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Creating Lower Thirds in Motion 4

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/21/2010

Lower thirds are essential to non-fiction filmmaking, and Motion 4 has the tools to make this work.

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    What Are Lower Thirds?

    Lower thirds, as is often used in news and documentary film, is a way for someone on screen to be identified for the audience. This is a text object consisting of two lines: the top one to be the individual's name and the bottom for their title or signifier. These are called lower thirds because they are placed in the lower third of the available screen, often to the left or right depending on the position of the person speaking. These are often meant to not be too flashy so they do not take attention away from the person or the content of their speech, but they still often have a uniform design to match all throughout the film. Here is a tutorial for creating lower thirds in Motion 4.

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    Creating Your Text

    When you are working in Motion 4 you have a few options for how you want to do this. The easiest, and the one that gives you the most control, is to simply create two separate text boxes on top of each other. This will give you the option to give them different fonts and sizes, depending on what you want. Go ahead and create these text boxes and include your text, making sure to follow the rules for having text on screen like using a sans serif font and keeping it larger enough so a person with average eye sight would be able to read it from seven to ten feet away from an average sized television.

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    Adding Motion 4 Effects

    From here you can add Motion 4 effects, behaviors, text styles, and more to add to the feel of the text. This process is universal as it involves finding the appropriate Motion 4 effect in the Library and then applying it to selected text boxes. These should, again, remain subtle as it is not appropriate to steal the attention away from the individual on screen. Once you apply these you will want to then select both of the text boxes before applying behaviors that will affect how the text comes in and out. If you use a transition effect, such as a fade in and fade out, you will want it to apply equally to both text boxes in your Motion 4 project. If you want to stray from this you can easily select each separate or make changes in the Timing. If you want backgrounds or motion graphics on your lower thirds you can create these in Motion 4 as well, but this will be a creation on its own.

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    A Motion 4 Template

    Once you have finished a single lower third you can now use this as a template for the rest. Export the current one you have and save it to a special file just for your lower thirds. Then select each text box and change them so they match the next person on your list. Once you have done this you can export it. Do this sequentially for each person on your list and then you will have lower thirds created for use in your Final Cut Pro 7 project.