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Tutorial: Scrolling Text in LiveType

March, 2007



Scrolling Text in LiveType
[This article was first published in
the June, 2006, issue of
Larry's Final Cut Pro Newsletter.
Click here to subscribe.]



by Larry Jordan

Creating scrolling text in Final Cut is an exercise in futility. It's awkward to create, you can't get it to pause at the end and it takes forever to render.

Recently, Brian, one of my students, pointed out a different way to create scrolling credits using LiveType. I did some additional research and discovered a very easy way to use LiveType for all your scrolling end credits. Here's how:

1. Create a new LiveType project (Cmd+N)

2. In the large text entry box at the bottom of the Inspector, type your text as you want it to appear in the credits. In this example, I've decided to capitalize the title and title case the name.

3. Set your Out to the length of the credits you want to create, then drag the text in your text track to your Out. (In this example, I'm creating a three-second roll because it keeps my screen shots smaller. You can create any length roll you wish.)

4. Select your text track, click the Fonts tab in the Media Browser, and set your text to a nice readable format. Here, I am using Arial Rounded MT Bold Regular because it has a nice informal feel. Try not to use Lucida Grande, it doesn't hold up well at smaller sizes. Arial is OK, but it's so BORING that you could do better.

5. Select the Text tab in the Inspector and set your font size. Here I'm using 32 point text, with 95% leading. (Leading controls the spacing between lines.)

6. Move your playhead to the beginning of the Timeline.

7. Select the Effects tab in the Media Browser and choose Scrolls and Crawls from the pop-up menu.

8. There are five scrolls to choose from:

a. Scroll Down: Scrolls text from top to bottom with no pause
b. Scroll Up: Scrolls text from bottom to top with no pause
c. Scroll Up with Fade: Scrolls text from bottom to top, fading in the ENTIRE text clip at the beginning and fading the entire clip at the end. This is a different behavior from Final Cut and I don't like it much.
d. Scroll with Pause: Scrolls down from top and puts a pause in the middle.
e. Scroll with Pause, Glow: Scrolls down from top, pauses in middle and does a weird glow.

For me, the only one to consider is Scroll Up. We will do the pause manually.

9. Make sure your text track is selected, click Scroll Up, and click Apply in the lower right corner of the Media Browser. A new purple effect track shows up immediately below your text clip.

10. The next two steps are the tricky part. Reduce the size of your Canvas using the pop-up menu in the lower left. Here, I've selected 25% view.

11. Make sure your playhead is at the beginning of the clip, with the Effects track selected. Hold the Shift key down. Grab the blue baseline in the Canvas and drag it up until the top edge of your first text is just outside the white image area.

Here's what you've just done:

  • Putting your playhead at the beginning of the clip and selecting the effects track activates the keyframe at the beginning of the clip, allowing you to change the keyframe setting.
  • Holding the Shift key down constrains the movement of the baseline to either horizontal or vertical, but not both. This means you are only dragging the position of the text vertically and not shifting it from side-to-side.
  • Dragging the blue baseline changes the position of the text in the scroll so that it starts scrolling into view as soon as the effect starts.

12. If all you need is a simply scroll, you're done. Save your LiveType project, import it into Final Cut and edit it to the Timeline. But, if you want it to pause at the end, say to display a copyright notice, there are a few more steps you need to make.


13. Select the text track and click the Text tab so your credits show up in the Inspector. Add empty carriage returns after your last text credit to make room for the copyright notice -- the actual number of returns will vary depending upon the size of the font you are using. In my example, I used 12 returns. Then type your copyright notice.

Secret tip: Press Option+G to type the Copyright symbol (©).

14. Select the clip in the Effects track and press Shift+k to jump to the next keyframe. (This should put you on the last keyframe triangle of the effect, making it glow dark. If it doesn't, press Shift+k until you get there. Option+k jumps to the previous keyframe.)

15. Click the Effects tab in the INSPECTOR, not the Media Browser. You'll see CanvasOffset in the Active Parameters box. This is the parameter that causes the text to scroll. The numbers represent the changing position of the text.

16. Double-click the word CanvasOffset and a dialog appears. Change the Canvas Offset Y % to -70. Your copyright notice should line up close to the baseline, with no words showing at the top. (The X% alters horizontal position, the Y% alters vertical position.)

17. To change the speed of the scroll, change the length of the effect; shorter is faster.

18. To get the copyright to hold at the end, drag your text clip so it extends past the end of the effect. Be sure to reposition your Out to match the end of the text clip.

19. If the beginning of your text scroll no longer aligns with the start of the effect, and it probably won't, press Home to move your playhead to the start of the timeline. Then, drag the baseline as you did in step 7.

Preview, save, and done!

This requires a bit more tweaking than I'd like to get the text to align perfectly, but this is far easier than the hoops we need to jump thru to create scrolling credits that pause in Final Cut.

This tip is from the June, 2006, issue of "Larry's Final Cut Pro Newsletter," a very cool FREE monthly Final Cut Pro newsletter -- subscribe at Larry's web site:
Larry Jordan is a post-production consultant and an Apple-Certified Trainer in Digital Media with over 25 years experience as producer, director and editor with network, local and corporate credits. Based in Los Angeles, he's a member of both the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America.
Any references to trademarks or products are used for editorial purposes only. Text copyright 2006 by Larry Jordan and Associates, Inc.. All rights reserved

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