to reduce the running time. In this case, it makes things even more interesting. Whatever the real reason behind the film's jump cuts, "Breathless" has been a major influence on several modern directors, including Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.
“Apocalypse Now” (1979)
The opening scenes of Francis Ford Coppola's epic war film, "Apocalypse Now," shows Captain Willard suffering a breakdown in his hotel room. Coppola used jump cuts to illustrate Willard's fractured mental state. Edited with a hypnotic soundtrack, the scene creates a very powerful opening to the film that film critic Roger Ebert called one of the 10 greatest movies of all time.
“The Breakfast Club” (1985)
Meanwhile, in the 1980s movie "The Breakfast Club," jump cuts are utilized as a montage sequence. It is used for a comic effect showcasing the five students in the film dancing while presenting the passage of time. Nevertheless, the jump shots also show the transition as these students become friends in spite of their initial differences.
“Schindler’s List” (1993)
Of course, who would forget about the jump cuts in the 1993 film "Schindler's List." It is a powerful film about a very serious event in world history. However, the director, Steven Spielberg, still managed to add a little lightness, stylistically as it is, during the scene where Oskar Schindler interviews a series of women as candidates to be his secretary.
The editing technique is used between single shots of each woman typing as Schindler watches. His preference for each of the candidates is clearly presented as he leans forward more intently. The sequence is also utilized to establish the character of Schindler as a womanizer without using any dialogue. Quite interesting, isn't it?
The high-energy editing of action films is ideal for jump cuts, especially where there are elements of comedy injected. One apt example of this is the montage sequence in the 2016 Marvel Comics movie "Deadpool," where protagonist Wade Wilson is shown making his costume. The camera tracks around him in a series of cuts as he creates his superhero costume. The technique has added great pace and energy to that scene, as with those in other movies that used the style.
The Use Of Jump Cuts In Other Films
Here are other films that are known to have used the technique:
Create Seamless Jump Cuts With Video Editing App TimeBolt
Now that you have learned everything you need to know about this film editing technique, we head over to the discussion about an app that can help you create fabulous jump cuts, TimeBolt.
What Is TimeBolt?: Create A Seamless Jump Cut With This Video Editor
TimeBolt is a tool that helps videographers and individuals automatically edit videos by taking away parts that are not needed. Using this software, one can effortlessly optimize and shorten their videos, saving them time and money.
Video editing can be time-consuming, especially without the tools to help you out. Visualize being able to edit videos within a couple of minutes. Saving time on editing means you can create more content! Which leads to more subscribers, sales, and revenue for your business!
TimeBolt also allows you to streamline the editing process, so you can automatically remove silences and pauses. This amazing tool is a no-brainer for anybody creating consistent content.
Do the following with TimeBolt:
Editing Together With TimeBolt: Learn About Its Features
Here is the rundown of the features of TimeBolt.
There you have it, not only everything you need to know about the jump cut, but also a tool that can help you out. Read on to include more information in your rucksack.
Now That You Have Learned About The Jumpcut And An App That Can Help You Create One, Let's Answer Some Quora Questions
1. Why Do Popular YouTube Vlogs Purposely Overuse Jump Cuts?
Jump cuts provide content creators with the chance to shoot from multiple angles, cover cuts with B-roll, and so much more. Vloggers, such as those on YouTube, who want to have a conversational, off-the-cuff tone can take advantage of jump cuts to remove mistakes while filming. However, because many vloggers fall into the trap of literally removing the filming mistakes, they resort to overuse jump cuts. Also, they tend to purposely overuse jump cuts because they lack the resources.
2. What Is Jump Cut, And Why Is It Used?
A jump cut is a film technique wherein a single shot is broken with a cut that makes the subject appear instantly jumping forward in time. The uses of jump cuts include: for special effects, to show the passage of time, to show a character's emotional state, and as part of a montage sequence. Jump cuts are also being used in online videos by social media influencers.
Jump With Purpose: Concluding Everything About The Jump Cut Technique
Wrapping up, what you have learned above are the jump cut definition, how to use jump cuts in film, some examples of jump cuts, the nature of the film editing technique, strategies you can use the jump cut with, and more.
There are several techniques in film editing (the match cut, the Soviet montage, shot cuts, consecutive shots, and shots of the same subject, among many others), and the jump cut is one of them.
Popularized many years ago, this type of editing in film is also used by the YouTuber, by vloggers, in music videos, and more. It used for creative purposes when producing videos. The jump provides a moment of levity in an otherwise dark film, so the clips will appear seamless from the perspective of the viewer.
Many films use the jump cut, such as "Seberg," "Deadpool," "Schindler's List," and so much more, just like what you learned earlier.
Now that you have understood more about jump cuts, feel free to try this fantastic technique in your next movie. Use apps like TimeBolt to create more stunning reels. Yet, you must always remember to deliberately use jump cuts to achieve a particular purpose. When applied to a video edit for no reason, a jump cut will merely appear to be a mistake. Also, do not overuse jump cuts, or their constant jarring effect will bar your audience from engaging with your story. When used carefully, the jump cut can be an impactful technique for the filmmaker.
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