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Match cut

A cut made on action or movement between two shots in which the action has been overlapped either by repetition of the action or by the use of more than one camera.
Match cut

In film, a match cut is a cut from one shot to another where the two shots are matched by the action or subject and subject matter. For example, in a duel a shot can go from a long shot on both contestants via a cut to a medium closeup shot of one of the duellists. The cut matches the two shots and is consistent with the logic of the action. This is a standard practice in film-making, to produce a seamless reality-effect.

Match cuts form the basis for continuity editing, such as the ubiquitous use of match on action. Continuity editing smooths over the inherent discontinuity of shot changes to establish a logical coherence between shots. Even within continuity editing, though, the match cut is a contrast both with cross-cutting between actions in two different locations that are occurring simultaneously, and with parallel editing, which draws parallels or contrasts between two different time-space locations.

A graphic match (as opposed to a graphic contrast or collision) occurs when the shapes, colors and/or overall movement of two shots match in composition, either within a scene or, especially, across a transition between two scenes. Indeed, rather than the seamless cuts of continuity editing within a scene, the term "graphic match" usually denotes a more conspicuous transition between (or comparison of) two shots via pictorial elements. A match cut often involves a graphic match, a smooth transition between scenes and an element of metaphorical (or at least meaningful) comparison between elements in both shots.

A match cut contrasts with the conspicuous and abrupt discontinuity of a jump cut.

Key Terms

action
cut
example
film
graphic match
match cut
scene
shot
shots
subject matter

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Synonymns

Match cut
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Last modified on June 27 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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