Match Cuts and Hiding The Edits

You see match cuts all the time;  movies, television shows, and commercials contain match cuts.

Take this Heineken commercial for example

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At [:13] you see match cut of the gentlemen in pink juggling the beer in glasses.

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At [:18] is a match cut of the gentlemen throwing beer bottles from the stage to the men on the couch.

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At [:27] is a match cut of a man serving beer balancing a glass on his chin.

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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.

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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]

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to the wide shot of her and her mom in the kitchen.

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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.

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In the next shot you see the weights land on the ground completing the action.

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When the barbell leaves the frame your eye naturally drop down.  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.

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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.

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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.

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Here is another three shot sequence with each edit connected with match action [:42].

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Michaela come up the a machine, takes the weight and does a squat.

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Starting at [1:22]  my match cuts go into overdrive.  Can you tell how much I like match cutting?

I try to use Michaela’s movement of starting and stopping points for my edits.

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Here’s another one at [1:44]

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Michaela’s entire family is at the weight-lifting competition. From [1:41] to [2:03] is all match action except for one cutaways 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.



Putting Images Together in Video Editing to Tell the Story

You have to put images together in video editing to tell a story.  You’re a storyteller.  It doesn’t matter if you are editing a news package, a documentary, a film or an online feature using stills, It’s all storytelling.
Putting the images together to try and tell a story is video editing.  Every edit should be made for the story.  Before sequencing, action/reaction, movement, eye trace or continuity, there is the story (See guideline of six for more).

You learned about telling stories with pictures when you first started reading.  When my sons were little I would have them read to me.  They were taught when they don’t know a word to look around at the pictures for clues.

As video editors  we need to help the audience with clues.  We need to give them picture clues.

When the wild things “made him (max) king of all wild things,” Maurice Sendak shows a picture of this happening.


As storytellers we can take a cue from when we first started to learn about stories.  We read them and look at the pictures.  The pictures help the stories make sense.  Take this basic idea and apply it to video editing.

The following story I edited a several years ago about a snowstorm here in Denver.  It does not matter if you edited a story yesterday or 10 years ago, the images still have to make sense with the story.
Please watch More Than Just An Inconvenience.

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The entire story my goal (and usually my goal with every story) is to find pictures to help tell the story.
The very first line of track from the reporter is

This was the end of the line.

And my image is


The next three shots I’m just trying to match the pictures and the words.

Instead of an interstate highway




Was a dead end road.


After the reporter track is a soundbite

I’ve been doing this for 30 years, you get…you know this stuff happens driving a truck. And it’s going to happen sooner of later and more than once.

I cover the second half of his soundbite with a truck with snow on it.


The shot supports the story and helps tell the story.

The next piece of track is

But twice in a week

And I show this


Multiple trucks in the shot.  The closest I can get to some kind of symbolism of twice.  I still think this shot advances the story.
The story continues

Truckers pass the time


with bottomless cups of coffee,



and John Wayne on the TV.


I’m making every effort I can to show what the reporter is talking about.

Now some make think I am being to literal with my editing of the story.  In the case of a simple general news story, I want to help the viewer understand the story as best as I can with the images I’ve been given.  As you develop your skills this is a pretty easy way to make sure your stories are making sense to the viewer.

Thanks for reading.



The Beginnings of Video Editing

Forgive me if you know what video editing is. This post is to those just beginning their journey or those that need a refresher.

Classes all over the country have begun teaching your eventual replacements.  On September 2nd, 2014 my students at Emily Griffith Technical College begin their journey into video editing.  On Tuesdays for the next 15 weeks they’ll  learn the theory and technique of video editing.


They’ll learn how to tell a story from me.

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I spent the last 17 years of my life trying to learn everything I know about video editing;

  • in broadcast news environments (6 different newsrooms)
  • at post-production houses editing documentaries and television series.
  • editing entertainment shows.
  • freelancing in the corporate world producing small business profiles, documentaries, training videos

Every situation I try to learn from.  Every edit I try to take a moment to understand what I did and how I can learn from that edit.  You’ve got to keep learning.  Why?  Those replacements are coming and they are hungry for opportunities in the workforce. My students will learn everything I can fit into their minds including the origins of video editing.  I’m here for you t0o my good friend.  I’m still learning.  Sometimes I learn a lot by simply refreshing what I already know.

All you have to do is read and learn.

One of the first films ever created is Round Hay Garden Scene (1888).

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Some may argue that Horse in Motion (1878) was the first film. That film was accomplished using multiple cameras. These were still photographs assembled into a motion picture. They used 24 cameras to capture this.

Actual motion picture cameras weren’t developed until the 1880s. That is when camera started capturing all the single images on one reel. As this time there was no editing. Each film ran as long as there was film to roll.

Filmmakers often would shoot and just stop the crank of the camera when they felt they completed capturing that scene. Then they would reset for the next shot and start cranking again when the next scene was ready. You could say this was the beginning of editing. It was editing in the camera so there still was no manipulation of the reel.

It wasn’t until the 1900s that editing really began.  Did you know that the one of the very first reasons for editing is that studios wanted films to be longer. They wanted multiple film reels compiled into one continuous movie. After that revelation they started putting images together to try and tell a story.

One of the very first films that not only combined reels but began to develop some rules (or guidelines as I prefer) for video editing is The Great Train Robbery (1903)


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Watch this movie and realize

  • There is action/movement in every scene
  • They maintain screen direction (except for one edit)
  • There is sequencing
  • Each edit advances the story
  • There is an effort made in pacing/rhythm
  • Editing hasn’t changed much in over 100 years.



