3 Important Types of Video Cuts You Need to Know


Did you know that there are many different ways that you can cut (i.e. transition) a video from one clip to the next? In fact, knowing how and when to use different types of cuts is one of the key differences between experienced and inexperienced editors.

As a starting point however there are a few important types of video cuts that you need to know – as they can be very useful when you create videos:

1. Action Cuts

The key to using action cuts is to have the same action (i.e. movement) continuing across both clips. Due to the action in the clip, viewers will be focused on it – and the cut won’t be as obvious.

Compared to most other types of cuts the action cut is one of the least jarring and can be almost invisible if timed carefully. It will help you to smoothly transition between different camera angles without distracting viewers.

2. L and J Cuts

The L cut is a cut where the video transitions from one scene to the next, but the audio from the first scene continues to play for a short while before transitioning. The J cut is similar, but it requires that the audio from the second scene starts to play first before the video cuts to it shortly afterward.

As you can imagine the L and J cut are very useful as they will let you transition the audio independently of the video and better preserve the flow of both. It is often used to edit dialogue or to show reaction shots.

3. Jump Cuts

Nowadays jump cuts are frequently used, especially when beginners edit videos that are captured from a single camera and a fixed perspective. They involve cutting to the same clip (or one that is visually similar) but at a later point in time.

Because most of the content of both clips are visually similar, the elements that are different (normally the subject) will jump out of place. That makes this type of cut very jarring – and is the reason why you should avoid it where possible or try to mask it using a cutaway or by reframing one of the clips.

If you want to get better at knowing which type of cut to use and when the best thing to do is to start editing videos. For example, you could use popular Video Editor and trim videos.

At the end of the day however it isn’t just the type of cut that you use. Other factors will be at play as well, such as the timing and pacing of the video.

The one rule that you should always follow when you cut videos is simple: Only use any type of cut when there is a specific reason for it. If there isn’t – you’re better off using a standard ‘hard’ cut despite the fact that it can be jarring for viewers.

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