Match on Action: A Simple Editing Trick

Level up your video editing, using this classic Match On Action technique

Ever feel like your editing needs that extra pizazz to take it to the next level? A great way to smash it with your editing game is to use a technique called Match On Action. This is where action begins in one shot, and then continues or finishes in the next shot.

An 8-shot Match On Action – One piece of action continues through from start to finish

So do I have to be making an action movie for Match On Action to work?

No. Before we start, let’s get one thing straight. Action is not just about explosions, car chases, helicopters and fist fights. Yes, these are definitely examples of it, but action can be any movement, no matter how small, such as a head turn, a hand gesture, or simply standing from sitting. All of these major and minor points of action are what make movies and videos what they are.

So how does Match On Action work?

Most movies and many TV shows are filmed with one camera, so all the shots are filmed at separate times, and cut together in the edit to create continuity within a scene.

“Say whaaat?” Yep, that’s right, movie making is one big magic trick. But the Match On Action technique creates the illusion that the action in the shots are all taking place at the same time.

By using Match On Action , you can make the edit flow beautifully, and allow the audience to focus on the story without noticing all of the hard cuts in between.

Match On Action can work in several ways:

1. Action and Reaction – One of the best examples of this is a fight scene. In one shot, you see a person moving to hit someone, then in the next shot, you see the other person being hit, all as one continuous piece of action.

2. Continuous movement – This could be anything from a person running or walking, to a car driving by, to someone travelling down a zipwire, or literally any type of movement you can think of.

3. Camera movement – The director, Edgar Wright is a master of this one (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World). He often uses whip pans and crash zooms to transition between shots and scenes. In a whip pan, the camera will quickly pan to one side and cut to another shot that is already panning in the same direction, before landing on the next shot, which is usually a completely new scene. Because the cut is right in the middle of both pans, you barely even notice it. The exact same principle works for crash zoom transitions too.

Get Creative!

Now for that extra pizazz we talked about at the start. You can also use the Match On Action technique in videos that don’t need continuity, such as trailers, montages, compilations, music videos or mash-ups.

Take a look at this Batman and Joker mash-up.

  • [Action] Starting with the 1989 Batman movie, we see Batman throw the punch.
  • [Reaction] We then cut to the Dark Knight, where the Joker gets punched by Batman.
  • [Action] It then cuts back to Batman as he throws another punch.
  • [Reaction] The joker gets punched in the Injustice video game.
  • [Action] The Batmobile comes in and knocks the Joker to the left.
  • [Reaction] We then cut back to the 1989 Batman to a shot of the Joker being knocked through a wall, in the same direction, completing the final Match On Action.

Cutting two unrelated shots together with a Match On Action makes it impactful and lets it flow. But most important of all, it looks super cool. So go ahead, what are you waiting for? Try it!

Did you find this post helpful? Please drop us your thoughts in the comments below and consider subscribing to our YouTube channel for more helpful tips and tricks on how you can get better videos done, faster. Or just follow us on TikTok!

About Us: Kamua is a technology startup headquartered in London with engineering operations in Bucharest. With Kamua you can cut, crop and repurpose videos faster, all in a browser, assisted by our AI.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.