5 Tips for Improving Supporting Graphics

If the average video producer made a list of the key elements for a great project, the list would probably start with capturing great images, and hopefully include getting good audio, having great content, and maybe even getting good performances from talent. However, you're probably not likely to find solid supporting graphics on that list. So to give these key graphics their due respect, here are 5 tips to improve your supporting graphics.


1. Use Them!

Whether it's a local commercial, web tutorial, wedding, or just your family video, supporting graphics can help provide a context for your video, and help reinforce the concept or message you're trying to get across to your viewer. From simple titles over a black background, to a lower third title, and even complex motion graphics, combining text, images, and creativity can raise the production value of your project.


2. Reduce the Number of Fonts

First and foremost, it's important to choose your fonts wisely. It's equally important to limit the amount of font's you use in a project. It's easy to get bored using the same old font throughout a long form project, but boredom is not a good reason to add another. I like to keep it limited to 2 or 3 fonts per project, and those fonts are usually fairly similar in style.


3. Reduce the Size

One common thing that many beginning video producers do is make everything too big. Many times, simply scaling everything down and leaving some negative space in your layout will help the graphics feel more professional. So whether it's a piece of type or an image, be sure it's not too cluttered, and your viewers will thank you for it. (Or more likely, they just won't even notice, which is pretty much the idea!)


4. Keep it Brief

If you're script is concise and you want to reinforce the point, there's no need to use text that quotes the script word for word. Make your supporting text highlights of the points you want to get across, rather than being used more like subtitles.


5. Stay in Bounds

Every editor should know what title safe and action safe lines mean. The greatest graphics in the world are useless if your viewer can't read them because half the words are off the screen. So work within the guides, after all, that's why we have them!


Okay, supporting graphics may not be the most glamorous part of a project for many video producers, but part of raising the overall quality of your videos is paying attention to those smaller details that others leave behind. So use these tips to guide you, and just to remind yourself that supporting graphics are important too!


Greg Olson
Greg Olson
Greg is a Media Production Specialist for Chico State University.

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