Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cross-cutting refers to a technique of film editing in which consecutive shots alternate between two or more actions. It can be found even in early films, such as The Great Train Robbery, and is widely employed in present day films.
Generally, cross-cutting is meant to suggest that actions are occurring at the same time. However, it can also be used to gain a deeper significance between two or more events that do not necessarily occur simultaneously. For instance, in D.W. Griffith's A Corner in Wheat, the film cross-cuts between the activities of rich businessmen and poor people waiting in line for bread. This is most likely meant to show the contrast between the lifestyles of the poor and rich. In addition, Cross-cutting may be used to overcome special effects limitations. For example, cross-cutting between a man running and a train moving towards the camera, suggests that the man is running from the train. Another dimension of cross-cutting is the rhythm of alternating shots; increasing the rapidity between two different actions may add tension to a scene.
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