Post Production: How To Use Jump Cuts To Improve Your Edit

Jump cuts are a type of transition used in between two shots, causing the subject of the video to appear to "jump" from one shot to another. The similarity of how the shots are framed is what makes the effect. Editors should take note that it is a stylistic transition which should be used sparingly, as the effect can often cause confusion, disassociation and a host of other similar effects to the viewer.

Step 1: Stabilize the Cameras

Do not cause the audience or viewer further confusion by taking shaky shots. With the use of a tripod, stabilize the camera in one location. For individuals who are filming without the aid of a tripod, lean against a wall, a large piece of rock or anything large stable. Another method is by placing the elbow which holds the camera right beside your abdomen or rib cage. This will provide some support and stability while filming, letting the arm hold the camera at a certain position for a longer time without feeling fatigued.

Step 2: Take One Long Take

A jump cut is a post production method of a long boring shot more interesting and pleasing to the viewer's eye. The Director of Photography takes one long take of the subject. For instance, take a long, complete shot of an individual getting out of their car, walking along the porch and into his house. The camera does not move from its spot, or change its lens size or any settings. From its position, the camera catches the action as one long continuous shot. It can be a pan or a long shot of the action or have the subject coming towards the camera.

Step 3: Remove Scenes

You could take out shots from this long take, removing scenes every few seconds or so. This will give you a series of chopped up shots. As long as the viewer understands the flow of the action from one shot to another, then you will be able to pull off a jump shot. Removing a few shots from the take shortens the amount of time it takes to play out the entire scene.

Step 4: Increase the Scale

In some cases, the editor can get away with zooming into the subject during post production and the transition to disguise the jump shot or make it less brutal for the viewer to see. With the previous example mentioned of having the subject walk out of the car into his house, the video editor can increase the scale towards the subject, making it zoom in. This is done while the subject is in motion. This is also particularly common when following an ambush interview where the Director of Photography or cameraman is following the interviewer towards the subject. Instead of having one monotonous shot of the interviewer walking, the shot can be made more interesting by providing zoom shots mid motion. It creates a difference in terms of composition. Editors should take care in performing the zoom during post production as it can also cause the video to appear hazy or pixilated.