Video Editing 101 Editing Terms
Great video editors are talented storytellers. Using both visuals and audio, video editors are able to weave together a story and provoke an unforgettable emotion for the viewer.
Here are fundamental post production terms:
A transition where one shot is instantly followed by another.
Visual editing where shots are cut together in a clear and linear flow of uninterrupted action. This type of cutting seeks to maintain a continuous sense of time and space.
When the action or elements of a scene don’t match across shots. For example, when a character breaks a glass window but in a later shot the window is shown undamaged.
Technique used to give the illusion that two story lines of action are happening at the same time by rapidly cutting back and forth between them.
The interruption of a continuously filmed action with a shot that’s peripherally related to the principal action.
When the end of one shot overlaps the start of the next one to create a gradual scene transition.
The process of taking raw footage to select and combine shots to create a complete motion picture.
A shot that gives viewers an idea of where the scene is taking place. These usually involve a shot from a long distance, such as a bird’s eye view.
A technique based on the idea that viewers want to see what on-screen characters are seeing. For example, if a character is looking intently at an off-screen object, the following shot will be of that object.
A visual effect used to indicate a change in place and time. This involves a gradual brightening as a shot opens or a gradual darkening as the shot goes black or to another color. Sound also fades in and out to convey the change.
A wipe that takes the shape of a shrinking or growing circle, depending on if the scene is opening or ending. Rarely used today but very common during the silent era.
An editing technique that allows the audience to first hear audio from a shot, and then see it.
An abrupt cut that creates a lack of continuity between shots by leaving out parts of the action.
When the audio from the preceding scene continues to play over the footage from the following scene.
A cut joining two shots with matching compositional elements. This helps to establish strong continuity of action. One of the more notable examples of this technique is from a famous scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
A sequence of shots assembled in juxtaposition of one another to create an emotional impact, condense a story, or convey an idea. A famous example is “Psycho’s” shower scene. WARNING: This scene contains graphic violent content and may be disturbing.
Graphics or text that moves up or down the screen. This technique is typically used for credits by having text move from bottom to top.
The first editing pass done for a film. (The former sentence is not entirely accurate as an Assembly Cut is the first editing pass done for a film, but it depends on how one defines editing, so I think this is o.k.). A rough cut receives further polishing and editing before making its way out to audiences.
A long take composed of one shot that extends for an entire scene or sequence. Usually requires complex camera movements and action.
Shot Reverse Shot
The alternating of over-the-shoulder-shots, usually used during a conversation between two characters.
The process of adding sound effects and music and/or enhancing the existing audio with effects.
The transition from one shot to another with a visible pattern or element.