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A cut or Dissolve that matches an object in the first shot with an object in the second shot. The objects must be similar in size and position within the shot. Can be used to add harmony and continuity to a sudden shift in time or place.

Also see Age Cut and Stop Trick. See Twisted Echo Cut for when it's done with dialogue.

Examples of Match Cut include:


Anime and Manga

  • The opening credits for Baccano did this for (in order) a wad of bills, some bottles, a thrown dart (matched with a knife), an explosion (matched with exploding flash powder), and a playing card.
    • Durarara, by the same studio and author, does much the same, only with more modern objects such as a cellphone, vending machine, and soda can.
      • The second opening has some rather creative ones such as a ladle to a street mirror, and Scary Shiny Glasses to the moon.
  • Fushigi Yuugi does a rather nice one too. Miaka briefly imagines a benign, smiling Tamahome; the image then fades into evil Tamahome, whose facial expression makes him look very different as he finishes up shredding his letter to Miaka.
  • The opening for the second season of Spice and Wolf matches leaves flying in the wind to feathers floating in a room.
  • In One Piece, after Luffy successfully obtains Franky's speedo, we see a shot of the Gally-La Company flag waving triumphantly in the background, then a shot of Luffy triumphantly holding up the speedo.


Comic Books

  • Ten thousand years of elfin evolution in two panels from the very first issue of Elf Quest.
  • Watchmen, although in a print-based medium, pulls it off. And keeps doing it. Notable examples include the memories of Rorschach (interlaced with the Rorschach blot) and Laurie (the reflection of her face in the snow globe is echoed). The Minutemen photo is also prone to this, but the various characters' memories of the Comedian are the best examples. Often overlaps with Two Scenes, One Dialogue.
    • Laurie's reflection in the snowglobe has another purpose: It highlights her eyes, which are the same as The Comedian's.
  • The Killing Joke also pulls this off: the flashback sequences that depict the Joker's origin story have a tendency of cutting into the current situation with one of these. It's really effective in creating a sequential atmosphere. Just call it an Alan Moore thing.


