Video Editing: How To Avoid Jump Cuts

Video editors and creators are often faced with the problem of avoiding jump cuts. Jump cuts in editing occur due to several reasons. One may be if you have a continuous clip that you want to trim down. You may opt to splice in the middle of the shot and remove the frames that you don't need. The result would be a jarring cut occurring in the same shot. Another instance that could result in a jump cut is if you have two clips or shots of the same type and angle. If you put one after the other, it would result in a jump cut.

Though jump cuts are acceptable in some instances as a stylized edit, it is generally avoided. There are many ways to avoid this mishap during both production and post-production. Here are some tips you can keep in mind.

1. 2-Camera Set-Up

Using a 2-camera set-up can lessen your chances of having to do a jump cut. If you're doing an interview, you can frame the first camera on your subject. The second camera can either focus on the interviewer, or focus on the subject from different framing and a different angle. This way, when you have to do a cut during editing, you simply have to revert to the second camera.

If you happen to only have one camera with you, you can fake it by doing the shot again from a different angle. If it's an interview, you can have the interviewee pretend to ask questions for a second take. Or, you can also do the interview again but this time, change the framing and angle.

2. Take Shots of Inserts

After taking shots of your primary subject, don't forget to capture other possible insert shots. Often called the B-Roll, these shots will be your lifesaver against jump cuts. If you're taping an interview for instance, try to get footage of what your subject is discussing. If you're covering an event, make sure you get other shots such as crowd, audience, fa├žade and more. These shots are good for covering up jump cuts during post-production.

3. Zoom During Edit

If you happen to be out of a B-roll or possible insert shot, use some editing techniques to make the jump cut less jarring. For instance, if your shot is of a man approaching, you may be starting with a full shot. After splicing off some frames, you may end up with a mid-shot all too similar to the previous clip. You can opt to zoom in for a close-up of his reaction. The whole sequence will appear not to have a jump cut in it. 

4. Fast-Forward

This effect has to be used sparingly, and you have to make sure that it is not out of the context of your video. If for instance you are taping a how-to video or a process, you can do the first and last part in normal speed, and then fast-forward the middle clip. This will give you a continuous edit without having to worry about an extremely lengthy video.

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