Topic 7: Transitions

A shot occurs when all the action is filmed in one continuous take without disruption. Film directors work with editors to join shots together with transitions to create the narrative of their stories. As active viewers, the audience needs to be attentive to the effects of these decisions in order to appreciate the subtleties in the development of mood, character, and theme.

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The Cut

A cut is the quickest transition, moving instantly from one shot to another.

This video demonstrates the difference between two types of cuts: jump cuts and match cuts. Watch how the director of this scene from The Royal Tenenbaums uses jump cuts to effectively compress a transformative scene. (Warning: mature content—violence.) While viewing these videos, consider the advantage of using a jump cut or match cut instead of a simple cut. Record your observations in your Elements of Film handout.

Now, watch CINEFX’s discussion of the transitions in this short clip from the film City of God. Use your Elements of Film handout to record the effect of the jump cuts you observe as you watch this clip.

The Match Cut

Match cuts establish the narrative and action of a scene within its setting. Cutting together a variety of shots from different angles in a given space, directors use match cuts to maintain a logical flow in their narrative.

View the following videos to see how directors use match cuts to establish continuity. 2001 A Space Odyssey - match cut and Example of Match Cut Edits. Note the effects of the match cuts you observed in your Elements of Film handout.