What Is a Jump Cut? 7 Ways to Use Jump Cuts When Editing

jump cut

Key Takeaways:

A jump cut is a film editing technique where two shots of the same subject are taken from camera positions that vary slightly.

This creates a noticeable and abrupt shift in the subject’s position within the frame, often giving the appearance of a “jump” in time or action. It’s like you blinked and missed a moment in the film or video.

Filmmakers use jump cuts to speed things up or add style to their films and videos.

In film editing, different editing techniques create special effects and feelings for viewers, such as tension, horror, and magic. One such technique is the jump cut, which is ideal when an editor wants to transition from one scene to another or when there’s a need to cut down long scenes.

Although jump cuts are common in film editing, you’re also likely to find them in YouTube videos, vlogs, and music videos.

This article will explore seven ways to use jump cuts when editing videos. You’ll also see examples of how you can use jump cuts to create dramatic effects and reduce monotony in your movie or video.

What Is a Jump Cut?

definition of what is a jump cut

A jump cut is a basic video editing technique that cuts a single shot into two, causing it to jump forward to another position. In continuity editing, there should be a flowing sequence between two shots as the editor tries to hide the edits neatly. Also, there should be a change in the camera angle by a minimum of 30 degrees.

But jump cuts violate conventional rules. Instead, the cut style causes the subject to abruptly appear in another position, or the camera angle changes slightly. This stylistic choice allows the audience to see which shots were cut.

A jump cut shouldn’t be mistaken for a match cut style because they’re not the same. Jump-cut editing concentrates on a particular subject in a scene within a timeframe. But a match-cut transitions into a similar subject from another scene.

jump cut

Pros & Cons of Jump Cuts

Here’s a roundup of the advantages and disadvantages of jump cuts.

Jump cuts in film editing are quite beneficial.

If you’re creating videos on a small budget, a jump cut provides the special effects you need. As a result, there will be no need to rent multiple pieces of equipment to get a different camera position.

Also, you won’t need to insert a b roll into the main footage to conceal transitions. This makes it an effective technique for short films and social media videos.

When it comes to YouTube videos, it’s common to see the use of jump-cut editing techniques. Rather than trying to take a perfect shot, a jump cut helps content creators skip mistakes and awkward pauses during post-production.

Additionally, a jump cut is a great tool for storytelling. It provides a means to fast-forward a video while ensuring that your audience still understands what’s going on.

Everything will appear more visually interesting if you use a jump-cut technique properly.

Despite the advantages of jump cutting, it isn’t without drawbacks.

In many films (TV shows and movies), continuity editing ensures the audience sees various clips as a continuous sequence. But when you introduce a jarring effect, it distracts viewers who are already engrossed in the storyline.

In music videos and online content, jump cuts are stylish because the audience is accustomed to seeing different effects. However, don’t overuse them, as this can confuse the audience!

Seven Ways to Use Jump Cuts

why use a jump cut infographic

Jump cuts come in handy in film and video editing, and when used properly, they trigger certain emotions in your audience. Let’s take a look at seven ways you can use jump cuts in film and video editing.

1. Create Smooth Transitions

With advanced technology, you can use jump cuts alongside many video editing techniques, like insert shots and cutaways, to move objects or characters smoothly from one shot to another.

For example, if your establishing shot shows an empty highway, you can add a series of jump cuts showing a car getting closer to the camera.

2. Build Tension

You can create a tense scene by using jump cuts to take close-ups and long shots of a character. When paired with a loud, jarring sound and a smooth transition, you’ll create a horror scene. There will be no room for viewers to look away, so they’re all caught up in action.

Also, you can create anxiety by cutting some scenes to make it seem like the character has a limited time to achieve a task. The character may scramble to look for an item or be on the run.

3. Change the Pace of a Scene

The pace of a film determines whether the audience will find it interesting and engaging. If it’s too fast, people will find it difficult to connect with the storyline and the characters. And if it’s too slow, it’s a turn-off because everyone would get bored. So, an editor needs to create a rhythm between scenes in a film.

With a jump cut technique, the editor can cut a scene long to create a moment of calmness and relief. This would involve taking a continuous shot of the same frame while moving the subject around slowly. Also, the editor can cut short the pace of a scene to build tension.

4. Break Up Long Shots

Long video scenes take time to shoot, and they can’t always be 100% perfect. But with jump cuts, you can remove any clip that won’t affect the story’s meaning. This is usually used to cut a scene that might bore the audience.

For instance, it might be boring to watch a character get ready for work in a movie. But a jump cut leads viewers swiftly from the time the character gets out of bed to when they arrive at the office.

