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How to Identify Speakers in Marketing Videos with iMovie

Most marketing videos feature people speaking. Perhaps you’ve interviewed a happy customer or your CEO welcomes viewers to your engaging new video or a well-known speaker talks about an important topic. Whatever the case may be, people want to know whom they see on the screen.

One way to introduce central characters is to announce them on the voice track. But that’s time-consuming and tiresome if you have more than a few characters.

A better way is to show simple titles — or lower thirds — at the bottom of the screen. You may recognize this element from the TV news: Whenever someone appears onscreen for the first time, the lower-third title shows the person’s name and, often, title.

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The best way to introduce someone onscreen is to insert a lower third about 2 to 5 seconds after you first show the person’s face. Then let the lower third remain for about 10 seconds so that viewers have plenty of time to read it.

Apple iMovie offers a number of predefined title templates for lower thirds.

To add a lower third to your iMovie project, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the clip to which you want to add the lower third.

    If the clip isn’t in your project timeline yet, place it there.

  2. Open the Title browser.

    To open it, click the T icon on the gray toolbar to the right.

  3. Select the title template you want to use.

    The standard Lower Third template is the most flexible, but several are fancier, such as Paper, Gradient White, and Formal.

  4. Drag and drop the selected title template to your clip.

    For the best result, drop the template in the center of the clip to make the lower third cover the entire clip.

  5. Enter the text for the lower third.

    Type the text directly in the main video window.

  6. Style the lower third.

    Click the Show Fonts button, and select a different font or color to match the style of your video. The button labeled System Font Panel on the Font menu gives you even more options.

  7. Change the timing of the lower third.

    If you aren’t happy with the length of the lower third, or if you want it to appear at a different spot in the clip, double-click the little blue bar above the clip. In the Inspector window that opens, you can change the duration of the lower third and change its fade-in and fade-out speeds.

    You can even select a different title template if you want to experiment with different styles. When you’re happy with the new settings, click Done. To change the point where the lower third appears, simply drag the blue bar to the left or right.

    image1.jpg

Nothing is more embarrassing than not catching typos in someone’s name, particularly when that person ends up watching your video. Proofread lower-third text carefully. If you’re interviewing people you don’t personally know, ask them to spell their names on camera before the interview begins.

Lower thirds can also be used to visually support the content of your video. If you’re showing a long (and possibly confusing) speech, a brief phrase in the lower third can emphasize your take-away point so that the viewer can focus on the message you’re trying to send.

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