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Creating Titles

One of the important distinguishing features of iMovie as compared to iPhoto is the ability to add text and titles. Titles are elements that can be made to play over a black (or single-colored) screen, or over the moving video of your project.

Adding Titles over Video

Open the text document Sgraffito Script.txt.

This is the narrative that Jennifer needs to incorporate into the dynamic slide show. You're going to start with the title.

Click the Titles button.

This opens a window in which you can build and preview text and titles you want to add to your sequence.

Click the first shot in the sequence (always on the far left of the workspace)—the still shot of the pink sgraffito vase.

A still shot is a good choice for an opening title. By selecting a shot in the timeline, you are indicating to iMovie that this image is the one to which you want to add a title.


Any time you have text onscreen for viewers to read, it's important to make it as legible as possible. This means keeping the text from competing with the background. There are many techniques to keep titles legible, from making the letters as large as possible to putting white titles over a neutral or dark background. Moving video tends to compete with titles for attention and can make reading titles a little harder.

Select a style of title.

Fancy can be fun, but simple and clear is often the fastest and easiest choice. Clicking a title style from the list will start a preview of the style in the small video window at the top of the column.

Check out a few styles, then select Centered > Centered Title. Many title styles have two variations: the basic kind, usually with fields for one or two lines of text, and the “multiple,” which provides for additional fields that appear sequentially. You can create fields for additional lines in the multiple title by pressing the plus button (+), which is visible when the option is available.

Change the title text from the default (“My Great Movie”) to Jennifer's actual title—“The Sgraffito Technique”—by typing it into the field at the bottom of the Titles window.

There's the option for a subtitle also.

Add the subtitle “Scratching Your Designs”.

Use the Size slider to adjust the size of the text on the screen.

You should make titles as large as possible without reaching the edges of the screen. You can also change the font and color here, but for now, leave them as is.

With each adjustment, click the Preview button. You will see your title in the large display, where it is easier to judge its size and timing.

Use the Speed and Pause sliders to adjust the timing of your titles and effects.

The Speed slider controls how long a title takes to generate—to move in and perform its little dance, as it were. It's best to think of speed as the duration of the title effect. More important, in many cases, is how long you let the title remain onscreen after it appears. You control this with the Pause slider. For guaranteed readability, leave the title onscreen for as long as the slider will allow—at least 3 or 4 seconds.

iMovie will present the total duration of your title as the sum of two values: the length of the title generation (the speed) and how long it sits onscreen (the pause).

When you're satisfied with the preview, drag the title effect to the beginning of the shot where you want it.

Once you've dropped the title onto the shot, iMovie begins to render the effect.



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