2 EASY Ways To Create J-Cuts In Premiere Pro [2024]

I edit videos quite often—say about three times a week—and the J cut is something I use maybe in half of my projects. It’s great for not just scenes with stark contrasts, but also for documentaries where you want to introduce a new speaker or location. One tip: always make sure your audio levels are balanced. Nothing pulls an audience out of the experience faster than audio that's too loud or too soft right after a cut.

June 16, 2024
2 EASY Ways To Create J-Cuts In Premiere Pro [2024]
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What Is A J Cut?

Making a J-Cut In Premiere Pro With An Acer Computer

Imagine you're watching a movie and you hear the sounds of a busy city street—car horns, people chatting, the distant sound of music—before the scene even cuts from the quiet, serene countryside you're currently viewing. That's a J cut in action. This editing technique is used by filmmakers to let the audio from the next scene start playing while the current scene is still showing. It's like giving viewers a sneak peek with their ears!

Why Use a J Cut?

I've found J cuts incredibly useful for making a film feel more dynamic and fluid. When I edit my projects, I often use J cuts to introduce new scenes in a way that feels natural and engaging. For instance, before showing a bustling coffee shop, the lively chatter and clinking cups in the audio set the scene beautifully, so when the image changes, my audience is already there, mentally.

How To Make A J-Cut In Premiere Pro

In my regular video editing workflow, I often need to tweak just the audio or just the video portion of a clip in Adobe Premiere Pro. To do this effectively without altering both elements simultaneously, you need to disable Linked Selection. This is crucial because it lets you manipulate the audio and video tracks independently, which is a game changer for detailed editing like creating J or L cuts.

Here’s how you do it: Look towards the bottom left corner of the screen in the Timeline panel. There you'll see a chain icon. By clicking this icon, you effectively unlink the audio and video tracks, allowing you to select either component without affecting the other. I use this feature almost every time I edit, as it offers precise control over the timing and alignment of my clips.

Using the Ripple Edit Tool

Ripple edit button location in Premiere Pro

Whenever I’m editing and need to tighten up my timeline by removing unnecessary gaps between clips, the Ripple Edit Tool is my go-to. It saves me from manually adjusting the placement of subsequent clips, which can be a bit of a hassle if done repeatedly.

To find this tool, go to the toolbar on the left side of the Timeline panel—it looks like two arrows pointing towards each other with a vertical line between them. Clicking on this allows you to click and drag the edges of your clips in the timeline, automatically shifting adjacent clips to fill in any gaps. This is particularly useful when you’re trying to maintain a seamless flow in dialogue or match cuts.

Creating a J Cut

Creating a J cut, where the audio from the next scene starts before the current visual ends, is something I do often to enhance the narrative flow. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how I usually accomplish this:

  1. Position Your Clips: First, place your clips side by side on the timeline. Make sure the clip with the preceding audio is on a track above or below your main video track.
  2. Unlink and Adjust: With Linked Selection turned off, click on the audio portion of the clip where you want the audio to start early. Drag the beginning of this audio clip to the left so it overlaps the end of the previous video clip.
  3. Fine-Tune the Overlap: Adjust the audio overlap according to how soon you want the audience to hear the next scene, typically a few seconds. This part might require a few adjustments to get the timing just right.

Creating an L Cut

Similarly, for an L cut where the video changes but the initial audio continues, the process is almost reversed:

  1. Stretch the Video Footage: After positioning your clips as described for the J cut, this time grab the end of the video track of the next clip and extend it over the audio track of the preceding clip.
  2. Sync Audio with Extended Video: Make sure the extended video doesn't feel out of place with the ongoing audio. Sometimes this means reducing the video speed or adding a slow fade to black if it’s the end of a sequence.

How To Make A J-Cut With FireCut AI On Premiere Pro

Button location on the firecut plugin

First up, you’ll need to activate the advanced mode in FireCut. This is pretty straightforward. When you open FireCut, look for the toggle labeled 'Advanced Mode'—this is found in the settings menu, which you can access via a gear icon typically located in the upper right corner of the interface. Switching this on will enable additional editing features, including the automatic J cut insertion.

Using the "Remove Silences" Feature with J Cuts

Once you've activated the advanced mode, navigate to the ‘Edit’ section. Here, you'll find the 'Remove Silences' feature. This tool is about more than just trimming down dead air; it’s equipped with an AI that analyzes your audio and video tracks to find the best spots for J cuts.

  1. Select Your Clip: Load the video clip you want to edit into FireCut’s timeline.
  2. Access 'Remove Silences': Click on this feature. You’ll find it in the toolbar along the side of the screen, represented by an icon resembling a sound wave or similar.
  3. Opt for J Cuts: Look for the checkbox or a setting within the 'Remove Silences' options labeled something like 'Include J Cuts'. Checking this box instructs the AI to apply J cuts during the silence removal process.

Fine-Tuning Automatic J Cuts

The beauty of FireCut’s AI is that it usually gets the placement right, but sometimes you might want to tweak the results a bit:

  • Review the Applied J Cuts: Play through the edited section to see how the J cuts have been applied. The AI typically does a good job at placing these, but every now and then, you might want to adjust the timing slightly.
  • Adjust as Needed: If an adjustment is necessary, you can manually shift the audio track slightly to the left or right in the timeline. This is done by clicking and dragging the audio portion of your clip to better align with the visual transition.