Making movies is about what a filmmaker tells the audience—but it’s also about what is omitted. When a certain amount of diegetic time is skipped, that editing technique is called an ellipsis. The goals of an ellipsis can be diverse: To avoid telling something that is already understood, to mark the passage of time, or even to create humor. Ernst Lubitsch was a great master of this technique, using an ellipsis to play to a scene’s humor. But he certainly wasn’t the only filmmaker to notably use an ellipsis—David Fincher, Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter, and Steven Spielberg have all used it with great skill throughout their careers. But perhaps, the best use of an ellipsis in the history of cinema is... Well, perhaps that’s a reveal better saved for the end of this video.

For more on filmmaking techniques, watch the latest entries in our SFX Secrets series, including videos on camera movements, snorricam, the zoom, the J-cut and the L-cut, and sound editing and sound design. And as always, watch Fandor’s latest videos, including retrospectives on “Saving Private Ryan,” and the filmography of Gus Van Sant.