Fades are important to make movies look good. This time we want to inform you about the fine-tuning. How long does a fade last? Which color does it have? – You will find out about all of that in this tutorial.
But one last thing before we start: When you attentively watch professional movies, you will realize that most of the time hard cuts are being used. Fades are used sparsely, because they make the viewer become aware of the cuts and that is what most conventional movie makers try to prevent when they are editing films. They usually want the audience to sink into the movie's reality. Thus be aware of using fades and try not to overload your movie.
The different types of fades
The most common fades are fade ins, fade outs and cross fades. When using a fade in/fade out, the image is being overlaid with black and either appears or disappears during the process. Sometimes, instead of a black image, a white image is being used. Usually, a fade in marks the beginning of a sequence, while a fade out marks the end of it – just as the curtain in the theater does.
The cross fade actually is a combination of both techniques. While the first image is fading out, the second image is fading in at the same time, so that both images overlay each other for a short moment.
Effect fades are being used much sparsely when you compare it to the use of the other types of fades, because effect fades attract the viewer's attention. Famous examples are the circular fade that has often been used in silent movies or a wiping fade, where a new image pushes the old image off the screen.
Which fades you should use depends on the kind of movie you are making, whether it is going to be a factual documentation, a hip music video or a playful home video. We will now give you three examples on how to choose and adjust different fades.
Adjust fades to the musical rhythm – Music video
A music video offers you the possibility to work with fancy fades. Because of it typically being rather short, there often is no complex story being told or a strict chronology being followed – thus fades cannot distract the viewer as easily as they can in a motion picture. Music videos are often characterized by a high cutting frequency. Hard cuts are often used to underline the pace of the music. When fades are being used, it is very important that they fit into the rhythm of the music. You may use fades moving into different directions, to make the video look especially dynamic. Make sure, that there is a central theme that connects the different fades and matches the images. Otherwise the shots and fades might look thrown together and incoherent.
Before you can start to adjust cuts and fades to the music, you will have to pick a song that matches your images. After that, you can begin to arrange the single shots.
You can find many different types of fades in the 'Fades' menu. Just have a look at the individual sub-categories. There you can find flower showers, spirals and a lot more.
Drag the respective effect onto the transition between two shots that you want to connect. The rear shot will be moved forward, so you will have to bring it back into its original position. Try not to disconnect them, or the fade will be deleted. Also make sure that the shots you want to connect are long enough. You can easily shorten them after you have connected them, by pushing the single shots together.
Now it is important to bring the fade into the right position and alter its length, so that it matches the music again.
An 'X' appears at the transition of the two shots. Mark the boxes on the ends of the 'X' to make the fade longer or shorter and bring it into the right position. If you want to define the length more precisely, you can enter the exact length into the mask underneath the 'Fades' menu ('Transition length'). Doing like this, you can make sure that all fades are exactly of the same length.
Adjust fades to the atmosphere – Horror movie
For an atmospheric movie, you should use different fades. They should help to create a certain atmosphere and thus should be used more sparsely – depending on the film. For this tutorial we have chosen a horror movie as an example.
We have started the short horror movie with a fade in. To create such a fade, you just have to move the small box at the beginning of the shot. Soon after the fade in, the shot is faded out again – this time, we have moved the box at the end of the shot. The next shot follows, being faded in, too. The fading out and fading in of two separate shots is being called black fade, because the screen turns black for a short moment during the process.
At the transition to the third shot, we have placed a more dramatic fade, to create more tension. Due to the fact that it is thundering in the second shot, we marked the transition to the third shot with a white color fade. It is placed over the sound of a flash and thus it looks like the third shot is being enlightened by a flash coming from the second one.
You find the color fade under 'Standard' in the 'Fades' menu. Just drag it onto the transition of two shots. Then right click on the small box reading 'AB' that appears at the fade on the image track. Open 'Settings', to adjust the color of the fade and close the menu, when you are done.
When you are trying to create an atmosphere, you should use discreet fades that match the movie and fit in, instead of attracting attention.
Adjust fades to a topic – Underwater world
Another possibility to use fades, is to embed them in a thematic context – as we have done in our video example. We have used fades that perfectly match the shots of the underwater world, because they are formed like waves themselves. You can proceed like this with many different topics. Just look around in the different sub-categories of the 'Fades' menu, to find thematically matching fades. Then apply them to your video. You will surely find something matching between geometric forms, objects such as coins, flowers or crosses and all the other fades.
Rather use few, exclusive fades for your film instead of overburdening it. In case of doubt, make a hard cut by letting one shot follow the other without connecting them.
Think about which function the fades should have for your movie and then choose them according to this.
In case you are working with background music, make sure that the fades are placed rhythmically.
But what is most important: Have fun!