You see match cuts all the time; movies, television shows, and commercials contain match cuts.
Take this Heineken commercial for example
At [:13], you see match cut of the gentlemen in pink juggling the beer in glasses.
At [:18] is a match cut of the gentlemen throwing beer bottles from the stage to the men on the couch.
At [:30] is a match cut of a man opening bottles of beer.
Match cuts are an edit that connects two shots together via the action within the two shots. Editors who are meticulous with match action understand how edits work.
The idea is to edit to shots together using the action within the shot. Having movement in both shots, editing on that movement hides the edit.
In the commercial you see
• The action continues in two uniquely composed shots
• It appears as if the shots are done with two different cameras rolling at the same time
• It’s an easy way to create a very clean looking sequence
• The match cut edit hides that there is, in fact, an edit
Editing two shots together on a movement will often make the edit invisible. Good edits are invisible edits. Good edits are edits your audience doesn’t notice.
Our story for this post is Michaela.
There a lot of match action in this story. I mean a ton. I mean…well you get the point.
The beginning of the story is a sequence of Michaela and her mom in the kitchen. Within that sequence I use match cut from the shot of Michaela tight at [:11]
to the wide shot of her and her mom in the kitchen.
Match cuts make edits very smooth. Match cuts are not always made with a person, you can use an item.
In this next example, you see Michaela lifting the weights and then begin to put them down. She doesn’t complete the action of the weights going to the ground in this shot.
In the next shot, you see the weights land on the ground completing the action.
When the barbell leaves the frame, your eye naturally dropdown. Your eye expects to see the barbell hit the floor. The match cut is very natural.
Here is another match cut beginning with the barbell on the ground, and then Michaela picks it up.
I make an edit while the barbell is moving up and out of frame. The next shot, you don’t see the barbell right away. You do see Michaela coming up and then the barbell. So the action completes in the second shot of the sequence.
It looks like what you would see if you were in the room with her. This is one of the tools to help take your audience to your story. When Michaela drops the barbell, I again have a match action shot at [:38].
This is a simple three-shot sequence with match cuts connecting each shot together.
Here is another three-shot sequence with each edit connected with match action [:42].
Michaela comes up with a machine, takes the weight, and does a squat.
Starting at [1:22], my match cuts go into overdrive. Can you tell me how much I like to match cutting?
I try to use Michaela’s movement of starting and stopping points for my edits. Here’s another one at [1:44]
Michaela’s entire family is at the weight-lifting competition. From [1:41] to [2:03] is all match action except for one cutaway of Michaela’s mom.
I had a lot of fun putting this story together. I had even more for honing my match cut editing abilities.