Fun Text Effects in Apple Final Cut Pro

Posted on by Larry

Most of the time, titles fit nicely in the frame. But, there are some very interesting things we can do with titles that don’t.

Especially when we add compound clips into the mix.

Here’s something fun. This effect takes less than five minutes to create – using only Final Cut.

This is where we are heading: A very large title that flies across the screen, filled with video, placed over different video and including a drop shadow. (What’s the secret sauce? A compound clip.)

The text can be filled with generators, a still image, a video or a group of videos. The effect can be placed over a single background clip, or added to an edited sequence. There’s an almost unlimited number of ways to customize this.


While you can store compound clips in any event, I prefer to create an event specifically for compound clips. That makes them easier to find.

Make sure nothing in the timeline or Browser is selected, then choose File > New > Compound clip (shortcut: Option + G). Give this new file a name and storage location, BUT! don’t save it. Instead, click Use Custom Settings.

Here are the changes:

NOTE: Don’t worry if you don’t get the horizontal dimension perfect, you can always change it.


NOTE: You can even build a sequence of clips to fill the text. No limitations. Just put them on the bottom layer of the compound clip.

Format the text so it fills the compound clip. I’m using

NOTE: If the compound clip isn’t wide enough, select it in the Browser, then click the blue Modify button in the Inspector (just as with a project) and change the horizontal dimension.

The compound clip is now complete.


Add Effects > Stylize > Drop Shadow to the compound clip. In the Video Inspector adjust the shadow settings to get a look you like. I increased Blur and adjusted the Position settings.


Play the clip.



Here’s a link to play the finished movie. (Right-click to download it.) Granted, the size of the text is pretty, ah, “in your face,” but there’s all kinds of ways you can play with this to make it work for your projects.

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3 Responses to Fun Text Effects in Apple Final Cut Pro

  1. Dick Osso says:

    Thank you for this breakdown…I envision doing a Life’s Review of an athlete or performer. The background is something in their life. The “Title” you created, “Water”, would be the person’s name. As it slowly animates across the screen, in each big bold letter, are clips of their performance “PAST”. So, I’d like to see this example, Larry, extend by demonstrating filling in the letters with video clips of the history of my subject person.

    • Larry Jordan says:


      Look at the screen shot of the compound clip. The text does not move in relation to the background inside the compound clip.

      So, you need to create a split screen (multi-layer) background under the letters in the compound clip where each video is under each letter.

      That is:

      Layer 1 is cropped to be under the W
      Layer 2 is cropped to be under the A
      Layer 3 is cropped to be under the T… and so on.


  2. Marc DeBrisay says:

    Really cool, something Jean-Luc Godard would be proud of. Thank you, Larry!

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