Jump cut

22 April 2011

A BBC4 profile of the director David Lean last week had Steven Spielberg talking about Lean’s work, and in particular about the celebrated jump cut early in Lawrence of Arabia, possibly one of the influential films ever made. The trick in the cut, said Spielberg, is that the sound of the match bridges the edit by six frames, or a quarter of a second. Lean worked as an editor – a ‘cutter’, in the pre-war lexicon – before he became an editor, and would have understood the importance of this fraction of time instinctively.

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