Transitions you probably need to stop using (and what to use instead!)

Check if you’re making these mistakes!

Transitions you probably need to stop using (and what to use instead!)

“Hey, there’s so much choice!” Oh boy, isn’t that a ride down a treacherous, bumpy road. See, it’s not just your shots and how you arrange them that make up the final message — it’s also how you connect them that inevitably becomes part of it. It’s similar to reading between the lines — in the sense that transitions are something that is watched, or at least perceived, between the scenes. In other words, every time you choose a given transition, your choice says something — and you should be careful it says the right thing.

Following trends without reflecting on their freshness and life cycle can quickly get you some hardly desired effects.  The temptation to use that cool, trendy transition effect often comes before what should happen first — a consideration of what the transition in question will do to the edit, how noticeable (distracting?) it will be, what it will symbolize, how it corresponds with the mood and tone of your video… These factors are much more important than falling for that “mind-blowing” transition that everybody’s been using recently. How to make sure your transitions are what they should be? It takes experience and taste, but for starters — have a look at our short guide!

Wait, “glitch” rhymes with… oh.

It’s true there are some types of videos where glitchy transitions can still be used and be of value - but be very careful you don’t just use them wherever and however often you like on account of being “trendy”.

Why? Because it was in fact a hugely popular trend somewhere around 2018/2019, and it got adopted by way too many adepts of video arts in way too many projects, making it a rather worn-off effect. In other words, it’s a perfect example of a tricky transition that may strike you as popular (“A thousand editors can't be wrong, right?”), but its heyday is over. The timing is key here — for now you can safely file omnipresent glitches under “anti-trend”.

Glittery flare? Don’t you dare, since we’re talking rhymes.

Remember what we said about transitions saying stuff? That neat little metaphor in the introduction? Well, flare transitions are a good example of that phenomenon, although perhaps a more suitable word than “say” would be “scream”. In this case, the effect screams “Amateur!!!”

Curl? Up. And roll away from your machine.

Take the above advice seriously and to the letter if you were to go for page curl transitions. Unless, of course, there has been some strange time continuum anomaly, and you’re reading these words in 2013. Then, by all means, go ahead.

By the way, ever heard the phrase “curl up and die”, used to express extreme embarrassment caused by an unbearably cringy situation? They say it comes from page curl transitions!

OK, that part is not true. But it is true that unless you have a very specific project AND harness all your creative powers to transcend the just-discovered-Power-Point vibe this effect is emanating, the basic cut with no effect whatsoever will most likely be a MUCH better option. Cause in most cases the page curl will be noticed in a way you don’t want it to be noticed, raising eyebrows and triggering “What the…” murmurs.

So, I know the don’ts. What are the dos?

That obviously depends on your video, the message / story you need to tell, the target audience, and the footage itself. There are, however, some simple rule-of-a-thumb points to always keep in the back of your head:

  • Less is more. Unless you have a very good reason for that, avoid using too many or too flashy transition types. Make an effort towards quality, not quantity!
  • Want the cinematic feel? Apply the above rule once more! This time interpreted as “less flashy, more shadowy” — subtle fades and playing with shadow and light are the secret ingredient of cinematic quality.
  • Find the time to stop and carefully think what transition(s) you want to use, always in relation to what they are supposed to mean and communicate. Remember that the basic cut is popular for a reason, and quite often it actually may be the best choice!
  • If you’re not sure if you’ve made the right choice, watch a couple of shots connected with the transition you’re thinking about. Try to assess how noticeable it is, and if you want something less or more distinct.
  • Very characteristic transitions shouldn’t be used repeatedly, and they should always serve a clear purpose. Period.
  • Never go for even the most trendy transition if its trendiness is the main reason you’d like to use it. Transitions are not the stars of your video, they’re more kinda like background actors!
“But I need eye-catching transitions, and I want them to be trendy!”

Well, we’ve got you covered. Again, lots will depend on your project, but here are some evergreen recommendations when it comes to quality transition plugins:

  • Looking for an all-round solution, as you believe creative freedom requires freedom of choice? Choose as much as you like from our mTransition Mega Pack140 transitions in your editing toolbox will make the task of selecting the right ones more challenging… and rewarding! See for yourself:
Don't just go big... go MEGA!
  • We all love adding some cinematic quality to our videos, but even then you need to double-check that film-like mood will play well with your project. If you decide this is the case, check mTransition Fade — see the trailer below! There are 51 all-purpose transitions allowing you to play with light and dark to create a unique mood and atmosphere — as long as you’re using FCP or DVR, that is. Pro tip: remember what we said about each transition effect serving a specific purpose? Cinematic transitions are pretty suggestive and generally create a certain mood and atmosphere, so think twice if that feeling suits your thing!
  • A good example of a trendy-not-cringy transition that’s enjoying some well-deserved popularity is the Luma Matte effect, available for FREE for FCP and DVR thanks to our mTransition Luma plugin (read more about mTransition Luma and some other free plugins here). Overtly energetic and genuinely engaging, this effect will draw increased attention to your shots, no matter which of the four available transition modes you choose. Don’t overuse it, though — its prominence may be tiring in the long run. Sounds like something for your project? Watch the trailer!

Best of luck, keep creating!

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