You Better Know Your Trim Tools for Video Editing

I’ve been editing on non-linear systems for 15 years.  With each passing year and each new NLE I learn, I’m happy to say I’m still learning.  

One of the tools that took me a while to really grasp was the trim tools.  In fact it wasn’t until I had to learn Final Cut Pro about 10 years ago that I truly started to appreciate the power of the trim.  

A few year ago when I had to learn Premiere Pro. I once again spent extra time understanding the power of the trim tools.  I don’t care which NLE you’re on.  You better have an excellent grasp of trimming.  

I think this is THE MOST important set of tools on an NLE.

I use the trim tools daily, hourly, probably many times a minute.  The trim tools make an editor’s life easier.  Trimming is like the wax you put on your car.  

Sure you washed it and it looks good.  To get that extra shine without doing any more washing you put the polish on.

Trimming is polishing your edits.

I think trimming is one of the hardest concepts to grasp when you’re learning about editing.  I still get frustrated.  With my frustration comes education.

What is trimming.  I took this definition from Final Cut Pro HD Hands On Training by Larry Jordan.

 “Trimming is the process of removing, or adding, frames to the beginning and end of your shots so that the edits flow naturally, maintaining your story, without calling attention to your editing.”

So why should you trim?  What’s the great benefit?  These are the tools that make your edits better and it’s quick.  Eventually, it’ll make you better.

I’m going to speak about trimming in general and why and how.  I currently edit exclusively on Premiere Pro where I work and where I teach.  

I used to edit on a non-linear system very linear-ly.  Meaning I would mark an in and an out and place it into the timeline.  If I didn’t like the edit I would undo and reset my in and out.  That’s a waste of time.  The material you want is already down in the timeline.

Once you place clips onto the timeline, you should never go back to the preview window or re-load the clip ever.

If you don’t like the In, then trim it.

The tool I used the most is extend edit (In Final Cut Pro 7).

I’ll use the story, Swinging on the Trapeze on my YouTube site to show you how I utilized some trim tools in the edit.  

This is a story I edited on Final Cut Pro 7.  The images are from that edit, but the concepts still apply.

At [:21] into the story you hear the beginning of a sentence from the gentlemen helping Kellie with the harness.  He says “It’s gonna be…, then I show him.

I place the edit of Kellie and the gentlemen down on the time line.  I then ripple the video of the woman on the trapeze just over the this new edit.  I made a J cut (Whoohoo!).

Simply select the edit you want to extend.  In this case the end of the clip that has the woman on the trapeze (ONLY THE VIDEO).

In Premiere Pro I love I can just hold down the option key and I can select just one track (basically unlinking a video and audio track)

At [:35] I make another J cut.  You see another women on the trapeze.

And you hear Kellie say, “So this’ll keep..”  and then I cut to Kellie after that.

Between these two shots I select the edit.  I select the rolling tool and drag that edit forward to where I want it to be.

At [2:06] is a match-action sequence of Kellie swinging on the trapeze.

The 2nd shot in the sequence is Kellie swinging from the platform and then all the way back to the platform.  I’m confident the action is matched here.  But maybe I want to tweak it a few frames.  I like my duration of the clip (two seconds) I’ve laid down.  I want to slip it a few frames.

Meaning I’m going to change the in and the out with one tool.  I’m going to zoom in to the clip on the timeline,  select the slip tool, and drag the clip forward and backward until I like my new in and out point while maintaining my duration.

The Slip tool works great for situation like this.  Trying to help with your match-action in a sequence.

Slip, roll, extend edits are the easiest I think to try and explain.  A ripple while isn’t any more complicated, It’ just a hard to to explain in a blog.

What do I want you to learn from this entry?  The next time your editing and you want to change something, use a trim tool.  Sometimes just playing around with the trim tools are your best way of learning.  I still discover new uses for each trim tool everyday.

Play and learn.

Thanks for reading.  Don’t forget to like The Edit Foundry on Facebook


Imitate The Eye

I first heard the phrase, imitate the eye, from Lou Davis.  Lou is a photojournalist in North Carolina.  “Capture the world as your eye sees it,” he’d say.  I’ve taken this and applied it to my everyday editing.

When you are at an event.  What does your eye focus on?  Put those same shots together on the timeline.  You’re now basically editing via imitating the eye.  

Please watch Run Fast, Shoot Slow.  This is a natural sound video I edited several years ago.

Let’s start with the opening sequence. I’m trying to make edits as close to action as possible.  So, a gun is shot and it recoils immediately. Like in the edit at [:12]

and the edit at [:15]

Notice I don’t sit on the shot for more than a few frames before the action happens.  Once the action happens, I move on to another shot.  I’m attempting to imitate the eye as best as I can. I still need the viewer to comprehend the shot.  If you were there at the shooting range your eye would probably move faster.

Would your eye capture everything from the beginning?  Your would catch several things in mid-action.  Just like many of my edits.  Go back and look at my edits from [:10] to [:16].

Notice some of the shots the action of the gun being fired has already begun.  Imagine if you were there.  Wouldn’t your eye ping-pong around the shooting range just like that?  Q

Please watch the story again and notice just how often I take an edit right on an action of just after the action has started.

Here are a few examples;

at [:17] the car door is already opening.

at [:27] running onto the firing range.

at [:41] going over obstacle course.

The shot at [:47] I start the edit well after the participants have started running.  If you were on top of the hill watching this is where you head my turn and pick up the action.

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Not every edit in this story follows the imitate the eye concept.  I still have to tell the story.  I do back-time natural sound moments and I’m going back and forth with the interview and there are a lot of other elements to the edit.  For this post I just wanted you to pay attention to your eyes the next time you are out shooting.  When you come back to edit try thinking about this concept.


Thank you for reading.