Adobe Premiere Pro CC Instructions


There are several types of transitions, each serving a specific purpose. The thing to remember is not to go crazy with them. Keep it simple. 

Straight Cut
The most basic transition, which is used commonly in news packages and interview segments to convey a sense of immediacy. The transition is strictly the abrupt replacement of one shot to the next. Straight cuts are perhaps the most seamless transition because they mimic the way our brains perceive the world.

This transition is used commonly to convey the passage of time. As one image fades down, another fades up and the two images briefly overlap. Dissolves are useful as scene transitions, but they can also be used for dramatic effect, for example during a musical performance when the song is a slow melody. Unlike the straight cut, dissolves get our attention.

This transition is used typically to signal the beginning or end of a scene. The most common is fading up from black at the beginning of a scene and fading down to black at the end. Sometimes, fades using white are used, but in general, editors use fades sparingly because the audience knows that this transition implies the beginning and end of a major story segment. For this reason, seldom do we use fades in the middle of a story.

This transition is also used to convey the passage of time or when the scene changes. There are numerous types of wipe patterns, but typically one shot replaces another by sliding from one side of the frame to the next. The film Star Wars made wide use of wipes to transition between scenes.

Cross Fades
This transition is used strictly for audio transitions. They can be applied when you want to fade down the audio of one clip and fade up the audio of another. The fades between the two clips may briefly overlap as well, but cross fades are also useful when you want to smooth out the audio transition and avoid the jarring cuts to audio. A jarring audio is an edit you can actually hear! 

Natural Transitions
These are transitions that you can build into your camera work to create a more dynamic visual experience. Here are a few that you can try yourself. You have to make a more conscious effort to acquire these transitions during the photography side of your production work. 

  • Whip Pan - pan the camera so quickly that the picture blurs into distinct streaks. Use this transition to change locations, scenes or to convey a frenetic pace of action. Be careful when you pan quickly - don't yank the camera and knock it off balance. Make sure the tripod is planted firmly and that you loosen the pan lever all the way. 
  • Body Wipe - allow a person (or you can do this yourself) to walk into your field of view until the shot is completely obscured or goes to black. Then cut to the next shot where another person continues in the same direction, but walks out of your field of view to reveal the new image. Instead of using people, you can do this same kind of natural transition with cars if your story is about traffic issues or something related. 
  • Matching Action - this transition cuts typically on motion between shots giving the illusion of one continuous motion. The scene is shot from at least two angles showing the same action (it helps if the action is repetitive, like someone making pizzas in a restaurant). Where the same action occurs between the two angles, the first shot may show the start of the action and the second shot completes the action. 
  • Crossing Audio - this is the same thing as a J-cut, or split edit, where audio from the next scene precedes its video. Such a transition actually mimics the way we perceive the world - first we hear the person call our name and then we turn to see them. 
Finding Transitions in Adobe Premiere 

In the Project Panel click on the Effects tab. You'll find a list of effects that include Audio and Video Transitions. 

To apply a transition, such as a dissolve, drag it from the Project Panel and place it on the edit point where you want the dissolve to take place. The illustration below shows what a dissolve transition looks like in the Timeline. You can also change the duration of the dissolve by clicking and dragging the edge of the transition, either stretching or compressing it. 

Another way you can change the duration of the dissolve is simply to click on the dissolve itself to highlight it. Then in the Source Monitor, click on the Effects Controls tab. Click on the number where you see Duration and change it to the desired length. NOTE: the length shows the number of frames and there are 30 frames per second. 

Applying audio crossfades is no different. Let's say you want to fade down the audio at the end of a clip. In the Project Panel, go to Effects > Audio Transitions > Cross Fades. The default cross fade is called Constant Power, which is useful when you want to transition from one audio source to another. Below is an explanation of the types of cross fades you'll find:

  • Constant Gain - crossfades at a constant rate. Sometimes this transition can sound abrupt if between two audio sources. 
  • Constant Power - creates a smooth, gradual transition that decreases audio for the first clip slowly at the start and then quickly towards the end. 
  • Exponential - this ramps down the audio exponentially and is perhaps better to use when fading audio to silence.
Since we're fading to silence, go ahead and use Exponential Fade. Drag the transition from the Project Panel and drop it on the edge of the clip where you want the audio to fade down. 

You can also change the duration of the cross fade by either clicking and dragging on the end and stretching it out, or click on the transition and go to the Effects Controls in the Source Monitor. Change the duration from there. 

You can apply default transitions to your clips by right-clicking on the edit point, or edge of the clip, and selecting Apply Default Transitions. 

When using the Apply Default Transition, you'll get both a video dissolve and an audio cross fade. If you only wanted the video dissolve, then select the audio cross fade and delete it. 

Applying Transitions to Multiple Clips

You can only do this using the default transitions. Highlight all of the clips you want to use and then click 

  • Sequence > Apply Default Transition to the selection, or Shift+D 
  • Sequence > Apply Video Transition, or Command+D
  • Sequence > Apply Audio Transition, or Shift+Command+D

NOTE: Dissolves and Cross Fades will not be applied if you don't have enough handles to the video clip. During your production shoot, record each shot for at least 10 seconds. You're likely only going to use a few seconds of the shot at most, but at least you should have enough footage and audio for padding purposes should you choose to apply transitions like dissolves or wipes.