Video Editing: Cutting on Similar Elements

Updated: Jan 23

A technique to transition from scene to scene in video editing is cutting on similar elements, also called a match cut. This kind of cut takes two shots that have similar compositional elements to create a continuity of the shots.



Cutting on similar elements is based on a graphic match between two elements. A graphic match finds a commonality between movement, colors or shapes in two different shots to create a transition during video editing.


Creating Match Cuts

During video editing, you are looking for methods to create smooth and clever transitions to convey a story or document an important event. By following the following steps, you can achieve the best results. The equipment you will need includes:

  • Camcorder

  • Computer

  • Video editing software

Step 1 - Use a Camcorder


Many devices can shoot video, however for the best results it is recommended to use a digital camcorder. They will give you the clearest shots while other devices will have a lower video quality. Make sure that your camcorder is in working order with fresh batteries.


Step 2 - Shoot Your Video


While shooting your video, be conscious of similar shapes, colors or movement of objects or subjects. This awareness will help you edit your video effectively.


Step 3 - Assess Your Computer


Make sure that your computer has a large hard drive of a minimum of 80 gigabytes with a dual core processor. This will allow you to do video editing without slowing down the necessary processes needed. The adding of more RAM may help as well.


Step 4 - Choose Video Editing Software


Some computers come with simple editing software; however for the best results, a video editing software program is your best bet. This software will aid in cutting in similar elements making the transitions smooth.

Video editing software can be downloaded from the internet (both free and cost programs). Typically, a free program can perform all of the necessary functions needed for video editing, but they do not have any support should you run into problems. Programs for purchase typically include more features, offer support and may give your video a professional look.


Step 5 - Thoroughly Review Software


You can find tutorials for the video editing software that you choose online or from the manufacturer directly. Make sure to thoroughly review and learn about your program before starting editing.


Step 6 - Using the Software


Once you have loaded the software and downloaded your video you can begin looking for opportunities for cutting on similar elements. The easiest way to find them within your video is by looking at shapes. One example is a shot of a daisy versus a car wheel. They are both round and have some similar details.


Step 7 - Make Sense of Your Match Cut


While you may have similar shots throughout your video, a match cut may not always make sense. This type of transition is meant to signify a location change, a passage of time or a change of pace within the video. Do not use a cut if there is no direct need to make a transition.

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