Transition types and their uses
Like all effects, transitions should be used not for their own sake but to serve the overall needs of your movie. Well-chosen transitions can subtly reinforce the meaning of the movie and how it plays without drawing attention to themselves. Observing the way transitions are used in professionally-produced video on television will suggest many ways to improve your own movies. Generally, it is advisable to refrain from overusing transitions that cause abrupt changes or otherwise draw attention to themselves: there’s a big difference between a subtle dissolve and a heart-shaped wipe.
The basic transitions discussed below – fades, dissolves, wipes, slides and pushes – are all among the first group of standard transitions (the “2D transitions”) in the Album.
A set of more elaborate transitions is found in the Alpha Magic group, which is the second entry in the dropdown list of transition groups in the Album.
The many other groups on the list all belong to the Hollywood FX, a large set of complex transitions featuring three-dimensional graphics. The Hollywood FX transitions are discussed below.
Cut: A cut is the minimal transition – an instantaneous shift from one scene to the next. In Studio, it is the default transition. A cut is appropriate when there is a strong inherent connection between one clip and the next; for instance, when the camera changes position or angle within a scene.
Fade: This transition fades into the beginning of a video clip from a black screen, or from the end of a clip to a black screen. A fade dropped between two clips creates a fade down followed by a fade up. The fade transition is the first transition icon in the Album.
A fade is usually used at the beginning and end of a movie, or when there is a large break in continuity, as when a new section begins. For example, a movie of a play might benefit from inserting a fade between acts.
Dissolve: A dissolve is similar to a fade, except that the new scene begins to fade up even while the old one is fading down. The visual overlap this produces is less dramatic than a fade, but less abrupt than a cut. A short dissolve can take the edge off a cut, while a long dissolve is useful to suggest the passage of time.
Wipe, slide and push: In each of these standard transition types, the incoming video is gradually revealed behind an edge that moves across the frame in a certain direction. The Album icons shown with this paragraph represent a leftward wipe, a down-and-left slide and a rightward push respectively.
In a wipe transition, both the old and new video occupy their normal position in the frame throughout the transition. The new video comes into view as the transition edge crosses the frame, rather like new wallpaper being rolled on over old.
A slide is similar to a wipe, but in this case the frame of the new video slides across the screen until it reaches its home position. The effect is reminiscent of a blind being pulled down over a window.
A push is similar to a slide, except that the old video is pushed out of the frame as the new video enters, like advancing a filmstrip from one frame to the next.
Pinnacle Systems’ Hollywood FX includes a large number of dramatic 3-D transitions and effects. These are ideal for opening sequences, sports and action footage, or music videos. Hollywood FX satisfies professional expectations for quality without sacrificing ease of use.
A basic set of fully-functional Hollywood FX is included with Studio, and many more are available for purchase online. See Expanding Studio for more information.
Also available for purchase on-line is the HFX Creator editing tool for Hollywood FX. This software lets you customize your Hollywood FX, or create new ones from scratch. HFX Creator includes advanced keyframe editing for flight paths and all parameters, powerful warp plug-ins, and a 3D text generator. You can also create a wide range of 3D MultiWindow Effects using external video sources, and add real-life 3D objects and lighting.
To initiate the purchase of HFX Creator, click the Edit button in the Clip properties tool for any Hollywood FX transition.