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Cross dissolves for gentle transitions.

Cross dissolves are among the most popular editing techniques in cinema history. Use one to slowly fade in and fade out of scenes.

What is a cross dissolve?

A cross dissolve is a post-production video editing technique in which you gently increase the opacity of one scene over the previous one. In contrast to the jarring transition of a plain jump cut, one scene fades into the next, and the two images briefly overlap.

 

Cross dissolves, sometimes called cross-fades, were at their most popular during the early days of cinematography and can be considered one of cinema’s earliest special effects. In older movies, they were often used to show the passage of time, create a montage-like effect, or provide a gentle transition from one scene to the next.

Considerations for cross dissolves.

Any footage can dissolve or fade into any other footage, but in order to create a nonintrusive dissolve cut, a video editor has to consider the following:

 

  1. Composition. As one shot dissolves into the next, the two shots will both be visible for a few frames. The composition of each shot should complement the other.
  2. Lighting. In general, scenes that dissolve into each other should also have similar lighting levels or be lit in different ways that look interesting together.
  3. Film grain. Make sure that each shot has similar film grain. Otherwise cross-fades will lose the gentle, dreamlike quality that makes them effective.

Cross dissolves on title screens or effects.

Cross dissolves need not be reserved for traditional film scenes only. Title cards can dissolve into action, like a corporate logo that fades into footage in a sizzle reel. Or footage can dissolve into black or white for dramatic effect.

 

More advanced cross dissolve tricks.

Cross dissolves can also be invisible. A common editing trick is to show an exterior scene, pan up to a clear sky, dissolve into another sky, and then pan down to an entirely different exterior.

How to add a cross dissolve transition in Adobe Premiere Pro.

The cross dissolve is a well-established effect, and it’s built into Premiere Pro as the default transition. To manually add a dissolve effect:


1. Select the frames you want to dissolve between.


2. Select Dissolve from the Effects panel, and then click Cross Dissolve. 


3. Click and drag the edges of the dissolve to change its duration. A traditional cross dissolve lasts for 24 to 48 frames. Shorter dissolves are more like hard cuts, and longer dissolves have a dreamlike quality.


Do even more with your video editing.

Cross dissolves are only one of many classic video transitions. Other transitions include ripple dissolves, fades, and cutaways. Premiere Pro has everything you need to edit and polish video content, whether you want to create fades and edits reminiscent of early movies or add effects to a professional presentation.

 

The Premiere Pro workflow makes it easy to modify effects, add audio, fade in and out of scenes, and turn raw footage into amazing video.

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