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Editing Labs

So that you can understand a little more about the film editing process, here are a few of the more common editing terms explained.


An axial cut is a type of jump cut where the camera suddenly moves either closer or further away from the camera along the path of an invisible line. This gives the impression of becoming suddenly closer or further away from the object being filmed.


Cross cutting is a technique of cutting between multiple scenes to suggest that the events in each scene are happening at the same time. For example you could cut between a person looking at their watch and then another person running along the street to suggest one waiting for the other. Alternatively it can be used to link two events which may not be happening at the same time but that are none the less significant to each other.


A cutaway is a shot which is inserted into a piece of continuously filmed action. One common reason for using a cutaway is to cover the join when a piece of unwanted footage has been cut from a longer shot e.g. if you have a shot you want to use but there is a camera wobble or some other interference half way through. You could cut this section out and cover the join with another shot which is relevant to the scene.


A dissolve is a gradual transition from one shot to another. This is often used when you want a less abrupt transition than you would get if you used a simple cut. One of the most common types of dissolve is a cross-dissolve, where one image dissolves into a second image so that you momentarily see a shadow of both images as the transition is made.


An insert is a shot cut into a master shot which covers the same action. Perhaps to highlight a particular aspect of the master shot. An insert is often filmed at the same time as the master shot but on a second camera, so as not to lose the flow of the action when it is inserted during the editing process.


Montage is a style of editing where a series of shots are edited into a sequence which is quite fast paced and is used to advance the story quickly. In its original form, montage was popularised in Russian film of the 1920’s and was often used to contrast images as well as to speed up the storytelling.


A wipe is a term used for a transition from one image to another. It's often used where for reasons of style or effect, a simple cut or dissolve is not appropriate. One image is replaced by another with an edge which forms a shape as the transition occurs. For example a page turning or a star which grows to fill the screen. This can be used to produce a more interesting effect but the editor must be careful not to mix too many styles or overuse wipes as they can sometimes look tacky or cheap.