#Cinelerra GG 4: Transitions

Continuing with this magnificent video editor, this time we will see how to work with transitions. I already anticipate that it is very simple, as it should be in a professional application.

Before entering the subject, we will see how to perform some techniques widely used in video montage. Such as starting a clip by fade from black, or end by fade to black.

Fade in from black

As simple as making use of the fade animation line as we see in the following image. In case of doubts, consult chapter 2 of this series, where I deal with the basic animations.


We start with the value 0 and go up to 100, maximum, in the desired time interval.

The shortcut to show / hide the fade line is number 3 on the alphanumeric keyboard.


Fade to black output

The same as the previous one but in the output of the clip, or the end of the video.


Crossfade transition between tracks

Here I take the opportunity to indicate how we would make a transition manually, without using assistants. And in this case, if we do it like this, we need two tracks, the clips will be superimposed the length of the transition, and this is nothing more than a fade to black (of the one that ends) and a fade from black (of the one that enters).


But these three points are by way of example, it would be a waste of time to do so when Cinelerra has tools to do these tasks fully automatically. Next we will see how we can do the same with the Dissolve transition. But first let’s get to know a bit about transitions in this app.

Transitions in Cinelerra

The transitions in Cinelerra are found in the resources window, we have them from video


and one of Audio, the crossfade one.


In this tutorial I will skip explaining the audio transition, but it works exactly the same as video transitions, and is nothing more than crossfade where one track fades and the other progressively fades in.

Particularities of the transitions in Cinelerra

There is something that I really liked about how Cinelerra handles video transitions, and that is that if we have a clip that at the end is at its end of duration, Cinelerra will automatically freeze the last frame and it will last for the duration of the transition. , It is no longer a problem to introduce a transition to a clip that we have without cutting at the end.

To insert transitions we can do it between tracks or in a single track. The possibilities are many, later I will explain what I think are the most common situations and how we can solve them in Cinelerra.

Just to mention that I have observed that, especially with one of the transitions, Sweep, having the automatic keyframe insert activated can cause the settings of this not to be saved. I have considered it a bug, and if something I am really liking about Cinelerra GG is its excellent current development team. His answer has been this “Reproduced here and working on a fix.” (Reproduced here and working on a solution). I take this opportunity to say that Cinelerra GG is updated every month and that they work hard for this application to regain its rightful place.

How to insert transitions in Cinelerra

As simple as dragging it to the corresponding clip. For example, we have two clips, A and B and we want the passage from one to the other to be through a transition, in this case we would drop it on clip B and this transition will be inserted between clip A and B. Anyway, a White box indicating where the transition is inserted.


And this is what the inserted transition looks like:


If I remove the display of the track frames, the transition is a little better appreciated.


And in this simple way we already have a transition between these two clips.

Transitions submenu

Like almost everything in Cinelerra, if we right-click on the transition header (the square part) a submenu opens with the options on this transition.


From top to bottom:

  • Show Settings: Open the transition settings window, not all transitions have the possibility of configuration beyond the one that comes by default. If we choose this option and no window opens, this transition does not have any option that can be adjusted.
  • ON: Turns the transition on or off. If it has the green dot on its left, it is activated.
  • Weather: It tells us the duration of the transition and we can change it. If we click on this line, an assistant window will open for it.11.png
  • Put off: Eliminate the transition from the project.

Other options

From the Edit menu we have two options that affect the transitions.


We can define the “Duration of Transitions” by default when inserting them. Regarding the duration, this will be the one that we define here, but later we can change it and the time that we define in this transition will be the one that will be adjusted by default.

How long does a transition take? the answer is very subjective and is related to the production we are doing (a video clip with chillout music is not the same as heavy music).

The normal thing is one second, but as I have mentioned, in a video in which everything goes fast, these can last frames, and in a more relaxed one, seconds. This is a personal decision and should be tested (a video can have several transitions with different times).

Also from the edit menu we can remove all transitions that are within a selection, those that are not in a selection will not be removed.


In the previous image, only the first two will be eliminated with the use of this command, which are the ones within the selection.

