Transitions can be a real trap. Remember those Powerpoints with a different transition for each slide? The truth is, most transitions are distracting. The key is teaching the purpose of the “Big Three” and show students how to choose. I tell students to think of transitions as punctuation marks. A cut (or no transition) is like no punctuation, or at most, a comma. A dissolve (or a cross fade) is like a period. A fade to black is closest to an “enter” or a new paragraph, suggesting a change in thought or time passing--the longer the black, the longer the ellipsis. One the rare occasion, a more complex transition can be effective. I saw one story, where a student used vertical bars coming down to transition to someone ending up in a jail cell. The key is, he had a reason for doing it, and, incidentally, it was the only other complex transition he used; he was aware of the meaning the transition conveyed.

For a WMV tutorial on transitions click here.

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