A guide to cutaway shots.
Learn the definition of a cutaway shot, plus why and how to use them in your video projects.
The cutaway shot is a quintessential filmmaking and editing technique that you’ll see in nearly every film and TV show. A cutaway shot is a supplementary shot that “cuts away” from the main action to indicate something else in the space, such as an object or location.
What can cutaway shots be used for?
Since cutaway shots are supplementary shots away from the main action, they can be used for nearly anything. For example, let’s say two characters are talking in a kitchen. One is cooking at the stove while the other is cutting vegetables. The main camera coverage would be the faces of each character, while the cutaway shots could include:
- A close-up of what’s cooking on the stove
- A close-up of the vegetables being sliced
- Other objects of interest, such as a window, door, or other interior objects that may relate to the characters’ discussion
Cutaway shots enrich the story and are a great way to show essential elements of the story instead of telling them to the audience through exposition.
Used properly, cutaway shots can be incredible tools to guide your audience (or even strategically misdirect them,) and make your film more visually arresting. Explore even more video tips and tricks that can inspire your filmmaking.
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