A supercut is a genre of video editing consisting of a montage of short clips with the same theme. The theme may be an action, a scene, a word or phrase, an object, a gesture, or a cliché or trope. The technique has its roots in film and television and is related to vidding. The montage obsessively isolates a single element from its source or sources. It is sometimes used to create a satirical or comic effect or to collapse a long and complex narrative into a brief summary.
Supercut videos started appearing on YouTube shortly after the site's creation in 2005. The concept grew in popularity after culture writer Andy Baio covered supercuts in a blog entry in April 2008, which he described them as "genre of video meme, where some obsessive-compulsive superfan collects every phrase/action/cliche from an episode (or entire series) of their favorite show/film/game into a single massive video montage."
The timing for supercuts's popularity aligned with the early history of the Internet, where there was weaker enforcement of copyright that allowed people to both obtain footage by questionable means and share the supercuts with others, and with the availability of easy tools to assemble such supercuts (such as iMovie and Adobe Premiere Pro). Around 2010, content owners began to exert copyright control on their products online, including taking down some supercut videos, thus making the prospect of creating a supercut video risky.
Decline of popularity
At the same time, content owners were making their films and television shows available to digital download and streaming services, making it much easier for those wanting to make supercut videos. This caused some lack of quality control in supercuts, according to people like Debbie Saslaw who had previously produced supercuts for the website Slacktory. Saslaw said that there was a certain type of editorial approach that earlier supercuts had used to tell a type of story with their editing, while newer supercuts haphazardly threw these clips together. A decade since Baio's post, there was a significant waning of supercut videos, a combination of lack of quality, copyright control by content owners, original ideas for supercuts, and a much-larger mix of content that compete for viewership alongside supercuts.
- The short film "The Return of Osiris" by the Palestinian visual artist Essa Grayeb weaves numerous stylistically divergent excerpts extracted from Egyptian movies and television series produced between 1976 and 2016; The found footage excerpts were edited to reconstruct the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser's resignation speech in 1967 according to the original text.
- "In 2006, an audience that eventually grew to more than six million watched CSI: Miami's David Caruso don a pair of sunglasses after making a glib remark about a victim. He kept doing it for seven minutes, in basically a möbius strip of shades and awful one-liners."
- Rich Juzwiak, a culture writer for VH1, uploaded a supercut video of the number of times that contestants in reality television shows spoke lines equivalent to "I'm not here to make friends" in mid-2008, which helped to popularize the format after Baio's post.
- Christian Marclay's 2010 art installation The Clock is a 24-hour supercut of references to time.
- "With the Internet and more specifically YouTube, local news is no longer restricted just to the municipalities that it serves. It is easier than ever for someone to capture a funny clip from television and upload it online. If you're bored on the Internet searching for these clips – rest easy. A YouTube user did the heavy lifting for you, compiling 2013's best local news bloopers into one 15-minute super cut. The video begins with Kerryn Johnston, an anchor for a local TV news service in Australia. Johnston, reading off the teleprompter in Ron Burgundy-esque fashion, says, 'Good evening. Tonight I'm going to sound like drunk.'" (Johnson says she made this joke because she thought she was only rehearsing and didn't realize she was live.)
- Video magazine Screen Junkies has produced multiple supercuts, such as all uses of the word fuck in The Wolf of Wall Street, drunk characters, explosions, Johnny Depp's weird faces, and last words.
- The "Inside Family Guy" episode (season 15, episode 4) of the animated TV series Family Guy ends with narrator James Woods announcing that the episode will close with "a supercut of every time in the show's history that Peter got hit in the crotch with a bag of nickles." None of the clips were actually taken from any episode of the show, but were made specifically for the montage.
- Watch: 17-Minute Supercut Showcases 400 Movies That Broke the Fourth Wall|IndieWire
- Raftery, Brian (2018-08-30). "I'm Not Here to Make Friends: The Rise and Fall of the Supercut Video". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
- he4ts3eker (2016-07-18). "The evolution of the supercut". Brendan Miller. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
- Andy Baio (2008-04-11). "Fanboy Supercuts, Obsessive Video Montages". Waxy.org. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
- Berkowitz, Joe (December 12, 2013). "A Modern Genre: How To Make A Supercut". Master Class. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
Supercuts bring attention to the phrases and devices that jaded movie and TV viewers already see over and over--the tics of film and television--and repeat them to comic effect,
- Raftery, Brian (August 30, 2018). "I'm Not Here To Make Friends: The Rise And Fall Of The Supercut Video". Wired. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
- Baio, Andy (Apr 11, 2008). "Fanboy Supercuts, Obsessive Video Montages". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
This insane montage of (nearly) every instance of "What?" from the LOST series started me thinking about this genre of video meme … For lack of a better name, let's call them supercuts.
- Stromberg, Joseph (December 28, 2012). "A 24-Hour Movie That May Be the Biggest (and Best) Supercut Ever". Smithsonian. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- Aversa, Ralphie (December 30, 2013). "All the Best News Anchor Bloopers of 2013 in One Glorious Supercut". Yahoo! News: Trending Now. Retrieved 5 January 2014.