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Transitions in Movie Maker ... how to use them more effectively.
Movie Maker 2 comes with a huge selection of transitions that you can place between your video clips. There are 60 transitions to choose from, ranging from simple fades to complex geometric shapes.

When first presented with such a plethora of transition options, you may be tempted to use them judiciously throughout your video. For a home movie, that’s fine, as your audience will probably enjoy them. However, if you are trying to create a “professional looking” video, you may want to go easy on the transitions … after all, you don’t see any transitions in movies or TV shows.

Actually, there are a few transitions that you will see in movies and film, but they are subtle and you probably don’t notice them …

  1. The “Cut”
    This isn’t really a transition, but a switch in movie clips … when one clip ends, the next one immediately begins. The timing of cuts is very important and there are many funny and amazing things you can do with careful timing. Fortunately, Movie Maker makes it easy to cut your scenes by allowing you to “trim” the ends of your video clips.
    The cut transition

  2. The fade
    The fade is the most useful (and most used) transition. It is simply a cross-dissolve between two scenes, and in movies typically occurs when the story changes locations.
    The fade transition

  3. The wipe
    This effect is used less often than the fade, but implies the same thing … a change in location. This effect is more obvious than the fade, and the audience is supposed to “notice” the effect. The wipe denotes a major change in location … and even a change in time. In a movie like “The Gladiator” or “Conan the Barbarian” the wipe might be used to show the main character changing over time … wiping between clips of the character aging and getting stronger.
    The wipe transition

The audience should be focused and engrossed with the movie and not with your transition effects. So, it’s important to keep your transitions “transparent” or “invisible” by using them sparingly.

An exception to the rule
One place that you might want to use fancy transitions, is in a photo slideshow. Movie maker lets you import pictures from your digital camera and lay them on your timeline as a “video slideshow.” You can even add music or a descriptive voice track over these photos.

Because photos are static and non-moving, transitions are great because they add “motion” to your movie. A photo slide-show is one place that you can get away with those crazy transitions and still create a video that looks professional.

Other ways to transition …
There are other ways to create “transitions” between scenes that don’t rely on your computer but careful planning. If you ever want to see a movie with clever transitions, rent the 80’s action movie “Highlander.” The main character in this movie (a 1,000 year old sword master living in New York) has constant “flashbacks” to his youth in medieval Scotland. To transition to these flashbacks, the director uses only clever editing. In one scene, the camera will zoom in on the character’s eyes while he drives his car, cut, then zoom back from his eyes while he is in the middle of a ancient sword fight. In another scene, the camera pans over to his office aquarium and moves up to the aquarium water’s surface … then the scene cuts to the water surface of a medieval lake. Clever stuff … but it takes a lot of preplanning!

Rules are meant to be broken, and the above transition recommendations are only observations. If you want to use crazy transitions in your video … go right ahead! After all, you are the creative genius behind your film!

Next: Add Music to your Movie Maker projects

You can find more useful home-video "tips and tricks" like this one at Mighty Coach - they even have an online-video course that teaches you to edit video on your home computer!


Download more Movie Maker Effects!

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