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Weekly Video Tip: What Is a Match Cut?

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By Stephen Schweickart

Alright, welcome to the second video in our “shooting for the edit” series that will teach you some tips and tricks on how making your editor (in this case probably yourself) happy by getting the right shots so everything fits together like a glove in the edit. Let’s dive into our next concept, the match cut.

A match cut is a cut within a scene that makes sense spatially. Your first step is to create the world around your characters, and your next step is to film it in such a way that isn’t jarring to your viewers every time you change shots. So you need to plan your shots accordingly so that they make sense within your scene, and more importantly they make sense to your audience.

If you’re filming a scene, 99 percent of the time you should prepare yourself with match cuts. Reverse angles of conversations, close up shots of dialog items, establishing shots of the scene–all of these can be used as match cuts in the edit. Which brings us full circle back to why preproduction is important. Shooting for the edit doesn’t start on set. If you prepare yourself in preproduction you’ll know exactly what shots you need to make your match cuts work. Simple as that. Then when you get into your editing software, all you have to do is find the right takes, stick them in the sequence in the proper order, and your shots do all the work for you.

Stephen Schweickart is the co-founder of VScreen. For more information on this topic, visit VScreen’s site at http://www.vscreen.com/.

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