Start your film with a bang by nailing those all-important titles. It’s usually best to keep them simple, I’ll explain why, and how you can do that.
Why Simple Titles are Better
It’s Not Fashionable
Maybe it’s our dwindling attention span in this ‘on-demand’ world but as an audience, we just don’t have the patience to tolerate long intros anymore – not unless you’re working on something really epic, like the Game of Thrones titles, which are 92 seconds long!
Make a Good Impression
Your titles are your first chance to grab the attention of your audience and get them excited for your film. If your titles go on for too long or are hard to read, it won’t be a great indication of what’s still to come.
Titles Can Get in the Way
Your audience is there to see your film and if the titles don’t form part of the narrative, they can be more of an annoyance and can in fact, get in the way. The titles should set the mood for your film but shouldn’t be a roadblock to getting on with it!
How to Keep Your Titles Simple
Placing your text
Use guides to help you keep everything in line and neat, and try spreading out any smaller text or words. You can increase the tracking number, which will put greater spaces between letters.
Keep the Size Right
If you’re editing on a monitor, even a large one, it can be easy to forget that you’ll potentially be showing your film on a much bigger screen. Fonts that take up a big chunk of that space can be really off-putting. Using all uppercase letters rather than a mix, is usually visually pleasing and easier to read.
Fonts, Fonts and More Fonts
We’re spoiled for choice with fonts available on the market, but remember to keep it simple. Aim to use a sans-serif font – one without the little bars that stick up from the ends of letters. We find it easier to read sans-serif, so when your text is appearing then disappearing soon after, it makes sense that your audience be able to read it quickly and clearly.
Avoid using more than one font, as it can look messy, but instead try changing the weight of your main word, making it bolder than any sub-titles or additional information. You might use one font in bold for the title, and a ‘thin’ version for the sub.
Consistency is always key, try to remember that less is often more, so stick with just a few colours in your palette and make sure that they fit with the colouring and tone of your film.
Movement and Animation
Movement draws the eye, which is great, but it comes back to whether that then impacts on how easy the words are to read. Most filmmakers advise avoiding too much animation in your titles, but if you do choose to use it, just plan the movement deliberately and keep it in style with your movie.
If you’re recreating a style from a particular era or you’re going for a deliberate outlandish look, then you can ignore a lot of this! Though the fundamentals still stand and it’s always wise to know and understand the ‘rules’ before you can effectively break them.
Try a Template
A great place to start with titles is to experiment with a template pack. They’re already professionally designed, to a high standard, so you can see what looks good and works well. Here’s a neat pack from Envato Elements, where you can download unlimited resources for a monthly subscription.
This pack for Premiere Pro has tons of modern, minimal titles to choose from. They’re easy to use with clean styles and smooth animation. They’re also handy to use for lower thirds and promo films too!