2.8 Cutaways and white noise

It is easy to concentrate on the main shots and move on to the next scene but it is important to take a little more time for cutaways and white noise. You’ll appreciate it when you come to edit your film.


This term refers to additional shots which are not essential to the scene but which can be used during the editing process to enhance the scene or to cover over mistakes or pieces of the scene that are not to the standard you require. In our previous example of two characters in dialogue one of them might be nervously playing with a ring on his/her finger. A close up of this would provide the editor with a cutaway that might increase the tension in the scene from a creative point of view or might simply cover up a place in the scene where the editor has decided to cut out a piece of the dialogue.

Ambient sound

Every place has its own distinct sound. In fact, if a room has five people in it and one of them leaves the noise in the room will change. Ambient sound is a recording of the unique sound – the audio ambience - on set. This is used in the editing process to cover up changes in the audio or to fill the spaces when pieces of unwanted audio are cut out. Ambient sound should be recorded for every location. It is usually best recorded before the take as it is often more difficult to get everybody to stay still and be patient when they have finished. Everybody who is in the room should stay still and quiet while the sound engineer records the ambience for at least one minute.

Practical Assignment

Show the use of cutaways in your film project.