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How to Add Transitions to Your Movie Maker Film

Imagine a film that cuts directly from scene to scene with fade-ins, fade-outs, dissolves, or wipes. These are all types of transitions — and without transitions, your movie ends up moving at a frantic pace. (Jarring the audience; most horror films are shot with few transitions.) Of course, this might be your intention with some projects, but it’s not likely to be your goal with most films you make.

Transitions can be placed within the Storyboard pane only after you add at least one video clip or still image. After the pane contains at least one item, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Animations tab to display the list of transitions. (Click the More drop-down list button, which bears a horizontal line over a downward-facing arrow, to display additional transition effects.)

  2. Click the item in the Storyboard pane that should follow the transition.

    If you need to place a transition between a photo followed by a video clip, for example, click the video clip to select it.

  3. Click a transition from the Ribbon to select it.

    Movie Maker has a cool feature to help you decide which transition you want to use: Hover your cursor over a transition in the list, and the item animates in the Player window to demonstrate how the transition will appear onscreen.

    To add the same transition throughout your movie, right-click any item in the Storyboard pane and choose Select All. Then click on the desired transition.

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  4. To delete a transition you added to the strip, click the following item again and click the “blank” No Transition button at the far left of the Transition group.

    Or, to get radical, right-click any item and choose Select All, and then click the No Transition button to remove all transitions in your film with one fell swoop.

As you experiment with transitions, you begin to understand where your movie needs them to link together scenes and still images, as well as where you can simply cut from one item to the next. One cardinal rule of filmmaking is to maintain the focus of your audience on your message: Too many transitions are distracting.

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