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Old February 13 2011, 09:40 AM   #66
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Continuing with cinematography basics, let's talk about...

A Jump Cut is an edit in which two sequential shots of the same subject are taken from camera positions that vary only slightly, with the result that the subject appears to "jump" position, making the edit both visible and jarring.

The Jump Cut is easily avoided in two ways:
  1. If you've already shot the film and your camera setups on a given subject vary too little, never cut directly from one shot of that subject to another shot of the same subject. Cut to another subject (another person in the conversation, etc.) before cutting back.
  2. Better yet, observe the 30░ Rule when shooting (see below).

30░ RULE

The 30░ Rule is a basic guideline that applies to both shooting and editing. Its purpose is to make sequential shots of the same subject different enough to avoid a Jump Cut.

The rule is pretty simple: the camera should move at least 30░ between shots of the same subject in order to impart a change of perspective significant enough so that the change feels motivated (intentional), with the added benefit of making the edit less obvious to the viewer.

If consecutive shots of the same subject are too similar in angle (say less than 30░), they may look like a Jump Cut.

Just moving the camera in an arc around the subject isn't always a full solution. For instance, if the framing of the subject does not change significantly (e.g. medium to CU), then even observing the 30░ Rule might not be enough. It's usually best to change the framing of a subject when changing the angle, as again, it makes the shot change feel intentional and thus invisible to the viewer.

So, as in this example above, with each angle, the camera moves to a different distance from the subject, resulting in different framing.

You must always be mindful of The Line and actor Eyelines. It's easy to get carried away and cross The Line or mess up the Eyelines by moving too drastically on an opposing axis.

* * *
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ŚMajor T. J. "King" Kong

Last edited by Maurice; February 14 2011 at 03:24 AM.
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