Post-Production - Do you use Cutaways?

Last updated by Bahjat Alaadel [SSW] 15 days ago.See history

Often when video editing, you hear terms like “cut to” and “cutaway” when decribing the addition of footage to "show" what is being discussed. They might be used interchangeably in some video teams; however, this might cause confusion when providing feedback to some video editors. Many YouTube channels don’t distinguish been to the 2 terms, but let’s define the difference and what the preference is for the SSWTV team.

The cutaway shot is a filmmaking and video editing technique. It is a supplementary shot that “cuts away” from the main action. Commonly, technical videos do not often use cutaways, the SSW TV channel prefers to use overlay, also called B-Roll footage. Sometimes people can say "cut away to this footage" and actually mean "cut to b-roll footage"

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Now let's put that into practise. During an interview, looking at a talking head (the subject) can become monotonous. It is a good idea to ‘cut away’ to the detail/thing that the speaker is referring to. Not only does it make it more interesting, it improves the understandability of the video and allows for your audience to connect with the message and interviewee journey.

As an example, if you are interviewing someone and the topic of unit testing comes up, mid-sentence you can cut to a shot of the unit testing UI.

cutaways bad example
Figure: Bad example - Looking at a talking head for 30 mins is boring!

Figure: Good example - Using B-Roll footage to improve the audiences engagement

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