How to use Video and Audio Transitions

This Week’s topic is all about how to use Video and Audio Transitions in your video production to enhance your visual and audio content. Video and Audio Transitions are essential in keeping an audience engaged with your content.

Jargon Definition:
Transition – the gateway between one video and audio shot and the next. The editing program will give you any number of preloaded effects for video and audio transitions.
cross fade – think of two triangles stacked atop each other, as one triangle angles down to a point, the other triangle is angling upwards, as one recedes the other increases. Now imagine two audio clips transitioning – as the first clip’s audio decreases, the next clip’s audio increases.
Dissolve – Similar to a cross fade, except between two video shots. As the first shot fades to black, the next shot fades up from black. At the exact mid-point of the dissolve, you will see both shots at the same time.
Room Tone – A clean recording of the audio at your location, that does not include people talking or other noises. This is something that you should record every time that you videotape anything. About One Minute of clean room tone can make your life so much easier in the edit suite.

A Video and Audio Transition Suggestion
Right now, on your editing timeline, you need to add a Dissolve off the beginning and off the end of your project. A Fade In/Fade Out effect for both your audio and your video is the only exception to the suggestions below, and is almost an industry standard. You fade up from black at the start, you fade out to black at the end.

Choosing a Transition
1. Pick a transition effect and stay with it. If you use a different transition between each shot, you will lose your audience really fast because your narrative will be buried by visual noise.

2. Pick the simplest transition that will create the Mood that you are searching for. For instance, if you are interviewing the CEO, a simple dissolve is probably your best option. If you are creating a video about water, there may be an effect that looks like a water ripple to place between shots.

3. Use sparingly. The more intricate, stylized and jarring a transition is, the less you should use it. If you see a “Page Turn” effect 18 times in a 30 second video, that is about 17 times too many.

If you are leaving moments of black, or Titles between sections of your video, think about keeping your music track going. Do not sever your audio at the same time as the video unless you are fading it out. It will jar people out of their experience.

Audio Transitions
90% of what we experience when we are watching a video is audio related. Background noise in your recorded video can create noticeable audio cuts when edited. These jarring cuts of audio can be smoothed out using a cross fade transition.

example: During an interview, one of the people in the back of the room coughs and slams a door. Luckily, the cough and door slam happen at a moment where your principal people aren’t talking. You can Fix This.

On your timeline, isolate the bad audio, and use your blade tool to cut it out. Ensure that your audio timeline does not move out of synch. Now find room tone, and past it into the now empty spot. Use a cross fade audio transition to soften the patch. Perfect Audio. No more Cough and Slam.

How Long Should A Transition Be?
This is entirely up to your own preferences, and can be dictated by the pace and content of your shots. Experiment and trust your instincts.

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