Viewers expect continuity. If they see a radical change in a scene that is supposed to be depicting the same action, they are confused and distracted. If a character has been in a rainstorm, but walks into a house completely dry in the next scene, there is a serious continuity problem.

Film EditingThe cuts in editing are meant to keep the story flowing and to keep the action looking continuous.

While it is an editor’s job to try to avoid these errors, they do happen. There are more opportunities for these kinds of errors during shooting when:

  • The crew stops shooting, moves the camera, and resumes shooting.
  • The crew shoots a retake that is slightly out of sync with the original sequence.
  • The crew shoots a scene over a period of time; part of it during the day, and the next part the following day.
  • The crew alters how a scene is shot after part of it was already filmed.

The best way to assure continuity is to pay attention to the details. Sometimes an error will be spotted on the screen instead of during shooting, because it’s easy to overlook those differences when someone is concentrating on the action and other things that happen during production.

While not one of the most glamorous or creative parts of the editing process, attention to continuity is still crucial in delivering the best product to an audience.