Date published:

November 16, 2021

What is Match on Action in Film? 

Connecting scenes through editing is the primary concept behind continuity editing, but a variety of different methods are used to achieve the desired effect. In particular, matching on action represents one of the ways that matching actions can be used to create visual connection in the story and for cohesiveness, but what is match on action in film? We’re breaking down the premise of match cuts and match on action in film to assist you in understanding what this editing technique aims to achieve.

What is Match on Action?

Matching on action is a type of match cut that involves the use of matching a particular action shot with a previous shot of action. Frequently, the match on action in film is achieved by matching actions of the same type but not always. In fact, match on action in film can be achieved by matching action or movement within a frame. The movement or action that is matched may connect with another frame that is in the same place at the same time, or in a completed different place or at a completely different time.

The match on action in film is achieved through the use of specific camera movements such as the pan, tilt, dolly or other movements that take place while filming. Then, the same movement is matched to cut to the next shot creating the match on action technique which transitions from one action to another action progressing the story along through time, or adding additional value to a particular action within the story.

Transitioning with Match on Action in Film

The use of match on action in film is to transition two shots or scenes. The result is a quick transition that is frequently used in fight scenes or other forms of high-action points of the film.  Transitioning with match on action basically takes the action from one scene, and the action of another scene, and juxtaposes the two together so that the story will progress more rapidly or with more effect.

There are many examples in which the match on action cut transitions between different locations, too. For example, the filmmaker might transition from a scene in which an actor is first floating through midair and the to another scene in which the actor is later floating on a raft down a river. The idea here being that both transitions create a montage of specific actions in which there is greater depth or value added that causes the audience to think more about what they are seeing and why.

So, what is match on action in film? It’s the use of the same actions or similar actions to cut from one scene to another in order to create a transition in which the story logically continues to flow. The match on action cut is frequently used in action films but can be used in a variety of different scenarios in order to achieve the continuity of the film.

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