Understanding the importance of Continuity in Visual Storytelling and spotting Continuity Errors.

Cara Friez avatar
Written by Cara Friez
Updated over a week ago

Most of the time, we want cuts to go unnoticed by the audience. This ensures the audience stays engaged in the story. To do this, we must maintain Continuity, which means maintaining consistent and continuous action.

Bad continuity, also known as Continuity Errors, means any detail that breaks the illusion that the film is real life. On a film set, the crew does their best to maintain continuity during production. They keep track of the characters' costumes, hairstyles, jewelry, and makeup. They'll also keep track of set design, props, and anything that can distract in the background of a shot (like a forgotten paper to-go coffee cup in a period drama.) If something doesn't appear as it was in a previous shot, it can distract the audience.

In this example, in the first shot, the little boy has on a pair of sunglasses. in the last shot, the continuity is broken when we then see him without the sunglasses.

In the example above, in the first shot, the little boy wears a pair of sunglasses. The last shot breaks the continuity when we see him without sunglasses.

However, not all bad continuity distracts an audience, so sometimes editors get away with it without the audience noticing. They'll never notice the bad continuity if the story is engaging enough.

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