Features and Columns · Movies

And, Scene: The Ultimate Guide to Editing Transitions

There are a ton of ways to transition from one scene to the next. Here are nine of the most common.
Lawrence Of Arabia film transition
Columbia Pictures
By  · Published on December 15th, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about the different ways film editors approach scene transitions.


How do you transition from one scene to another? Well, with a cut, surely. Okay, but what kind of cut?

It’s a question you don’t always ask yourself in the heat of the moment while watching a movie. In part, because that’s precisely the magic of editing: you don’t tend to notice it. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that if an edit works, even if it’s stylish or ironic, it shouldn’t draw attention to itself or pull you out of the movie.

Then again, for those of us with an itch for terminology, there’s a certain joy to knowing the inner workings behind cinematic techniques: why they’re deployed, what they’re called, and how to tell them apart from their peers.

If that describes you, good news: you’re in luck. The following video essay casts a wide net to identify, define, and provide examples of nine commonly used scene transitions in film. While you may have a passing knowledge of match cuts and whip-pans, we heartedly recommend watching for the accompanying visuals, which hammer home key differences from edits that tend to blur together.

Watch “Ultimate Guide to Scene Transitions”:


Who made this?

This video about scene transitions in film was created by StudioBinder, a production management software creator that also happens to produce wildly informative video essays. They tend to focus on the mechanics of filmmaking itself, from staging to pitches and directorial techniques. You can check out their YouTube account here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).