Video transition meanings in a live video production | Tech, No Babel

Video transition meanings in a live video production

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On today’s Tech, No Babel: Video transition meanings in a live video production

One of the easiest ways to tell if someone is new to video is their choice of transition. Video newbies think that the art of creating a video is in choosing “cool transitions,” but that’s usually not the case.

[tweet “What transitions should you use for live production? Probably not the ones you think. Click here for more:”]

Transitions mean things in video and “cool transitions” usually mean “I’m not all that good at the other aspects of video, so I’m going to choose something to snazz up the video otherwise.”

So, what should you use? I suggest that the better choice is to use mostly cuts. Why? A cut takes so little time and correlates to so few things in our possible experience that our brains don’t notice well-executed ones. How do you make a well-executed cut? Switch between two shots that are at least 30% or 30 degrees different. By doing so, the viewer won’t notice.

The next most common transition should be the cross-dissolve. Some people refer to these as fades, but a fade is a similar transition that moves to and from black (as in the image fades away).

Cross-dissolves show change in time or location. They can also add beauty to a shot, especially when transitioning from something concrete (like a singer or speaker) to something abstract, like bokeh. Use these sparingly, even during music.

The third most common transition is the fade to black (or fade up from black). These transitions are similar to a sunrise or sunset and indicate a change in content or the beginning or end of something.

What remains is everything else. Use these transitions sparingly (in contrast to a video newbie) and only with very good reasons (“it looks cool” isn’t a very good reason).

For more on the language of transitions, watch the video above.

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