Video transitions: How to use them

Video Transitions and effects are amateurs’ favourite! They tend to use a number of transitions and effects, often not realising that each one of them has a meaning and purpose. Let’s discuss transitions this time.

Transitions are changeovers from one shot/scene/sequence to another. A Cut is an instantaneous shift from one shot to another is the most commonly used transition. ADissolve is when two shots overlap each other, with the first gradually disappearing while the next one appears and then remains on the screen. The fade is like the putting on/off of lights in a theatre. Fade-in is the transition from black to the image. Fade-out is the transition from the image to black. When one shot is replaced by another in a geometric pattern, it is called a Wipe.

Each of these transitions have a purpose and meaning and are to be used accordingly. Here’s an attempt to summarise when these transitions are to be used.

Transition Is similar to Is used
Cut Space between two words or a blink When change is instantaneous, shows continuity of action, creates impact, to shows new information
Dissolve Space between two paragraphs To show brief passage of time or change in space. Also used in flash-back and flash-forward
Wipe Shifting from an idea to another To show brief passage of time or change in space. Also used in flash-back and flash-forward
Fade-in Putting on lights in a play to indicate its beginning At the beginning of a sequence or a film
Fade-out Putting off lights in a play to indicate a major break or the end of the play At the end of a sequence or a film

If you are interested in making good videos, purchase the second edition of Video Production, Oxford University Press.