In both fiction and nonfiction, building a sequence is more than just cutting from wide shots to close-ups ("cutting" is a synonym for editing). Editors want a sequence that flows naturally—as if it is all happening continuously. And that means knowing the best moment to make the cut from one shot to the next.

To the right is a sequence that does NOT have this flow. It’s two shots of a man picking up a phone. Watch it. The first shot ends when the man’s left hand is moving toward his face. When the second shot begins, the man’s left hand is on the phone. So when the two images are cut together, it seems abrupt.


Bad Match

This scene was shot twice: once in the wider shot, and once in the closer shot. The editor should put this together so the man’s left hand is in the same position in both shots. That would be “matched action.” But, alas, the editor failed. The hand is not in the same position as the scene cuts from the first shot to the second.  If you don’t see it, watch it again, focusing on his left hand.

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