Edit Terms

Continuity Editing

Creating the illusion of ongoing, continuous reality when editing shots that progress from one to the other. This form of editing creates the illusion of uninterrupted time. Random shots rarely cut together. The shots need to be suitable for cutting a sequence.


Variations in pace (the temporal length in shots) guides viewers in their emotional response to the show. Rapid pacing suggests intensity; slower pacing conveys a more relaxed environment. Pace is most obvious in action sequences, which can often involve shots that last less than one second! Therefore, an action sequence needs a large variety of shots as opposed to a scene that shows two people having a conversation.


The amount of information in the shot determines the length of the shot. Hold the shot as long as it takes for the information to sink in. Rhythm requires variation in the length of shots. Also, good rhythm is determined by the seamlessness of the edits - they go largely unnoticed by viewers. 

Off-Screen/On-Screen Action

The subject is allowed to leave the frame at the end of the shot, or we start with an empty frame and let the subject enter the shot. The editor can cut from an empty frame to almost any shot and still maintain visual or temporal continuity.

Cutaways and Cross-Cutting

Cutaway shots cut away from the principle action in the same scene, whilst cross-cutting involves inter-cutting between two scenes that are happening simultaneously. Both of these devices can manipulate time and space, allowing audiences to see other parts of the action or scene. Cutaways direct the audience's attention away from the principle action and cross-cutting directs the audience to look at parallel action.

Cut Ins or Inserts

An insert simply cuts to detail within the wide shot, allowing us to see more detail. The cut-in forces us to look at someone or something up close or in greater detail. But it also prevents us from seeing changes happening beyond the frame line. It's like putting blinders on the audience, confining their attention and obscuring activities going on around them.

The Match Cut

This is the most obvious continuity edit, which conveys the illusion that there has been no elapsed time. Shots are taken from multiple angles of the same action. The shots are then reconstructed to match the action of the previous shot. In other words, matching action is a reconstruction of multiple images of the same action to convey the illusion of one continuous action. The edits are made seamless when you cut on the motion. Also, the framing of the image should change, for example, from a wide shot to a close-up. The cut appears seamless when it is largely unnoticed by the audience.


Creating a Sequence

Matching Action

Jump Cuts


Editing Workflow
Edit Terms
Adobe Premiere Guide
Fast Package Editing Instructions
Video Compression Formats