5. Add Breaks in Dialogue Scenes

Timing is of the essence when recording dialogue scenes. For instance, in an interview, the interviewee and interviewer need to be reminded to leave some pauses before answering or asking questions.

These pauses are important for the editing process because you won’t be able to find shot cuts without them. The speech will overlap and may confuse viewers.

However, you can use jump cuts to add a clip that shows a break between each dialogue. It’ll make the conversation flow and feel more natural.

jump cut editing

6. Make Changes to Timelines

If you don’t want to play a clip at a fast speed, you can use a jump cut to compress time. It works by skipping over certain frames. For instance, if you’ve got a clip of a character walking down a path for about 15 seconds, playing the entire shot would bore the viewers.

However, you can make jump cuts on the timeline every 3 seconds to skip several frames. As a result, you’ll cut out a large portion of the walking shot so that the character can arrive at the destination within half the time. This way, you’ll introduce a new element to the video sequence, and viewers will understand what’s happening.

7. Highlight Important Information

You can use a jump cut to draw viewers’ attention to an image, text, or any important detail. This editing technique cuts closer to the detail and adds a special effect to the shot, as it strikes a difference between a cut and a zoom-in effect.

To achieve this cut, filmmakers start with a wide shot, then take a close-up and an extreme close-up. This process allows a piece of important information to become visible within a few seconds.

Great Examples of a Jump Cut

George Méliès, a movie director and French illusionist, discovered the jump cut when his camera jammed while shooting The Vanishing Lady (1869). He realized that the people moved, but the setting and buildings didn’t change, giving rise to a disappearing effect.

George then realized that the technique could come in handy during narration. Since then, other filmmakers have used the technique. You can find it in Jean Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960) and French New Wave (1950).

Godard used jump cuts to split continuous shots in an attractive way, which helped to reduce the time of the entire film. This style resulted in the contemporary use of jump cuts in the film industry.

The jump cut isn’t stale; it’s improving by the day. Here are some modern jump-cut examples:

1. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

The Frank Oz-directed offbeat musical about a meek flower shop worker and his monstrous alien plant is one example of a film with effective jump cuts, used for both the passage of time and for comedic effect.

As the failing flower shop struggles to stay afloat, Seymour, Audrey, and Mr. Mushnik, patiently wait for their first customer of the day, but as the evening approaches, it becomes painfully clear in this one shot that no one is coming.

2. Juno (2007)

Ivan Reitman’s Juno utilizes jump cuts in different clips to tell the story of a teenager who becomes pregnant only to give up the baby for adoption in the end. We can see some jump-cut examples during winter when Juno discovers she’s pregnant and feels like she doesn’t care.

Also, during spring, the jump cuts show more emotions as she goes for checkups and in search of adoptive parents. Each cut is a transition from one stage to another in the character’s life.

Juno in Juno

In the last phase of the film, jump cuts help us understand that Juno realizes she’s giving away her bundle of joy. She also figures out that her decision will affect her life and that of others.

Overall, Reitman does a great job in helping us see the phases of pregnancy without watching an entire 9-month journey. We also feel the emotions each cut expresses.

3. Snatch (2000)

In this Guy Ritchie film centered around a stolen diamond and the criminals who each want it, jump cuts are used exceptionally well in creating a frenetic, playful pace to match the high-energy dialogue in each scene. The camera never lingers, as shown in this example, where we see multiple costume changes for one of the characters throughout a single, quick conversation.

It succeeds in adding a fast-paced style to the film, as well as increasing the overall comedic effect and entertainment value of what might be an otherwise bland conversation.

4. Baby Driver (2017)

Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver combined music beats and jump cuts to transition between scenes. For instance, it moves from a meeting where the cast plans a gun deal to where they’re in a car, driving and listening to music. The beat used in this shot creates an emotion of adventure and anticipation, which tells us they’re about to discover something.

Baby Driver Movie

Wright’s editing style is stylish, as he prefers to take out all the boring parts. It attracts and sustains the attention of the audience all through the scenes, keeping them entertained.

Final Thoughts

You now know what jump cuts are, and we’re sure you’ll try them in your next project. But it’s essential to use them with a purpose in mind. Otherwise, they’ll make no meaning and confuse viewers or even turn them off.

Also, you don’t have to use too many jump cuts just for the sake of using them. The effect they’ll produce will deter your viewers from understanding the story.

But when applied strategically, jump cuts are a powerful tool in the hands of a filmmaker!

Jump Cut

Interested in film editing? Check out these other helpful articles!

VFX Meaning in Film: Visual Effects Guide for Beginners

Film Distribution for Indie Filmmakers [Explained]

5+ Best Film Production Software Tools (Reviewed)

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *