Match Cuts in Videography

Lesson Details

Subject: Editing

Title: Match Cuts in Videography


Understanding How Match Cuts Work

When you're editing any video, television show or film, your ambition is to make sure that your edits are invisible to the viewer. When you go to watch a movie, you don't notice the actual edit points because it has been edited in a very professional way and you are totally focused on the story. 

There are many editing techniques that help to achieve this "seamless" effect and one of the most important is the Match Cut. 

A Match Cut is when the action appears to be continuous when cutting from one shot to another. If you think of any action taking place from a meal being eaten to a fight scene, you are taking the footage you shot in real time and compressing it down to something much shorter in length. Learning to "match" the action between one shot from a sequence and the next will make it seem as though you're watching one continuous shot rather than two shots that have been edited together.

Making good Match Cuts requires some time and patience as you need to go frame by frame in order to find exactly the right edit point but once you find it, the difference in how those two shots appear is remarkable. It's one of the aspects of editing that really makes your work look professional.

In this video editing tutorial we will look at a practical example of how this is achieved. Once you have watched the lesson, find a sequence you have filmed where an action is taking place and try to match the action between two of the shots. If you see a jump between the two shots then you haven't got the edit point in quite the right place. Try adjusting the edit point but just a few frames until it is just right.



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A Match Cut is when the action appears to be continuous when cutting from one shot to another. In this first example, where our skateboarder is tying his shoes, the action of the second shot doesn’t match the action of the first one. Let’s take a look at that again. You can see that he reaches for his shoelaces twice, when it should be one continuous move. Now let’s take a look at the match cut.

Reaching down for his shoelaces happens in one continuous motion with the second shot picking up at the same point of action as the first. Let’s take another look at that. Looks much better. In this next example our skateboarder walks through the frame and adjusts his cap.

As with the shoelaces, you can see that he adjusts his cap twice. Let’s look at a match cut between those two shots. Did you see it? Let’s watch it again. Paying attention to matching action precisely while you’re editing will really make a difference in the quality of your video.

© Michael Rosenblum & Lisa Lambden 2015 to 2020