Video Transitions and You!

A good video narrative needs some transitions much like a good written narrative needs transitions. Without them you’re video and your writing will be bland and seem monotonous. I’m going to focus on five different types of transitions, and hopefully I’ll be able to explain when and where to use them.

1: The Cut (Or Jump Cut)

This is your basic run of the mill transition. Some people may argue that a cut isn’t truly a transition, but it is. This is simply when you go straight from one clip to another. Clip one. Clip two. Just like that.
This is a good choice when you don’t want to give the idea of passing time such as when combining two clips of one monologue or when two scenes are happening at parallel times. The only great concern that must be faced when using a cut is that you shouldn’t go from a scene with sound to one with silence or vice versa. If your first clip ends with someone talking the next should begin with someone talking. If your first clip ends with music your second clip should begin with music. Etc.
2: The Crossfade (Dissolve/Mix)

As you may have guessed, this is a fade between two clips.  Crossfades tend to be relaxing and slow, so they lend themselves to videos that are going for a contemplative or melancholy mood. As with cuts you must also be conscious of audio changes between clips in a crossfade, but to a lesser extent. The crossfade will allow you to transition smoothly between clashing audio, but using crossfades to often to rectify clashing audio tends to make a video seem disjointed.

3: The Fade

This is something like the crossfade, but instead of fading into another clip the fade fades into a single color. This is usually used to begin or end separate scenes. Since the scene fades out to a color the problem of clashing audio is completely avoided with the fade.

4: The Wipe

The wipe is related to the crossfade, but it uses a geometric pattern to switch clips. A wipe tends to signify a change in location, and they work well as powerful transitions, but they tend to look like a gimmick if they appear to often throughout a video.

5: Digital Effects

The digital transition is a very broad category. It’s anything that hasn’t fallen into one of the previous four. They are called digital effects, because they were incredibly difficult to utilize before the advent of digital film. These can be used however they can be, and it is up to you to decide what is right and wrong.

I hope that this made transitions a little clearer, and at least helped to explain the terminology.


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