With trakAxPC Pro, we want users to be able to have fun editing and creating videos without getting bogged down in complicated software or convoluted technical terms. However, learning some very basic editing tricks can immensely improve your final cuts. In this short blog, I want to show how powerful, yet subtle transitions called J and L cuts can be used.
J and L cuts can also be called “audio advance” (J Cut) or “video advance” (L Cut) – this is actually a much easier way of thinking of it. An audio advance cut is where you can hear the audio before you see the accompanying video and a video advance cut is the opposite.
The name comes from how the edits can appear in modern video editing applications, like the letters L and a J - think it would be fair to say you may need to use some imagination.
Although you may not be aware of the technical terms, you see these transitions every day. They are used almost constantly on news reports – standing in front of the camera, the reporter gives an overview of the situation, for example an erupting volcano. The video then cuts to show footage of the erupting volcano, while we continue to hear the reporter’s audio report. The opposite is probably even more common – we see footage of the erupting volcano while we hear the reporter’s audio report. We then cut to the video of the reporter in front of the camera who then finishes the piece. (Simply watching some news reports from BBC News, CNN, Sky News etc. on YouTube will give you an idea of how common this form of editing is).
Rather than getting too bogged down in technical details – watch the video below and keep an eye out for various L and J Cuts:
Here’s another really great example of these cuts in action:
I think you would agree that they are a very subtle but powerful way to tell a story.
An L cut, also known as a split edit, is an edit transition from one shot to another in film or video, where the picture and sound are synchronised but the transitions in each are not coincident. This is often done to enhance the aesthetics or flow of the film as L cuts allow the audience to see context (either before or after) of speaking rather than simply the speaking itself. Without L cuts, a conversation between two people can feel like a tennis match.
L cuts are also used to hide transitions between scenes. They can be very effective in editing dialog scenes shot with a single camera using multiple takes. The ability to cut the picture/video separately from the sound/audio allows the sound from the various takes to flow smoothly, even though the picture cuts are at different places. In longer shots, this allows the editor to use the picture from one take with the sound from another take if the dialog reading is better.
The name of the cut refers to the shape of the cut pieces of the film - the audio track is cut somewhat after (or before) the last frame of video, resulting in roughly L-shaped film ends, as the video and audio parts of film are in tracks, one below, one above, on the film itself.