Video Answers. Episode 18.

Have you ever watched a video and something just didn’t feel right? Was the subject jumping around in the frame? In Episode 18 of Video Answers, we will explain what a jump cut is and why they happen.

What is a jump cut?

A jump cut is not a frog with scissors. A jump cut is the result of a video edit.

A jump cut happens when the subject changes but the camera angle and background does not. It’s called a jump cut because it looks like the subject is jumping around in the frame.

What causes jump cuts?

Jump cuts are the result of two different editing techniques:

Editing to audio

Sometimes the best way to tell a story is to edit to the audio instead of the video. Which produces, you guessed it, jump cuts.

Condensing the story

Or sometimes, an editor just needs to condense a story.

For example, if I said, “I love my job, in part, because it’s so much fun, and we get to visit, on occasion anyway, really amazing places.“ But if the editor needed to shorten that statement, you may get a bunch of jump cuts instead. The end result may read something like, “I love my job because it’s so much fun and we get to visit really amazing places.

The point is this, shortening the story created the jump cuts.

As a rule

Jump cuts are not good. That’s why we cover them with another camera angle or b- roll. But there are some exceptions to that rule.

In the right context, a jump cut can be a good way to: compress time just like a cool time-lapse shot
or the ability to make someone magically disappear. On video, that can look pretty cool.

Now you know

A jump cut is not a frog with scissors.

A jump cut is a good or not so good outcome of video editing.

That’s what a jump cut is.

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