How do you decide on the titles for your video? It can be a difficult task! With these steps you'll be on your way to picking good-looking titles for your videos.
What Kind of Title?
There are a few types of titles you'll need to use most often: main titles, subtitles, informative titles, and descriptive titles. Each of these types has a slightly different set of needs.
The main title is probably what we first thing of when we think of titles. These are the titles that announce the film or video, segments in the video, or key transitions in the story. Main titles help your viewers orient themselves in the story.
Subtitles and captions print the dialogue on-screen. This could be a transcription or translation, so that people who cannot hear or understand the words spoken in the video can still follow along. Subtitles must be kept simple and easy to read.
An informational title gives viewer more about something that happened or is happening off-screen. For example, in a documentary, this might be an explanation of something that wasn't captured on camera but is still a key part of the story. Informational titles help you keep the video flowing by providing essential information.
A descriptive title gives information about something that is on screen. This might be the name of someone you interviewed, for example, or what kind of coffee you are drinking in your vlog. Descriptive titles can help to add depth and complexity to the action happening on screen.
Alright, with these titles in mind, I suggest doing the following three steps to choose titles for your projects.
1. Find a Style to Fit Your Purpose
First, go through the title picker in your editing program, just to see what kind of options you have—there are a lot of different title styles. If you have a strong idea ahead of time of what is available then figuring out what you want to use will be easy.
Next, look at your videos to see what the general theme is: are you making a fashion video, or a family vacation video, business tutorial or is it a sports broadcast? Each has it's own aesthetic demands to fit. By figuring out what your theme is you'll be able to choose the right type of title, even if it's going to be a simple title.
There are incredibly complex and beautiful titles that you can make and buy, but most of the time it's best to keep it simple. Consistency and fit are more important than being flashy. After all, people aren't watching your video for your titles. Look for titles that are aestheticly pleasing, build continuity, and maybe add a tiny dash of visual flair.
In Final Cut Pro X, the editing program I use, the title tool lets you quickly preview your titles. I've found that this is a great way to learn to pre-visualize titles. Once you've tried a title you can imagine in your mind's eye what it might look like on all sorts of video. Over time you'll find your own set of go-to titles that suit your tastes.
2. Get the Timing Right
Pick your moments and respect the flow: choosing the right timing for your title is just as important as the style of title you choose. Most of the time, if the title is calls too much attention to itself it's probably not a good title for the production. Don't let the title jump the viewer out of their suspension of disbelief.
Generally, titles last five to eight seconds. That's how long it takes people to read a short bit of text. You can play around with this, though; in some cases a longer time on screen can work. If you do have a title that takes longer than eight seconds to read, however, it's indication that the title might be too long.
3. Go With It
Now just click, drag and drop, you've got your video ready!
Once you've picked a style for your production, stick with it. The title you choose is a visual rule you set for the project: viewers will notice if you break the rule. You can do it, but it is a very strong effect and one best used sparingly. It's usually better to stick to the same title styles throughout your production.
Finally, when in doubt and when on deadline, keep it simple. Nobody minds a simple title used tastefully at just the right time.
To recap, here are the main steps to finding the right title every time:
- What kind of title is it: main, subtitle, informative, or descriptive?
- Does the style fit the purpose?
- Is the timing right for the flow of the video?
- Keep it simple and consistent
Choosing and using titles for video can be surprisingly complex. Find the styles that work for you and make them your own!