10 Types Of Video Transitions & When To Use Them

Updated on October 8, 2021

Transitions are used to denote a change in time, place, or point of view. There are many different types of video transitions. Each tells its own story and elicits a variety of emotional responses from the audience (e.g., excitement, mystery).

Simple Cuts

Simple cuts - it is the most basic transition between shots or scenes. It denotes a direct change from one time, place, character's point of view, etc., to another. For example, if an audience sees two characters having a conversation and then the scene cuts to seeing them in another location, this can be considered a simple cut. This "transition" is frequently used in most films and has become less of a stylistic choice and more of a necessity to cover up edits and stitched shots.


Crossfades - are used to transition from one element into another. For example, a crossfade from scene A to scene B can indicate that the time between those events has elapsed. The audience may not see the exact moment when one element ends and another begins. Crossfading is commonly used as a type of transition in music too, especially those involving two different singers.

Whip Pan

Whip Pan - a transition that "whips" one video shot off the screen and replaces it with another. A whip pan is often pictured as a horizontal line moving across the screen horizontally, or diagonally going from one side to another.

This transition can be used at any point in a film's timeline, and it symbolizes a sharp change from one shot to another. A whip pan is different from a fade or dissolves because of its sudden, abrupt movement that makes it incredibly distinct.

Whip pans are commonly used as transitions between two or more characters who are in different places, such as a conversation taking place between two people and it is more common in action scenes. It is also used in other types of videos, like advertisements, sport videos, and various shows.

Shape Transitions

Shape Transitions - this involves morphing one object into another or contorting the shapes of objects on-screen.

Transitions that start from a geometric shape and afterward form to another concrete object such as people, geometrical figures (rectangles, triangles), and so on. This transition is less common than other types because it can be difficult to pull off without the risk of overdoing it.

It is more common to see shape transitions in video advertisements and other social media videos. This transition can help you to create unique and modern-looking transitions between two different shots.


Defocus - used to transition from one shot to another by defocusing the image. In other words, it's a transitional device that makes everything look blurry for a split second.

This works as a fade but the main difference is that it doesn't actually fade into anything, it just makes the next shot unfocused and clear again. It is mostly used for a quick change of place and time. For example, if one scene takes place at day and the next cuts to night, then a defocus technique can be used to show that some time has passed.

Invisible Cut

Invisible Cut - the audience doesn't actually see the moment when one scene ends and another begins. There are no conventional connections between the two sequences, but the audience understands that something has occurred. It's used as a replacement for simple cuts since it's more subtle than fades, dissolves, wipes, and other types of transitions because it helps keep the viewer immersed in the story.

An invisible cut can be seen when two shots are connected via an object or action both characters share. For example, two people may sit down at the same time and this is where the scene ends with one shot and begins with another.

It is also called a direct cut because there is no fade, dissolve, or wipe involved in this transition. It simply involves cutting from one shot to another without any visual signs that separate them. An invisible cut can be used at any point in your film; however, it is most common to use this transition between sequences that are very similar or exactly the same.

Glitch Transitions

Glitch Transitions – a type of transition that uses glitches and artifacts. Glitch transitions are most often used as a stylistic choice either to denote tense or unusual moments in the film or simply present the audience with an interesting visual effect.

Glitch transitions can break the viewer's immersion by showing that something has gone wrong with reality itself. Although it can be quite jarring for your audience, glitch transitions sometimes can make your work more unique and create a visual tension for the action scenes.

However, it's better not to overdo it because doing so can make your whole production look messy and unprofessional. Glitch transitions are often considered an easy way out when you can't come up with something more original for your film.

Light Leaks

Light Leaks – light leaks are unintentional lights that come through the lens of a camera and they usually show up as white, blue, or yellow blurred circles or other geometric shapes. This effect is often used to make the footage look like it was shot on an older film camera, especially if you're planning to go for vintage style. This effect also can create a melancholy and a romantic atmosphere. Apart from that, this transition can be used to introduce a flashback or give your audience a hint of what's about to happen next.

J Cut & L Cut

J cut and L cut transitions are often used in movies, as they can help your audience to understand the context of a scene much better than simple cuts. These transitions go from one shot to another without noticeable visual effects or fades. Instead, a new scene begins while the old one is still playing in the background. These types of cuts are used to show two separate actions happening at once while also implying that they're connected somehow.

The J cut transition goes from shot A to shot B while keeping the audio of shot B playing in the background. It's a popular editing technique for dialogue scenes where two characters are having a conversation. The viewer can see both of them, but this transition makes it look like they're also listening to something else.

Match Cuts

Match Cuts – one of the most common transitions, used to create a connection between two shots that is not just physical but also emotional. This transition can be found in many mainstream movies and music videos. A match cut involves cutting from one shot to another where the middle is a specific action or object that appears in both shots. This type of transition is used to demonstrate that two separate actions are somehow connected.

For example, you can edit your footage so that there's a door featured on both ends of the cuts. By doing this, you will imply that two people are about to meet near the door. Match cuts can also be used for dialogue scenes, as they will make it clear to your audience that both characters are thinking or talking about the same thing.

A match cut happens when shot A ends where shot B begins with similar composition, camera movements, lighting, or color palette.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of different types of transitions out there, but it's important to use them when it makes sense. Don't overdo it because doing so can make your video look messy and unprofessional. People are used to seeing these transitions in mainstream media, but if they don't make sense in the context of your production, you might be better off without using them.

Now that you know about different types of transitions in film, you can make a better decision about which ones to choose for your project. A good video has a perfect balance of different types of transitions and one that is too full can be distracting.

Transitions can be used to show changes or similarities, in reality, moods, relationships, characters' feelings or thoughts, and much more. The to know about each type of transition and when the best times are to use them.

I hope you've found this article useful on types of transitions in film and when to use them. If you have any additional suggestions or comments, feel free to share them with us in the comment section below.

We'll be back next time with more useful articles. Until next time!

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