How-To Use Simple Cut Transitions When Editing Video and Why You Should [Reel Rebel #12]

How To Use Simple Cut Transitions When Editing Video and Why You Should [Reel Rebel #12]

On today's Reel Rebel Stephen Schweickart of gives some simple video editing advice on one way (using a 'cut') to ensure your transitions don't make your video look like you are at amateur status or more closely resemble a Power Point Presentation then a professional, classy video.

There are a lot of stock transition animations out there that can be used for video, however while they are easy to use and look fun, in the end they often make your video look cheesy and highly distracting.
In most cases a simple cut is all you need to transition from one clip to the next. This will give your video a clean and professional look and this can be done in three easy steps.

How to Create a Basic 'Cut' to Transition Between Clips

  1. Select the clip from the bin.
  2. Use the handles on either side of the clip and trim it to the desired length.
  3. Drop the clip in the timeline and drag it up to the previous clip to ensure there is no gap in between.
  4. And that's it.

Again, a cut is the most basic transition you can do in video editing but it's the quickest, cleanest, and smoothest way to transition from one clip to another and it helps sometimes to avoid those more flashy transitions that can distract the viewer from what's most important in your video.

Stay tuned for more video editing tips and and advanced video editing series to come.

Question: What's your favorite video transition/swipe to use for patching together interview footage?

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View The Full Video Transcript:

Hey, I’m Stephen Schweickart with VScreen where we make these things called videos for companies. Today, we’re going to talk about how to do Simple Cuts while editing.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of so-called “editing effects” when you get your video into post-production. That bin of clock wipes and page peels looks like a bowl of candy that amateur editors just can’t wait to stick their hands in. But DON’T DO IT! I repeat, DON’T DO IT! These effects scream bush league and will make your video look like it was produced by Mrs. Weaver’s 4th Grade My First Home Video class. In this series, I’m going to give you some simple editing techniques that will get you through your video in the classiest way possible.

First up is a cut. Simple as that...just a cut. Not every transition needs to be fancy pants. Most of the time just letting one shot cut to the next with no distracting animation is the best possible solution to get from shot A to shot B. It really couldn’t be any easier. Watch this:

Step 1: Select your clip from the bin Step 2: Use the handles on either end of the clip to trim it to length – Complicated. Step 3: Drop the clip in the timeline and drag it up against the previous clip so there’s no gap between them.

And that’s it, folks! No muss, no fuss, just a good, quick transition that doesn’t grab your viewer by the face and scream, “HEY LOOK I’M TRANSITIONING TO THE NEXT CLIP!”

Using simple cuts and staying away from the stock transition animations is the fastest way to work, and the easiest way to keep your video from looking like a Power Point presentation. It’s clean, it’s classy, and it doesn’t muddle up your video with crap.

So go ahead and “fancy pants up” your video with cube spins and star wipes and see what kind of response you get. My guess is that unless you’re premiering your masterpiece for the same audience that watches Barney, people are going to start throwing stones at you. Keep it clean, keep it simple, and by doing those things you’ll keep it professional. There are a lot of ways for your video to suck, don’t let your editing be one of them. We’ll see you back here next time when we unearth the mysteries of the illusive L-cut.

About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • catchofthedayvideonews

    Good job Mark! 

  • PhillipBarnhard

    Sometimes a solid cross dissolve does the trick. It's not as harsh. Depending on the clips you're bringing together, shorten/lengthen the dissolve for effect.Keith, I'd stick with the hard cut. The audience will be pretty forgiving. If the audio is harsh, you might try a hard cut with an audio transition. A 2-second stinger might help. 

    • KeithShaw

      PhillipBarnhard Thanks for the suggestion! I hadn't thought about the audio stinger idea.

    • Stephen Schweickart

      PhillipBarnhard Couldn't have said it better~ great job!

  • KeithShaw

    When you're editing a video as a live interview (like a product demo at a trade show, for example), and either the interviewee messes up - or there's some dead spots during the recording (like a computer or tablet booting up) - what's the best way to cut that out without a transition? A hard cut seems to disrupt the audio too much - a transition (a simple one, not the star wipe or other such) seems to say... "Later in the interview..." Still too cheesy? Or is disrupting the audio cut still OK?

    • JimS

      That's where shooting b-roll comes in handy. Have something to cut away to to cover edits in an interview. But make sure the cutaway shots are relevant.

      Regarding cuts vs transitions, maybe I'm old school but cuts often mean that there is no change in venue or time, whereas a dissolve implies a change in venue or time.

      Cheesy wipes are generally not a good idea (and don't compress as well). Just because you CAN do an effect doeesn't mean you SHOULD.