Creating titles in Premiere Elements

Cliff Jospeh, Macworld UK
25 February, 2011
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We recently looked at Premiere Element’s selection of special effects tools, which are far more extensive than those in Apple’s iMovie. Another area where Premiere Elements outdoes iMovie is its variety of tools for creating titles and text effects.

As well as having a full set of word processor-style tools that allow you to select different typefaces and text styles, Premiere Elements includes a wide range of templates and predefined animation effects. These can be used to create slick titles and credit sequences with just a few quick clicks of the mouse.

However, Premiere Elements really comes into its own when you combine those two sets of effects – applying keyframe animated special effects to titles in order to create really stylish animated title sequences.

1. Title templates Premiere Elements has a wide range of tools that you can use to create titles and text effects. Like iMovie, it includes a simple set of templates that can be used to quickly create a particular look or style. You can find these title templates in the Edit section of the Task Panel.

2. Still life Creating your own titles from scratch gives you more freedom to experiment, so let’s click on the Title menu to get started. There are three options here – Default Still simply places some static text on the screen, while the roll and crawl options create animated text that scrolls either down or across the screen.

3. On track We’ll select Default Still for now. The title text is then automatically placed in Video Track 2 in the Timeline, while the clip of the little girl is in Video Track 1. Putting the clips in this order ensures that the title text in track 2 is superimposed over the clip in track 1.

4. Format features Now we’ll just type in ‘Paranormal Inactivity III’ as our main title text. As you can see, the title’s too big to fit onto the screen right now, but Premiere Elements includes a useful set of text-formatting tools that make it easy to alter the appearance of your title text.

5. Text styles The Text Options panel allows you to modify settings such as the typeface, size and alignment, while the Text Styles panel beneath it includes dozens of preset text effects. We’ll select a style that has white text with a drop shadow that fits in with the cloudy background on this image.

6. Automatic animation The text tools also include predefined animation effects. There are fades and zooms, effects that distort text, and effects that move individual characters on and off screen. We’ll select Focus Out, which zooms the text out towards the viewer. Then click Apply to automatically apply that effect to our title.

7. Back to basics These ready-made animations are quick and easy to use, but Premiere Elements doesn’t stop there. You can also apply any of its other special effects filters to your titles, allowing you to create text effects that iMovie simply can’t match. Let’s start again with some plain text on a blank screen.

8. Zooming in Click on the Edit tab in the Task Panel and then click the Effects ‘fx’ button to display Premiere Elements’ selection of visual effects filters. It’s worth experimenting for a while to see how the various effects look when applied to text, but for now we’ll select the Zoom Blur filter and then hit the Apply button.

9. Stretching time The Zoom Blur creates a dramatic effect that makes the letters look like they’re glowing and expanding outwards. We also want to stretch this title clip to make it last for about 10 seconds, so we’ll simply click on the end of the clip in the Timeline and then drag it along to the 10s mark.

10. Animating effects At the moment, the Zoom Blur effect has been uniformly applied to this entire clip, which means that the text just sits on screen with the same blurry effect for the whole 10 seconds. We’ll now click on the Edit Effects button in order to activate the program’s keyframe animation controls

11. Zero hour The Zoom Blur effect contains two main settings – zoom and blend – that you can adjust to change the appearance of the effect. We’ll move the editing cursor right to the beginning of the clip and then turn both settings to zero. That turns the effect right off so that the text looks normal once more.

12. Key frames Now we’ll move the editing cursor forward a couple of seconds and create a new set of keyframes. Then we’ll slowly start to turn up the zoom and blend settings once more. This will animate the text so that the Zoom Blur effect starts to fade in over a couple of seconds.

13. Step in time Step forward a couple more seconds and increase the zoom and blend settings a bit more so that the text continues to blur and zoom outwards. We’ll also modify the Motion control settings (which are automatically applied to all items in the Timeline) so the text increases in size to fill the entire screen.

14. New blood We like this effect on a plain black screen, but if you want to superimpose it over another video clip you can just drop the new clip into Video Track 1, and move the title text up into Video Track 2. You can apply other effects too, perhaps making the white text turn blood red.

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