Film - Live Action

  • The most recognizable Match Cut might be from the opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey. A bone tossed into the air by a primitive hominid is matched with a satellite in orbit over 21st century Earth. Here.
    • Parodied in Startopia, where the bone and the satellite are replaced by a...donut and a donut-shaped space station. Where does a hominid get a donut, you ask me? Why, from a massive, black, featureless, monolithic donut dispenser. Duh.
    • Parodied in Monty Python's Flying Circus, where the satellite changes right back into a bone and hits the caveman on the head.
  • Another well-known one is the dissolve from the Paramount logo to the mountain in all of the Indiana Jones movies.
  • This concept was pioneered by Citizen Kane. The entire opening sequence is one long, dissolving match cut. The intro consists of several shots of Kane's mansion Xanadu from different angles dissolving into each other. Only one of the windows is illuminated, and despite the many different camera angles, it remains in the same location in the frame.
  • In Lawrence of Arabia, the titular hero blows out a match, and we cut to the sun rising over the desert.
  • The first Spider-Man movie Match Cuts from the Green Goblin blowing a building up with his glider to high school graduation (by way of debris to mortarboards, okay?).
  • Max Payne uses this particular technique with the main character: a scene ends showing a flashback three years in the past, and as the camera revolves around Max, the scene slowly changes to the much darker present time, until we've gone from looking over his shoulder, around him to his face, and back over his shoulder again.
  • The Fall has some particularly beautiful examples, including a butterfly fading into a reef and island, and a priest's face and collar fading into a desert landscape.
  • In National Treasure: Book of Secrets, there is a dissolve from the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral in London to the Capitol Dome in Washington D.C. The west towers of St. Paul's are also matched by a similar-looking pair of towers in Washington, though it's not clear if they were added in CGI.
  • The opening scene of The Lost World: Jurassic Park cuts from a woman on a tropical island shrieking to Jeff Goldblum yawning in front of a picture of a tropical island.
  • Final Destination 3 uses this to cut from Ashley & Ashlyn's burning tanning beds at their death scene to their coffins at their funeral.
  • This happens in the first live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie when April O'Neil is narrating their temporary stay on her farm. Specifically, it happens with various pictures she draws.
  • Just about every other scene in The Lovely Bones.
  • Special effects in Brotherhood of the Wolf are used to match a naked woman's upper torso with a hill-line. Scenery Porn indeed.
  • In Bram Stoker's Dracula (the Coppola movie), the post-staking decapitation of the vampirized Lucy sends her head flying through the air (against a black background)-- and cuts straight into Van Helsing plopping a rare, bloody roast beef on a table, preparing to carve it for a meal.
  • The first scene of Aliens cuts from Ripley's face to a beautiful view of Earth.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho: in the shower scene, the bathtub drain and Marion's eye.
    • Hitchcock's 1935 version of The 39 Steps features a sound match cut; Hannay's landlady screams upon discovering Miss Smith's dead body, and the picture cuts to a train coming out of a tunnel while the scream dissolves into the sound of the train's whistle.
  • Subverted in Idiocracy as it was a pile of garbage the whole time, but at first, when the sun is behind it, it looks like a mountain. This trope applies because the "mountain" is in tune with the world as we know it, while the revelation that it's actually garbage is there to show us just how bad the world gets.
  • Creepy example in Star Trek: Insurrection. Picard is wrestling with his conscience over what to do as the Federation has teamed up with some unpleasant aliens who are stealing some innocents' special planet that will let them live forever--at the moment they try to keep themselves going with Body Horror operations. The Match Cut is between Picard taking off his rank pips and putting them on his desk--and one of the aliens having their teeth operated on.
  • Frequently used in the first half of the 1967 film version of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood as we cut back and forth between the killers and their pursuers.
  • Layer Cake uses frequent match cuts, but most notably to book end the assassination sequence with a Kubrick Stare.


Film - Animated

  • The opening sequence in Disney's Tarzan contains many in a row, cutting between the human and gorilla family to show their similarities. The final one features the sun in an Establishing Shot matching with one of the eyes in a close-up of a leopard; the other eye matches the moon in the next shot.
  • Treasure Planet's scene "I'm Still Here" has this with Jim looking to the ship's skyline into the Benbow Inn's windows, and then Time Skip from his flashback to present. Another part was after Jim looked at Silver as his longboat descended, the sun below the galleon matches the morning sun before his dad left.
  • Shrek has a number of match dissolves combined with a moving POV, which are obviously easier to achieve in CGI than in live action.
  • In the transition between the songs "Heaven's Light" and "Hellfire" in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a bell clapper dissolves into a swinging incensor.
  • Done a couple of times in The Emperors New Groove.
  • In A Goofy Movie, Goofy suffers a Heroic BSOD and has him lying on the water bead with a depressed look on his face. It then dissolves to him driving the next day with that same depressed look.
  • Towards the start of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Milo answers his invitation to the expedition by grinning ear to ear and saying, "I am so excited, I- I- I can't even hold it in." Cut to him lurching over the ship's railing tossing his cookies.
    • Another one happens at the end of the film: when Whitmore receives a crystal necklace from Milo after his teammates have returned from their journey, the scene cuts to the crystal necklace worn by Kida, newly made the Queen as she takes it off and blows on it to make a stone face representing her late father, Kashekhim Nedakh, causing it fly away into the sky.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, this trope is used to show how Hiccup uses what he learned interacting with Toothless to disable the training dragons, most notably with the dragonnip grass.
  • When the Beast transforms back into a human at the end of Beauty and the Beast, he twirls Belle around, and Belle's blue peasant dress actually turns into her gold ballroom gown, leading up to the finale.
  • At the end of Peter Pan, after Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, the Darling children, and the Lost Boys return to London from Neverland by making Captain Hook's ship fly away into the sky, we see a full moon turn into the Big Ben clock tower, which turns into a grandfather clock inside the Darling family residence.
  • During the song "A Girl Worth Fighting For" from Mulan, part of a dream sequence seen about halfway through the song actually turns into a Mount Rushmoresque-rock sculpture seen in the background.
  • At the end of The Little Mermaid, when Ariel and Eric kiss after former has been turned back into a human, Ariel's sparkly dress and Eric's sailor suit actually turn into a wedding dress and a royal admiral suit when we see their wedding, respectively.
  • A dream sequence in Cinderella II has the figurines on Anastasia's music box morph into Anastasia and the baker.
  • At the very beginning of Finding Nemo, just right after Marlin finds out that his son Nemo's egg is the only egg that had survived the barracuda attack (though with a large crack in the eggshell), the scene immediately cuts from the egg to the sun reflected in the water, leading to the film's opening credits (and Nemo himself already hatched from the egg).
  • There's at least one in Cars, when Lightning McQueen agrees to accompany Mater on some unspecified trip, then cutting to Lighting at night in the field, as the tractor-tipping scene begins.
  • Near the end of the song "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas, an overhead shot of Pocahontas and John Smith laying on a round patch of grass cuts to the eye of one of two hawks they both let go into the sky. The shot of the hawks on the tree they then fly up to cut back to Poca and Smith.
  • Happens several times in the song "Worthless" near the end of The Brave Little Toaster, when they cut from the junkyard to the Master's house. At one point, the Car Crusher's blades turn into the TV, and another point a crushed cube turns into the TV again.


