21 Jul How to shoot smooth video transitions: A beginner’s guide
Transitions have become one of the biggest trends to come out of our current obsession with short-form video content.
The hashtag #transitions has over 10.2 billion views on TikTok and the success of social trends, like the #WipeItDown challenge and #10SecondsVs challenge, rely on smooth transitions. According to Vamp creators, they can help increase your video views and generate more engagement. It’s also one of their top tips for building suspense and excitement.
When you feature interesting transitions in your videos, you viewers will go back and re-watch your video a few more times to try to figure out how you’ve created it.
Vamp creator, @nickehfilms
If you create a perfectly seamless transition, you’ll get more people commenting about it, which is likely going to increase your video’s engagement rate.
Vamp creator, @tarachandra_
Transitions make your videos more cinematic and help build excitement. Viewers will be at the edge of their seats waiting to see what content you reveal next.
Vamp creator, @prestonles.ig
With the amount of talented competition you’re up against on TikTok, and the importance of upping your video game on Instagram, your transitions can’t be mediocre. They’ll need to be smooth, seamless and sleek, making viewers question what they just watched. We spoke to some of Vamp’s TikTok and Reels experts, who have all nailed the art of video transitions, for their top six tricks of the trade.
#1 Plan for success
Like any shoot, you’ll need to prepare so your video turns out as professional looking as possible. “I’ll select my outfits first and then an audio that matches the vibe. Then I’ll figure out what particular movements and transitions I want to do and start shooting from there” says @tarachandra_.
Transitions are usually shot to the beat of a song, so it’s important you find the right audio for the job. If you’re a fashion creator like Tara, your outfits should all be cohesive. Whether that be in colour palette or aesthetic, the choice is up to you. This will help make your video look more put together. Finally, you’ll need to map out the movements needing to be filmed so that the first clip transitions into the second clip seamlessly.
#2 Don’t let bad lighting give it away
When your audience is watching your transition videos, you want them to question where you’ve cut and edited your clips together. Nothing will give this away faster than a lighting mishap. “Even a subtle change in lighting can ruin your transition.” Says Vamp creator, @deniscolak, “So always try to shoot in even lighting.”
For natural, even lighting it’s best to shoot on an overcast day. That way you don’t have the harsh sunlight moving as time passes and you won’t capture any shadows. If that’s not possible, use artificial lighting and a reflector (anything white such as paper or cardboard) so the light is dispersed and no shadows are cast.
#3 Always shoot backup footage
When it comes to shooting transitions, it’s best to embody a perfectionist’s mindset. When you start editing your clips together to create the transition, you’ll want as many options to choose from to make sure you’re producing your best work. Don’t just film one take and call it a day.
@prestonles.ig will, “Shoot several options so that I can go through the process of selecting the best footage before trimming and stitching my transitions together.” Even if you think you’ve got the perfect shots, film a couple more takes. You may be surprised when you end up using clips you didn’t think you’d use. It’s always best practise to have as much backup footage as possible.
#4 Keep things easy-breezy
As cool as this TikTok looks, if you’re just starting out you probably don’t have enough experience to pull off such detail. “Don’t add too many transitions in your video, and avoid using too many different types of effects. If you’re not experienced, this can make your videos look less professional, and more messy and complicated.” Advises @prestonles.ig.
Instead, stick to perfecting one to three different types of transitions. That way your videos will look sleeker and your transitions will be seamless. Once you gain more experience, then you can start to create more intricate transition videos like this.
#5 Edit on your computer for detail, or mobile for ease
Editing is where the magic of transitions happens. The amount of time and effort you put into trimming and stitching your clips together will determine how smooth and seamless your transitions appear to be. You can edit on your computer with software such as Premiere Pro and Adobe Rush like @prestonles.ig. “I find computer-based software more stable. It’s easier to match your audio and footage together on a wider screen. Plus, computer software allows you to export high frame rate videos, which creates higher-quality content.”
Or you can use your mobile for quick and easy editing like @tarachandra_. “I usually film and edit my videos in the TikTok app as it’s easier to work with the audio I’ve selected for my transition. If I’m filming outside of the app, I’ll make sure the audio plays on repeat via my laptop so I can get the timing right. I’ll then edit in Final Cut Pro to stitch the best takes together to create my transition.”
#6 Practise, Practise, Practise
It’s advice as old as time, but it’s true. ”Like anything, practice makes perfect.” Says Vamp beauty creator, @lucasrodgerss. “I usually always have to do multiple takes in order to get the perfect one. Being a perfectionist, I don’t settle for much less!”
The more you shoot, the better you’ll become at nailing your transitions. And same goes with your editing. The more practise you give yourself, the better you’ll become at stitching together a seamless transition.
Keen to learn more videography tips from our creator community? Here’s a beginner’s guide to shooting stop motion.