Thursday, January 2, 2014

A word on visuals: Transitions

Transitions are problematic. Most presentation software come with more transitions than wanted. The people at Duarte already covered with in a series of videos called The Trouble with Transitions. The best transitions are the simple ones and are best used when used scarcely. Here is a small collection. I chose these because they are similar to small set simple cuts editors used when putting a film together.

  • Dissolve

Note that a slide can dissolve to black or white. The technical term is fade-out. Fading out to black is also known as black-out, and similarly fading out to white is known as white-out. Using a combination of fading out and in, might help the speak force a well deserved pause:

This "white pause" is appropriate when the speaker ant to signal that the next topic is weakly coupled to the previous one.
  • Move-in

This might also be known as cover. Read below to see why…
  • Push

If the whote pause signaled weakly coupling, the push transition might indicate a strong connection between two slides:

  • Reveal

This transition is the opposite of move-in. Reveal could also be called move-out, and move-in cover.

When to use transitions

Transitions are used to signal the direction of a talk: continuity or change. It can also help to force a pause. Transitions are not decoration. Use them when you need them. It is  a bit like the slow motion effect in many of Hollywood's action films, if you use it in the right moment and it will leverage your talk. The white pause can be repeated a few times to give the audience the chance to breathe and to signal them that a new topic is about to beginning, but again, don't over use it!