More title effects

When creating title effects, I advise keeping the action and titles away from the edge of the screen to guarantee full viewing. The best way to ensure a ‘TV safe’ area is to make sure that your titling has a clear margin of a couple of centimetres from the border. In a program such as Premiere Pro, the title workspace should show the safe working margins by default. If no markings are visible, right-click anywhere in the title area and choose View-Safe Title Margin.

Once you have your title, the next step is to make it jump out at you on screen. In Premiere Pro select your title and expand the Motion effects menu in the Effects Control panel. If you can’t see the Effects Control panel, choose Windows-Effects Control to bring it up. Click here for a screen shot.


To animate an effect you need to activate keyframes for that object. Any effect property that allows keyframes will include a Toggle Animation button that allows you to activate the keyframe control. The Toggle Animation icon (which looks like a stopwatch) can be found to the left of the Effect name in the Effects control panel. Once keyframes are activated, you can add and adjust as many keyframes as you need to achieve the effect. Click here for a screen shot.

Keyframes act as anchor points at the start and end of an effect; the first keyframe shows no apparent effect and the last keyframe shows the full effect. The frames between provide the transforming effect that you want to create.

This process tells the video editing program how to treat an object (in this case, the title object) over a series of frames. A normal video sequence operates at either 25fps (PAL) or 30fps (NTSC). (Note: Australia uses the PAL format, whereas other countries such as the US use NTSC.) For example, when operating in a PAL video environment, 12 frames in a 25fps interval will take almost half a second. You can choose to work in either frames or time, so if you want to make the title move more quickly, place the final keyframe closer to the first keyframe along the timeline; if you want the transformation to go more slowly, place the final keyframe farther along the timeline.

Zoom your titles

To achieve the zooming title effect, highlight the Motion-Scale effect in the Effects Control panel and make two keyframes, one at the beginning of the sequence and one at the 15-second mark. As a result of this selection, the title effect will take 15 seconds to transform from one point to another.

You want to start with the title’s scale at 100 per cent, so leave the first keyframe alone. Next, click on the last keyframe and change the title’s scale to 120 per cent. If you want the title change to be more dramatic, you can increase the percentage, but remember to stay within the ‘TV safe’ margins. You should have created a title incorporating two effects: it has video playing within the text, and the title is zooming out towards the viewer.

To add a final touch to your title sequence, create two new title tracks above the main title and experiment with the many effects available. For example, the first word (shown as ‘title’) may be keyframed to come into view from the left of the screen by selecting the Position control in the Motion Effect menu. Select the first keyframe and drag the first position axis to 0.00. Next, select the final keyframe and move the position axis so that the word is centred left of the screen. You can either type an exact number in the box, click on the number associated with the Position control, or drag your mouse to determine the position.

The second word (shown as ‘sequence’) is keyframed to fade into view over time. To do this, select the title track and create two keyframes by clicking on the ‘toggle animation’ icon next to the Opacity control. Click on the first frame and drag the opacity to 0. Click on the final keyframe and drag the opacity to 100 per cent. This will create an effect in which the word (shown as ‘sequence’) will come into view over time. Colour and font changes can be made afterwards to the subtitles by double-clicking on the title track and choosing different colour fills, shadows or fonts.

When you have experimented with keyframing further, you will be able to take more control over how your effects transform within a movie. Note that many of the effects created in Premiere Pro are achievable using other video editing applications which support transparencies: refer to the vendor’s help files for further information.

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Denis Gallagher

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