A look at Cinelerra GG transitions

Professionally, simplicity is greatly appreciated, Cinelerra GG covers all the needs in the matter of transitions with 9 effective tools, I list them below, in alphabetical order, of how they come in the most recent translation of Cinelerra GG into Spanish.

  • Swept: Transition that enters from one of the sides to cover the current clip that it enters with.14.pngYou only have two options, enter from the Left or Right.
  • Sweep Bands: As its name indicates, it performs a sweep with bands. You only have one option, which is to change the number of bands.
  • Shape Sweep: A very good transition that what it does is to sweep the current clip with the new one using a predefined way that we can choose from a list in its settings window.15.pngAt the end of the article I am going to detail a little more this powerful and interesting transition, which offers us many possibilities to go from one clip to another.
  • Slide: Just as the name suggests, slide the video box. Your options are the direction of the movement, and the one below will be the new clip that will enter or the current one that will exit.
  • Slide Bands: Same as Slide, but with bands, very similar to Bands Sweep, seen earlier.
    21.pngHere we can choose the number of bands and which frame will be the one that will be fragmented (the one that enters, or the one that leaves).
  • Flash: As its name indicates, the transition is made by means of a flash that simulates the firing of a flash, it is very “attractive” with short times (around 0.1 seconds) if we look for the flash effect. With long times it is like a fade to white. It has no configuration options but we can play with time.
  • Dissolve: This is the standard crossfade transition from one clip to another, it has no configuration options.
  • Focus: Actually this transition should be called “Zoom“, Because the transition is made by enlarging the outgoing clip until the new enlarged clip enters to make a frame reduction to its original size. We can configure the amount of enlargement in its two axes.
  • Square Iris: The new clip enters from the center as a frame that is enlarged, or the one that exits, does so through a frame that is reduced, depending on the option that we choose in its configuration window.

Fade to black in and out with transitions

At the beginning of this article I mentioned how to make a fade entry from black and a final fade to black, making use of the opacity or fade option, manipulating its editing curve. As it turns out, we can do the exact same thing with the Dissolve transition.

As simple as inserting it at the beginning of the clip, for the input from black, and at the end of the clip, for the end to black.

Let’s look at a couple of examples: in the image below this project will start with a fade from black and end with a fade to black, and all I have done is insert the Dissolve transition at the beginning and end. As simple as that.


We observed that the transition at the end lengthens the time, that it lasts, of the project, this is sometimes not a problem, but in this case I had been told that this video fragment has to last exactly 20 seconds (not one more, not one less) . In such a situation, what we do is trim the final clip for as long as the fade has to last.

For example, let’s say that the fade at the end will last 1 second, then what we do is, before inserting the transition, we place the cursor at the end of the project


We open the wizard to place the cursor in, we see that the end is 20 seconds, because where it says 20 we write 19, in this case it would be simple, but basically it is about subtracting a second, or the duration of the fade, making use of this tool tool. Its hotkey is the “g”.


Once the playhead is at second 19, with the other tracks locked for editing, we press the letter “x” and what it does is cut the clip at the place where the playhead is.


Now with the selection tool 30.png we double click on this clip fragment to select it and with the delete key, we delete this second clip. Having the remaining tracks locked does not affect the erasure.


Leaving the gap for the transition.


Now when inserting the transition again to make the final fade our project already lasts the exact 20 seconds, that is, 19 + 1 of the transition.


Remember that if the clip is at its end, Cinelerra will automatically freeze the last frame to fade correctly.

To lock the tracks and leave only the one that we are going to work on activated, what we have to do is press the combination of Shift + mouse click on the padlock of the track that we want to edit. This causes the others to lock and is not affected by any edits.

When we have a selection, we can remove it by clicking with the mouse outside the selection, or by pressing the letter “a” twice (the first press will select everything, the second will remove the selection).

Advice: It is advisable to always have only the track we are working on active, and the others blocked.

Fade from black or black in the middle of a project on a single track

In the previous point we have seen how to do this in a simple way at the beginning and end of a project, but can we do this in the middle of a track between two clips? The answer is yes. This in audiovisual narrative is considered an end of chapter beginning of another.

What we must do in this case is to place the mouse cursor in the cut between clips that we want to carry out this operation. For this we can use the tools to locate ourselves in the cuts of the active track.


