Join Steve Grisetti for an in-depth discussion in this video Adding and customizing a transition, part of Up and Running with Premiere Elements 11.
Transitions communicate to your audience that a scene or sequence is over and that a new scene has begun. Applying a transition in Premiere Elements is very simple, and the program includes dozens of them. But what's most amazing is how customizable each transition is, giving you countless unique ways to customize how you move from one scene to another. We have two simple scenes on our timeline here. One is the outside of a restaurant, and next to it we have the inside of a restaurant. Right now there's just a cut between them. We would like to add a transition, make a much smoother change from one scene to the next.
Our transitions are launched from the Transition panel, and that's open by clicking on the Transition button on the Action bar that runs along with the bottom of the program. But before we look at these, I do want to show you this one quick thing. When we're over in Quick View, although the process of adding a transition is almost identical, when we click on the Transition button, we see about 16 transitions. That's all you get in Quick view. Over in Expert view, when I click on the Transitions panel, if I click on the category at the top, you see I actually have 16 categories of transitions, for well over 70 transitions, and these are all customizable too.
You can go from category to category by either clicking on the Categories button at the top of the panel or by just browsing. Or you can jump to a category by simply clicking on the Quick view and typing in the name of that particular transition. Let's choose one. From the Wipe category, we're going to choose Barn Doors. To apply transition, whether you're in Quick view or Expert view, you simply drag it to the point between two clips. And when I let go I get the Transition Adjustments panel. Now, these are pretty simple adjustments here. I can choose whether it hovers more over the left clip or the right clip, and setting the duration. And by the way, if you want to go fractions of a second, you can, by just typing it in manually.
Generally one second is a pretty good default length for your transition. If you click the More button, down to the bottom of the panel you'll see some additional ways you can customize your transition. Scroll down and you see that in this particular case I can choose a border, a border color, and a border width. Now, the border is the transition between the incoming clip and the outgoing clip, and you can see from where I have the playhead positioned that I can see part of the new clip coming in and there's the old clip on the outside.
Our barn doors are opening from the center out. I could add a border to that, simply by dragging my mouse over those numbers so that it's creates a border. I don't want a border in this case; you could choose the color if you do want a border. There is also an option--and this is almost on every transition--an option to reverse the movement. In this particular case, we have the barn doors opening from the center out. When I click Reverse, now the motion goes the other direction, and instead of opening from the center out, it's actually going to close from the sides in. And I am going to drag the playhead across that so you can see that happening.
Now, replacing a transition is very simple. If you've already got one on your timeline, you just drag a new one over it. Let's go to the Transitions panel. I'll show you one more transition and how to customize it. We'll go to the Slide category and we'll select the Band Slide. Drag it onto the clips. And when I let go, you see what we have is banding, about seven bands going through there. And if I scrub through it, you can see what happens. Those bands move in to transition from one clip to the other.
If I click on the More button, I can see some of the customization features. Scroll down and you can see not only can we add a border here, but there is also a Custom button. And when I click on Custom, I can choose how many bands there are in the transition. It says 7. I can make it 32 if I want. And when I click OK I get a very different transition. I'm going to just scrub through it. Pretty cool and most of these transitions have some pretty high-level adjustments you can make. Now, before I finish speaking about transitions, there is one very important concept I think you need to understand, and that is, notice on the timeline where the transition is placed, that the transition now needs about half a second more of the first clip beyond it's end point to create the transition. I'll move the playhead and you can see. See, even though it's being transitioned out, transition one is still visible onscreen.
So you need a little extra there for it to create that transition. Likewise, the same thing is true of our second clip. We need about half a second before it to create that transition between them. I'm going to try just another transition so you can see this more obviously. We'll go to Center Merge, and you can see that we need transitional material for that point when both clips are onscreen. If I remove the transition, you'll see there is no indicator in the upper-right corner of my first clip, or in the upper- left corner of my second clip. That means that these clips have been trimmed, and I can untrim them just by hovering over the end of the clip, dragging that one out, hovering over the end of this clip, and dragging it out.
And now you see we have indicators in the corners that says this is the absolute dead-end to the clip--nothing beyond that. We don't have any material beyond the end of our trim. When I apply a transition now--say the Push transition--see the man walking by there. Notice what happens to the first clip as we go past the end point. Well, it's not terribly obvious, but that first clip freezes. Likewise, the second clip, we have a dead end here, nothing beyond the end point or the in point on the first clip.
So, when I transition into it, that first clip is freezing too and there is not a lot of motion in the second clip, so it's not real obvious. If you have a lot of movement in your videos, your video frames will suddenly freeze during the transition. That's probably not what you want. So if you want a good-looking transition, what you need to do is add what are called handles, and that means a little extra head and tail material on each clip so there is room to create the transition from the extra video. Let me show you how to do that. Very simple. I'm just going to click on the transition, press Delete to remove it, and all I need to do is trim back about half a second of this clip and about half a second of that clip.
Now, when I add my transition, the program is now using those extra couple seconds of footage beyond the in point and beyond the out point of the clips to create the transition. Very, very important to understand: you do need handles in order to create a transition. And as I play through the transition, you'll see how important those handles are in creating a smooth natural transition between the two scenes. Reposition the playhead and press the spacebar to play. (video playing) Transitions can be as obvious or subtle as you like them, but they are part of your movie's style and tone, so use your transitions deliberately and with a purpose.
As with any visual effect, sometimes you can say more with a whisper than you can with a shout.
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