The Editing Process

Editing Terms to Know

This is a brief list of video editing terms; there is plenty more to know that have been compiled elsewhere, from sites such as and

Camera shot and editing terms

Here’s a few basics terms to know:

  • Long shot, medium, and close-up shots. There is a variety of other shots that combine these terms, such as extreme close up, or medium close-up, but the first three are the basic ones to know. Here’s a break down of shots by
  • Movement of cameras: Pan, zoom, dolly; for photos, pan-and-scan, i.e. the Ken Burns effect.
  • J-cut and l-cut edits – used often in any edited piece.
  • Voiceover (VO) – Any audio narration by someone while another scene plays out visually.
  • Sound ducking: When VO occurs and music is playing, the music volume is lowered (ducked) so the VO is more audible.

Video transitions

Transitions are the change between one media clip and another media clip in a timeline. Here’s a few common transitions:

Jump cut

Change in action; sometimes implies same time period.

  • Example: A wide shot of people walking thru forest, then cut to a close up as someone trips.

Dissolve (to another video/image clip)

Sometimes implies a change in time.

  • Example: A shot of people walking thru a forest, then dissolving into another shot of people walking through a different section of the forest.

Fade (to black/white)

Implies an ending of some sort.

  • Example: A medium shot of person going to sleep, fade to black.