Ultimate Guide to in-Camera Transitions Pt.1

One thing about online video that is hard not to notice are transitions. I would hope if your reading this, that you DO know what a transition is. But for those that don’t here is the technical definition:

“In video editing a transition is what the author shows between two shots or clips. The joining of those clips is the transition from one to the other. Transitions can be an instant scene or image change, a fade, fade to black, dissolve, pan from one person to another, or any digital effect.”

In almost every editing software available, there is some basic stock transitions that are very useful for novice content creators. As you progress and learn more about creating video content you soon realize that as a professional you cannot rely on these stock transitions. You come to find out that not only can you make your own and purchase presets to make things easier BUT you soon realize some of the greatest looking transitions we see really are made with “in Camera transitions”. All this means is that your intentionally manipulating your camera before or after certain shots, in order to piece them together in your editor creating a transition effect.

The most famous of these in camera transitions is the whip pan as seen below:

This would be a great transition to master as it can be used in various ways. The key to this transition is to make sure you are whipping in the same direction for each clip you want to connect later. If your shooting a person walking down the street, and you whip pan left at the end of that clip, make sure you whip pan left at the start of the next shot. So you can have your subject in clip 1 walking down the street and then you whip pan left into clip 2 which is the subject entering a door from the inside of the house. In order to make this transition from outdoors to indoor work, you must whip pan left at the start of clip 2. What really makes this flow smoothly is the motion blur that is created while “whipping”. It is at these points in the two clips that you make your cuts, as the motion blur will hide the “cut” if done right.

You can whip pan left, right, up, down, diagonal, etc… Mastering this simple in camera transition can really add to your videos. Once you get the hang of it you can try to think outside the box and find more creative ways to use the whip pan, and really be intentional in how you film.

Here is D4Darious going through not just the Whip Pan, but a few other easy to practice and master in camera transitions.

In this next Video Jeven Dovey goes through a few more useful and practical in camera transitions. He does cover the whip pan, and cover up transition’s but he also had a few other tricks you can add to your arsenal such as the Wipe, Match cuts (using sounds like a snap, clap, etc…), sky wipes and more.

Moving along your journey as a filmmaker and content creator you will eventually find yourself trying to stand out from the pack. By this point the same’ole whip pans are just not going to cut it, and you’re going to want to start making your own transitions and presets to speed up your edit. Keep in mind there are many ways to go about making your own transitions but having the foundation we already covered is going to help you tremendously. In this next video Peter Mckinnon teaches you how to create your own in camera transitions, without the use of any software. This is a good technique to learn and start building your own personal library of transitions that are unique to you and your style of filmmaking. The idea behind his technique relies on motion blur, so the more you shake or move your camera the easier it is to sell the effect.

Stay Tuned for part 2 which will cover more advanced in camera transitions and how you can make your videos more creative with them.

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