Dip to Background: A free Final Cut Pro X transition

This flexible transition can be used to momentarily produce a variety of effects by fading the outgoing clip while showing a background, and fading the incoming clip.

You can control the timing for the point at which the outgoing clip has faded out, the timing for the incoming clip, whether the background is a solid colour, a third clip of your choice or simply the storyline below.

The default settings produce the same effect as Final Cut Pro’s Dip to Color Dissolve:

To produce smoother effects, the default shape of the Fade In and Fade Out are S-curves.

You can change these settings so the outgoing clip fades to a solid colour over the first 60% of the length of the transition, but there is a pause while displaying the background before the incoming clip fades in more quickly (during the last 10% of the duration of the transition):

Flash Frame

The settings can also produce a flash frame effect by not fading the outgoing clip at all and starting to fade in the incoming clip immediately:

A third clip

You can specify a third clip to appear between the outgoing and incoming clip.

Stills work best because long video clips will be sped up to fill the length of the transition. If you don’t want that, edit the clip you want to use to the timeline, trim the start and finish to match the length of the transition. Click the Clip well in the transition and then click the trimmed clip on the timeline to choose it for this transition.


You can also choose to make the background of the transition transparent. If the transition is applied to a secondary storyline, the primary storyline will be momentarily visible.

If those settings were applied to a timeline that looked like this

The 06-25-5 clip will be fully visible in the middle of the transition between the clips in the secondary storyline.

Here are those transitions demonstrated:

Download the effect archive, expand it and add the Alex4D Dip to Background folder to the Motion Templates folder in the Movies folder in your Home folder.

If you don’t have Motion installed, you won’t have a Motion Templates folder in your Movies folder. Download this set of empty folders and add them to the Movies folder of your home directory.

Although the folder is called Motion Templates, you don’t need to have Motion installed on your computer for this effect to work.

If you find this free plugin useful, you might like my Alex4D Animation Transitions plugin pack:

Find out more about Alex4D Animation Transitions.

There are many more free plugins on my Final Cut Pro X page


  1. JumpedOntoXandnowI'mstuck said:

    whats happening between :29 and :33? I think thats the ‘bug in the matrix fade” ? A fcpx special = )

  2. Steve said:

    This is great! But when I download I get “sound only” file???


    • Alex said:

      Thanks for taking the time to point this out. I’ve fixed the link.

  3. AJS said:

    This is a very useful transition. Thanks for making it available. Is it possible to have a transition that freezes on a frame (the “last” frame) of the outgoing clip, dips to the background, then starts frozen on a frame (the “first” frame) of the incoming clip? I’m having trouble getting the freezing to work in my own Motion transition template when used with FCPX. I’m trying to use the Scrub behavior in the Motion template. Getting the outgoing clip to freeze works fine, but the incoming clip keeps playing in most configurations. I’ve found one combination of settings that will freeze the incoming clip, but then resizing the transition in FCPX means that the frozen frame of the incoming clip is not the frame that matches up with when the action starts again after the transition is over. I could expose the Frame offset as a parameter, but then it wouldn’t be a very useful transition if you can’t just drop it on the timeline and move on. If you have any advice on creating a freeze-dip-to-background-unfreeze transition, maybe you could write a blog entry on that?

    • Mike said:

      OMG, I’ve wanted a transition like that ever since iMovie 1. It’ is my most used transitions in the type of movies I make, well that and the standard fade to black and fade in from black.

      Actually having two transitions is handy because sometimes you just want to freeze frame out to black or freeze frame in from black.

      If anyone knows where I can get one of these please let me know.


  4. katherine russell said:

    I watch all your videos with interest, but can’t find one on my problem: dissolving from primary storyline to secondary (2 cutaways located higher up, with a dissolve between them). I can’t seem to dissolve to or from this cutaway storyline (which I have control-G’ed) back to the primary for the life of me! Thanks,

  5. Very cool! I think Final Cut Pro X has something like this called “Fade to color.” you can just choose “white” as the color.

    • Yes it has, Alex mentioned that this effect, with default values, is the same as the default “Fade to Color” but it also does:
      “You can control the timing for the point at which the outgoing clip has faded out, the timing for the incoming clip, whether the background is a solid colour, a third clip of your choice or simply the storyline below”

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