5 Common Video Transitions In Film And How To Use Them
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1. Jump Cut/Match Cut
The most common transitions in film and video are jump cuts and match cuts. Of course, if you’re familiar with these terms, you’ll know that there are a few differences between them, but regardless of how they’re called, they use the same transition. They are cuts between clips. The Jumpcut is where the subject of the scene is placed in a location, at a specific position, in one shot, and in the next, they’re in a different position, in the same location. You can find this shot in many adverts as a way to speed up time.
Match cuts are a bit different. They’re used to connect an action in one shot to the same action in the next. So, for example, in the first shot of a scene, the audience could be looking at someone from behind. They’re starting to turn around, and in the next shot, we see them turning, but from the opposite angle. This way, we can see what the character sees behind them. This is what a match shot is, and it’s primarily used to change perspectives.
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2. Fade To Black or White/Fade In From Black Or White
At the beginning of most films and videos, the video slowly appears from either black or white screens. And at the very end, they’ll gradually disappear back into a black or white screen. These are called Fades. They help determine the beginning and end of a scene or film. But, of course, sometimes they can signify a return to consciousness or a loss of consciousness if a character has been hit.
So, for example, if a character has been hit over the head, the video editor can fade from black to show that the character has regained consciousness. But this must be coupled with the shot of the sky or ceiling. It should also show other characters looking down at the camera as if looking down at the character, who would be lying down more often than not. Similarly, if the video editor wants to use the fade to black transition to indicate a loss of consciousness, they’d have to couple it with a POV shot of what the character sees.
If you’re trying to indicate a memory or a dream, then you’d use the dissolve transition. This can be animated, or you may want to add special effects, like the ripple effect or vignettes, but the result is the same. Dissolve is all about fading from one shot to another without using a black or white screen. It works like a parenthesis or a bracket (like this). It signifies that the scene itself isn’t over but that the audience needs to know something before the scene continues.
So, suppose one of your characters is explaining a situation that happened off-screen or even before the video started, and you want to show this rather than let the character speak paragraphs. In that case, you’d use the dissolve transition to emphasize that the next shot is a memory or a dream. And to return to the main scene again, you’d use the dissolve transition again to signify the end of the memory or dream.
4. Zoom In/Zoom Out
Technically, zooming into something or zooming out isn’t a transition, but it can seem like a transition if you cut between the shots. So what happens is a mixture of camera work and a cleverly placed cut. You’ll find these all over TikTok and other social media platforms. It’s used to highlight a dramatic change or make a video seem more interesting.
So, you can zoom in however quickly you want the transition to be, but you’ll need to match that when you zoom out in the next shot. That way, the transition’s pace and feel are the same. If you zoom in quickly and zoom out slowly, it’ll seem disjointed and may not make sense to your audience, and vice versa. To achieve the cut clearly, you should add a fade-out option towards the end of the zoom so that you’re working with a clean black screen, so you can fade in and zoom out cleanly in the next shot.
5. The 360 Degree Turn
Again, this transition is a mixture of camera work and a cleverly disguised cut. This transition is also seen nearly everywhere on social media and in advertising. It’s a clever transition that not only disorients your audience but ensures that they know they’re moving from one location to another. So, if you’re showcasing different room designs or moments of a timeline, you’d use this transition to represent that, and usually, you’d use it in a clockwise pattern.
There are many ways to achieve this transition, but the best would be to tilt your camera down to the right while moving it towards the floor in a clockwise direction. Then, in the next shot, you’ll have to tilt the camera up from the left so that it’s back in standing and static position. It requires a lot of thought and planning, but if filmed and edited correctly, it will look seamless.