Fades usually occur at the end of movies, film clips, or TV shows. But video fades can do much more than indicate an ending. They’re also a great way to begin your video, especially if you want to create a sense of the theatrical – the term ‘fade’ comes from plays originally, after all.
Using a fade in and fade out back-to-back can also create an effective transition between scenes. Whether you’re making a short film or creating a promotional video, video fades are useful to communicate things such as:
The end of one theme and the beginning of another
A shift in focus from one character’s narrative to another’s
The passage of time between one scene and the next
And don’t forget audio fades. You can use these to complement a visual fade, slowly fill a scene with music, or to stop changes in sound design feeling abrupt and clunky.
Applying fade transitions online
In classic Hollywood films, creating visual fade effects required a laborious manual process using a specialised optical printer.
But these days, all you need is a computer. Sophisticated (and expensive) software like Adobe Premiere offers a range of fade options. But if you’re looking for something simpler, Clipchamp’s powerful online video editor is a great option – it’s easy to use, effective, and free!
Here’s how you can start adding video fades to your project today:
Step 1: Clipchamp account
Fade in on the hopeful filmmaker signing up to Clipchamp. Close-up of their smile as they realise it’s a one-click process!
If you don’t have a Google or Facebook account, don’t worry – you can also sign up using any valid email address.
Step 2: Start a new project
In the top right of the Clipchamp Create page, you’ll see a button labelled ‘Start new project’. Click that to get started:
You need to choose a name for your project, then choose from five options for your video’s aspect ratio:
Step 3: Add media files to fade in or fade out
Once your project is set up, look at the top left of the screen and find the button labelled ‘Add Media’.
Click that, and you’ll see options to browse your computer for files – images, videos or audio tracks:
Or you can choose from Clipchamp’s extensive video and audio libraries:
Step 4: Access the video or audio editor
Right now, the files you’ve added to your project should be visible as icons next to the ‘Add Media’ button. To start editing them, you’ll need to drag them to the timeline at the bottom of the screen, like so:
Now, select an asset on the timeline to highlight it and bring up a window with a range of editing tools:
Step 5: Apply audio and video fades
In the video/photo or audio editing window, click on the tab furthest to the right, which is conveniently labelled ‘Fade In/Out’. You’ll see two sliders that allow you to fade video in at the beginning of a clip or fade out at the end.
You can make your audio and video fades as short as 0.1 seconds or as long as 2 seconds. So, for example, you could have a quick, dramatic fade in and then a slower, more atmospheric fade out.
Step 6: Using fade transitions
Fades are also an effective way to transition between scenes if you don’t like the abruptness of jump cuts. To do this, add each scene to the timeline in the order you want them:
Then add a fade out to the end of the first video, and a fade in at the start of the second – now you have a seamless dissolve between the two! You can do the same to create fade transitions between photos and audio files, as well.
Here’s an example of how it looks:
Once you’re happy with your video fades, click ‘Export’ to save the new video to your computer.