The way shots are joined together helps define the transition, whether it's a straight cut, a dissolve, a wipe or even a whip pan. Knowing which transition to use depends on whether you’re trying to maintain continuity in a scene or if you’re showing a shift in time. Some transitions draw attention to the edit while others go relatively unnoticed.

Types of Transitions

Straight Cuts

Common in many news stories. This type of cut is an instantaneous transition from one shot to the other and resembles more
closely how we use our eyes to view detail in our surroundings. The effect is the least obtrusive transition if the shots have good continuity. 


Used to denote the beginning or end of a show or of a scene. The transition fades up from black or fades down to black. Sometimes fades can be confused with dissolves. Technically, fades are dissolves but it's more appropriate to describe any transition that dissolves to black or from black as a fade.


These transitions show a gradual transition from one shot to another where the two shots appear to overlap each other temporarily. It's common to see dissolves when there is a need to show the passage of time.


A transitional device that pushes pictures off screen to reveal the next shot. This effect can be used with many patterns. Wipes are also used to show shifts in time and locations.