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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip

Text treatment to enhance video productions By Stephen Schleicher
If you have read my Final Cut Pro 3 review, you know I think it is a great NLE package for the Mac. In the review I mentioned that the text tools have been improved with the Calligraphy plug-in from Boris. The Boris plug-in is great, but there are still some cool things you can do with the basic text of Final Cut Pro.

For this Quick Tip, well create a bar for a lower third super. The lower third text generator is one feature of Final Cut Pro that I wish Boris would have been able to incorporate in their plug-in. No matter, by the time were done, youll see that you make due with the tools at your disposal.

Start by creating a lower third graphic. To spice up the plain text, give a different font style to each line of the text. For this example, I am using Impact for the name, and Helvetica for the title. It is also helpful to use two different font sizes to help the viewer easily differentiate between the name and title.

By changing the size and style of the font, the graphic become more visually pleasing to the audience.

Assuming you already have video on Video Track 1 of your Final Cut Pro timeline, set a duration for the lower third graphic and place it on Video Track 3 of the timeline. Youll see why we put it on track three in a moment.

Double click on the lower third title in the timeline to reopen it in the Viewer window and go to the control panel. If you scroll to the bottom you will see that the lower third title gives you the option of creating a bar (actually a thin line) or a solid. The solid line is really pretty thin, and doesnt stand out very well against a varied background. The default bar is just plain ugly. Not only do the thin line and default bar lack depth, if you turn on shadows, the text does not cast a shadow on the bar, yet the bar casts a drop shadow of its own, further throwing off any sense of depth in your text treatment.

Years ago the thin line or solid bar were acceptable, today they have become cliche and beg for a new treatment.

Turn off the bar or the line if you have them on.

Wouldnt it look cool if you could have moving video for the text bar? This is becoming a common treatment to lower third graphics these days; you can see it being used on everything from CNN to Martha Stewart Home Again and even on local PBS programs.

Clip from the Artbeats Timelapse Landscapes Vol. 1 collection.
Find a piece of footage that you really like that is moving. You can even import files from another source such as an undulating background you created in Adobe After Effects (see tutorial), or something interesting from the Artbeats stock footage library. They have a very cool collection called Liquid Ambience that is full of flowing elements perfect for this application. I am going to use a timelapse clip from the Artbeats Timelapse Landscapes Volume 1.

Set the duration to the same length as the lower third graphic and drag it to Video Track 2 in the timeline. Once the clip is in the timeline, double click the element to load it back into the Viewer window. This ensures that you are working with the clip that is in the timeline and not the original source footage.

In the canvas window turn on Image+Wireframe. Use the Crop Tool (keyboard shortcut c) and crop the top and bottom portion of the video layer so that it includes that area of the moving background you want and so it is also the proper size for your bar. Once you are happy with your selection, reposition the new moving video bar behind your lower third text.

Crop and reposition the new element to create a moving video bar for your lower third text.

Pretty cool! You can even turn on drop shadows for the text element and have them cast shadows on the bar. Add even more depth by adding a drop shadow to the new bar element.

Much better, but a tweak or two could make it really stand out.

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Related Keywords:Final Cut Pro, Boris, text, graphics, artbeat, spice, stephen schleicher, apple


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