Video Editing

What is an L-Cut in video editing?

Posted April 28, 2021
Written by Clipchamp

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The world of video editing has a variety of tips and tricks that you can learn and implement on your videos to enhance the overall production value. 

One such simple technique to up your video editing game is an L-cut. L-cut’s are a split film-editing technique that extends the audio from one video clip onto the next video clip. Simple as it sounds, this technique can have a powerful effect. Let’s explore how:

  • What is an L-Cut in video production?

  • How to use L-Cut in your videos?

  • What is J-Cut?

  • Why are L-Cut and J-Cut editing techniques important?

  • How are L-Cuts and J-Cuts used in social media?

What is an L-Cut in video production?

An L-cut in video production is a split film-editing technique that extends the audio to overlap from the preceding video clip on to the next video clip.  

This also creates a visual L on your video editor’s timeline.

L-cut is a great way to transition from one shot to another while moving ahead in the storyline. The audio in the L-Cut keeps going along with the next shot while creating pace in the video. 

These cuts are best pre-planned so using a storyboard or shot list is recommended.

How to use L-Cut in your videos? 

You can use L-cut in several ways depending on the video you’re creating but the implementation of this cut is the same regardless of the software. 

The idea is to carry forward the audio of the current clip to the next shot to create a smooth transition that overlaps with the sequence that follows. You will need to cut your clip and adjust it accordingly. The length of the audio overlapping depends on your script and the kind of impact you’re looking for. If you’re creating a video montage with the help of the first video clip’s audio voiceover then you need to place all your video clips one after the other while dragging the audio up to the point where you want to end the scene. You have the creative freedom to experiment with L-cuts and trust us when we say it’s super fun to edit your videos using this technique. 

L-cut example in Clipchamp editor

What is J-Cut? 

Before we compare the two cuts we first need to understand J-Cut. It is also a split editing technique where the audio of the next clip starts ahead of its visual while the audio is being played overlapping with the previous video clip. J-cuts create a visual J on the editing timeline. 

J-Cuts are reverse of L-cut, depending on the arrangement of the footage these cuts have a primary video, primary audio that overlaps along with a B-roll on either side. J-cuts are often used to pick up the pace of the video and make the scene appear shorter. 

What is a J-Cut in Video Editing?

Why are L-Cut and J-Cut editing techniques important?

On the video editing timeline, these cuts might appear simple but are very powerful techniques that enhance the viewer’s experience. It makes the transitions used in simple conversations all the time to make them appear more realistic and engaging. 

The L-cut technique is considered to be voice-over’s friend as it can be of great use when it comes to long montages or scenes that have a preceding voice-over that is followed by a series of B-rolls. 

The J-cut can create powerful opening scenes that play in the audio track and create an ambiance and excitement for the visual that is about to appear. We often see this being used in most of the cinema’s opening credits. 

In a conversation, the video editor can decide to juggle between J-cut and L-cut to create an engaging scene. Filmmakers often specifically request these cuts for a dialogue-heavy scene. Juggling between these cuts makes the scene appear realistic. Christopher Nolan uses these techniques in most of his films to create tension and pace up the film. 

How are L-cuts and J-cuts used in social media?

We are aware that social media videos are usually kept short to get maximum audience retention on our videos. What if we told you that you can make the video ‘feel short’ instead of compromising on the duration and hampering your story? 

Using the L-Cut video editing technique on a video editor enables you to create an outstanding video that is smooth flowing and easy to watch. It enhances the mood and sets the pace for your videos. J-cuts can come in handy with your social media videos when you’re trying to squeeze in ‘multiple shots’ in a limited duration. 

You can stand out in all your social media video trends by combining these cuts every time you feel the need to. These cuts can be used for your Instagram Reels, TikTok videos, YouTube videos, and anywhere on social media platforms. Your audience will notice the change in your video editing style and re-visit your channel more often. These techniques are also great to market your brand and create fancy social media video adverts. Do not overdo these cuts and let the focus be on the core story of your video. 

Get started with using L-cuts in your videos

An L-cut is a useful technique that should be in every filmmaker’s toolkit.Video editing techniques are plenty but the use of J-Cut and L-Cut combo has taken storytelling with video to new heights. These cuts may appear tough at the beginning, but given some time and practice, you’ll be able to outshine your past videos sooner than you know. Now that you’re ready to create amazing videos with your learnings, start creating videos with Clipchamp

Want to learn more about video production? Start by exploring our video glossary.

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