This Video Essay Explains the Invisible Magic of Movie Editing

Anna Green

Just as writers use punctuation to make their thoughts clear—commas to connect clauses, periods to signal the end of one thought and the beginning of another—filmmakers use cuts and transitions to make their films coherent, move between storylines, and advance plot. And whether you’re an aspiring filmmaker or a cinephile, understanding the basics of film editing can enhance your appreciation of a film. 

In “Cuts and Transitions 101,” RocketJump Film School gives an overview of the different techniques filmmakers regularly employ to move from shot to shot. In just eleven minutes, narrator Joey Scoma discusses cutaways, jump cuts, fades, dissolves, audio transitions, and more. “A lot of these cuts are so common and feel so natural that you don’t even think about it,” he explains. But while good editing might be so taken for granted we don’t even notice it, it’s the invisible sleight of hand that makes a movie feel magical.

Banner Image Credit: RocketJump Film School, YouTube