In the post-production process of film editing and video editing, a dissolve is a gradual transition from one image to another. The terms fade-out and fade-in are used to describe a transition to and from a blank image. This is in contrast to a cut where there is no such transition. A dissolve overlaps two shots for the duration of the effect, usually at the end of one scene and the beginning of the next, but may be used in montage sequences also. Generally, but not always, the use of a dissolve is held to indicate that a period of time has passed between the two scenes.
In film, this effect is usually created with an optical printer by controlled double exposure from frame to frame. In linear video editing or a live television production, the same effect is created by interpolating voltages of the video signal. In non-linear video editing, a dissolve is done using software, by interpolating gradually between the RGB values of each pixel of the image. The audio track optionally cross-fades between the soundtracks.
Cuts and dissolves are used differently. A camera cut changes the perspective from which a scene is portrayed. It is as if the viewer suddenly and instantly moved to a different place, and could see the scene from another angle.