Newsletter #6 - Movie Maker 2 and PhotoStory
2 - June 19, 2004
Most movies start with Titles and end with Credits. The text is
sometimes over some background video or pictures, and at other times
it's over a plain colored background. It's been traditional since the days
of silent movies.
You can see from Movie Maker 2's main menu that its called
'Titles and Credits', Titles at the beginning and Credits at the end.
When I wrote 'Do Amazing Things' I wanted to treat clips
with text more generically. The same clip can be used at the beginning of a
video, at the end, in the middle, or over other clips.
I wanted to call clips with text in them simply 'text
clips', but in the end I had to agree with the publisher that a book
for the novice should align as closely as possible with the way
the software used the terms.
But in my newsletters, I can go down whatever path I want to, so
this week's is devoted to the subject of 'text clips'.
A couple items before continuing with the weekly topic:
Last week's newsletter seems to have gone over
particularly well and new subscribers have been rolling in. I
don't know if it's the excitement of being able to do
a Picture-in-Picture by using a custom transition in Movie Maker 2, or
the newsletter providing a detailed tutorial. I'd appreciate any notes or
comments about it, as I'd be happy to do more in the future.... more XML stuff
or more tutorials, or both.
Since MM2 was released, I'd been under the impression that custom
XML files could only be used to create or tweak video effects and
transitions. Well, about a week ago Rehan, a regular on the newsgroup and
forums, showed me a custom XML file that actually resulted in two added choices
in the list of text animations. I'm sure that you'll be seeing more about this
in the future, when Rehan decides to roll it out for general use. Until then,
all I can say for sure is that, yes it's possible.
Text Clips (Titles and Credits)
Let's get into text clips..... starting with the starting menu
of the text wizard:
Make the Project's First Text
You might start the first text clip of a project pretty
early in the editing phase... as the short movie I did about Chicago
that had only text in it, with zero video clips and pictures....
...or it could come in the final editing phase,
after the video is fixed on the timeline, so you're assured the alignment
of the text and video clips won't be thrown off by further changes in the
Whenever you start, this menu of the wizard appears.
Most of the time I don't care which choice I pick, as I'm just
wanting to do some design work on the first text clip, so I quickly and pretty
much randomly pick one of them just to get to the next window.
Don't get me wrong. I care very much where the text clip ends
up.... my remark fits into the next item.
Text Clips Can be Used Anyplace
Make the first text clip anyplace in the project. If it's
on the Video track as a title or credits clip, or on the Title Overlay
track as a title overlay, with a quick drag and drop motion it can be moved to
the other track, moved from being the first clip to being the last, or dropped
If your project is already underway, then being on the Title
Overlay track is usually the best place, as it doesn't bump anything on the
video track one way or the other. If your project is totally empty or just
starting, then being on the Video track might be best for starting.
I try to avoid the mindset of a text clip being a title and
belonging at the beginning, or credits at the end. They are all 'text
I do a lot of copying and pasting, especially when it comes to
working with text clips. Here's a basic project, a single video clip with 3
text clips. I made the first one at the beginning of the timeline on the Video
track, and then copied it once to the Title Overlay track and then again to
the end of the Video track, changing only the text content of each.
You can see in the figure that the final text
frames aren't in the Ending Credits clip, but in the Title Overlay one,
which extends beyond the credits on the timeline.
I just wanted to point out the choices for placement.
It's too soon in this project for me to be copying and pasting the first
text clip. I haven't designed it yet.
Double-Click a Text Clip
I'll stay in the timeline view of the project when I work on
text clips. The storyboard view doesn't include any of them on the Title Overlay
Take any text clip on the timeline and double-click on it....
the text wizard opens on the page where the words are. Changing the text in any
of the clips already created is always just a double-click away. This
ease of moving around is one of the main reasons I think so highly of MM2.
OK... time to forget the beginning and ending text clips. I'll
delete them and use the clip on the overlay track as if it's the first one for
Design the Project's First Text Clip -
Font, Color, Transparency
For a really short video, the overlay clip might be the only
text clip needed. It can span the entire timeline. A longer video would
usually need more.
Designing the first project text clip
means thinking about the choices of fonts and font color. Double-click
on the clip to get to the text wizard. Then select 'Change the text font and
- click the A for the font
color, or the box to the right of it for the background color. The
background color is only used for text clips on the Video track... it won't
work if you click on it with a text overlay clip.... maybe a good reason for
the first text clip being on the Video track. When in the color selection
window, the Define Custom Color lets you pick any color possible. If you need
some help picking an appropriate one, check http://www.colorschemer.com/online.html
Once these basic text parameters are finalized for the
project, it's time to copy and paste the first text clip to all the other places
you want text clips in the project.
All Project Text Clips - Content, Font Size, Position,
The remaining properties of each text
clip are determined by their location in the project and your intended
Good use of text makes a
tremendous impact on the overall presentation of your movie.... use any style
you want, but try to avoid the last minute slapping on of text, using
nothing more than the defaults. Sometimes that's hard to do, as your movie
is almost done and you're more than ready to show it
I look forward to any discussion items at the forums, and whatever the next
topic(s) will be.