Positioning Text

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the December, 2007, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


Jonathan Kirsch writes:

I was going over your editing library tips about “Improving the Look of Your Graphics and Text” in FCP and couldn’t find something I thought was there. I keep forgetting whether its better to position text on even or odd lines (Y values). For some reason I can’t tell which looks better with the text I am working with (Helvetica Condensed Bold). Any way you can help me remember?



Larry replies: Positioning text is less important than point size. Try to keep your text in even whole point sizes, when working with fonts smaller than about 30 points.

However, if you are compositing two or more pieces of video and both were shot interlaced AND both are scaled at 100%, then it is critical that all images have their vertical position be an even whole number (the right-hand box of the Center parameter in the Motion tab.)

Otherwise, the interlacing between the different layers interferes with image quality and all your foreground images will look blurry or soft.

UPDATE – Dec. 27, 2007

Tom Wolsky adds:

Do not use the Motion tab to position text. It will display better if you position it using the origin or position functions in the Controls tab. It is also important if you are animating text position or other parameters to animate it in the text’s Control tab and not in its Motion tab.

Larry replies: Tom, I agree. Text should always be sized, positioned and animated using the Controls tab, as that retains the vector nature of the text, providing extremely high quality glyphs. Sizing and positioning in the Motion tab always moves the frame that contains the text, not the text itself and scales the bitmap of the text, which is not the same quality.


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