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Jump Cut


This is the term used to describe an unnatural event happening within a scene. Each shot relates to the shot before it and after it. And so events have to happen logically as we go from one shot to another.

An example of a jump cut:
In the first shot, a person is holding a book. On the very next cut they are not holding the book. The audience sees the book magically disappear. Unless the person is a magician, this is a jump cut.

One famous jump cut happened on a comedy sitcom. A couple was sitting down for dinner. As the scene progressed, the candles on the table would sometimes be lit and sometimes be out. As the camera would show the individuals talking, you could see that the candles were lit. Then the scene would cut to another shot of only one person and instantly, the same candles were burned out. The camera would switch to a shot of the other person and the candles would once again be lit.

The studio had video taped the scene twice. During one of the tapings, the candle went out. In editing, the editor combined the two scenes using the best shots from both. He did not consider the candles and mixed the shot with lit and unlit candles. So we saw the candles magically go out and light up.

Jump cuts occur because of poor editing or lack of consistency while shooting. Remember that each shot relates to the shot before and after it.

Video w/ Jump Cuts

Video w/o Jump Cuts

Jump cuts can be used to give the experience of life being out of order. Often, a music video will make a statement by having events happen out of sequence. This gives a feeling of disorder.

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