Film Cuts Explained

1. The Content Cut

Definition: Cut to a new shot within a scene only to add new information or carry the story forward. One can see it as a progression of the narrative
Shot 1: Wide shot of the character speaking
Shot 2: Over-the-shoulder shot of the character speaking
Shot 3: Close-up shot of the character speaking
Possible Objectives/Representations:
Coverage of conversations
- Simple and straightforward

2. The Action Cut/Continuity Cut/Movement Cut

Definition: Action is started in one shot and finished in the next
Shot 1: Character opening a door
Shot 2: Character emerging from the other side of the door
Possible Objectives/Representations:
- Amplifies the movement of the action
- From different point of views

3. The Point of View (POV) Cut/“The Look”

Definition: A shot from a character’s point of view
Shot 1: Character looking upwards towards the sky
Shot 2 (The POV Shot): Shot of a flying bird
Possible Objectives/Representations:
- Often preceded by a shot of the character looking at something off-camera
- Sometimes used to put together visuals that cannot be fit into one shot
- Establishing physical relationships between the character and the object
- Allowing the audience to see things from the character’s POV

4. The Hard Cut/The Standard Cut

Definition: Cutting from one scene to another without any effects
Shot 1: A happy couple dancing (and with joyful music)
Shot 2: Black Screen (and muted)
Possible Objectives/Representations:
- Ending a film
- Transiting between two scenes and locations
- Sometimes creates an jarring or fearsome effect
- Foreshadows upcoming traumatic events

5. The Jump Cut

Definition: A transitional shot where the camera position doesn’t change, but the subjects/objects within the frame move
Shot 1: Shot of living room with character sitting on the sofa eating snacks
Shot 2: Shot of living room with character sitting on kitchen table
Shot 3: Shot of living room with character watching TV
Possible Objectives/Representations:
- Deliberately show the passing of time
- Sometimes adds a level of urgency to the scene if it is done quickly

6. The Match Cut

Definition: A transition where the end of one scene are matched with the beginning of the next scene
- Visual match cuts
Shot 1: Character dancing with glamorous costumes on the streets and audience clapping
Shot 2: Continues dancing movement but with people glaring at the character
- Verbal/Aural match cuts
Shot 1: Character A talking through the phone
Shot 2: Character B responses character A through the phone in another setting/location
Possible Objectives/Representations:
- Sometimes used in phone call scenes or when news are being spread around
- Transits from fascination/dream to reality
- Establishes a “back to reality” feeling

7. I hope The Conceptual Cut

Source: Movieclips

8. Split Edits — J-Cut

Definition: Audio of the next cut starts before it is shown to the audience
Possible Objectives/Representations:
- Creates a smooth transition
- Exhibiting new element within the scene (eg. hears squeaking when a character is walking, and audience finds the character stepping on a rubber duck in the next cut)
- Sometimes used in scenes of characters reminiscing the past to create a nostalgic atmosphere
- Occasionally used in thriller films to engage the imagination of the audience of the next shot

9. Split Edits — L-Cut

Definition: The audio from the previous scene continues to play over the following scene.
Possible Objectives/Representations:

10. Cut-ins

Source: Camila DS

11. The Cutaway

Source: Fandor

12. Montage

13. Cross-Cut or Parallel Editing

Source: PointManification

14. Smash Cut

Source: sheeplover22

15. The Zero Cut

Source: Universal Pictures All-Access



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