What you need to know about jump cuts in film.
Sometimes you’ll want to break the rules to surprise people. Learn what jump cuts are and how they can enhance your videos.
They say rules are made to be broken. That might not always be the best advice, but in filmmaking it can work to your advantage. Jump cuts are a popular way to bend the rules of cinema to create compelling effects.
Let’s find out what a jump cut is and how you can use this trick in your videos and films.
What is a jump cut?
To start off, let’s establish the rule that we’ll break. According to cinema tradition, the camera should move at least 30 degrees between two shots to maintain a sense of continuity.
The jump cut ignores this rule. It breaks a continuous shot into two parts without moving the camera. This causes the subject in the video to abruptly “jump” to a different position — hence the name. If you’re still a bit lost on what a jump cut looks like, go watch a vlog on YouTube. Many famous YouTubers use jump cuts to trim silence or the dreaded “umms” from their footage when monologuing to the camera.
How to use jump cuts in film?
Jump cuts aren’t just for YouTube, though, and they’ve been used in many famous films. They’re a great tool for showing the passage of time, with people abruptly coming and going while the camera stays still. The jarring nature of jump cuts can emphasize a character’s confused or unstable mental state. Someone zipping around a room doing strange things is clearly not alright.
Jump cuts can also enhance mood, whether for comedy or horror, by having things suddenly appear or disappear on screen. If you’re looking to surprise your viewers, take a lesson from Van Halen — you might as well jump.