Editing For Continuity

In our Tips & Tricks segment, John introduces some tips on editing for continuity.

Video Transcript

Hi, welcome to Tips and Tricks, my name is John Burkhart. Today's video segment is all about editing. And more specifically, common errors that people that are new to editing make. So, what we’re going to do is teach you how to use non-linear editing software to create a sequence with good continuity. So, let’s go ahead and take a look. Luke Sherba: Video editing is about combining a bunch of individual shots to form a sequence. Now, this isn’t as easy as it may sound. Sloppy editing can distract your viewer and make your sequence look bad. In this segment I’m going to show you what you need to know to make your sequence look right. Screen Direction The rule of screen direction is – if you have an individual traveling from right to left in a shot, the shots following must have an individual traveling in the same direction. Otherwise, we have a problem. Let’s take a look. Now, watching the sequence, everything looks great. The individual is traveling from right to left. Now, all of a sudden, the individual travels the opposite direction, and looks like he forgot something. This won’t work. There are a few ways to fix this problem. First, just don’t use the shot. If you don’t need it, don’t use it. sometimes, less is more. Another solution is to insert a neutral shot. If we show the subject going straight towards or straight away from the camera, then we can use our original shot without confusing the viewer. Of course, this all begins with a camera. So, the best way to avoid the problem of screen direction is to shoot with screen direction in mind. Jump Cut Another common error is the jump cut. A jump cut is when the subject leaps from place to place in the screen. Let’s take a look and see what I mean. Here the subject’s hand is down, and then it jumps up. We just created a jump cut. This needs to be fixed. All we really need to do here is extend the first clip, so the hand has time to go upwards, before we cut to the next clip. Shoot what we call overlapping action. Have the subject repeat the action from both camera angles all the way through. That way, you can make the edit wherever you feel necessary. Now, what if your shot is too short? Another option is to use a cut-away. Now you have a shot with a hand down, now you put in a cut-away, and you show the shot with the hand up. This covers up that jump cut. Just as we don’t want to have jump cuts, we also don’t want to repeat the action on the screen. Now, in this sequence, we have a mismatch of actions. In the wide shot, the subject is reaching for the door handle, and now in the close up shot, he’s reaching for the door handle again. By adjusting our edit points, we can eliminate the repeat in action, and make the sequence flow much smoother. Lagging Lull Another common error made by new editors is the lagging lull. The hand reaches for the door knob, and rests way too long before the cut. In the next shot, the hand waits way too long on the door knob again before the action continues. The goal here is to cut on the action. By adjusting our edit points, we can make it so the hand reaches up and opens the door knob in one smooth motion.


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