L-Cut vs J-Cut

Today, we will talk about J-Cuts and L-Cuts, two common but powerful editing techniques often used by professional editors. Both are a type of split editing, which is a transition from one frame to the next, where the audio and video transition at different times.

Split edits are usually used between frames within scenes instead of other effects such as fading because they help maintain visual continuity.

Unlike many other editing tricks, you've probably seen J-Cut and L-Cut without realizing. During the first one, the audio of the next scene outpaces the picture change, and during the latter, the frame changes while the sound from the previous scene continues..

Both effects consist of three things: primary video, primary audio, and a b-roll or other video clip. Depending on how these three elements are arranged, you can create an L-Cut or a J-Cut.

Before nonlinear editing came along, this method of editing was called "leading video" and "leading audio".

Now let's talk about what you can start using one of these techniques for.

How to use them

Imagine that you're editing a scene of the dialogue between Speaker A and Speaker B, the clips cut at the exact spot where the other person starts talking. In other words, you have recordings of Speaker A talking and Speaker B talking separately.

It feels more like ping-pong, which is disorienting and becomes stylistically boring. Using J-Cut, you can keep showing Speaker A's face when Speaker B starts talking. Conversely, you can show B's face before A is finished talking with L-Cut.

In any case, this way you can show the reaction of the person listening. This is a powerful tool, so use it. There are many ways to create an L-Cut, but fixing the sound and scrolling the video is the easiest to understand.

In real life, no one decides to stuff more J-Cut and L-Cut during editing. The best editing is the one that is not noticeable, remember it when you edit a video.

Now that you know what they look like and how to set them up, try getting creative with some L-shaped and J-shaped cuts in your projects. It's an easy way to add a professional touch to any video. Use these techniques carefully so as not to disrupt the flow of your video and distract viewers from the story you're trying to tell.