The Art of the Cutaway

The Art of the Cutaway


Don't forget "cutting in" as well

Nice article.


In his The Five C's of Cinematography, Joseph Mascelli details the "cut in" as well as the cutaway. This can be equally powerful. Using the example of the medium shot of the man with the drink, a cutaway sequence would be a) man standing with drink in hand, b) shot of the bar, c) medium CU of man drinking, with "b" the cutaway shot.


Alternatively, we could have a) man standing with drink in hand, b) CU of trembling hand holding drink, and c) medium CU of man drinking. Here, "b" is the cut in shot. Instead of taking us away from the principal subject of the shot, it takes us deeper (for want of a better term) into the subject of the shot.


Neither the cutaway nor the cut in shot are what I would consider to be "B" roll, which typically is more or less extraneous footage that, as Mr. Ossohou suggests, is used to cover poorly planned or shoot footage.


Cut Aways Simplify Video Editing

Bartles's picture

If one has a single camera, video to provide a cutaway has to be part of an extensive "B roll" collection.


Perhaps you could have mentioned this limitation of a single camera in your article.


When it comes to editing movies of small grandchildren, they are not very cooperative in making additional "takes" of a scene.



Make cutaways organic

You don't need an extensive "B roll" collection, even though you are shooting with a single camera. At a wedding, for example, come in to the venue early and take footage of the signage and the facade of the church, the stained glass windows, religious carvings on the ends of aisles, the floral arrangements, etc. If you're on a holiday take shots of street scenes near the hotel, the hotel sign, people getting on tour buses (the don't have to be on your tour bus,) etc. You really can create a "B roll" collection for each shoot your involved in; all it takes is a little extra time.