Top tips for better titles on your videos

Top tips for better titles on your videos

It’s a little known fact that well designed titles/straps/lower-thirds/astons/whatever you want to call them, can increase the perceived production value of your video exponentially. Even if you’re not a whizz at After Effects, these tips should help.

Lower Third Design


  • Before you start, ensure you have your brand’s correct, up-to-date brand guidelines to start from. Often you’ll find these take away some of the tricky design decisions.

  • If time is tight on your edit (or you just like being organised), design your titles in advance and get approval from the client for them. Titles are the number one amendment clients will want to make.

  • Get it right - nothing looks worse to a client than you misspelling their name, their colleagues’ names or their company name. I always try to triple check against the notes I have to ensure this is correct. You’re not always going to get it right and I am definitely testament to that!

  • When interviewing subjects, I always get them to spell their name and their job titles’ out as no-one knows how to spell their name better than themselves! I’ll admit this isn’t always 100% accurate though as under-pressure, interviewees can spell their names wrong or pronounce some letters unclearly.

  • Start in After Effects - Easing and motion blur make a title look far more slick. Premiere Pro can ease but can’t motion blur (properly!). I like to design the bottom layer of graphics in After Effects, render out with alpha channel and import into Premiere Pro. Here I can then place the text above the base layer and transition it in over the top. Even a newbie to After Effects should be able to crack this. Here’s a tutorial on basic key framing and here’s a tutorial on adding motion blur.

  • Look at basic typography to make the titles look more premium. Things like good kerning and tracking, ensure that the letter-spacing is appeasing to the eyes. Knocking the letter spacing back to -1 to -2 (depending on the font obviously), makes it look much more premium. Never let characters overlap though.

  • Separate different elements in the titles using text-decoration (bold, underline, etc.), colours and case. I may for example, have the person’s name slightly larger in a darker colour and I’d then have their title in a slightly smaller font size and in uppercases.

  • Keep it simple - In the UK we tend to go for clear, easy to read graphics which do what they say on the tin (but nicely!). Try not to get too distracted with the American over-designed, over-animated graphic style which can jar with an English audience.

How to run a second instance of Premiere Pro

How to run a second instance of Premiere Pro

One feature that frustrates old FCP7 users when they jump over to Premiere Pro, is the ability to run two projects side by side.

This little tip will show you how to open multiple Premiere Pro projects on a Mac. Whilst Premiere Pro’s inbuilt media import feature is great for importing assets including sequences and titles, sometimes it’s handy to flick between projects.

Using Terminal, we’re going to use the open command to tell the Mac to open Premiere Pro.

Start by launching Terminal (either from Applications/Utilities/Terminal or hit ⌘ + Space and type in Terminal).
Next up right click on Premiere Pro on the Dock and select Options > Show in Finder.
In Terminal type in open -n (make sure you include a space at the end) then drag the Premiere Pro Application (from the finder) onto Terminal.
You should end up with something like:
open -n /Applications/Adobe\ Premiere\ Pro\ CC\ 2014/Adobe\ Premiere\ Pro\ CC\
Hit enter and it should launch

Running second version of Premiere Pro from Terminal


One click solution

You can automate this process to one click from the Dock using Apple’s Automator.

Hit ⌘ + Space and type in Automator to launch Automator
From the “Choose a type for your document:” screen, select Application and click “Choose” (if this screen doesn’t pop-up automatically, click File > New)
In the “Name” search box type shell and select “Run Shell Script” from the Actions Library

In “Run Shell Script” box, type in the command open -n
Drag and drop the Premiere Pro application from the Finder into the box and type speech marks around the location
You should end up with something like:
open -n "/Applications/Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014/Adobe Premiere Pro CC"

You can test this by hitting the Run button
To save the script, click File > Save and select a location for it (to keep it organised, I’d put it in the Application folder)
Find the Automator script in the Finder and drag and drop it onto the Dock

Now whenever you hit that, it will launch another instances of Premiere Pro.


I wouldn’t advise having too many projects unnecessarily simultaneously open, as it can upset Premiere Pro’s RAM allocation. This is fine if you are just copying and pasting certain assets or comparing projects.

Debunking Branded Content Video Terminology

There are certain phrases that clients and co-workers ask me again and again for the meaning of. I thought I’d just pull up the most common ones I come across and list them here.

Have I missed any? Are there any terms you have to keep explaining? Feel free to leave them in the comments section.

1. Rushes containing the primary content, usually interviews.
2. A pre-packaged editorial edit that can be played out or uploaded directly to a website with out requiring any additional editing work. Includes graphics and titles. Depending on the content, this may or may not have music.

1. Rushes containing the secondary content, usually cutaways.
2. A roughly cut package of rushes containing all the content a broadcaster could need to cut their own package. Usually has detailed slates containing a timecoded index and interviewee details including full name and title.

VNR (Video News Release)
This is usually the distribution of A-Roll and B-Roll to journalists. A-Roll is sometimes referred to as a ‘VNR’.

IV (Interview)
Short hand for interview.

GV (General Video) - Float, cutaway
The alternative content used to ‘paint over’ interview footage.

Title Bar - Aston, lower-third
Graphic used on an edit to detail who’s currently being interviewed

Graphic detailing important information. An ‘End Slate’ is a slate that features on the end of a video usually with the call-to-action and brand logo.

TVC (Television Comercial)
Commercial advertisement that’s played out on TV for brand promotion.

Term that refers to content created for social media to organically collect views through peer to peer sharing.

DoP (Director of Photography)
Person in charge of the camera(s) on a shoot. They decide where the cameras go, what they pick-up and how the lighting should be setup.

DIT (Digital Image Technician)
Person in charge of transferring rushes from camera to hard drive.

Preditor (Producer-editor)
Someone who can produce a shoot and then edit the content.

PD Shooter (Producer/Director Shooter)
Someone who can produce and direct a shoot, whilst operating a camera.

DFA (Does F*** All)
My favourite one… the effect you add to your footage in post to make it ‘pop’ more…

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