[Feature photo: Peter Taylor]

Most of us have seen it: You’re watching an interview and suddenly the person speaking jerks from one position to another as if two different conversations were spliced together. Usually, the content of the conversation seems to flow as if there was no splice at all, but while the conversation sounds right, the jump is often disorienting to the eye.

This is called a “jump-cut” and it’s made by splicing together two pieces of an interview that have been shot at different times. Most of the time, these edits are done to remove the “um”s and moments where the subject stumbles over words, and then corrects it later in the interview. While jump cuts are used extensively in filmmaking to make speech smoother, faster, and more natural-sounding, a visible jump-cut looks sloppy, and can lead the viewer to question the honesty of the filmmaker.

Jump-cuts are easy to fix during editing, however, as these videos demonstrate.

Editing jump cuts out:

Jump cuts aren’t all bad, and can be used to create cool effects, or move a scene along. Check out this video showing some good uses of jump-cuts.

Like every skill in film editing, mastering jump cuts gives you a tool that can enhance your film by both tightening the storyline, or unleashing your creativity.