A transition is a specialized animated effect for easing – or emphasizing – the passage from one clip to the next. Fades, wipes and dissolves are common types of transition. Others are more exotic, and many employ sophisticated 3-D geometry to calculate the animated sequences.

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Creating a default fade-in transition by ‘folding back’ a clip’s upper left corner.

Two transitions can be assigned to any clip, one at each end. A clip newly created on the timeline has neither. When a new clip starts, it does so with a hard cut to the first frame. When it ends, it switches to the next clip (or black) with equal abruptness.

Avid Studio offers a wide variety of transitions for softening, dressing up or dramatizing the change from one clip to another.

Creating a transition

The most straightforward method of creating a transition is to click in the top left corner of the clip and ‘fold back’ the corner. This creates a fade-in. The wider you make the fold, the longer it will take the transition to complete. A fade-out results from the corresponding operation on the top right corner of the clip.

Transitions can also be added to the timeline from their section of the Library (under Creative Elements). When you find one you want, drag it onto a timeline clip. If you drag the transition onto the start or end of the clip, you can mark the length of the transition and drop it into place in a single operation. If the clip already has a transition at the chosen end, the dragged one replaces it.

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A transition dragged to the project timeline.

Yet another way to apply a transition uses the Send to timeline context menu command for assets in the Movie Editor’s compact Library view, or the Send-to timeline button in the Player when in Source mode. The transition is added to the clip on the default track at the play line.

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Types of transitions

If magnetic snapping is on, the duration of transitions is snapped to the default duration defined in the Avid Studio Control Panel Project settings (one second by default). You can still drag freely to any duration outside the snap range.

A fade-out transition is applied in ripple (or insert) mode, which creates an overlap by shifting the right-hand clip and all its neighbors somewhat to the left. This behavior saves the left-hand clip from having to be extended rightwards to create the transition, which might produce over-trimming. However, shifting the rightward clips causes a break in the synchronization with other tracks that may have to be worked around.

A fade-in transition is added in overwrite fashion. No synchronization issue will result, but over-trimming may be produced in the left-hand clip.

To invert the fade-in and fade-out behaviors, press the Alt key during dragging and trimming.

To apply a transition to multiple selected clips, hold down the Shift key while dragging a transition from the Library onto one of the selected clips. The position at which you drop the transition on that clip determines whether it will be placed at the beginning of each selected clip, or the end. The duration you drag out for the transition on the target clip is used for all the transitions created. The transition will not be applied to any clips that are shorter than the transition you create.

To keep tracks synchronized when inserting transitions in the out position, use this multiple-apply feature to add the same transition once on each track. Since each track will be affected in the same way, they will all remain synchronized.

When a fade-in follows a fade-out, the result is termed a ‘fade through black’. The left-hand clip fades all the way out, then the right-hand clip fades all the way in. It is not necessary to leave a one-frame gap between the clips.

Replacing a transition

Select the transition you want and simply drag it onto an existing transition. This replaces the transition animation while retaining the original type (in or out) and duration.

Adjusting transitions

The durations of transitions can be adjusted just like those of clips. Notice the adjustment pointer when the mouse is positioned near the vertical side of the transition rectangle. Use this to change the duration of your transition.

As usual, fade-out transitions use insert mode during adjustment, whereas fade-in is done in overwrite mode. Hold down Alt while adjusting to invert this behavior.

You can adjust a transition so that its duration is zero, effectively deleting it. Alternatively, use Transition Ø Remove on the transition’s context menu. Once again, ripple mode is used for fade-out, and overwrite for fade-in, with the Alt key available to reverse the default.

To set the duration of a transition numerically, click the duration field that appears when the mouse pointer is above the transition rectangle. (Zoom the timeline in to enlarge the screen width of the transition ‘fold’ if the field does not appear.) Clicking the field activates in-place editing, allowing you to enter a duration via the keyboard.

Transition context menu

Edit: This command invokes a pop-up window, the basic transition editor, where the transition duration can be set.

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Basic transition editor

If the transition is one that offers a custom editor for configuring special properties, the Edit button in the basic transition editor provides access.

A Reverse checkbox is available with some transitions for reversing the transition animation.

Copy: This command puts the transition on the Clipboard, together with its type (fade-in, fade-out) and its duration. These properties will be retained by the transition when pasted. It is therefore not possible to paste a fade-in as a fade-out or vice versa.

To paste the transition to a particular clip, select Paste on its context menu.

To paste the transition to all selected clips, select Paste from the context menu of either an empty timeline area or any selected clip; or just press Ctrl+V.

Remove: This command deletes a transition. Fade-in transitions are removed without further ado. Removing a fade-out transition causes clips to the right to be rippled further rightwards by the duration of the transition. This can cause loss of synchronization with other tracks.