Once there, we open the “Go to position” tool and subtract one second, which is how long the fade will last in this case.


And in the same way that we have seen in the previous section, we cut the clip with “x”, and we select it, but this time when deleting we will not use the delete key (because this eliminates the gap and would move the clips that are to its right). On this occasion, having the selection we press the letter “m”, which is the one that will eliminate this piece of clip keeping the gap.


And we have the assembly like this:


Now in this hole we insert the Dissolve transition.


Now this clip will fade to black, but the next one will cut in. If we want it to progressively enter from black, all we have to do is insert another transition to dissolve to the next clip. And in this simple way we have a chapter ending and beginning in our video montage.


For these types of fade, in a classic way, the Dissolve transition is used in Cinelerra, but we can use whatever we want, the process works with any transition, but the result is different. Depending on the type of audiovisual it is, it is even interesting to play with this, for example, in a video clip. Even with two different transitions at this point.


In the previous image I have combined the Slide transition with the Sweep transition. Playing with these things is how you learn and you see the possibilities and discover interesting visual effects.

However, if what we want is for a clip to end by cutting and the next one to start with a fade or transition, in this case we have two ways to do it. One way is to put the clip that is going to start by fade in a higher track, in the following image we see an example of this.


And the other way to achieve exactly the same result is to separate the clips with an empty frame. We put the cursor in the cut, we expand with the down arrow ↓ until we can easily advance the cursor one frame, we make sure that this is the only unlocked track, we press “x” to create a cut, we select this frame and with the letter ” m ”we delete it. Now we insert the transition to this clip.


And with any of these modes we will have a clip that ends by cutting and another that begins by fade.

Crossfade with transitions

We also saw how to do this using the Fade line, for which we needed yes or yes two tracks. Well this, with transitions, is very simple. And we don’t need two clues. We just insert the transition over the incoming clip and that’s it, we have our crossfade.


This same fade can be done between two tracks as well (see the image below) in which the clips are superimposed, so just transitioning to the top one is enough to make this fade.


But if they are not superimposed, nothing happens, Cinelerra is good and has thought about this, but we must put a transition at the beginning of the clip that enters and another at the end of the clip that leaves as we can see in the following image.


In this last situation, Cinelerra offers us endless possibilities to be able to make very interesting transitions by combining different options. For example I have made a transition in which I have used Square Iris above and Zoom below (now called “Focus”, but I will propose that it be called Zoom). This one changes my clip in the middle of its duration, and to make it consistent with the one above I have doubled the time. The effect is cool, you can’t see it written here, but if you try it you will get an idea of ​​the great possibilities that this editor offers.


Other transitions

They work the same way we just saw. The easiest thing is to insert them between clips that are on the same track, but we have seen that if not, it is also possible to work with them between tracks, overlapping or not. And that with overlapping tracks we can make interesting combinations to personalize and give more interest or visual beauty to our project.

And there is little else on the issue of transitions that is not practical, with the crossfade technique we can try between the different transitions that we have available to choose the one we like the most.

Sweep Transition with Shapes (Sweep Forms)

This transition works with the luma technique, which in this case of transitions is nothing more than fade between clips from a grayscale image that goes from white to black.

Example of luma, specifically the one that opens by default, called “circle”


By default it opens with the circle as the shape, but from its settings window we can choose other shapes and gradients.


The pen defines the hardness of the edge, if we increase it, the edges are degraded, in the first image of this transition we see a very defined oval, if I increase the feather it degrades.


The Preserve Aspect Ratio checkbox does what it says. Typically these shapes are square images, when fitting into a 16: 9 rectangle it warps. In this case, a circle becomes an oval, as we have seen, but if we activate this box we will see a perfect circle.


The direction boxes what they do is invert the colors of the image and the gradient or transition is made in a retrograde direction to the default option.

Demonstration of transitions at Cinelerra GG

Then we can watch a video of what the 9 transitions look like with their default settings and a duration of one second (except the flash one that lasts half a second).

Also if you can watch a video with the transition from Sweep with Shapes and some of its many lumas. This transition is the one that offers us the most possibilities.


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