A supercut is a genre of video editing consisting of a montage of short clips with the same theme. The theme may be an action, a scene, a word or phrase, an object, a gesture, or a cliché or trope. The technique has its roots in film and television and is related to vidding. The montage obsessively isolates a single element from its source or sources. It is sometimes used to create a satirical or comic effect or to collapse a long and complex narrative into a brief summary.
Supercut videos started appearing on YouTube shortly after the site's creation in 2005. The concept grew in popularity after culture writer Andy Baio covered supercuts in a blog entry in April 2008, which he described them as "genre of video meme, where some obsessive-compulsive superfan collects every phrase/action/cliche from an episode (or entire series) of their favorite show/film/game into a single massive video montage."
The timing for supercuts' popularity aligned with the early history of the Internet, where there was weaker enforcement of copyright that allowed people to both obtain footage by questionable means and share the supercuts with others, and with the availability of easy tools to assemble such supercuts (such as iMovie and Adobe Premiere Pro). Around 2010, content owners began to exert copyright control on their products online, including taking down some supercut videos, thus making the prospect of creating a supercut video risky.
At the same time, content owners were making their films and television shows available to digital download and streaming services, making it much easier for those wanting to make supercut videos. This caused some lack of quality control in supercuts, according to people like Debbie Saslaw who had previously produced supercuts for the website Slacktory. Saslaw said that there was a certain type of editorial approach that earlier supercuts had used to tell a type of story with their editing, while newer supercuts haphazardly threw these clips together. A decade since Baio's post, there was a significant waning of supercut videos, a combination of lack of quality, copyright control by content owners, original ideas for supercuts, and a much larger mix of content that compete for viewership alongside supercuts.