Understanding Jump Cuts

A jump cut is is an abrupt transition, typically in a sequential clip that makes the subject appear to jump from one spot to the other, without continuity.

This can happen when two sequential shots of the same subject in the same scene are cut together from camera positions that vary only slightly. Jump cuts also occur when cutting between two sections of footage shot from the same exact camera angle, for example in an interview.

Jump cuts can be jarring. They draw attention to the process of filmmaking and editing, which can take the audience out of the story, so traditionally they are viewed as something to be covered up. However, it's also because jump cuts draw attention to what is otherwise supposed to go un-noticed that they can be used in strategic and creative ways. Watch the following short tutorial for a visual representation of the basics, and then we'll jump to the specifics!



Avoiding jump cuts

Typically when crafting a scene, jump cuts are avoided by varying camera angles and shot composition. Making sure to cut between close-ups, medium, and wide shots is an easy way to avoid jump cuts. Also, when cutting between two similarly composed shots, a rule of thumb is that the camera position should move at least 30 degrees between the two shots.

When you need to cover up jump cuts in an interview, you can do so with supplemental footage, such as clips from a different camera angle, or B-roll. If you have the resources, it's helpful to shoot an interview from two angles, so that when you need to splice together different parts of the dialogue to tell a story, all you need to do is cut to the other angle and your subject won't appear to jump in the screen.

If you don't have another camera, shoot hand gestures and ambiance shots before or after the interview and cut to those. Similarly, another great option is to shoot B-roll and layer those clips over the jump cuts:

Embracing jump cuts

Before you go casting the jump cut as the villain in your next flick, consider its advantages. Jump cuts can be used to show the passing of time, or to speed up a sequence. Casey Neistat loves the jump cut. He often uses them in his videos to speed up sequences where he's making or doing something, such as decorating his birthday cake:


Clip from My Birthday Movie.

Jump cuts can be used for a comedic effect. When you cut up a talking head interview or monologue they can emphasize confusion or inarticulateness, such as the sequence in our example video when Dan can't remember a word. This technique is often used in video blogs.

Jump cuts can also be used stylistically, to create a mood and set a creative pace, as in this beautiful video by Lea et Nicolas Features. Jump to just after the one minute mark. That's where the cuts get extra jumpy!

Be sure to pay attention to the cuts between clips of the same setting, like these beauties:

And don't forget about the simple yet oh-so-effective jump cut disappearing trick!

That one never gets old.

Category:
Editing
Difficulty:
Beginner

39 Comments

Serch Medina

Serch Medina

Hoy aprendí algo nuevo.

Today I learned something new

usolee

usolee Plus

so more than 30 degrees difference in single subject shots and less than 180 degrees when it comes to multiple subjects/dialog, right?

Carlos Aguirre

Carlos Aguirre

Cara, será que não daria para colocar legenda em português ou español...Acho que tu conquistarias uma grande gama de admiradores...

Deb Nystrom

Deb Nystrom

These are great tips! I'll be back.

stan schwartz

stan schwartz Plus

i haven't looked at these videos, but i have read your text. it is all well and good, but i find it rather astonishing that u don't even mention the "invention" as it were, of jump cuts, that is, their intentional use as a positive, good device, by Jean-Luc Godard in Breathless in 1960 which single-handedly changed basic film language overnight, and the effect and importance of which in decades of future film history cannot possibly be overstated. Just another sad example (it seems) of how so many young contemporary artists (and not jsut film, but all media) work solely in their own present, historical moment, without (seemingly) the slightest interest or knowledge about the history of their art (be it 100 years of cinema or say 2000 years of painting) and the vital importance for their own work of how their own current language came into being throughout that development over time.

Daniel Hayek

Daniel Hayek Staff

Thanks for your insights Stan. History has many lessons for us all.

micha soucy

micha soucy

I would lhave a conseil What the best video maker after sony vegas more expansive Now I have I movie 11 no satisfactions for use music track

Thank you

Michà baz soucy

Micha.soucy@hotmail.com

mike drew

mike drew Plus

Hey Micha, try FCPX. If you know iMovie you'll find lots of similarities but it is a far more powerful program. Ignore all the naysayers. It's cheap and, while not easy, quite intuitive once you get into it. There are tons of free tutorials as well, especially for creating music videos. Have fun!!

Tomboy

Tomboy

Great lesson indeed !

We actually used that technique quite a lot in this music video for creative effects: vimeo.com/wearetomboy/tomboy-ifnot

Very jarring, as you mentionned of course, especially at 1'12", 1'30", 2"19. Also used for illusion effect at the end, 3'06".

We love jump cuts ! ^.^

LifeBooth

LifeBooth Plus

Cool piece! I use jump cuts all the time for the infinity screen studio work I do for business vids. The great thing about those is there's no background action going on - so a simple crop to about 110% to 120% does the trick :0)

Andreas Plaianu

Andreas Plaianu

Thanks for the tutorial. I'm a huge fan of jump cuts and actually my very first movie is using basically just that to set up a very different kind of schizophrenic mood. Would be glad if I would get any feedback as I only started working on movies from basically anyone interested. It's a very short movie about the despair in the city of Shanghai I've encountered while living here.
vimeo.com/61008188

Andrew Menan

Andrew Menan

Thank you for posting, I love me some jump cuts! I wanted to share that I made a feature film entirely using jump cuts :) We improvised over 60 hours of video, and never moved the camera! I would then jump cut the "poop" out of each scene...I've been lucky to show at some film festivals- and surpsingly, audience get used to it. there must be over 1,000 jump cuts in my film of 75 minutes. Yes- it took me over 7 years to finish- and over $50,000 in personal credit card debt, but I did it. The geek in me is proud to share about my movie Without A Crowd and glad to find a post in celebration and in education about the jump cut! cheers!

CuteCut

CuteCut Plus

where did you create the tiles you used in this video ...thanks

Mihail  Hvorov

Mihail Hvorov

добрый день!уменя на тв vimeo.com/ подскажите как полностью пользоваться?на экране код просит активацию куда вводить?

David Heard

David Heard

hey Iam new to this game of video that was very helpful thanks.

Agustín

Agustín

does someone found any tutorials on tips and tricks for cutting in Premire Pro?

Fernanda Aleman

Fernanda Aleman

This is exactly what I was looking for!

Thanks guys!:D

Santos Silva

Santos Silva

QUE ASER UN TRAVAJO DENTRO DE ESTA FUNCION

Santos Silva

Santos Silva

DE CMO PUEDO SOLISITAREL CODIGO DE LO QUE ESTOY REJISTRADO.PARA ASER MISTRVAJOS SOY NUEVO ENESTE SISTEMA NO SE ENTIENDE POR QUE SALE EN OTROS IDIOMAS EL VIDEO .YO ENTIENDO CASTELLANO SOY DE PERU

Jimmy Rhynes

Jimmy Rhynes

beginning a webpage Tabue fitness and consulting I'm still new to this so I MAY NEED HELP but I am new at asking for help so you may see mistakes a lot.

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What are jump cuts? When should you use them? When should you avoid them? Jump into this lesson to find out.

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