A Wipe is a Transition a writer uses when he or she wants the new scene to slide on top of the old scene, almost like one Polaroid being laid atop another.

Easily the most famous use of Wipes in the history of film was in the Star Wars franchise.

Wipes aren't used often, but they'll appear from time to time in Comedies and TV sitcoms.

Other Wipes:

There are a couple of Wipes worth mentioning:

The Iris Wipe is very rare. Think of the round iris of an eye and the way it grows larger or smaller depending on the lighting situation. In an Iris Wipe, the new scene replaces the old scene, but the old image will be a circle growing smaller and smaller until it disappears in the center of the screen, replaced completely by the new image.

The Invisible Wipe has grown in popularity over the years, and can be seen often in television commercials.

With an Invisible Wipe the camera follows a character from the side as he or she walks, let's say, down a hallway. When the character passes through a doorway, the camera will appear to go through the wall, following the subject into the room. However, when the camera emerges on the other side of the wall, the scene has changed to a new location and time.

The Transition was "invisible," hidden within the wall as the camera passed through it. The Invisible Wipe can be "hidden" in any number of ways: poles, passing cars, passing people, etc.

Look at this example of an Iris Wipe:

This was used at the end of the original Star Wars film to end the movie.