Take 5: Tips for Titling

Most of today’s video editing programs include basic titling software. While anyone can type text and pop it on the screen, experienced title builders know a few tricks that make their titles better than the rest. Here are five things to think about as you create titles for your next video.

1. Preview your titles on a TV screen. Because computer monitors display higher resolution images than TVs, you cannot trust your computer monitor when building titles for video. While the color and size of your titles may look fantastic on your computer screen, the real test will be how they look when played back on a TV. Build your titles with the TV screen in mind.

2. Observe the safe title area. The preview window on your computer shows more than the viewer will actually see. If you build your titles so they extend to the edge of your preview window, they may be partially cut off on some TVs. Play it safe by building your titles in the inner 60% of the screen.

3. Make sure shadows match. Drop shadows are a nice way to add depth to your titles, but if they fall in different directions, your titles won’t look right. Shadows imply the existence of a light source. Make sure to match the direction and fall-off of your shadows.

4. Big, thick, bold text is best. Small, skinny and busy fonts don’t work well on the TV screen. Make fonts large (at least 35 point size) and bold so your titles will be easily legible for your viewers.

5. Avoid overly bright colors. Bright reds, greens, purples and pinks can bleed and smear when displayed on a TV screen. Use darker shades for better results. Add thick, dark outlines and/or drop shadows to help separate your text from the background and contain color bleed. Generally, black, white, blue and yellow work best for video titles.

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