Eye-line matching is a key video editing technique that makes video editing sleek, professional and effortless. If you’re new to video production and want to take your video shooting and editing skills to the next level, check out these steps to perform proper eyeline matching in your next video editing project.

What is Eye-line Matching?

Eye-line matching is a pretty straight forward concept. When shooting video, you want to keep your subject’s perspective in mind. For instance, if he or she is standing and looks at a phone out of frame sitting on a table, your cut away to the phone should be from the subject’s perspective…ie, slightly elevated and angled. This is best described visually.

You should notice that the choice of camera shot mirrors the actress’s motion. When she first looks at the painting, we get a view of the painting from her point of view. As she steps in closer to really examine the painting, we get a close up angle of the image she’s looking at. We follow her eyes, and therefore, her perspective. This is eye-line matching for video editing.

How Will Eye-line Matching Help?

If you keep the concept of eye-line matching in mind while your shooting a scene, you’ll find that the editing process goes a lot smoother! While shooting, whenever you get a shot of the actor/actress, always look for opportunities to get a cutaway shot that shows the scene from his/her perspective. Better yet, storyboard your shot sequence before hand so you know exactly what type of eye-line matching shots you intend on getting. Then, while you’re actually shooting, keep in mind the angle, height and overall perspective of the camera as you try to capture those cutaway shots. Always keep the subject’s perspective as a top priority when making those types of production decisions. When you go to edit, you’ll notice you’ll have a lot of options for well planned cutaways that lead to a seamless video editing experience.

What Not To Do When Eye-line Matching

There is one cardinal rule that many people forget about when eye-line matching, and that’s the 180 Rule. This rule dictates that the camera must stay on the same 180 degree plane as the subject. Also known as the Line of Action rule, this ensures that the audience gets the same perspective as the subject. Even if you think you’re capturing the correct eye-line and angle, if you cross that 180 degree line, you’ll show that shot from a backwards perspective.

So, now that you understand what to do and not to do when it comes to eye-line matching, you should be ready to create some masterful video projects of your own!

And while you’re getting prepared for your upcoming Oscar-worthy shoot, plan out your shots with a helpful free storyboarding template from VideoBlocks.