Cutaways and insert shots are two film editing techniques that are used to connect scenes, provide context, and/or to add visual interest to a video. For example, an interview featuring a person talking for several minutes can be pretty boring. One or more cutaways, however, can be used to show what the interviewee is talking about, adding visual interest to the film. A cutaway might feature a plant, animal, landscape, map, animation, instrument or some other object or process being described during the interview.
Insert shots are also used to provide context in a video, often showing some additional detail in a scene. For example, a medium shot might show a scientist working in the laboratory and pipetting a liquid into vials. An insert shot showing a closeup of the scientist’s hands or the pipette tip would be filmed separately and inserted into the main footage. Such edits can enhance a video by providing a new perspective or additional detail not apparent in the main footage.
The scientist videographer must plan ahead for cutaways and insert shots by filming “b-roll” footage along with the main footage. Such preparation may take a bit more time during filming and some effort during editing but is well worth it in the end.
In the following tutorial, I describe these two techniques and show how to use them in iMovie to edit video footage.
That paper inspired us to join forces and initiate a video series to answer questions that science professionals may have about making videos. Each video focuses on a different question. In this one, we discuss who should make videos for scientists.
Eric Brennan, a researcher with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, recently published a paper in Frontiers in Communication called “Why Should Scientists Be On YouTube? It’s All About Bamboo, Oil, and Ice Cream“. Eric and I began corresponding about eight years ago, sharing our experiences making videos and encouraging other scientists to use video to communicate their work. When I saw his paper, I contacted him and suggested we collaborate on a video project.
We’ve decided to initiate a joint video series to answer questions that science professionals may have about making videos. Each video will focus on a different question. This is the first video in the series and focuses on the question of why scientists should be using video as a communication tool. Future videos will address other questions listed in Eric’s paper (Table 1).
I previously created a how-to video explaining what graphical abstracts are and provided some examples, which can be seen here. In this video update, I cover three characteristics that will make your graphical abstract more effective and offer another example of how to craft one in PowerPoint.