Warning: Text Size in Motion Differs from Final Cut

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the May, 2006, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Updated, June 2006. Click here to subscribe. ]


This warning started innocently enough when a client handed me a puzzle: Text created in Motion does not match the same text created in Final Cut.

Let me prove this with a test.

Open Motion and create a text field. Enter some text, say “Text Sizing.” Set it to Eurostyle – Bold – 48 points, leave tracking and line spacing set to 0. Make a point to center the text in the middle of the Motion project.

Save your Motion project, so you can open it in Final Cut.

Now, open Final Cut Pro (I’m using version 5.0.4) and create a text clip with the exact same specs. (I made it yellow so you can see it easily in this comparison.) Make a point to place the clip at an origin of 0,0 — dead center in the frame.

Superimpose the two clips and, voilá, the two text clips DON’T match! Not only are the fonts different sizes, but they are in different parts of the frame.

This flies in the face of everything I ever understood about the commonality of fonts on the Macintosh. Fonts have always matched between applications — but, somehow, between these two, they don’t. Final Cut fonts are both smaller and lower.

Be forewarned.

– – –

Update – June, 2006

Martin Baker, of Digital Heaven in the UK, writes:

I was interested to read your section on text size in Motion vs FCP last month. Even though it is inconsistent, there’s actually a good reason behind this. FCP’s text generators (and it seems also Boris) use a text size proportional to the size of the current sequence whereas Motion’s text size is fixed. Note how FCP’s text generators and Boris don’t actually specify “Point” as the units for the text size.


In FCP land this is actually a very handy feature because it means that if you up-res an offlineRT sequence to DV (or say DV to HD) then your text generators will be scaled up automatically (this includes our DH_Subtitle plug-in, which is how I found all this out!).

Larry replies: That is VERY interesting. Thanks for letting us know – it makes a lot more sense now. You can see Martin’s work at: www.digital-heaven.co.uk.

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