I have been waiting to talk about transitions with you all! Final Cut Pro has a fantastic library of transitions already. Still, if you want to purchase more, fcpeffects has a lot of beautiful, nuanced transitions that will add uniqueness to your projects. Now that you are prepared let’s get to the heart of this article. Today, I will show you how to add transitions in Final Cut Pro.
Why Add Transitions?
Transitions in film are essential because they help to connect various scenes and shots, making the story flow seamlessly. Since they are a bridge between different moments in the story, they can create emotional and narrative surprises that wow the audience. Count me in!
Transitions also allow filmmakers to manipulate time and space, convey mood and tone, and create visual interest. Transitions can also be used to suggest the passage of time, create suspense, or even highlight a specific detail or moment. As you can see, transitions are a critical part of the language of film, and they play a significant role in shaping the viewer’s perception of the story being told.
Types of Transitions
Let’s get an idea of what kinds of transitions exist in film.
A cut is the most basic and straightforward type of transition. It is when one shot abruptly ends, and the next shot begins. A cut can be used to suggest the passage of time, change location, or move the story forward.
A fade occurs when a shot gradually fades to black or white, and the next shot gradually fades in. Fades are often used to suggest a change in time or location or to signal the end of a scene.
A dissolve is similar to a fade, but instead of one shot gradually fading out and the next gradually fading in, both shots are visible for a period, with one fading into the other. Dissolves are often used to suggest the passage of time or to create a dreamlike or surreal effect.
A wipe is a transition where one shot is replaced by another shot that gradually “wipes” across the screen, covering the previous shot. Wipes can be used for various effects, including to suggest a change in location or time or to create a sense of movement or action.
A smash cut is a sudden, jarring cut between two shots that are extremely different in content, tone, or location. Smash cuts can be used for comedic effect or to create a feeling of surprise or shock.
A match cut is a transition where the shot that follows the previous shot has a visual or auditory connection to the previous shot. For example, a match cut could be used to transition from a shot of a train to a shot of a car, with the sound of the train whistle overlapping the sound of a car horn.
These are just a few of the many types of film transitions that can be used to tell a story in a visually compelling way. All of which you should try out in your films to see which ones fit your story best!
How To Add Transitions in Final Cut Pro
- Open your transitions tab in the right corner of your project library
(Keyboard Shortcut: Control + Cmd + 5)
- Type the transition you are looking for in the search bar or use the categories on the left-hand side
- Drag your transition over the top of the blade between your two clips.
Pro Tip 1:
If you drag your transition onto the first or second clip you want the transition to go between, it will automatically snap into place where the closest cut in your clip is.
Pro Tip 2:
If you don’t have enough length on your clip to create transitions, Final Cut Pro will give you a pop-up window to allow it to create the transition for you.
Pro Tip 3:
If you don’t like the transition you used, you can easily swap it out by dragging another transition overtop the previous one. You don’t need to delete your transition beforehand! Save yourself the time.
Pro Tip 4:
If you want to use any of the fully customizable transitions from fcpeffects.com, don’t forget to check out their youtube for full tutorials on how to use each transition!
Can I adjust the length of my transition?
- Make sure you have your selection tool selected. It will be demonstrated by a singular arrow. If you don’t have that selected, you can either click the down arrow on the top of your timeline and select the “select tool” or hit A for a keyboard shortcut.
- Drag the right or left side to adjust the length of your transition. (keep in mind it will adjust both sides of the transition)
Can I add the same transition to both sides of a clip?
The short answer is yes. However, it is important to note that Final Cut Pro will automatically use the “default transition” as the transition it adds to both sides. Final Cut Pro’s default transition is automatically set to the “cross dissolve” transition. If you want to set something else as your default, Control + click your desired transition and select “Make Default.” Once you have your desired transition as your default, select your cli, hit Cmd + T, and it will add it to both sides.
Can I Delete One if I Have a Transition on Both Sides of a Clip?
Simply select the transition you wish to delete and hit delete. Only the one you select will be deleted.
Can I Preview a Transition Before Using It?
Yes, you can! Skim your mouse over the transition in the transition browser, and in your video viewer, you will see a preview of your transition.
Can I Copy and Paste a Transition to a Different Spot?
You sure can. Before we get into how to do that, it is important to note that you MUST have your start or end point selected before pasting. If your skimmer is yellow, signifying that your skimmer is selected, your transition won’t paste. Now that we have that settled, start by selecting the transition in your timeline you want to paste, then Edit > Copy (shortcut: Cmd + C), then select your start or end point. After that, select Edit > Paste (shortcut: Cmd + V).
More In-House Training
Looking to level up your skill, then check out some additional resources I wrote below.
- How To Change from Portrait to Landscape in Final Cut Pro
- How To Freeze Frame in Final Cut Pro
- How to Speed Up a Clip in Final Cut Pro
The Final Cut
As you can see, transitions are super easy to use and can make your projects super dynamic. Thankfully, Final Cut has a huge array of transitions already built in but play around and see if you can create any in-camera! What is your favorite Final Cut Pro transition? Let me know in the comments, and happy filmmaking!