Figure 24. The cutaway
Requirements and limitations.
a. In order for scenes to be considered suitable for use as cutins or cutaways,
they must meet certain requirements. These limitations are threefold:
(1) They must change audience attention from what otherwise would be a loss of
continuity in order to prevent audience distraction. Losses of continuity can be
prevented by footage which includes jumps in action, changes of screen direction or
allowance for time passage.
(2) They must be part of the immediate action (a cutin) or pertain to the story
(a cutaway). Footage which does not contribute to the story is not suitable for use.
Rather than aid in keeping the audience oriented as to what is occurring, such footage
would only serve to confuse the viewers and contribute to the loss of continuity.
(3) If the cutin or cutaway is to be useful in maintaining audience orientation,
it must be clearly established in the audience's mind. The two methods by which this may
be accomplished are by either visual awareness on the part of the audience or by
suggestion resulting from reasoning or expectation of the audience. For example, a long
shot of the street where the tenement fire was taking place, would show the spectators
which would normally be expected at the site of a catastrophe. Later, scenes of one or
more of these bystanders could be used as cutaways. The audience had previously been
made aware of these people by actually seeing them. Should the cameraman have failed to
film these onlookers, he could still use shots of these people as cutaways. The audience
would assume that these shots were of people watching the fire.