Editing Interviews

Chapter 6 discussed the issue of cutting interview material down for time. When these cuts are made, the editor often covers them with cutaways. For example, an interview with a scientist about cloning might use cutaways of the scientist at work, or archival footage of Dolly, the cloned sheep, or cutaways to graphics illustrating the scientist's point. It has also become somewhat more accepted to simply cut the footage and allow the viewer to see the image jump—one minute the speaker is looking to the left, the next he is looking down, but still talking; this is known as a jump cut. Sometimes an editor will soften this cut with a slight dissolve, or a fade in and out of black, but the cut is still apparent.

Another style of jump cutting is to include a few quick images that inform the interview but do not imply a seamless whole. In interviews with former Alabama governor George Wallace for the documentary 4 Little Girls, editor and coproducer Sam Pollard made a series of evocative jump cuts to shots of Wallace with a cigar: lighting it, inhaling, blowing out smoke, looking away. Pollard says he was inspired by Oliver Stone's use of jump cuts in JFK. "Stone conveyed so much information through the way he cut it that I wanted to try to emulate that," he says.

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