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Weekly Video Tip: Editing Techniques-Fade In/Out

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By Stephen Schweickart

You guys are obviously complete video pros by now, right? No? OK, well we’ve still got some simple tips for your toolbox and today we’re going to dig into a very common editing transition that you’ll no doubt be using quite a bit: the fade.

Fading is about as simple an editing technique as you can get. But for those of you unable to wrap your heads around the concept, let me break it down. Fading refers to the idea of slowly transitioning from black into your footage or vice versa. So essentially, you’re adjusting the opacity or transparency of your footage. Totally fancy, right? No, it’s not, but you’re going to use it all the time I promise.

The fade is most commonly used at the beginning and end of pieces to help ease the viewer in and out of the video. It just helps create a softer introduction to the footage for your audience rather than just smacking them in the face with it. You can however use it for other reasons. Much like the cross dissolve, which you can see explained in another one of our videos here, fading out to black and then back in can show passage of time, change in location, or just simply be a way to get from scene to scene.

Now let’s get into how to pull it off in your editing software. In iMovie, open up your transitions browser, find “Cross Dissolve.” And the next and final step is just to drag that effect to the end of the clip you want to have fade, as long as it is not touching another clip, and then as if by magic, you have yourself a fade in or out.

For the people working on the more professional software like Final Cut or Premiere, it’s just as easy. For FCP users, you can use the Cross Dissolve effect by right-clicking on the edit you want to have fade in, or for more control over your fade, open your effects tab, open the Video Transitions folder, and drag the Fade In Fade Out transition to your edit point. This will give you more control over your fade than the standard cross dissolve. In Premiere, it’s very similar. You can use one of two built-in transitions; cross dissolve or film dissolve. Both give you the control to adjust the speed of the transition, as well as allow you to control whether or not you want the clip to fade out completely, or just partly for whatever artistic reason your genius self may have come up with.

Stephen Schweickart is the co-founder of VScreen. For more information on this topic, visit VScreen’s blogsite at http://www.vscreen.com/blog/

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