final cut pro

Adding Titles and Text to Clips

Learn to edit Final Cut at the kdmcBerkeley Video Storytelling Workshop.

You can add a title or some text to a clip, such as the name of a person who appears in the clip.

To do this, double click on a clip in the Timeline to display it in the Viewer at the top. Then at the bottom of the Viewer click on the button with a large A on it, which is the text button.

Hold down your mouse button and in the drop-down menu select:

Text...Text

Then release your mouse button.

In the Viewer area will appear a screen with sample text in it.

To change the sample text, click on the tab entry at the top labeled:

Controls

A box will appear on your screen in the Viewer area.

You change the text of the title by just typing new words into the box.

Below the box are selections for:

  • Changing the font face of the text
  • Changing the font size of the text
  • Changing the Font Color by clicking on the white box to the right and selecting a new color for the text (yellow is a color that usually works well on most clips).
  • Aligning the title on the screen, such as centering it, making it flush to the left or making it flush to the right.

You also can add a drop shadow to the title by selecting the Motion tab and checking the box for Drop Shadow.

Finally, you can change the duration of the text (how long it will appear on your clip) by selecting the Video tab and then changing the time in the box at the top left.

Now to place the text on your Timeline, click on the Video tab.

Then move your playhead on the Timeline to the point in a clip where you want your text to begin.

Now click in the Viewer on the text you created, hold down your mouse button, drag it down onto the Timeline just above the clip and at the point of the playhead, and release it. The text will be placed on a new track above your clip.

You should see a green line appear just above the clip on the Timeline, which means the text has been applied and you can view it by playing the clip.

Move the playhead on the Timeline to a point prior to the clip and play the clip to see the text displayed.

(If there's a red line above the text instead of a green line, that means you'll need to render the text before you can play and view it.)

To make adjustments to your text, double click on it in the Timeline to display it in the Viewer, and then follow the steps above to make changes.

Positioning the Text

You also can change the position of the text - moving it anywhere you want on the screen - by creating a wireframe to drag the title to different points on the screen.

To do that, double click on the text you've created in the Timeline, to display it in the Viewer and in the Canvas.

in the Canvas area to the right, click on the the tiny box toward the top right that has a hole in it.

In the drop-down menu that appears, select:

Image+Wireframe

A wireframe will appear over your title, with an image of the clip underneath. Click on the point in the middle where the lines intersect, and you can drag the title anywhere on the screen.

When you're done positioning the text, to place the new text on your Timeline, in the Viewer to the left make sure the Video tab is selected.

Then move your playhead on the Timeline to the point where you placed the beginning of your existing title.

Now in the Viewer above click on the new text you created, hold down your mouse button, and drag it down onto the Timeline to the point of the playhead and on the tack where your existing title is. Release your mouse button, and the new text will replace the old text on the Timeline.

Lower 3rd Title

Some common text to use on a video clip is a "Lower Third" title, which appears toward the bottom of a clip and has two lines on it - one for a title and a second just below for a subtitle (such as a listing of a person's name, with their occupation or affiliation listed in slightly smaller type underneath).

If you want to add a Lower Third title to a clip, double click on a clip in the Timeline to display it in the Viewer at the top. Then at the bottom of the Viewer click on the button with a large A on it, which is the title button.

Hold down your mouse button and in the drop-down menu select:

Title...Lower 3rd

You can change the properties of the text in this title - the size, color, position, etc. - using the same steps described above for changing the attributes of text.

But this time there will be two sets of controls - one for the main title, and one just underneath for the subtitle.

You also can add a rectangular color bar behind a lower third title to better display it on the screen.

You would do this, for example, if there's a lot of variety in the color of the video to which you're applying the title and the title thus doesn't display well against that varied background. The title will display much better if its on top of a color bar.

To add a color bar, select the Controls tab, scroll down the line for Background and select Solid. You then can change the color of the bar, by clicking below on the white box to the right of the word Color.

Now to place the title on your Timeline, click on the Video tab.

Then move your playhead on the Timeline to the point in a clip where you want your title to begin.

Now click in the Viewer on the title you created, hold down your mouse button, drag it down onto the Timeline just above the clip and at the point of the playhead, and release it. The title will be placed on a new track above your clip.

You should see a green line appear just above the clip on the Timeline, which means the title has been applied and you can view it by playing the clip.

Move the playhead on the Timeline to a point prior to the clip and play the clip to see the title displayed.

(If there's a red line above the title instead of a green line, that means you'll need to render the title before you can play and view it.)

To make adjustments to your title, double click on it in the Timeline to display it in the Viewer, and then follow the steps above to make changes.