I'm working on a few different articles so I'll probably be starting up similar topics, but I wanted to get different input and opinions on crossfades/dissolves for transitions (we can also talk a little about its static counterpart the overlay). Next to a hard cut its the most basic transition and pretty much available to all editors. While I find that crossfades are good for softening a transition between scenes I also think they are often too overused, misused, run too long, or a weak transition.
When I was a complete newbie editor I used it as my go to transition and would have some crossfades last upwards of two-three seconds or more. While it may have been approriate in some places looking back at them its hard for me to determine where and when my focus should shift from one scene to the other, and other times it would just become a distorted cloud of colors and shapes. One major problem I notice that can happen with crossfades is while the lighter colors fade out quickly the darker ones are a lot slower to leave and if its transitioning into another scene with alot of light colors, it starts to look strange and as if afterimages are being left behind. While its easy to get most cross fades to flow with most music, often times it feels like in most videos where a crossfade was used, a few shifts and changes with speed to one or both of the clips could allow for either a hard cut or a softer crossfade resulting in less blending/blurring across the two scenes and in my opinion look cleaner/smoother.
Overlays have to work twice as hard as crossfades, since they usually sit on the screen longer and they usually lack the purpose of going from one scene to another. In otherwords, if there is an overlay of two+ scenes whats the meaning behind it? Are they similar to each other and enhancing some kind of emotion or concept or are they trying to highlight something contrasting? Also, for overlays what should I be watching? Oftentimes in overlaid scenes I can't tell what I'm supposed to be focused on since so much is going on that I can't keep up, while that is ok in some instances it ends up losing me where I can't readily identify whats going on or the purpose.
What are your thoughts on crossfades/dissolves/overlays? If anyone has some awesome examples of where its done right please share. Also examples of where it seems poorly done is also helpful.
A recent example that came to my mind is from Radical Sequence where they seem to be used well for the most part. The only issue I have is the crossfade around 0:41-0:42 leaves kind of that afterimagey impression with the darker colors.
Now for serious times. I do believe crossfades are a crutch. While it does look smoother and such, they're not exactly necessary and they let the editor vaguely sync as opposed to really forcing them to create an interesting story and such. What I guess I'm trying to say is...when you use crossfades it becomes much easier to jump all over different scenes without it looking VERY out of place and becomes just slightly out of place. When you use hardcuts, you're forced to think a bit more in-depth about how you want to sync the video and the order you use your footage in.
Koopiskeva actually made a drama/romance video, which is a genre that is engulfed by crossfades, using nothing but hardcuts and was quite successful in his endeavor.
On the other hand, a video with no crossfades and only hardcuts can be quite painful on the eyes...if not done properly that is. As I previously stated, getting hardcuts just right takes a bit more time than slapping a fade down and sadly enough, not a lot of editors take the time to realize this...then they proceed to charge ahead with editing, rendering and uploading, only be taken aback when they're told by their peers that it physically hurt them to watch.
When it comes to dissolves, I have the same feeling about dissolves as I do any other special effect. Unless it has a purpose other than "I thought it kinda looked cool," then by all means. One of my biggest AMV pet-peeves is when halfway through a video we see an effect or transition style that is incredibly obvious and then is NEVER used again. It disrupts the flow and just kind of creates a "what just happened?" feeling for the viewer.
Dissolves and special effects alike, they have to have a meaning. Whether you're using them to empathize something in the video or your going for a technical monster of a video. If used properly, it won't look out of place...but if it's just kind of thrown in as an after thought and doesn't match the feel of the rest of the video, it will be obvious...and that's not a good thing.
As for me, I still rely on the crutch that is crossfades. A few years ago I never would've thought about using a hardcut but "Paper Image" actually opened my eyes to them and the beauty that they can create. I use dissolves such as "Color Bleed" which is a Sony Vegas stock transition but only where I feel it looks right, adds a bit more and doesn't stand out (unless I want it to.) I do try to lean more towards hardcuts but most of the time I still fall back on crossades. While I know that if I worked harder, I wouldn't have to use as many...I actually prefer the way that I edit having a mix of all 3. It just kind of works for me
You don't have to do things one way. Only hardcuts. Only Crossfades. Only Dissolves. It's all about finding a balance that you enjoy and looks nice.
Sorry if I'm difficult to understand...I didn't get much sleep >_>
I've been known to use "too much" fades recently. People don't like it but I don't care. For me, the fade is a way to enhance emotion but I also use it because I believe it's better to use a fade on a transition where you're syncing to a lyric or in certain situations where you don't want to cut on a single beat or note. I think Yue said it well but in the end its all perspective. People don't really like my "overuse" of fades but to me every fade is there for a reason, not just to transition between one scene to the next. If the viewer can't see that, they will assume it's there to be "a crutch".
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Crossfades work really well on longer cuts with transitions during slower parts of songs. Obviously the opposite would be hard short cuts on faster parts of songs. Fades just don't work unless they are given a proper amount of time to fade, IMHO atleast 10-30 or in slower song cases sometimes more frames for a ntsc amv (1/3 second, full second, or more depending on song). Otherwise it looks ugly and is too short to serve its purpose of a smooth transition between unalike scenes or just to smooth transitioning in general.
IMHO, overlaying looks mostly ugly and considered to be just too lazy to mask. Usually it's either mask or just drop the idea altogether; never overlay unless motion, colors, shapes, etc... are very similar. Another reason I might overlay is a part of one scene being mostly empty and having something from another scene overlayed on that spot, this is just a partial overlay. If you got too much going on the screen with overlays it just looks horrid.
Overuse is another story... The more you see the same thing, the less your likely to enjoy it each time. Whether or not it gets to a point that it becomes annoying depends on other things in the video.
My $0.02 anyway.
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I like about 1/2 second crossfades myself. Then I got some criticism for using them so I did without in "Cowboy". And received at least one comment that my scene cuts were too fast - needed fades. *sigh*
I used a number of stock Vegas transitions in "Legend", rotations to change images, and a sand effect to remove and bring back some characters.
First of all, crossfades are not a bad thing. Problem is the way you uses them. If you decide to do a cross fade for scenes with different lights, moods or simply different scenes, even a crossfade might not help you always. Some editors says that crossfades shouldn't be used, but it really depends of what you're trying to do and how the crossfade will help you.
About dissolves, fades or whatever you want to call it, I don't use them too much excepting for special occasions. I normally like to create the transitions, not add them
Working in the Hospital in the day, making AMVs by night
I used quite a few fades in my most recent video. Usually, I listen for if I think the music calls for it, and thats my cue for a crossfade. Sometimes though, I initially use a straight cut, and if the cut just looks weird to me, I try a crossfade. When the editing seems weird with cuts, I find that crossfades usually make it better
Zarxrax wrote:I used quite a few fades in my most recent video. Usually, I listen for if I think the music calls for it, and thats my cue for a crossfade. Sometimes though, I initially use a straight cut, and if the cut just looks weird to me, I try a crossfade. When the editing seems weird with cuts, I find that crossfades usually make it better
In some way I was interested to read that from you, I dunno why
Working in the Hospital in the day, making AMVs by night