How to Add Text & Titles in Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro 12/11/2019 4 min read

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to add text in Final Cut Pro. Final Cut Pro has easy to use tools to quickly create great-looking titles, lower thirds, and captions. Titles are essential in communicating information about your program viewers will need. Types of text you will create are title sequences, opening/closing credits, show time/place, and dialogue/subtitles. 

Part 1: How to Add Text in Final Cut Pro X

Use basic text when you just need a simple title with no animation. If you want to follow our example, check out the free Over the Forest stock video clip.

Step 1: Prepare Your Timeline and Apply Basic Text

  1. Add a clip to your Timeline.
  2. In the Timeline, and put your playhead over the beginning of the clip. 
  3. Use the shortcut Control + T to add a basic title. The title defaults to 10 seconds.
  4. There are three different ways to adjust the length of your title: 
    – Select the title, then move the playhead to where you want the title to end and trim it with the shortcut Option + Right bracket.
    – Drag the edge of the title to where you want it to end.
    – To create Basic Text that matches the length of your video clip, select the video first, use the shortcut X to mark the clip and then Control + T to apply the text. 
  5. Double-click on the text in the Viewer to rename the text.
  6. Press Escape to get out of text entry mode, and now you can reposition the text in the frame.

Step 2: Modify the Appearance of Your Text

  1. With the text selected, you can now modify your text in the Text Inspector. Here you can change the Font, Size, and Alignment on the screen.
  2. To increase the readability of your text, use the Tracking and Kerning options. Tracking changes the spacing between all the letters and Kerning to space between letter pairs. In the example, you’ll see the “T” and “e” don’t feel right, with the overhand of the “T”. Double click on the text to get into text entry mode, and move the cursor between the “T” and “e”. Now increase the Kerning amount until it feels right.
  3. In the Text Inspector, scroll down till you see the highlighted panel Face. Here you can change the Fill, Color, Opacity, and Blur options.
  4. You can also create 3D Text, and modify the Outlines, Glow, and Drop Shadow by highlighting the box for each panel. 

Titles

Titles are generally used for opening titles for your show and closing credits. Final Cut Pro comes with a large number of Title templates organized into various categories.

Step 1: Select Your Title

  1. Click on the Titles and Generators sidebar to see all the available backgrounds, elements, solids, and more. You’ll notice that these are all organized by categories such as 3D, 360°, Build In/Out, and plenty more. 
  2. Double-clicking on a title will place it on the timeline where your playhead is.

Use Titles when you want to add more stylish, animated text to your project. Motion Array has a large collection of useful templates that we will look at in part two!

Step 2: Modify Your Title’s Appearance

  1. Similarly to Basic Text, Titles are modified in the Text Inspector.
  2. Often the Titles will have multiple layers of text you can adjust. Use the Text Layer arrows to select and modify layers.

Lower Thirds

Lower thirds are used to identify speakers in your video. They are often used in news and documentary work. The rule of thumb for how long a lower third should be on the screen is to be able to say the person’s name and title three times before it goes away.

Step 1: Add a Basic Lower Third to Your Timeline

  1. In the Timeline, put your playhead over the beginning of the clip.
  2. Use the shortcut Control + Shift +T to add a Basic Lower Third

Step 2: Customize the Appearance of the Lower Third

  1. In the Viewer, double-clicking on the name or description will let you edit that text in the Text Inspector.
  2. Adjust the text as needed for each line by using the Text Layer arrows to select and modify layers.
  3. Outlines and Drop Shadows can increase the readability of your lower thirds and text in general. Be aware these work on a layer level, so you need to turn them on each layer.

Captions

Captions allow you to create closed captions and subtitles. Government regulators, broadcasters, and streaming services have specific requirements for closed captions and subtitles. Captions are also used for subtitles scrolling news items and teleprompters. Final Cut Pro supports the standard iTunes Timed Text (iTT), CEA-608, and SRT formats.

Step 1: Add Captions to Your Timeline

  1. Play your playhead where you would like to apply the Caption.
  2. Use the shortcut Option + C to add a Caption to the timeline.

Step 2: Modify the Captions

  1. Control + Shift + C allows you to modify a Caption you have created.
  2. You can also duplicate your Caption and change the language or format.

Part 2: Using Motion Array Text Templates in Final Cut Pro

If you need to create content quickly under tight deadlines, Motion Array’s unlimited marketplace has an extensive collection of time-saving text and title templates you can use in your video projects.

Step 1: Download a Motion Array Template

  1. Select your favorite template and hit the download button. You’ll need to sign into your account. 
  2. Each template comes with a video tutorial and PDF on how to use your newly downloaded template.
  3. If there are free fonts used in the template, a link will be provided.

Step 2: Add the Template to FCPX

  1. Install the text template into the appropriate category (Effects, Generators, Titles, Transitions). If you want to follow the example, download the free Logo Reveal Pack.
  2. This pack goes into the Generators folder.

Step 3: Start Using Your New Template

  1. Select your downloaded template and drag it to the timeline or double-click to apply at the playhead.
  2. Often the templates will have various versions. To swap out a template, drop another version of the title in the timeline, and select Replace from Start from the menu.

We hope this tutorial helped teach you how easy it is to add text in Final Cut Pro. Your projects are about to start looking a lot more professional with some snazzy and informational text. Happy editing!

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