In this weeks lab session, we looked at continuity editing and what it is.

Editing is a process of selecting, preparing sequencing parts of an event that contributes most effectively conveying information. Editing can involve numerous steps such as correction, condensation, organisation etc. All with the intention to produce a complete, high quality work.

Editing commences from an idea firstly being created and an opportunity to improve the idea is seen. There are different types of editing.

Continuity Editing

Continuity editing is a style of editing in the post-production process of film or video making. The main purpose behind continuity editing is to keep everything flowing in a consistent, orderly, smooth and sequential manner over between shots. It emphasises smooth transitions of time and space.

The word Continuity, focuses on structuring of on and off screen space and establishing, maintaining the viewers mental map. It concerns itself primarily with the clarification of an event, but not exclusively.

A mental map helps the view try and make sense of where things are, where they are going or where it is supposed to be in on and off screen space. Continuity editing relies on matching screen direction/position and its temporal relation from shot to shot. It basically clarifies the event.

They are different types of continuity editing such editing include:


Is a when two shots that has been approved off are joined to continue two discontinued scenes in order to create a similarity of compositional elements for example colour, shape, size etc. This type of editing aims build a connection between the shots with a smooth, crisp transition.

Example of graphic continuity can be seen in the Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho (from 0.26)  in which a graphic continuity match cut is used as the drain is changed to give the illusion of the victims iris. The graphic matches is used or can be used to make a metaphorical associations.


Rhythmic continuity, Is the assembling of different shots. This occurs when the the length of the shot is edited in order to control the  overall duration however this is determined by the beat and tempo etc. However rhythm is also perceived intuitively. Rhythmic continuity can be a narrative.


Is the connection of any two points in space through similarity, difference or development to make up a scene. This continuity editing is reinforced by numerous technique such techniques include:

  • 180 degree rule
  • Eye-liner shot
  • Shot-reverse-shot
  • Match on Action
Explaining the technique in detail below 
The 180 Degree Rule and Spatial Continuity

The 180 degree rule technique in spatial continuity is one of the most important as this rule its necessary to maintain continuity.

So what is it?

The 180 degree rule is a rule that states the camera should remain the same side of an imaginary line.

  • The line is drawn perpendicular to the camera view in an establishing shot of the scene.
  • Camera must always be on one side of a line.

For example in a chasing scene if a character is chasing a car or someone from left to right, the next scene must also be shot from same position. Therefore the character must appear from left to right. If not, this will break the flow of the scene in terms of continuity.

NEVER BREAK THE RULE! Only time you can is for ‘effect’ , if not for effect it confuses the viewers.

180 degrees action line

Is an editing technique that refers to the direction of looking eye. It is similar to shot reverse shot. The eye line match creates order and meaning in cinematic space.the The camera temporarily becomes the character’s eyes due to the the consist shot switching .

This technique surrounds the audience wanting to view what the camera is viewing. An example where the eye line technique has been used is in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear window’ in which the main character often looks out of the window frequently due to him being bound to wheelchair because of an injury that he sustained that left his leg in a cast. Eye line match’s are used often throughout the movie in order to show the focus of the actor gaze.

From 0:44 we can see eye match technique taking place where Jeff (James Stewart) is staring at the dancer, the path of his looking matches even through continuously cut between the two characters.

The blue line shows eye line matching what Jeff is looking at (James Stewart) gaze

This shot is a continuity shot editing technique in which it is used in order to maintain continuity of a scene. For example this type of shot can be to capture a shot of a character having a conversation with someone and cuts to the other character being spoken to (shows exactly what what the character sees). This is similar to ‘Eye line match’ shot. The shot links to the 180 degree rule in order to maintain continuity. This is done in order to stop the viewers from getting lost.

The shot is often combined together to create the illusion of two characters facing each other, even though they may not be necessarily be filming the same time or location.

Example of a shot reverse shot used here in Batman the dark knight (2008)

Match on action is a shot that cuts two alternate views of the same or different action at the same moment, in order to create an uninterrupted story. This creates an impression of continuity. This technique draws the viewers away from the cuts. A match on action adds variety and dynamism to a scene.

This technique allows the same action to be viewed from different camera angles, whilst not breaking the continuity. A match on action adds variety and dynamism to a scene.


This technique is when the camera is set up for a different shot at a new angle from the a previous shot in order to improve the new shot. A change of perspective and angle of the new establishing shot gives the illusion of a adjustment hasn’t commenced. This type of technique is a quick, alternative way of editing.


