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Adding transitions

In the previous lesson, you created a basic edit containing “hard cuts,” meaning that each clip cuts directly into the next. In many instances, you can move between cuts more gracefully with a transition. A transition can serve as a storytelling device to indicate the passage of time or a change of location.

The most commonly used transition is a dissolve, which blends the tail of one clip with the head of the next clip. The term dissolve dates back to traditional film editing, where the frames of celluloid were literally dissolved together in a chemical bath to merge them. With Adobe Premiere Pro, you can add a dissolve simply by clicking and dragging or by using a simple keyboard shortcut.

In this exercise, you will apply dissolve transitions at a couple of edit points in your sequence.

Because many effects, transitions, and presets are available in Adobe Premiere Pro, the application comes equipped with its own search engine of sorts to help you search for effects or transitions by keyword.

  1. Open the Effects panel.
  2. In the search field, type dissolve.

    Note that as you type, Adobe Premiere Pro filters out the list to show you only those effects containing the text you are typing. In this case, you’ll see the dissolve effects after typing the first few letters; it is not necessary to type the entire word dissolve.

  3. Also, note the yellow square around the icon for Cross Dissolve. This yellow square indicates that this transition is set as the current default video transition.

Let’s apply a Cross Dissolve transition between prod_monitor_adam_filip.m4v and prod_shooting_jeff_filip_dancer.m4v. Adjust your playhead to 00:01:20:06.

In order for a transition between two clips to work, they both need to have sufficient overlapping trimmed frames. Because the second of these two clips has no trimmed frames before the current edit point, a transition can only begin after this point—which means that the first clip needs to extend its Out point.

  1. Choose the Rolling Edit tool from the Tools panel.
  2. Hover this tool over the edit point in the Timeline.
  3. Apply a roll edit to extend the Out point of prod_monitor_adam_filip.m4v by 6 frames.

    Now there is a 6-frame overlap between these two clips, allowing a transition of that length to be applied.

  4. In the Effects panel, select and drag Cross Dissolve to the current edit point so that the transition ends at the edit point.

    Use the Play Around shortcut (Shift+K) to automatically adjust your playhead two seconds before the current frame (or preroll), and then play two seconds after the current frame (or postroll). This allows you to preview your transition.

  5. In the Effect Controls window, verify the Duration is 6 frames.

Let’s apply another cross dissolve between the final B-roll and prod_musicvid_raw02.R3D. Adjust your playhead to 00:02:37:00.


Note that because prod_musicvid_raw02.R3D does not have any extra frames with which to extend its In point, again, a transition cannot happen unless the clip before it extends its Out point.

  1. Use the Selection tool to extend the Out point of prod_confetti_lyrics.m4v by 12 frames.

    In Adobe Premiere Pro, if you want to apply a video transition between two clips, they must be adjacent clips on the same track. All you have to do is move one of these clips so that they’re both on the same track.

  2. Select prod_confetti_lyrics.m4v.
  3. Drag it up to Video 3 so that its last 12 frames overwrites the first 12 frames of prod_musicvid_raw02.R3D.
  4. Go to the Effects panel. Choose and drag Cross Dissolve to the head of prod_musicvid_raw02.R3D.
  5. Double-click the transition to bring up the Set Transition Duration window. Change the value to 12.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Press Shift+K to Play Around the transition.
  8. Press Command+S (Ctrl+S) to save your project.
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