Understanding the dynamic behavior of materials under high-velocity impact is very important to design impact-resistant materials. Both target and projectile materials undergo severe loading that can cause large deformations, fragmentation, melting, and vaporization. Many prior studies focus on impact phenomena that can be visualized from side views or rear views (examining breakout). Here we focus on visualizing the early stages of contact and crater development through examination of the impact face during the impact event. The strike face of a metal target (made of AZ31 Mg alloy) was observed during high to hypervelocity impact (1.2 – 3.6 km/s) with a 5 mm Al2017-T4 projectile. The development of an impact flash, jetting, plastic deformation and fragmentation are observed, and these mechanisms are examined as a function of the impact velocity. Potential transitions of the impact mechanisms with increasing impact velocity are of particular interest.