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7 Key Filmmaking Transitions You Need to Know

Give your videos better flow with these connecting edits
Photo of filmmaking transitions

Effective transitions help your videos maintain a smooth flow and communicate information to your viewers. Transitions speed up your edit, they advance your storyline, and they can hide your mistakes—especially when it comes to focus issues or wobbly footage.

In the video below from filmmaker Matti Haapoja, he shows you some of the most common filmmaking transitions and how to effectively use them. If you’re looking for more filmmaking tips and tricks, check out this story with seven gimbal moves you should know for cinematic video.

#1 Whip Pan

This transition involves physically moving the camera from one object to another and doing it quick enough that motion is blurred in the process. If you want to get extra creative, you can whip pan to something like a drone shot or another camera angle. If you are trying to use this technique, just make sure your pans are moving in the same direction to keep the cuts from becoming jarring.

#2 Matching Textures

This is a great technique to use when you want to create a transition between two very different places. These are often used with landscape shots—footage of ocean waves is a pretty standard way to use this technique.

#3 Overlays

Overlays have become a big trend in online video, especially when it comes to film overlays. An overlay is a few seconds of footage you can plop into your timeline that will provide a brief light leak or some film sprockets on the side of the footage. They work best when you are trying to cut together two clips that aren’t quite cutting together.

#4 Continuous Subject Movement

This transition technique is also camera based and essentially you start a camera movement and continue moving the camera in the same way when you cut to your next shot. It’s similar to a whip pan but has a much more subtle effect.

#5 Match Cut

A match cut refers to a similar action happening in the frames that you are cutting between. They are an excellent tool to use to transition from one place to another when editing video.

#6 Zoom Transition

A slow zoom is a great way to tie one clip to another. Zoom transitions can be made in camera or for a more subtle effect added in post-production while you are editing. If you are looking for something extra dramatic you can always pair a zoom with a whip pan.

#7 Sound Transition

Sound transitions are great when paired with any of the visual transitions in this list. Sound transitions can also help emphasize the cuts you are making within your video. Cuts should happen at the loudest point of whatever noise is being made—just make sure that you are capturing quality audio while you are shooting!

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