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iPontificateLiveType Tips For First Time Users


- February 4th, 2005

When editing with Final Cut Pro on a video project it oftentimes comes to a point when its necessary to create text and titles for the video itself. Enter LiveType, the bundled graphics application that integrates directly with FCP for creating dynamic text and titles. This column offers tip to those who looking to work with this feature.

While this column is primarily aimed at novice users, I encourage feedback from more experienced users that have additional tips for the novice user that I may not have covered.

While Final Cut Pro does ship with an internal title generator, it falls a bit short on power when wanting to create more dynamic titles. LiveType takes the ball from there by featuring the "Live Fonts" category and the ability to animate the titles with several effects like "bounce" or "drop in/out". LiveType features numerous effects to choose from, and the effects can be added on top of each other to create a more customized effect than the straight effects offered in the palette. This helps negate the often cheesy look that the effects create when used alone (unless cheesy is the effect you are looking for, but that's another column altogether).

So for simplicity sake, lets apply some basic effects to some tiles that will ultimately be imported into FCP for a title sequence.

After opening LiveType and creating a new project, go over to the Media Browser window on the far right and select the font style you would like the title to appear as. After selecting the font type, press the "apply" button below for it to appear on the timeline track. Go to the Inspector Browser to the left of the Media Browser window, and type in some text to animate such as "The Mac Observer Totally Rocks" or something along those lines. Now you can adjust the size of the font, so that it will fit into the TV safe box and will be wholly visible when viewed. If you would like to adjust the color of the text, or to add drop shadows or to adjust other parameters, simply select the attributes tab or the style tab located in the Inspector Window and adjust to your desired look.

Also keep in mind how long you will want the titles to be when using In Final Cut, I often make the length of the titles a tad longer than what I think I might need and just trim off the end in Final Cut to fit my desired title length, unless there will be a need for an end effect for the titles.

After adjusting the size and color, go back over to the Media Browser window, and pick out an effect that suits the style you would like the titles to have. For this tip column, I will choose the effect; Motion Blur left as the first effect. It is found under the effects tab on the far right of the Media Browser under the pulldown menu titled; Motion Paths. Hit the apply to track button, it should then appear on the time line in purple, directly below the text on the timeline. You can adjust the length of the effect by dragging the purple effect line to the left or right, depending on how long you want to effect to be, or you can adjust the timing by pulling down the Timing tab in the Inspector.

Now choose another effect to apply to the track. I will use the Lunge effect, located under the Grunge category. Apply the effect to the track, it should appear below the first motion path effect you chose. Simply adjust the timing desired for the effect that suits your needs. To see how the effects respond to the text, you can do a "render preview" found under the file pull down menu on the menu bar above the application. After it renders and you view it, you can go back to the timeline to make the necessary adjustments needed.

If you want to create some background effects for the text to appear on top of, go back to the Media Browser window and play around with some of the Objects included with LiveType palette. For the Mac Observer Rocks text, I chose the Blaze object located in the Pyro category. Select the desired object and hit the "apply to new track" button below. It will pop up on the timeline above your text line. Grab the Blaze line and drag it below the text line so that your effect-laden titles will appear on top of the object. Now grab the object in the Canvas window and position it where you want it to appear below the text. You can adjust the attributes of the object the same way as before under the attributes tab in the Inspector Window including color and such.

Now you can go to Final Cut Pro and use your titles as you see fit for your movies and videos. In older versions of LiveType, it is necessary to render the movie first before you can import it into Final Cut. To do this, go to the File menu on the menu bar and select Render movie. Save it where you will remember where it is, then import it into Final Cut from the Import menu. Ta-dah! You now have the text necessary to put into your Mac Observer Rocks video project that will undoubtedly feature video on why you love our Web site so much. If there are other users out there that would like to offer some other cool tips they use in LiveType, feel free include them below in the comments section so we can all become better editors and filmmakers.

With five years in the entertainment industry, and three years writing for The Mac Observer, works passionately on various genres of film, including documentaries, narrative features, and shorts. He has two feature films under his belt as Director of Photography and Camera Operator, and his current role at TMO is to cover digital media and the film industry.

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