Research Paper

Transitions in Movies


I’m not one for typing but I have to for this paper, so join me in this carnival of poor grammar and questionable paragraph structure.

What is contained within any given scene is incredibly important, but what I find far more interesting than the intricacy of what camera movements mean that a character is sad or what type of lighting should be used if a character is performing a flute solo, (Spotlight from a high angle) is the transitions between the scenes, but more specifically…

What is a Good transition? 

‘Good’ is very subjective, so how can I determine what a ‘good’ transition is? My first thought was trying to see in any movie critics have ever pointed out what a ‘bad’ transition is, but after some extensive research on ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ looking at reviews for poorly received movies such as: ‘Batman v Superman’(2016) and ‘The Pink Panther’ (2006), and while these reviews go in depth about almost every aspect of how the movies are bad none that I could find mentioned the transitions specifically, as some did complement the editing. 

So after some consideration (and a binge watching of the ‘Harry Potter’ movies) I remembered about two YouTube channels, ‘CinemaSins’ and ‘CinemaWins’ both of which are channels that started as satire but one (CinemaSins) tried to fuse satire with genuine criticism whereas the other has became more genuinely positive toward movies, and weirdly enough only one of these channels mentions transitions in movies on a somewhat frequent basis. 

While ‘CinemaSins’ is the significantly larger and longer running channel it’s surprisingly not the one that gives more in depth reviews as ‘CinemaWins’ which has complemented transitions in ‘Everything GREAT About Hot Fuzz! (Part 1)’ at 2;27, 11:53 and 15:11, just to name one of his videos. The compliments that the host of this channel gave Edgar Wright’s work regarding transitions is a result of the transitions looking appealing or being different to what is typically seen in modern cinema. Thanks to this Youtube channel I have a much better idea as to what a ‘good’ transition is. 

Personal Experience

Some of my favorite movies and TV shows often have impressive or complex editing tied to them, as much was obvious from my ‘Sherlock’ (BBC 2010-2017) faze, as many episode have a significant amount of effort put into the editing and in one memorable case a location transition (technically it’s the same scene, but the location changes part way through) which can be found in season 2 episode 2 ‘A Scandal in Belgravia’, in which Sherlock is explaining what happened at the scene of the crime, as he is doing this he crouches down and as the camera follows him down we are suddenly at the scene of the crime. That particular example was in the back of my mind when coming up with ideas for my research paper. 

In terms of scene transitions that I have helped with/attempted I admittedly haven’t much experience as in my first year I wasn’t very willing to experiment or try any difficult camera work, however I did start to become more experimental in my FMP (as we weren’t going to get marked on it so I thought “fornicate it, might as well try some weird ideas”).        

First Hand research findings

For question One (Would you consider yourself an observant moviegoer?) I didn’t expect anyone to answer ‘No’ but I was proven wrong with 30.08% saying that they didn’t believe themselves to be observant when watching movies. The answers to question 2 were mostly inline with what I expected baring the one person who has never seen an impressive or ‘cool’ scene transition but that same person answered question 6 with something that wasn’t 1 out of 10 (One a scale of 1-10 how difficult to create do you think it was to make any impressive or ‘cool’ transition?) So I was left perplexed by this individual’s backwards logic. Out of the 10 people who answered ‘Yes’ to question 2, 8 of them could name at least one movie/TV show with either an impressive or ‘cool’ scene transition.         

With question 6 I expected most people to answer from 5-6, but 7 appears to be the more common pick, and looking back at question 2 I should have made it two separate questions (Has A scene transition ever impressed you? Has a scene transition ever wowed you?) as they are very different questions.     

(Bit of a side note but worth noting) It appears not many people properly read the questions as with questions 3 and 5 a lot of people either didn’t explain their experience (question 5) or didn’t read the ‘If’ or notice the lack of a bright red star indicating it wasn’t mandatory (Both questions 3 and 5). And I also put an unrelated question at the end of the survey to see if people said they would pass it on or not 50% said they wouldn’t but only three of them were impolite about it.


All in all after looking at what a critic thinks a good scene transition is and after looking at the examples provided by 8 of the people who filled out my survey and the examples I could remember, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should definitely try to do more (or rather any) interesting or challenging scene transitions in future projects as my work lacks the added pzazz of memorable transitions. But I also think it’s important to note that the survey showed how many people either don’t notice impressive/’cool’ scene transitions or seem to see them in a lot of what they watch, with combined 31.3% stating that they either didn’t notice or saw them in most of what they watch.  

On a secondary note I have also learnt that my survey creations skills could definitely use some work along with how I word sentences and questions as a lot of people seemed to struggle understanding the fifth question on my survey (even though I still don’t see how they could misunderstand). 

If I said that writing this was fun I’d be lying, but the research certainly was.