4324398_c054dff0d8_mcoke.jpg Image courtesy of Flickr contributor "SdieLong"

Effects: “Less is more”

With students, I use the metaphor of salting food. A little bit improves taste, too much just makes food salty and raises blood pressure. Similarly, too many effects raises my blood pressure! The rule of thumb, is that if an effect is used, there must be a reason for it.
Transitions between images help tell the story. Students need to know what different transitions imply. I use a punctuation metaphor to teach transitions. A“cut” or no transition is like a comma or no punctuation mark, and serves to quickly move between two closely related ideas. A “dissolve” resembles a period, and suggests a change to a related idea. A “fade” is like a new paragraph and suggests a change of topics or passage of time. A particularly effective technique is the use of a black screen for several seconds: with or without sound. Beyond these, most transitions are superfluous and distracting and should be discouraged.
Pans and zooms can add movement to static images, focus the audience, or give a sense of place for an object. In most cases, slow movement is best so as not to distract the audience.
Text as art: An effective method for focusing the audience on a particular line is to actually use text on the screen. Select lines that are particularly important and use a plain font. Text can be used in lieu of narration or in addition. Printed words can also be used to emphasize song lyrics. Remember that each of these techniques creates a different effect. There are of course thousands of other effects such as manipulating color, contrast, lighting, use of split screens, overlays, green screen animation. However, less is more. The common denominator is that effects should enhance the story instead of dominate it

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