Live Action TV

  • The end of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Take Me Out To The Holosuite" has an instance, probably parodying the 2001 example, with a thrown baseball matching the station.
  • This is very common in Ugly Betty, which gets away with it because of the slightly bizarre (i.e. stylish) design of the sets - weird objects intruding into frame to become odd shapes in the next shot don't seem at all out of place when all the windows in the office are circular.
  • The intro to Stargate Atlantis has a scene in which the head of a Wraith is cut to a view of the main Tower of the City of Atlantis ... which has the same size as the head, the same general direction of movement and, to top it all, two lightened windows where the eyes of the Wraith were.
  • The opening credits in The Wire utilise this technique.
  • In the Alias Pilot Episode "Truth Be Told", Sydney is tied to a chair, watching a door that is about to open and reveal her torturer. Cut to another door opening and her literature professor walking into a classroom, months before the previous scene.
  • Used in season 5 of Doctor Who. Vampires of Venice has a Cold Open where a screaming girl is about to be attacked by a vampire, then cuts to a screaming Rory at his stag party shouting into the phone.
  • Done more than a few times in Spaced, including a reference to the famous 2001: A Space Odyssey Match Cut - a rolled-up newspaper thrown into the air becomes a model of a spaceship in the comics shop.
  • In one episode of The George Lopez Show during a flashback George as a child gets jealous of Benny's boyfriend and has a smuggish look on his face. It then goes to the present and George has that same smuggish look.


Music

  • Done amazingly in Switchfoot's video for "We Are One Tonight". Seriously, just watch it.
  • On The Beatles' Sgt Pepper album, the sound of a cock crowing at the end of "Good Morning, Good Morning" cuts to a similar-sounding guitar chord at the start of "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Reprise".
    • The stereo mix cuts the two sounds together seamlessly. On the mono version (only released on CD in 2009) there's a split-second pause.
  • In the David Bowie video "As the World Falls Down" (from the film Labyrinth), the female protagonist is staring at a photograph of Bowie. The camera zooms in on her left eye. A blink, and now it's Bowie's left eye (with its permanently dilated pupil) the viewer sees as the camera pulls back.
  • In the amazing black-and-white Bad Apple! music video, nearly every transition is a match cut. Pens turning into wings, flames turning into distant sunlight, girl running turning into girl diving, etc. It's probably the best part of the video. Most other videos will attempt to emulate this changing. (For example, the infamous printed-out screenshots homage video uses match cuts to, say, jump from room to room.)


