Match on action is an editing technique used for continuity editing. It would commonly be used in a shot, which cuts to another shot of the original action (from the first shot). This method created the impression of a sense of continuity. The action carries on through a “visual bridge”, which draws away the viewer’s attention from continuity issues which may be present. Match on action allows for filmmakers to shoot different parts of the scene hours apart, without displaying any continuity issues. The scene continues as it was, and gives the impression that few seconds have passed between the cut.
An example of this technique would be a character walking up a set of stairs. The character could be filmed early morning, taking the first few steps, however another shot could be taken hours later, finishing the climbing of the stairs. This would require the character to move a different way (in relation to the camera – for example, away as opposed to towards), but would allow the continuity of the scene to be kept.
This technique would be useful for film crews which require certain circumstances for a shot. For example, if a film crew required light snow for their shot, yet the snow stopped half way through the shot, the crew could continue using this technique at a later date, when circumstances change.