[ Read my product review disclaimer here. ]
The last time I reviewed Titler Pro from NewBlue, Inc., they had just released a new plug-in for Final Cut Pro 7. That was six years ago. (Here’s the link to my previous review. ) Time passed and the latest version 5 is now shipping. The good folks at NewBlue asked me to take a look at the new version and I happily accepted.
Then, I hit a wall. The new version does so MUCH that I didn’t know where to start. I felt like I was reviewing Motion or Final Cut. There is so much to the software that anything less than a treatise feels inadequate. So, about four pages into my review, I stopped. Stumped.
Until this morning, when it occurred to me that my job here is not to explain every feature, or show every possible effect in detail, but, instead to tell you about the software, explain what makes it unique and encourage you to try it for yourself.
Now THAT I can happily do.
The first thing you need to know about Titler Pro 5, from NewBlue, is that it creates titles that move … in all directions and dimensions. Everything you build is on a timeline and all text can be displayed in 3D, with significant control over styling and animation.
The second thing you need to know is that, like opening After Effects for the first time, it is easy to get overwhelmed. The interface is fairly clean, but there’s nothing obvious that says: “Click here to get started.” Watching the tutorials and reading the help files on the NewBlue website are essential to using this app successfully. You don’t need to be a graphics pro to use the power in Titler Pro 5 if you spend time watching the tutorials.
The third thing you need to know is that this titler can create animated titles for all NLEs. There are multiple flavors of Titler Pro 5: A stand-alone app, a menu choice in Premiere Pro, a generator inside Final Cut Pro X, as well as support for After Effects, Avid Media Composer, Vegas Pro, Edius and DaVinci Resolve; plus any other application that can import a QuickTime movie.
If you need to create animated titles that can be used just about everywhere, with a depth of features not found in any titling package included with your video editing software, you need to consider Titler Pro 5 from NewBlue.
A free trial is available.
Product: Titler Pro 5
Developer: NewBlue, Inc.
MSRP: $299(US) Upgrade pricing and template packages are also available.
ABOUT NEW BLUE, INC.
Based in San Diego, CA, and privately held, NewBlue entered the market in 2006 with its NewBlueFX line of video special effects for video editing, which quickly became the fastest growing in its market. The company currently holds multi-year license deals with industry leaders Avid Corporation, Corel, Cyberlink, Magix, Pinnacle Systems, Grass Valley EDIUS and Sony Corporation.
NOTE: Why “NewBlue?” The founders’ first company was “The Blue Ribbon Soundworks,” which they sold to Microsoft in 1995. Hence, this is the “new Blue.”
If creating titles is new to you, or if you don’t have any After Effects or Motion experience, I strongly recommend getting one of the template packages that NewBlue has designed using Titler Pro 5. (It is far easier modifying a template than creating something sophisticated from scratch.)
Templates – and there are more than 200 of them – are bundled into collections, including:
The fact that there are as many collections and templates as there are is a tribute to how flexible the software is.
However, as a note, while Titler Pro 5 has extensive – and highly-readable – help files, it would be really useful for new users to have an easily accessible glossary of terms because the words: “workspace,” “library,” “project” and “template” have many different meanings. Not knowing what Titler Pro means by a word slows down the learning process.
CREATING A TITLE
Creating a title from a template is easy. In the Library, open the Project Templates folder, then open a Template folder. From inside the template folder, choose a title you want to use.
Hold the mouse over a title to preview what it looks like in the Viewer.
When you find a title you like, double-click it to load it into the Timeline. Note how templates automatically include animation.
To change the text, double-click it in the Viewer to select and modify it.
There are hundreds of style options that can be applied to text, in a variety of categories:
The best thing to do is to visit the NewBlueFX website and watch some of their many tutorials to get a sense of what this package can do.
According to their website, TitlerPro 5 added 20 new features in the current version, including:
A more complete list of features can be found here.
As I worked with this package, I realized that templates are the key to success. Watch how someone more experienced with the software created a title, then modify it.
