Video Tutorial: How To Create Lower Thirds in Final Cut Pro

by Dan Dashnaw in Main

I get asked questions about creating text caption overlays or ‘lower thirds’ all of the time, so I decided to throw together a basic video tutorial to help those of you using Final Cut Pro. If you don’t know what a lower third is, don’t feel bad at all. It’s a pretty strange name, and it’s roll is not exactly obvious from a distance. To fill in the blanks, here’s an overview courtesy of the all-knowing Wikipedia:

A lower third is a graphic placed in the lower area of the screen, though not necessarily the entire lower third of it as the name suggests. Lower thirds are most commonly found

A Lower Third

in television news production, though they also appear in documentaries and even have begun to make appearances in amateur videos thanks to home video editing.

In their simplest form, lower thirds can just be text overlying the video. Frequently this text is white with a drop shadow to make the words easier to read. Lower thirds can also contain graphical elements such as boxes, images or shading. Some lower thirds have animated backgrounds and text.

Finally, here’s the video tutorial for helping you create lower thirds in your own productions. It’s meant to serve as a starting point, so please excuse the simplicity…and enjoy.

Download the Mp4 or View on the iPhone

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6 Responses to “Video Tutorial: How To Create Lower Thirds in Final Cut Pro”

  1. Thanx a lot for the lower thirds video, I make my own lower thirds but in a much more ruff and less methodical way using final cut pro. You are a gem.

  2. David

    15. Apr, 2009

    The video tutorial is awesome, I’m learned different way to create lower thirds. Thanks a lot!

  3. Dan Dashnaw

    15. Apr, 2009

    David - That’s great to hear, of course. ;-)

    Is there anything else you’d like to see a tutorial on? I’m gearing up to create a few more Final Cut ‘how to’ videos over the next week or so.

    Thanks again!

  4. Dean

    01. Nov, 2009

    Thanks a million for this Lower Third tutorial. I think it would have taken 200 pages of studying in the Apple manuals and I would have had to pull out half my hair to learn what you’ve taught me in a few minutes. Dan you should teach FCP classes or sell tutorial DVDs. Focusing on a specific workflow by example is exactly what I’ve been trying to find–which actually shows you what is on the timeline, etc. If you are still looking for input on another tutorial, how about how to drop a clip art arrow over a clip to point to something? Think this demonstrates a few different principles.

  5. Chris

    15. Jan, 2011

    Awesome and simple! Learned a ton … not only about lower thirds, but I never knew that stuff was hidden under that little “A” button! Final Cut is just easy enough to suck you in and think it’s easy, and complicated enough to make you scream. Thanks again!

  6. Emil

    15. Mar, 2011

    Thanks, bro! Very helpful!

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