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Whip-Pans, Object Close-ups and Other Natural Transitions

In the annals of cinema history, Thomas Edison is considered the father of the first motion picture cameras and his assistant Edwin S. Porter made the first narrative movies with one shot cutting to the next. The idea of match cutting on motion has been around since D.W. Griffith started to advance the editorial arts that began with Porter. Transitions, especially in the form of cross dissolves entered the moviemaking tool kit within a few years.

Read the full article Natural Transitions.

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Video Transcript

When most people think of transitions, they think of a button they press on their computer or on their switcher. There are alternatives to making transitions from one scene to another.

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By still using the standard rules of editing, with match cutting, cutting on motion, you can still use those rules but use them to cross from one scene to another like this. [Video clip playing.] As with all transitions, overuse can lessen the impact. Using different transitions for different effects is far more important to emphasize a change. Sometimes a straight cut can get you from one scene to another, other times you want to emphasize the change in location or time. [Video clip playing.]

In narrative storytelling, the transitions that you find in the computer tend to rip the audience out of the moment, so you tend to want to use more natural transitions in narrative storytelling, and you can leave reality shows and documentary work, where the traditional transitions that you find in the computer or switcher are a little more acceptable to the viewer. [Video clip playing.]

Using natural transitions is especially effective when you're dealing with parallel action or parallel storylines. Jumping from one story to another, the natural transitions help emphasize the similarities between the two events. [Video clip playing.]

When to use transitions and when not to use transitions is really up to you, use your best judgment.

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