Film Editing Techniques: Cutting On The Action

Using the cut In Action

The biggest challenge of a video editor is to make the editing unnoticeable. cutting on the action is one way to do that. That is why it’s the first thing they will teach you in each video editing course out there. In this post, I will teach you everything you need to know about cutting on action from the shooting stage and to the editing.

 

Cutting on the action definition

Cutting on the action is a cut that is done in the middle of an action. The shot changes to a different angle when the character that the viewer has most focus on is in a middle of an action.

The advantages of cutting on action

As a video editor, your first job when cutting is to look for the action. This is a great technique to create an unnoticeable cut because the audience is too distracted by the action to notice the cut. Cutting on the action also helps to draw the audience into the story. For example, you can have a character typing on the computer and while he types, we cut to his fingers. Another advantage to the Cut on action is that it’s the perfect seamless continuity technique. Even if you’ll shoot each angle in a different location, it is most likely that the audience won’t notice that.

Planning the cut on action in shooting

It is the director and the cinematographer’s job to make sure the two shots are shot in a way that will be easy to connect the shots. On our typing example, the actor will have to do the action twice at each angle and at both times, he’ll have to type the same way. The most important element to pay attention to is that the two shots will be shot with a direction distance of at least 30 – degree from each other. Sometimes you can do cut on the action without changing direction, but it requires the right plannings.

The most important element to pay attention to is that the two shots will be shot with a direction distance of at least 30 – degree from each other. Sometimes you can do cut on the action without changing direction, but it requires the right planning.

When to do the cut

Some video editors like to debate about when it’s the right time to cut- at the beginning of an action, the middle or towards the end. Some claim that if you cut in the beginning of a cut, then you leave the viewer with a long shot until the next cut. Others will claim that cutting towards the end of the action will be too late and the viewer will already be bored.

I  wouldn’t suggest to limit yourself with any rules about it. Simply try different cuts and see when it work best. With time, you’ll develop the sense that will help you understand the right timing for the cut, but  basically, you should find a spot where the action looks the same at both shots.

 

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