Tabletop Games

  • The "flip" and newer "transform" cards from Magic: The Gathering often imitate this effect. For examples, see Tormented Pariah and Gatstaf Shepherd.


Theatre

  • City of Angels does this several times when transitioning out of the Show Within a Show. Mallory undoing Stone's tie segues to Donna tying Stine's tie; Irwin S. Irving's body on a gurney segues to Buddy on a massage table; and Oolie getting into bed segues to Stine lying in bed with Donna.


Video Games

  • In the introduction of Space Quest VI, a jockstrap thrown up into the air in a parody of 2001 transitions to a jockstrap-shaped spaceship.
  • The first scene of Xenogears after the intro shows a village in flames, and then it cuts to an abstract painting of flames that Fei, the protagonist, is working on.


Western Animation

  • In the new employee training episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law a shot of a helicopter faded into a shot of Phil Ken Sebben with a similarly shaped pipe in his mouth.
  • The Futurama episode "Luck of the Fryish" did this in-between the current time period (the future) and Flash Back sequences. A particularly funny example is when they arrive at the dilapidated ruins of Fry's childhood home (with Bender commenting on how "Father Time sure took a bat to this place"), which is revealed to be in the exact same state of disrepair in the flashback.
    • And they did it again in both "Jurassic Bark" and "Bender's Big Score".
  • The opening of Batman: The Animated Series match cuts between the WB logo and the Gotham PD's airship.
  • The third-season opening to Transformers Generation 1 has several of these.
  • Megas XLR "Battle Royale" cuts between Kiva battling brutes in station and Coop using similar moves to fight opponents in the ring.
  • Occurs in 101 Dalmatians: The Series in the first episode. After Roger announces that they're moving from their home in the city to the country, Lucky says, "Let me make myself perfectly clear: We. Are not. Moving." and we see a closeup of his angry face. The scene dissolves into Lucky on the Dalmatian bus with everyone else, still with the same face.
  • At the end of Tokyo Mater when Kabuto finds out that he had lost the race to Tokyo Tower to Mater, the scene immediately cuts to Kabuto having all of his modifications being pulled off his body and being laughed at by the other cars.


Web Comics

  • Kiwiblitz uses a few in Chapter 4, which intersperses a present-day fight with a flashback to young Steffi at taekwondo practice: Present-day Steffi complaining about shin kicks cuts to young Ben complaining about shin kicks. Young Steffi looking determined cuts to present-day Steffi looking determined.
  • Interestingly done with a still-image Web Comic on Deviant ART: [1] A door in a dark menacing facility is drawn at the same angle as a hospital door in the panel above it.
  • This strip of El Goonish Shive features a cut from Noah punching a dragon to Greg punching a fire monster. Their poses are continuous rather than identical to create the illusion of movement along with the scene change.
  • In this chapter of the Deviant ART flash comic Knite, this is used once or twice while Sen is recounting the past to his friends.


Other

  • The GURPS Discworld fansite Discworld Bye Nighte. The "title page" for every section has a circle (usually the sun) in the upper left and a tall structure on the right. Clicking through them, you can see the Tower of Art dissolve into the Diamond Castle in Genua, Don'tgonearthe Castle in Uberwald (with the sun becoming a full moon), a volcanic island, and so on. The "Bye the Waye" section even has the three main components labeled: "Circle", "Peaks" and "Horizon".
  • Rene Magritte's painting Euclidean Promenades depicts an upper-storey view of a town in which the shape of a conical spire is exactly matched by the shape of a road receding in perspective to the horizon.
  • A Coca-Cola commercial advertising how its containers are recycled has several instances of people pitching empty bottles juxtaposed with filled ones coming out of vending machine. To hammer this juxtaposition home, one bottle is only partially in the recycle bin, resulting in a bottle stuck in the vending machine until the first one is pushed down.
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