What Are Lower-Thirds and How To Create

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A lower-third is a graphic that appears on the lower-third of the video screen and draws viewers attention to the information placed there.

You’ve seen this used on TV’s evening news, commercials etc, if I read your request correctly.

Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind about lower-third graphics:

1) They don’t have to always be in the lower-third of the video screen. Try placing them in the UPPER third portion of the screen, or on the left and right side of the screen. One thing you’re going to learn as a member of this website is to start thinking creatively. Start looking at things and asking yourself “what would this look like upside down, to the left, to the right, backwards etc etc etc. Out of this internal dialog and focus on examine a different perspective comes the greatest “why didn’t I think of that idea”

2) You can easily make your own lower-thirds using any program that will allow you to layer video tracks (like Sony Vegas). When I say “layer” video tracks I mean a program that will let you put one track of video on top of another. The other feature that’s important to have is the ability to make a video or graphic transparent as well. If you’re “on the ball” and you’ve taken the time to “really” look at lower-thirds being used on TV you’ll see exactly where I’m going with this. Just place the video or graphic above the video you want the lower-third to fade into and then adjust the opacity and timing of the video and you’re halfway there. The next thing you’ll want to do is add the text to your lower third.

You’ll put that on yet another separate video track on top of the graphic or video you’re using as the lower-third element, which is on top of the base video you’re using. Read that explanation a couple of times and I think it’ll make sense to you if you didn’t catch it the first go round. In essence, a lower third is a composite of 2-3 or more video and graphics elements combined at a specific time and place to produce an attention grabbing segment. Sounds tough but it’s not.

3) Okay, so you got the theory but you really don’t have time to make lower-third elements to add to your video. Go to Google and type in “lower third elements” and you should be able to find several resources that discuss the process in depth and sell a variety of pre-made elements you can instantly add to your video. (And no one but you will know you didn’t spend hours creating it yourself).

4) Finally, inexpensive software programs like Adobe Premiere Elements come bundled with this capability and save you lots of time in creating lower thirds.

Jay Douglas is the author of this post:


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