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  • Writer's pictureFrancis Karl George

Zoom of the good ones

Video editing techniques have always evolved in tandem with technology. The more your camera and computer can do, the greater the possibilities for creative expression. With decreasing costs of entry into the video editing arena, there are a lot more editors out there now. In fact, every 30 days, more video content is uploaded to the internet than what the major US televisions have created in the past 30 years.

Video editing techniques go through phases of being "in vogue." An influencer starts using one and then they blow up and get beaten to death on YouTube. A few years ago it was light leaks. Then everyone had to have glitch effects. And now? Zoom transitions are the thing; but unlike its two predecessors, zoom transitions have much more storytelling value. You see, effects like light leaks and glitch effects, accomplish two things: add aesthetic value, or distract the viewer to mask a transition between two clips. Zoom transitions, accomplish both of those tasks but they also allow you to move through time and space, especially if you shoot with purpose and link two shots together.

Take a look at this sailing workout video I produced a few weeks ago. If you look at 00:30 I utilize both light leaks and zoom transitions. First, the light leak allows me to change scenes from one exercise to another where the team is planking side-by-side to create a tunnel they have to crawl through. Then, the zoom transition allows me to go from a wide shot looking from the outside in at the plank tunnel, to being inside the tunnel as someone crawls through it. We've done more than transition between two shots; we've created this sense of movement that draws the viewer into the story.

You will notice that zoom transitions make the camera more prominent. You always have to be careful when you call attention to the camera because it can pull the viewer out of the experience. In this case, I think it draws the viewer in because the camera almost becomes a character itself. We feel like we're looking through the eyes of someone who's there, moving through the story with the subjects.

Zoom transitions are handy tools to have in your arsenal of effects. There are presets available but they are so easy to keyframe yourself in After Effects that I highly recommend just learning it, especially if you're at that stage where you're finally comfortable in Premiere Pro but the thought of opening up After Effects makes your skin crawl. If you want me to do a tutorial on zoom transitions comment on this post and maybe that will be my next video.

Nuts & Bolts: I shot the above video on my Sony A7s using Hayden Pedersen's S-Log2 LUT. I used an 85 mm f/1.5 Rokinon cine lens, a 14 mm f/2.8 Rokinon cine lens, and a 24-70 f/4 Zeiss lens. The drone shots were filmed on the DJI Mavic Pro on the log color profile and the Film Poets capture settings. I used the S-Log2 LUT mentioned above but only at 65% intensity.

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