How to Add Text to a Video in Final Cut Pro

By using titles, you can add text to your Final Cut video projects. This could be something like the title of a video, the location of a scene, the role of an interviewee, or a source for archive footage. All these are different forms of the humble title, included in Final Cut Pro X.

Add Titles to a Video in Final Cut Pro

Start from an existing Final Cut Pro X project. Titles should be added near the end of the editing process, after the primary picture and sound have been largely locked.

Adding the Title

In the Library pane in the upper-left, click the “Titles & Generators” sidebar button.

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This reveals the many title presets available in Final Cut.

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For the purpose of education we will start with a rudimentary title and work our way up. Select “Basic Title” and insert it into your timeline. You can drag the title into the timeline or double-click to insert it at the playhead.

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Click on the title in the timeline to select it. You will know it’s selected if it’s highlighted in yellow.

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Editing the Title

If the Inspector pane is hidden, reveal it by clicking the Inspector’s slider button.

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Of the several inspector panes available, you might intuitively select the Title Inspector icon, but this won’t help. This pane is employed by pre-built titles that expose certain settings for quick user configuration. For our titles, click the adjacent “Text Inspector” icon in the Inspector toolbar.

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To enter the title’s content, select the content of the “Text” textbox and replace it with your own content. If your content does not fit on the screen, you may need to manually insert line breaks or use multiple title cards.

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In the “Basic” section below select the typeface, text size, and and other text options. If the section is hidden, hover your cursor to the left of the undo arrow and click “Show,” or double-click on the section’s name to reveal the section.

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To change the color of the text, use the “Face” section. This controls the appearance of the front, or face, of the title.

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Title Tips and Tricks for Final Cut Pro X

  • In the Text Inspector pane we can modify the content and appearance of our text. Using built-in presets, we can apply styles quickly.
  • To fade a title in and out, use the Transitions Browser like any other clip. Click the icon to reveal the Transitions Browser, then drag the desired transition onto the purple title clip in the timeline.
  • Three-dimensional options are available in the 3D Text section in the Text Generator Inspector panel. Once you turn on 3D Text, your title’s entire appearance will be controlled from that section.
  • Use the tick boxes to quickly enable and disable settings in the Inspector pane. The undo arrows reset sections to their defaults.
  • Titles should not be pushed all the way to the end of the image. On older screens, titles at the edge of the picture would be cropped by the television. Today we don’t have that problem, but aesthetic convention dictates that major titles appear in the center of the screen. Follow these conventions unless you have a good artistic reason to break them.

Conclusion

Final Cut’s title editor is perfectly adequate for most purposes. If you want to make complex titles, use Apple Motion or Adobe After Effects to create and export fully-rendered titles. You can also create your own title presets in Motion or download additional title presets and use them repeatedly in your projects.

Video credit: National Parks Service

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