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Fade to Black
So...what do we do now? If this were one of my shows, this would be a wrap.
Rise, Persona 4

A means of denoting the end of a scene by steadily and quickly reducing the image brightness until the entire screen is flat black. Its inverse, Fade In, reverses the process to bring a scene into view from a black screen. A fade from one scene to another is called a dissolve. Sometimes the screen will Fade to White instead.

Extremely common in movie trailers, and often used at an Act Break.

Sometimes used to mean declining to describe a sex scene in textual media; for that, see Sexy Discretion Shot.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Film 
  • Averted in the Beyond the Black Rainbow, where they fade to red instead.
  • Recess: School's Out:
    • Right after the Sad Times Montage for T.J. after his friends leave for camp, then fades back into the next morning.
    • After Mikey faints from seeing the satellite come out of the school for the first time.
  • Wayne's World fades to black in the credits then fades back in so Wayne and Garth can talk some more. After a few of these fade back ins one of them comments that when they want them to stop talking they'll just fade out and it will stay that way. Then the credits fade to black again for a prolonged period and Garth declares, "I can't believe they did that!"
  • The X-Files: Fight the Future: At the end of the Antarctica sequence. The screen stays black for so long that some people seeing it for the first time thought this was the end of the movie.

    Live-Action TV 
  • At times, the "fade to black" will be used to end Very Special Episodes of sitcoms, particularly if they have a particularly dramatic or somber ending. Frequently (but not always), there will be no applause at the ends of these shows to underscore the seriousness of the situation just played out.
  • In some countries whenever a news program reports on the recent death of a very famous person, the report ends with a fade to black before proceeding to the next story. Some Russian weekly news programs also use this in their end-of-the-year broadcasts, where they include a slide show of photos of the celebrities that died during the year.
  • Firefly: FOX has software that automatically runs commercials over any black screen to eliminate the Fade to Black in favor of more advertising time. Joss Whedon felt that a moment of black at the end of one act of the pilot episode was important enough for the dramatic tension to salvage, so he had it fade to the darkest brown possible that wouldn't be picked up by FOX's computers.
  • Subverted in the "A Scandal in Belgravia" epsiode of Sherlock. John Watson is told by Mycroft Holmes that Irene Adler has been captured and executed by a terrorist cell in Pakistan. John elects to tell Sherlock that she's in witness protection instead. Sherlock appears to buy that but, after John leaves, has a flashback to the executions scene. The terrorists let Irene send a goodbye text to Sherlock as the executioner (all covered in black) walks up with a sword. She closes her eyes, and the screen fades to black. Then we hear the erotic moan she put on Sherlock's phone as her ringtone. The screen "unfades". The "executioner" tells her "When I say 'run', run!" and swings his sword at a terrorist.
  • Stargate SG-1: In "200", Martin mentions that Act 3 "just ends" due to budget cuts, during act three of the actual episode. Although the show normally fades to black, this time it did a hard cut to black, as a nice bit of metahumor.
  • The opening credits of the NCIS episode "Power Down" end with the usual shot of the Capitol going dark because of a power outage, mimicking what actually happens in the episode

     Video Games 
  • Video Game/Badland has no death animation. Instead, every time your character hits the spikes or the Advancing Wall of Doom, the screen simply fades to black and unfades at the previous checkpoint.
  • Afraid Of Monsters used it as a transition when crossing the lake on the boat.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Doug: The three twenty-four-minute Nickelodeon episodes and all of Disney's episodes used this right before a commercial.
  • Mike, Lu & Og use these for scene transitions.
  • Any twenty-four-minute episodes of 101 Dalmatians: The Series used this before a commercial, and sometimes used in various episodes for a scene transition.
  • The Pink Panther cartoon "Pink Outs" is made up of blackout gags, except the screen fades to pink instead.
  • Recess does a fade to black right after the theme song ends. This also ends certain episodes when they don't use an Iris Out.
  • Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner sometimes treats the black screen as a stage curtain that can be lifted or peered around. An entire cartoon was made up of "blackout gags"; brief, self-sustained skits that fade out after the punchline and fade into the next. The term originated in Vaudeville, where the lights were turned off after each joke to punctuate the humor and give the audience a pause for laughing.
  • Winx Club has these at least every two minutes or so.

DissolveScene TransitionFade to White
Evil Wears BlackTropes in BlackLittle Black Dress
Fade OutScript SpeakFade to White

alternative title(s): Fades To Black
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