3 Types of Cuts Every YouTuber Needs to Use [GUIDE]

Capture and retain attention plus improve your overall video and channel engagement with these three types of cuts for your YouTube video editing.

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3 Types of Cuts Every YouTuber Needs to Use [GUIDE]

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You’re about to upload a YouTube video, yay! But did you know 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute?

That’s a lot of competition. But not to worry, today we’re giving you an editing tip that’ll help you:

  • Capture and retain attention
  • Improve your overall video and channel engagement 

Spend any amount of time on YouTube and you’ll start to notice some trends. 

It doesn’t take a professional filmmaker or even a seasoned blogger to pick up on what’s popular right now: camera movements, lighting, background music, and even certain buzzwords.

If you spend any amount of time on Youtube (or have a child, sibling, or roommate who does), then you know exactly what I mean. 

Each month, a few names rise to the top of the YouTube community. Then the rest of us spend the next 4-6 months chasing after anything that might give us an advantage over other people who might be reading this post just like you.

But what if I told you there’s something — or a few things, to be more specific — you can do to improve your video production without having to rehash and recycle things you see on every popular channel?

You can start by learning these 3 types of camera cuts every Youtuber needs to know.

YouTube Trends: 3 Popular Cuts 

It’s important to remember you aren’t trying to be a trend-chaser — you’re just staying aware of the trends while you do your own awesome thing.

Cutting is one more way to put a little bit of magic into the art of filmmaking and overall video content creation. It’s a way for you (as a storyteller) to steer the viewer’s emotion. But also as a video marketer (or content creator), it’s a technique to improve viewer retention. And these three popular cutting techniques below are helpful tools for all content creators, whether you’re an Academy Award-winning editor or first-time YouTube vlogger.

#1. The J-Cut And The L-Cut

No, this isn’t the jump cut! But it is sort of like the jump cut’s quiet, less obnoxious cousin who comes to the party and mostly hangs out in the corner away from the spotlight.

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A J-cut is when the audio cues up a scene transition. For example, if you’re working on a travel video and the footage starts in a house or airport, you might choose to let the sound effects “bleed” a bit. So you could snag a little audio from the next scene — the tarmac and takeoff — and have that play over shots of the previous scene.

Similarly, the L-cut is just the opposite. Let’s say instead of using takeoff audio a few seconds early, you decide to cut the visuals to the inside of the plane while the audio is still you at home talking about the upcoming trip.

Both of these are easy ways to let viewers know a cut is coming, but you don’t have to do any camera whips or over-the-top gimmicks. In fact, you don’t have to move at all. That’s part of the beauty behind why these are such fun cuts to use.

#2. The Cross-cut

Cross-cutting is the process of jumping back and forth between two scenes (usually implying they’re happening at the same time). This technique is pretty frequently used by Hollywood directors, but doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t think of ways to use cross-cutting in our own videos. 

You might have two conversations happening at the same party, or in two countries on opposite sides of the world — a cross-cut lets you tell those stories together. Really all that matters is you chop these scenes up and weave them together without losing any of the dialogue or interesting visuals.

And if it works correctly, you can actually generate more engagement from the combined scenes than you would if you presented them separately.

Think back to what Christopher Nolan did with Inception. In moments with the highest stakes, the scenes often switched between the real world and the dream world. Layering the drama creates a huge spike in tension and emotion, and that’s something you could use in a wide variety of videos.

As long as the two stories relate to each other in some way, cross-cutting lets you get even more punch from each plot line in the video.

#3. The Cutaway

We’ve all seen thousands of cutaways in YouTube vlogs. Whether you like watching DIY craft videos, educational tutorials, or adrenaline-junkie action sports montages, every good filmmaker knows the cutaway is a simple trick to add dimension to a video.

Part of finding success as a filmmaker is knowing how to get the most out of your B-roll material. The cutaway is a simple, straightforward method of dropping in pieces of B-roll during a longer scene (usually behind voiceover or dialogue). This will help you show off a location, provide an illustration, or even refresh the viewer’s mind on something from a previous video.

As much as I joked about jump cuts earlier on, the cutaway is probably the most popular technique across all YouTube content. But because it serves multiple purposes and provides legitimate value for the viewer, the cutaway feels a little more effective.

Improving Your Skills As A Content Creator

To be clear, YouTube trends exist for a reason. Other content creators have already tried to replicate every trick, tool, or tactic. And if those other creators are still developing their own style, they might work hard to replicate a specific shot or recreate a particular color.

But what if you didn’t have to do that? What if you could watch this week’s top videos for entertainment, then jump right back into making content for your channel?

That should be your goal as a content creator. Professional athletes enjoy watching sports, musicians enjoying going to concerts, and filmmakers enjoy watching movies — but everyone is always looking for things they can use to improve their skills in their own craft. Take that approach to your YouTube videos and you’ll be on the right path to finding success.


Written By: Drew
Drew is the copywriter at Soundstripe, where creators can find royalty free music for YouTube and other stock music resources. 

3 Types of Cuts Every YouTuber Needs to Use [GUIDE]