Jump cut  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
"Contemporary use of the jump cut stems from its appearance in the work of Jean-Luc Godard and other filmmakers of the French New Wave of the late 1950s and 1960s. In Godard's ground-breaking Breathless (1960), for example, he cut together shots of Jean Seberg riding in a convertible (see right) in such a way that the discontinuity between shots is emphasized. In the screen shots above, the first image comes from the very end of one shot and the second is the very beginning of the next shot — thus emphasizing the gap in action between the two (when Seberg picked up the mirror)." --Sholem Stein

A jump cut is a cut in film editing where the middle section of a continuous shot is removed, and the beginning and end of the shot are then joined together. The technique breaks continuity in time and produces a startling effect. Any moving objects in the shot will appear to jump to a new position.

In classical continuity editing, jump cuts are considered a technical flaw. Most cuts in that editing style occur between dissimilar scenes or significantly different views of the same scene to avoid the appearance of a jump. Every effort is made to make cuts invisible, unobtrusive.

A predecessor to the use of the jump cut is An Andalusian Dog (1929) in which the the chronology of the film is disjointed: for example it jumps from "once upon a time" to "eight years later" without the events changing.

Contemporary use of the jump cut stems from its appearance in the work of Jean-Luc Godard and other filmmakers of the French New Wave of the late 1950s and 1960s. In Godard's ground-breaking Breathless (1960), for example, he cut together shots of Jean Seberg riding in a convertible (see right) in such a way that the discontinuity between shots is emphasized. In the screen shots above, the first image comes from the very end of one shot and the second is the very beginning of the next shot — thus emphasizing the gap in action between the two (when Seberg picked up the mirror).

The jump cut has sometimes served a political use in film. It has been used as an alienating Brechtian technique (the Verfremdungseffekt) that makes the audience aware of the unreality of the film experience. This could be used to focus their attention on the political message of a film rather than the drama or emotion of the narrative — as may be observed in some segments of Sergei Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin.

In informal contexts the term jump cut is sometimes used to describe any abrupt and noticeable edit cut in a film. However, technically this is an incorrect usage of the term. A famous example of this is found at the end of the "Dawn of Man" sequence in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. A primitive ape discovers the use of bones as tools and throws the bone into the air. When the bone reaches its highest point, the shot cuts to that of a similarly-shaped space craft floating through space. This edit has been described as a jump cut, including on the box of the DVD release of the film, but it is more correctly a match cut because the viewer is meant to see the similarity between the bone and the space craft and not the discontinuity between the two shots.

The jump cut was an uncommon technique for television until shows like Homicide: Life on the Street popularized it on the small screen in the 1990s. It was also famously used in a campaign commercial for US President Ronald Reagan's successful 1984 reelection bid.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jump cut" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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