Choosing the best transition

on Sunday, November 30, 2008

When Windows Movie Maker first came out in 2000, choosing what type of transition to use between clips was easy because you only had two choices. You could either use a straight-cut transition (which is actually no transition at all) or a cross-fade/dissolve transition. If you wanted to use anything fancier, you were out of luck.
Thankfully, most modern video-editing programs — including Windows Movie Maker 2 — provide you with a pretty generous assortment of transitions. Transitions are usually organized in their own window or palette. Transition windows usually vary slightly from program to program, but the basics are the same.
How do you decide which transition is the best? The fancy transitions may look really cool, but I recommend restraint when choosing them. Remember that the focus of your movie project is the actual video content, not showing off your editing skills or the capabilities of your editing software. More often than not, the best transition is a simple dissolve. If you do use a fancier transition, I recommend using the same or a similar transition throughout your project. This will make the transitions seem to fit more seamlessly into the movie.