The worst thing you can do is to start the application and try to create something from scratch. It can be done, but that’s accomplishing a task the hard way and it is very easy to become overwhelmed.
Also, allow time to learn the software by watching the online tutorials. A little instruction will go a long way to improving your results with this software.
NOTE: Here’s a link to the tutorials page on the NewBlueFX website.
As I was creating this review, I sent a list of questions to Travis White, the Head of Products at NewBlue to learn more about the product.
Larry: Every NLE has a titler in it. Why create a stand-alone titler?
Travis: We saw that while every NLE has a titling solution, the tool was often, still, 2D and primarily text focused (little focus on graphic elements). We saw that as editors become more and more required to do the whole production (both rough and finish) the demand for them to achieve quality, dynamic graphics in their work was rising. Most editors found themselves looking to motion graphics packages, which were a whole other learning curve and skill set. That can kill their billable hours as such solutions tend to be a steep learning curve and demand as much attention as the editor’s core NLE. In addition, the title tools for these NLEs remained proprietary, limiting graphics sharing between NLE and finish solutions.
What we have strived to achieve in Titler Pro is a 3D, animated title solution that is strong on text and supportive graphics, while doing so with idioms that editors know. We also work to be present on every NLE out there, assuring that an edit can be transferred from rough to finish across solutions, without losing the editability of the title graphics.
Larry: Who do you see as the market for this?
Travis: The straight answer is every editor! I’m sure you expected me to say that. But seriously, any editor who finds themselves also being responsible for the finish edit, complete with titles and graphics, is a candidate for Titler Pro. In particular, shows with heavy lower thirds or messaging can benefit.
This, in fact, is really where our multi-title management comes into play. Through our one interface, an editor can jump between all graphics in their show and edit or confirm the text data and imagery, as well as link multiple title instances to one design. I’m thinking of the reality show editor who has 50+ titles and lower thirds in their season edit. When the producer comes in and says, “We’re not going with that blue streak anymore. We’re doing the gold box thing.” In the past that editor could be derailed with either having to edit each title alone, or go back to their graphics artist and order up 50 change-orders on their graphic assets. With Titler Pro, it is a matter of opening the one master template and that’s it.
Larry: With programs like After Effects and Motion, what does Titler Pro 5 do that they can’t?
Travis: Programs like After Effects and Motion are great tools. And they do what they do very well. They are also deep and complex, allowing for very intricate motion graphics work. We designed Titler Pro because we understood that the majority of titles that editors need are above the capacity of their NLE’s title tool, but also significantly below the effort that tools like After Effects and Motion require. Our goal is to deliver exceptional titles and graphics for the editor, while respecting their billable hours. For example, Avid recognized this and has bundled Titler Pro into every copy of Media Composer. Same with Grass Valley.
Larry: How can Titler Pro 5 benefit those of us who are “graphically challenged?”
Travis: A great place to start in Titler Pro is to dive into the rich set of templates that come with the product. There are templates for main titles and for lower thirds, across many aesthetic styles. To have even more at your fingertips, additional template collections can be found on our website.
Another area where Tiler Pro reduces the effort curve is in the rich preset animations and effects we provide. Rather than keyframing every move (we also do keyframing btw) it is often most effective to dig into the Transitions Library and drop some Swinging Text, or Bubble Up moves, or Type On effects, etc. – popular moves you see in today’s productions. To enhance the look, effects like Timed Rotation, Distort, RGB Shift and more can create a unique look – again all presets to play with.
Larry: What makes for a successful title?
Travis: When creating titles from scratch, it is always good to pay attention to these three principles – readability, physicality, and a match between graphics and story.
Readability seems a little obvious, but it’s surprising how many titles don’t hit it. The fact is that a great font on a poor backing can kill readability, while on the other hand an appropriate backing can give an otherwise of-the-beat font a strong readable presence. It has so much to do with the contrast of space and color to get it right. Even too much contrast (black on white) can work against readability if the weight and size of the text is off. The key test to consider is, “Do my eyes have to work and must I focus to catch the info”? If it’s effort, it’s time to re-visit readability.
