OED pre-dating -- "jump cut"

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 27 06:27:06 UTC 2010

The specific use can be pushed back into the 1940s, although there are
other uses going back further. This certainly should have been
predictable as the term appears in general "textbooks" and overview
volumes in the early to mid-1950s, by which point the term is entrenched
in the industry.

Film Quarterly, Vol. 2. 1947. p. 363
> In brief, there is no reason why "subjective" and "objective" camera
> viewpoints cannot be blended— transitions can occur in one jump cut,—
> but there is plenty of reason why Montgomery's heroine should not be
> allowed to catch ...

I checked the year best I could and it appears to be accurate (1947
issues, 1948 in future tense, no years past 1948).

More interesting is the fact that there are two earlier uses of "jump
cut" in the period immediately preceding the period in question--one is
from wood processing/logging/trimming and the other is a film
engineering technique that is not directly related to the scene jump

Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, Volume 26:1. January
1936. p. 56 [date verified]
> A dupe can be rather excessive as to graininess, but match the
> original well in contrast, and show a much less noticeable "jump" in
> quality upon the screen than if the reverse conditions were true. This
> discussion of graininess is in reference to dissolves that are "jump
> cut" into the original negative. Graininess is, of course, much more
> objectionable when dupe is run at any lengthl but under normal
> present-day conditions the graininess of the average properly made
> dupe is generally ...

The three uses are somewhat related. The idea of a jump cut in scene
selection is that two scene shots representing different temporal
developments are spliced together--possibly even with one being spliced
in the middle of the other, subsequently returning to the original
timeline. The jump-cut in logging is a cut in the tree from both sides,
as opposed to a single extended cut from one side. Finally, the
engineering use implies splicing/melting a short piece of duplicate film
as--and I am guessing here because I don't have a sufficiently long
description--substitute for a damaged piece of film. The three uses are
fairly distinctive and are not mere metaphoric extensions of previous
usage, although the phrase was employed, on occasion. (Most hits in GB
and GNA are misreads of "jump out".)

In any case, unless someone finds some more specific information from
the 1930s, it is going to be hard to establish if there is any direct
relationship between the diverse uses of the term. Unfortunately, with
only snippets--and often misleading ones at that--available from the
1930s forward, contextualization is simply not possible for most
situations without going to the physical originals. But who has the time
and resources for that!


On 4/26/2010 8:52 PM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
> The first citation given for this in the OED is from 1953:
> 1953 K. REISZ Technique Film Editing 280 *Jump cut, cut which breaks
> continuity of time by jumping forward from one part of an action to another
> obviously separated from the first by an interval of time.
> The term is found at least two years earlier in Raymond Spottiswoode, _Film
> and its techniques_ (1951):
> "If some frames have been cut out of the middle of a shot, a _jump cut_ will
> result."  (p. 154)
> http://books.google.co.uk/books?lr=&id=2_Yq2Zt-ErUC&dq=%22jump+cut%22&q=jump+cut#v=snippet&q=jump%20cut&f=false
> Robin

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