Editing Transitions and How To Use Them
Video editing is a form of storytelling. Most of us are familiar with verbal storytelling. Using words, written or spoken. To tell a story that way, you combine words in a sequential way according to a grammatical style. If you listen to lots of stories, or read a lot, you become better at telling stories verbally.
Video and film production is the same thing, only it uses a different language. A visual communication language where you combine words, sounds, pictures and lots of other elements in a sequential order according to logical visual-storytelling-techniques.
The storytelling elements you edit together are:
- still pictures
- special effects
- other visual and auditory elements
Precisely what guides your edit making decisions will often be techniques that reflect long held customs and practices. But luckily, video production is a great example of wholesome rule breaking so video editing can also be innovative and new !
Transitions are part of the visual communication language.
When you go from shot to shot, you use some kind of visual transition. The most common transition is the plain cut. In a cut, you instantly go from one shot to the next. No matter what TV show or movie you are watching, I bet 90% of it is put together with cuts.
A dissolve is also a very common transition. A dissolve is where one shot fades out and another fades in. It is used to indicate a passage of time.
Cuts and dissolves make up 95% of all video editing transitions you will see in professional video production.
Fading up from black means the story, or scene, is beginning. Fading back down to black means the story, or scene, is ending. This, too is a long held tradition.
Cuts, dissolves and fades make up about 95% of all transitions found in professional video. These things have come to mean certain things with an audience. Back in the old days, anything other than those three was a lot more trouble.
When digital video editing became popular, it was suddenly easier to add fancy transitions. Most software video editing programs give you choices of fifty or more visual transitions.
Today, there are literally hundreds of choices for transitions and wipes. You have wipes that indicate a fantasy or dream sequence, an explosion, a water ripple, heck I’ve even sheep bleating wipes. Some wipes look like bow ties, hearts, stripes, squares, circles, squiggles, jagged edges, you name it, a computer editor can do it.
Digital wipes are easy to obtain with any computer video editing program. Even the freebies, like Windows Movie Maker, allow you to simply drag and drop icons for a wipe onto your video timeline.
You simply open a file full of wipes, select the one you want, click and drag. The transition icon is placed between the shots representing the video clips.
Although transitions are fun, do yourself a favor and be prudent in your selection of wipes. Select one, maybe two, and use them consistently throughout your project. This is especially true if your video is designed for a serious professional audience, not just friends and family.
Using tons of wipes is the hallmark of obnoxious used car commercials. Seriously. Just because your computer editor gives you ten million wipe options doesn’t mean you should use them constantly.
The most common transition is the simple cut and that should be used 95% of the time. Sounds kind of boring, I know, but please trust me on this. If you want your video to look professional, limit your use of wipes. If it’s just a home movie or you can truly justify a wild-and-crazy style for your business video, then wipe away!
Thanks for reading Video Production Tips
Internet Video Gal