Once you start doing a lot of video editing, watching your favorite movie or TV show is never quite the same. The way dialogue scenes are cut together, the framing of characters in a shot, and of course scene transitions. In this supercut from the popular TV Show "Stranger Things," see how the editor used a variety of cuts to create compelling transitions.
You probably noticed that audio plays a huge role in the transition happening in just about all of these examples (try watching the video on mute and see how most transitions fall flat) and if you really paid attention, you may have caught that in a few of the edits, the audio transition starts to happen just a few frames before the actual video edit begins. According to Academy Award-winning film editor Walter Murch, and I'm paraphrasing here, editing this way often feels natural because in real life, we hear things and then react to them, usually by turning our heads. So we are almost always "hearing" that transition before we visually process it, and skilled editors mimic that when creating an edit. A J-cut is the most basic application of this technique.
The smash cut is used throughout, some match cuts, as well as a couple invisible cuts where the camera pushes into black to finish one scene, the reveals from black to start the next. Thanks to Vimeo user Rishikaneria for putting this together.
I really enjoy these sort of breakdowns, as it's easy to see what's going on and plan to recreate similar effects in your own work. It helps makes all of us better and more aware editors. If you're unfamiliar with what edits like a J-cut or smash cut are, here's another great video reference that dives into how each different edit is made that we featured about six months ago: