#7 Sure Sign of Amateur Video: Jump Cuts

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People who work in the television and film industries are all too familiar with something called a “jump cut.” That’s because jump cuts are a big no-no … and should be avoided at all costs!

Jump cuts occur when two similar shots are edited back to back, often to remove unwanted portions of an interview or event.

This creates a break in time, and the subject in the shot appears to move or “jump” unnaturally from one shot to the next.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about from a shoot I did last year at a pillow-fighting tournament.

This particular “fight” lasted about ten minutes, but I only wanted to show a few highlights.  Here’s what it looked like after I cut out all the stuff I didn’t want:

Did you notice how the fighters “jumped” unnaturally in two places?  That’s what known as a “jump cut.”

So how do we get rid of them?

Pros shoot something called “cutaways.”  Essentially, this refers to a shot of something else at the scene that you can “cut away” to to cover up any breaks in the action.

In this case, I got some shots of people in the audience watching the fight, and of the referee.  Then I edited these shots over top of the jump cuts to create the illusion of one continuous fight.

See how much better that looks?

So the next time you shoot a hockey game, or your child’s school play, or anything, really … take a moment to capture a few cutaway shots.

Don’t worry about missing some of the action that’s happening centre stage.  You’re not going to be able to capture it all anyways – and who wants to sit through two hours of anything?

Aim to capture the highlights.  And cover the jump cuts with cutaway shots.

Your family and friends will thank you!

Got a shooting tip you’d like to share?

Follow Cindy Burgess:

Pro Video Storyteller

Cindy Burgess is a former broadcast journalist who's been telling stories with video for more than 20 years. She's passionate about spreading video literacy to the world!

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