This editing technique is an abrupt transition in two sequential shots and gives the image of a shot that has been ‘skipped’ or ‘jumped’ from one spot to the another. This type of  editing jumps in continuity. This type of edit gives the effect of jumping forwards in time. This type of editing is used is to shorten a scene however if not used properly will make can lead to a feel of something missing.

To learn about jump cut, the link below explores the topic


This image shows a series of jump cuts occurring

Elliptical continuity shortens a duration of story by excluding certain scenes in a story. This editing can make use of jump cuts to achieve this type of editing. This editing is creating shot transitions that misses parts of an event, causing an ellipsis vibe to occur.


Temporal Continuity

Means of constructing the story in terms of time: order, duration, and frequency:

  • Order

The order is how the event is presented. These events aid to reveal a story that is different and one that isn’t necessarily obvious.

  • Duration

The duration of events in a story can be manipulated create an ellipsis in a way that it consumes less time on screen than in the actual story line itself, this done to increase tension.

  • Frequency

This builds up tension but adding elements to move the story closer to the climax.



Today’s task was to create a short video in groups that demonstrates continuity editing. The short video makes use of basic continuity editing and the jump cut technique. This is due to series of cuts used in each scene in order to speed up the process, as without jump cuts it will have made the video boring as the acting was not very dramatic.

The videos below show numerous stages of developments of the video. This was done because i was unhappy with the original version as I felt that this video did not flow well and didn’t fit the whole idea of continuity which was to keep everything flowing in a consistent manner. I did not achieve this. However as a small group made up of Myself, Temi and Edem we recreated a new video sticking to the same idea from the original video but with a narrative structure swapped, which sees the protagonist starting the day rather than finishing the day as seen in the first video. We wanted to create a video that was consistent and one that fits the brief. To achieve this we captured the footage using different camera angles in order for us to have a wide range of shots when it came to editing. By having a wide range of shots allowed us to be selective.

I used final cut pro to edit the video. This software was used as this was one that I was familiar with and one I have a reasonable understanding of using due to studying video production as one of the many modules in first year. Final cut pro allowed me to use the skills equipped from first year to edit the numerous videos to the best of my abilities. Editing the video consisted of mainly cutting clips, shortening and transitioning.

To add more interest to the video, I used Logic Pro to produce a soundtrack for the videos. The following images shows some of the editing process.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 18.31.33
Using final cut pro and logic pro together

Original video

This is the original video. I didn’t like it after reviewing as one it didn’t really have clear structure and one that didn’t fit into continuity. In addition it was dull.


Video 2

This is the developed video, I assumed that producing and adding an audio to it will improve the video. However it didn’t even though it was more interesting than the original one due to sound being added.


Video 3 Final

After careful consideration we decided to create a new video, as this was the only possible way of improving it, and also one that was recommend by Rakesh for us to do. This final video was definitely better as it met the brief and also of better quality in terms of editing.


This lecture equipped me with the knowledge about different editing techniques that are commonly used in film production and how each are used differently depending on the film. In addition to this, I’ve learnt that for a film to be of good quality, one must ensure that the film should aim to capture a fair amount of different shots in terms of camera angles. As this makes it easier when it comes to editing due to the availability of having different camera angle shots which allows one to be selective and select what works best to tell that particular story.


Sight Sound And Motion – Herbert Zettl

Chapter 17

The Syntax of Continuity Editing

In this chapter the author goes into depth about editing, focuses on continuity which summarises continuity as a necessity in order for a story to flow in the right direction. The book explains how the main focus continuity editing is on structuring scenes in order to establish and also maintain the viewers mind map as explained above. This chapter speaks about different types of continuity editing the ones I haven’t written about are as followed.

  • Vector lines = used to maintain established vector continuity for keeping objects or actor in the same place or screen position. In addition it is also used for close ups e.g. close up of a characters face.
  • Motion vectors = this is used for moving object off and on screen in a slick manner without any mistakes. This vectors aids to maintaining the audiences mental maps which is vital, as a loss of this can lead to the audience getting confused, therefore losing interest. Making this important!
  • Graphic vectors = used when aiming to achieve continuity in a scene from point A to point B successfully.

These four aids to creating a nice, consistent film.

In addition to reading this book. I did some online reading of my own in order to build up my overall knowledge about editing these are the following links to site where i read up on continuity editing.