Physicality is the idea that a design should seem like it’s a real object in real space. This lends well to the end impression of “polish.” If a 3D design is sitting on your video, but there is no alignment with the titles orientation and the scene it is over, there will be a visual dissonance that the audience will feel uneasy about. Also, if it’s physical, is there a drop-shadow to set it off over the background picture? If the title is a minimalist design, does it fall over minimalist content behind it? If not, it also won’t pull off the wow factor. Animation is a key component of Physicality. The move should match what the graphic element would do. Swinging text might be great for some strong, thick text. But when you have a cursive font, a flop-and-pop won’t reconcile. Soft animations such as fades and slow falls would be the more appropriate choice.
Match is very critical to a successful title. There’s nothing more jarring than a story with one mood and then a graphic slamming in with another. It’s like dressing down for a walk on the beach, and then throwing on cufflinks and cumber bun. It just doesn’t jive, and looks like your really didn’t understand the point of the date. Does the story edit have high or low intensity? Is it organic or high-tech? Is it about hard assets or soft ideas? Beyond designing complementary graphic parts, steal colors right out of your background footage. Also, don’t be shy about color correcting your backing image or title graphic, or both, to make them really come together. Titler Pro has great effects to work with color, saturation and contrast in order to make sure the title stands strong in the context.
Larry: What resources does NewBlueFX offer to help us create better titles?
Travis: To learn how to use Titler Pro there are a great many video tutorials on our website. Our help is also well done and gives a good feel for all that is possible. We also have a great Blog on our website to keep editing ideas fresh.
Larry: Which features in Tilter Pro do you think users understand the least?
Travis: By far the most overlooked features by the casual user of Titler Pro are the Elastic Timeline and the Multi-Title workflow. The main reason is that they have not seen such workflows before in other titling solutions, so they don’t know what they’re missing.
Elastic Timeline was invented because editors like the convenience of trimming their title to any length. Because their NLE provided them a still title tool, trimming a still is effortless. However, once temporal information is added into the mix (motion) the title asset can become as rigid in length as a video clip. So, to get the best of both worlds Titler Pro offers Elastic Timeline. This allows an editor to design a title that animates in, holds and then animates out. Later in the NLE timeline that same title template can be trimmed out longer or shorter and the “hold” position in the title is simply extended or reduced. This allows for all the animation to stay at the same pace as originally designed while allowing trim flexibility at every instance.
Titler Pro’s Mutli-Title workflow is also another innovation that greatly enhances an editor’s ability to manage and edit titles across their timeline. Most editors are used to having absolutely no relationship between title instances. And so they open one title, work on it, close it, then open the next. This can be tedious when the show calls for multiple instances of the same design. It is also hard to check text data this way too. The Title List within the Titler Pro interface provides the editor with one view of every title design and its data and provides the ability to link many title instances to one title design. This alone is a huge time saver when the delivery gets close and the change edits keep coming.
Larry: If you were to do a one-paragraph commercial for Titler Pro 5, what would it be?
Travis: Titling is an important part of the editing process. The majority of titles that editors need these days are above the capacity of their NLE’s title tool, but also significantly below the effort that tools like After Effects and Motion require. The goal of NewBlueFX’s Titler Pro is to deliver exceptional 3D, animated titles and graphics for the editor, while respecting their billable hours. Titler Pro accelerates titling by delivering an easy-to-learn and familiar process with the power of multi-title editing for fast changes across projects. With a wide range of pre-built templates and animations and compatibility with all top non-linear video editing programs, Titler Pro is the fastest, most efficient titling tool for your workflow.
New Blue Titler Pro 5 is a full-featured, 3D title creation and animation tool. Rich with features, it will take a bit of time to learn; but the titles and animations you create with it can’t easily be created any other way.
If you are looking for a titling application worth investing time to learn, Titler Pro 5 will provide rewards on your investment long into the future.
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