Pin Me

Video Transitions for Editing Digital Video

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/9/2010

Video transitions are important for digital video editing, but each type has their own purpose.

  • slide 1 of 6

    Editing Your Project

    Film editing is used to create a myriad of images and sound so that the viewer will feel like they are part of the film on the screen. The way that the video clips are cut together is expressive of how they are to be interpreted. Though the majority of clips that are paired together are simply placed next to one another, some require a more advanced video transition. Editing transitions are an animated effect that allows two video clips to change from one to another.

  • slide 2 of 6


    The Cut is the most common of all transitions and is simply the jump from one clip to another. This happens when you put two clips directly next to each other in the Timeline. This is the standard for all clips being Cut together in a scene, mostly because any more advanced video transitions should only be reserved for cutting between scenes or for artistic effect.

  • slide 3 of 6


    One of the standards for cutting between two scenes is the Dissolve. This device is where one shot replaces another, where at some point during this transition the two clips are both on the display at the same time. The Dissolve is often used to show that time has passed, but that the two scenes are part of a continuous sequence of events.

  • slide 4 of 6

    Fade to Black

    The Fade to Black, and its paired effect the Fade Up From Black, is used similar to the Dissolve. This effect is exactly as it sounds, where one clip fades completely to black at the end, and the following clips fades up from that complete black. This again notes that time has passed, but also indicates that a more significant end and beginning are occurring.

  • slide 5 of 6

    Other Transitions

    There are a variety of more pronounced video effects that are both recently developed or archived from the silent film era. Things like wipes, where one image pushes the other off the screen, or the iris in/out, where the image is focused down to a circle on just one aspect of that image, are meant to be seen and are not used to simply maintain continuity. Each of the more obvious video effects is different and therefore has different connotations, but since they are so obvious they are often used for comic, referential, or artistic meaning.

  • slide 6 of 6

    Think About It

    When selecting which video transition to use during your home post-production, make sure to select one that fits your needs. Though transitions like the Cut, Dissolve, or Fade In are common, they each indicate something unique and should not be mistaken. Every choice you make in digital video production is important and should be well considered.