Creating a Whip Pan Transition in Adobe Premiere Pro

Since I discovered movies made by Edgar Wright and movies such as Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope," Alejandro Iñárritu's "Birdman" and "The Watchtower of Turkey" by Leonardo Dalessandri, I've always been fascinated by the way the footage just seems to flow into one another, and no usual cuts are visible. It has a way of keeping the viewer's full attention and keeps them intrigued as to what might happen next. It's a great way of keeping a good pace in your production, whether it be a full feature film or a music video.

After studying the films mentioned above thoroughly, I started looking at the way I shoot and cut videos together and where I can improve using these techniques. These transitions are a clever way of distracting the viewer from what's actually happening: a straightforward cut, disguised cleverly as a whip pan transition, using only these three elements below.

A Slow Shutter Speed

A speed of 1/50 s will do, as a faster shutter speed will make the footage appear crisper and thus make the cut more visible than footage shot at a slower speed.

P(l)anning

If you plan your shots correctly, you'll have a flow between all your transitions. If you whip in from left to right at the beginning of your first clip and whip out from left to right a the end, make sure to repeat the same motion in your second clip. Doing this will ensure your first and second clips will merge seamlessly. If necessary, carry a notebook with you so you can write down your edits and review them to avoid any missed shots.

Match Textures, Color, and Brightness

Looking at the textures, color, and brightness of your subject in the first clip and finding something that matches in the second will add to the illusion of a hidden cut while doing a whip pan. Going from dark to light or vice versa will make a cut appear more visible due to the difference in contrast.

Once you've got your clips lined up in Adobe Premiere, you'll immediately start seeing the magic happen. An extra tip would be to use the power of sound with these transitions. Adding a simple "whoosh" sound effect already gives the whip pan just that extra punch you need for it to be effective. These sound clips can be downloaded from most sound libraries online, such as Epidemic Sound, PremiumBeat, or Audio Network.

Just to show you a silly example, I've created a basic whip pan transition and edited the shots in Premiere as seen in the video above. While I won't be winning any Oscars just yet, it shows the basic principle of this type of transition.

What techniques do you use to hide your cuts?

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2 Comments

Cool. This really shows rolling shutter though! Some cameras more/less than others. Thx for the how to.

Fred van Leeuwen's picture

Thanks for checking it out! Yeah Rolling shutter from my 5D Mark II. If you're using any of the latest cameras you'll have better luck.