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Old July 7th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #1
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on-screen text to identify interviewee

Talk to me about on-screen text please. I know how: Title...New Title...Default Still in Premiere Pro CS5. What I need are some style guidelines.

My application is simple -- put the person's name, position, and affiliation up on the screen (overlay the person with this text) at the beginning of an interview. I don't have any problem doing it, just problems making it look good and making it legible. Which is where I need this group's help.

Are there any guidelines out there for this? What I'm looking for is rules of thumb like the "rule of thirds" for image composition, except for on-screen text overlays. Are there any rules of thumb for how much space a title should take up? Fonts to use? Sizes to use? Locations on-screen to use? Locations to avoid? All that stuff.

And what's the jargon for this -- is it simply called a title? There's bound to be an industry specific name for it. This is an industry that calls the graphics bar on the bottom of the screen during a newscast a "Chyron" after all. ;-) And if I knew what it's called, I can more easily search for and turn up examples to learn from. My goal is to make a template I can use when I need more on-screen titles in the future.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 04:02 PM   #2
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Called "lower thirds" although it might not take up a third of the screen. Usually I'll keep it at the bottom within the 'title safe area' for the bottom edge of the graphic and sine I try to get a speaker down to the top of the podium (if they using one) I'll bring the graphic up to that or there abouts. It's a "how does it look" thing for me.
As for font, I never use a script, it can be too hard to read so I'll use Arial, Century Gothic or Verdana. No serifs to break up and depending on the color of the lower third background I will generally use somesore of drop shadow behind the text. Also the text is usually slightly off white-235 is my favorite number.

I never put it over the speaker although depending on the job and the clients wishes or demands AND how it looks I have split screen it especially if the speaker has a long list of stuff after their name which needs to be in the graphic but I'll only run that for about 10 seconds then fade it out and go full screen with the footage of the speaker. Even the lower thirds graphic may not run for the entire time the speaker is on screen. I may run it for say 30 seconds, then fade it out, the find the middle of the clip and run it again for say 20 seconds the fade it the just bofore the end run it again.

It's hard to specify because if the clip of the speaker is only 5 minutes I'll probably run the graphic thruout where as if the speaker is on for 30 minutes I won't UNLESS the client specifies it.

HTHs
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Old July 7th, 2010, 04:35 PM   #3
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There should also be a whole bunch of lower third templates installed with Premiere. You can use one of these or get ideas for creating your own.
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Old July 8th, 2010, 02:00 AM   #4
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Don's advice is excellent.
I usually think about it in terms of 1) legibility & 2) looking good
Legibility is critical, so, as mentioned, a simple font, maybe tending towards the bold, stick with whites/ greys/ blacks. A drop shadow can make a big difference in legibility, particularly if the background is a bit cluttered.
Lookin' good department: drop shadow can also add some style to the overall appearance. I often like to apply treatments like "bevel" to give the text some appearance of depth. Sometimes I will design the text in Photoshop because there are more ways to fine tune the appearance.
Size, exact location, duration are matters of taste, but usually identifying information is lower third and not real large. You can also plan ahead and shoot to accommodate the titling. For example- a variation on Don's split screen: start the shot with the talking head off to the right half of the frame for 5-10 sec, then pan right to center the subject. This gives you an empty left frame to add text in post, then fade the text as the camera pans to center.
Also, typically you design a text style that can remain consistant throughout the project with regard to color, size, style, location, etc. So the big investment is in the first one. Once I'm happy, I use it repeatedly, just changing the content.
Text & titling sometimes seems like a nusiance/ afterthought sort of thing, but honestly it can be a lot of fun and add a lot of value to your final product.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 10:47 AM   #5
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Thanks guys. I took your collective suggestions and it looks great. I even added an additive dissolve to each end so the lower thirds come up smoothly, hang around for five seconds, then dissolve smoothly. Nice, neat, clean, legible, and unobtrusive. Almost looks like I know what I'm doing. Which I'm learning, thanks to your help and suggestions.

And Robert, you're right. This stuff is actually fun. I never thought about this aspect of editing when I started.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 04:05 PM   #6
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Bruce- sounds like you are on your way :)
When you decide to move to the next level, check out all of the text effects in After Effects.
The sky's the limit!!
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Old July 11th, 2010, 10:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Young View Post
...check out all of the text effects in After Effects.
The sky's the limit!!
Oh, great. More learning curves. Just what I needed! ;-)
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