Natural Wipes for Cleaner Video Transitions

John walks through the Hows, Whys & Whens of effectively using Natural Transitions.

Video Transcript

The job of getting from scene to scene in your video is handled by transitions, and the most common transition is a cut, and generally you use a cut when you don’t want the transition to be noticed. But there’s sometimes when you want the transition to be noticeable and become part of the story. Wipes are one such transition, and generally they’re used when you want to move to a different place or time, but computer wipes can seem artificial and distracting, so on today’s lesson, we’re gonna teach you how to use natural wipes to accomplish the same job, but are much more subtle.

The wipe transition generally accomplishes two goals; one, a change of location or two, a passage of time. Common objects that you use in a natural wipe that can indicate a change of location are cars, doors, people, trees and bushes, grass or even pavement. Common objects that you can use to indicate a passage of time in a natural transition are shadows, sunrises and sunsets, sky or clouds.

Objects with the same shape can also be used as natural transitions. For example, almost any circular object can be transitioned into another circular object. A wall in one room can be transitioned into a wall of another room. Camera moves can also be used in creating natural transitions. For example, tilting up from the grass to the sky, and then from the sky back down to another location.

Swish pans use a rapidly blurred shot at the end of one scene and beginning of the other to create a transition. When performing a swish pan, it’s best to be working at the telephoto end of your lens because the blur is much more pronounced. When creating your natural wipe, you wanna make sure you fill the entire frame with the wipe object, and you wanna make sure that the end of the first scene and the beginning of the second scene are as close to identical as possible.

When cutting the transition together in your NLE, you can use fades and dissolves to accentuate the transition or to cover up small mistakes. So for example, with this effect, we set up a locked down camera and walk directly towards it. On the other side of the wipe, we simply turn the camera around 180 degrees and walked away from it. We cut the two scenes together and added a little fade to black in the middle to sell the whole effect.

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