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Old August 16th, 2004, 02:04 PM   #1
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Transitions

Since the arrival of my camera coincided with the delivery of a new bathroom I have only been able to try shooting for about ten minutes but have spent some time at night lurking on forums and playing with editors.
Pinnacle and Adobe premier both contain extensive transitions but watching a number of TV documentaries (mainly wildlife ) I see that anything other than a plain cut is very rarely used.
This may only be on the shows I watch but I'm wondering whether there are things like fashion involved- some time ago interviews were conducted with the camera at odd angles and graduated tobacco filters were de rigeur.
My question is whether clever transitions are desirable or should they be used with caution (if I ever get anything to edit!)
This may be on the wrong forum or too silly to answer but comments would be appreciated
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Old August 16th, 2004, 02:29 PM   #2
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IMO they should generally be avoided as fancy transitions are gimmicky and usually cheesy. Only use them if they add something to the show.

An example of good use of transitions IMO would be the ones in "Home Improvement".
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Old August 16th, 2004, 02:50 PM   #3
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Of the transitions, I have only seen the wipes used in wedding videos or family things...and bad TV ads.

Watch The Discovery Channel and shows like ANATOMY OF A SHARK BITE or UNSOLVED HISTORY. We do flashy transitions on our shows there. They are mainly blur or glow dissolves, but sometimes are nifty Boris transitions.

I use about 3-5% of the transitions available to me.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 03:26 PM   #4
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John,
What do you prefer to see as a viewer?
Do you get annoyed or puzzled by flashy effects?
I guess you probably do.
They're usually used by new kids on the block. The danger is when these kids get to play in a broadcast tv environment and pass it on to the next intake who think it is indeed "de rigeur" as you say ;-)

Robin.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 03:51 PM   #5
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Re: Transitions

Personally, and this is just me, I find flashy transitions bad. The nifty toys to play with, for fun, but don't use them professionally. You do see them occasionally, but usually used on less than professional work. Which isn't to say that they don't work, they just have to fit what you're working on. Recently, I've seen a few films that used wipes hidden inside of large moving objects or group of objects from the previous shot that were rotoscoped to pull them naturally into the next shot. It's difficult, and doesn't work in all occasions, but it is a flashy transition that when used correctly, works quite well.

Personally, I don't feel that you need more than fades and dissolves, and even those should be used sparingly. I've seen a lot of independent films that really badly over use dissolves.

But the ultimate choice is, does your transition really fit your material.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 04:04 PM   #6
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Another country heard from!

All of the above!

A well timed cut or well placed dissolve or fade, beats out 200 falling sheep anytime! (Inside joke for former Toaster owners.)

As Shane stated, I personally love 3 frame glows, especially if they are timed out to music and add to the piece.

As for all of those silly transitions that come with many edit systems, most are distracting at best...Yes, there are some applications where they work (campy news features), but overall, I would leave them for the kid's birthday parties, etc...

It would be a crying shame if you worked your heart out on a project, shot beautiful video and then marred it with transitions that have viewers asking...WTF?

Good luck, RB...Fade to black...
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Old August 16th, 2004, 04:09 PM   #7
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Probably the most important thing, is not to throw in a bunch of transitions. This screams, "I'm new, and they gave me all these cool transitions, so I'll use them all!"

I usually select one tasteful transition, and only use them between scenes, or to show time has passed. Never between every clip.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 04:17 PM   #8
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It depends. I sometimes have a quick montage of 4-10 clips and litter it with transitions. Glows or blurs or resizing.

But this all depends on your producer and the product you are cutting. I did two VH1 shows that didn't like to sit on one shot for longer than 2-3 seconds. That drove me nuts...but they demanded it. I am now cutting Discovery Channel stuff that wants "flash" and dazzle. So, along with cutting a story we throw in a few flashy transitions. The same with a History Channel show I once did/ The network wanted to reach a younger demographic so they wanted a show that was "MTV meets the History Channel." So I did that. But again, I stuck to glows and blurs and fast dissolves with only one object wipe (car driving thru scene). Lots of quick moves on pics and camera whip-pans.

I didn't go overboard. The VH1 style drives me nuts. Just enough to spice things up a bit.
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Old August 17th, 2004, 12:46 PM   #9
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The only transitions I find useful are crossfades and fade to black.
All the others tend to distract from the story. I often go back to the simple cut if I don't want my viewers to feel a change of time or location.
Most viewers look for a reason to a transition effect. If they can't find any, they remain puzzled.
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Old August 17th, 2004, 06:45 PM   #10
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I have often wondered whether the editing is purely the direction of the editor or directed by the Channel. Now that Shane has mentioned the Discovery Channel wants flash maybe he can give them my input. For the History Channel , OLN and Discovery I would much prefer a nice straight cuts edit with shots long enough for me to see what is going on with camera angles that I don't have to twist my head to see the picture too. Thats why I watch these channels -- for information. Straights cuts and fade to black at the end with credits slow enough for me to read too. To be honest fancy editing makes me suspicious that the content is weak and is being covered up with fluff. Fancy effects are great for grabing a persons attention so are wonderful for short adds or promos where the total time is short and there is a need to leave an image in the viewers mind. For me anything longer than 2 mins of this starts to turn me off and has the exact opposite effect from the intended objective---I switch off or change channels!!! It is probably a little harder to use cuts too since finding the exact point to maintain continuity and image flow is sometimes more difficult than applying an effect that masks the transition between scenes.


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Old August 17th, 2004, 07:09 PM   #11
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A lot of the style is dictated by the Channel and the Producer. The Channel will say "we want a show with straight cuts" or "we need something flashy." And yes, often times flashy editing is there to cover up the fact that the show is lacking content. The FLASH is there to keep you tuned in. And the networks want the young audience...even the History Channel is targetting younger (I cut THE NUCLEAR FOOTBALL in a flashy style) and wanting flash. The nice thing is...that the flash was to compliment the content. I didn't go overboard..I just did some transitions and fast paced cutting for tension. But they also like interviews to play out and like longer cuts.

Another use for flashy stuff is lack of footage or pics. One will do tons of moves or different angles and funky things to the two pictures they have to fill the 5-10 places they need to use them. This is true of VH1 stuff I cut. But VH1 also didn't want to sit on a shot for mare that 3 seconds. I hated that. You flash to an interviewee for 2 secnds just to show who is talking then off to the flashy stuff. Very bothersome.

Now...the question I have is was this created because people have short attention spans...or do people have short attention spans BECAUSE of this.

I vote for the latter.
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Old August 18th, 2004, 02:00 PM   #12
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Thanks to you all for the replies- the concensus seems to be keep it simple and concentrate on the content not the packaging.
I'm somewhat overwhelmed - I assumed this was an amateur forum but it seems a lot of professional are happy to help educate raw beginners (different to some forums where basic questions get flamed ) , thanks again
John
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Old August 18th, 2004, 02:07 PM   #13
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Yes...stick to the simple stuff and tell the story.

And hey...even us pros were raw beginners at some point. A lot of advice (and a bit of schooling) got me where I am today. Glad to "pay it forward."
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Old August 19th, 2004, 06:43 AM   #14
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John,

Think of your audience as a pack of hungry tigers. Feed them the meat, not the vegetables.

They will be much nicer to you if you do.
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