How To Add Top-Notch Lower Thirds to Your Videos

11/06/2021
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There is simply no way that you’ve never seen lower thirds before. They are everywhere! The only thing is that you might not know they are actually called lower thirds. Confusing, right? 

Well, if you’ve watched CNN or any sports programme where various game scores are rolling on the lower part of the screen, that’s your lower third, right there. 

So, a lower third is a piece of text, a graphic or animation overlayed on the lower part of the screen, to show additional information regarding the video content. It could be a name, a title, a logo animation etc. In television, the lower third region is also known as “the title-safe area”. They are also referred to as CG (character generator), chyrons (from Chyron Corporation – the first company to render lower thirds in the 1970s), or simply captions. 

  • What size should a lower third be?
  • Can lower thirds be on the right or any other side? 
  • Where do I find lower third templates?
  • Where do I find free lower thirds or some lower thirds examples?
  • How do you make a lower third? 

Lower Thirds Explained 

Now, if you’re preparing to edit a documentary or create an educational video, that’s where you’ll need lower thirds the most. In interviews, lower thirds could quickly identify a person, their profession or other information such as location, relationship or time. In some cases, although you might not get it right all the time, lower thirds can also erase the need for a voice-over.  Since there’s no limit to the type of information you include in that safe lower part of the video, here’s a little guide for you: 

  1. One-tier – just one line to identify a person’s name or an object 
  2. Two-tier – generally used to identify a person’s name together with an additional line of information like age, location, relationship, profession 
  3. Three-tier – for even more information, you could use a three-tier lower third, but make sure you keep the size ratio within the limits

This brings us to one of the most burning questions: 

To answer your question –  Can lower thirds be on the right side of the video? – yes, in some situations, lower thirds can be placed on the lower left or right half of the video, as well. However, you should be careful not to alter the video’s general mood or crop some essential visuals in the process. 

From Graphics to Typography Fonts 

Before we guide you towards an extensive collection of lower third templates, let’s brush up on a bit of video editing wisdom: 

  • Color
  • Typography
  • Animation Style 
  • Shapes 
  • Logos

Color is a powerful tool in moviemaking. It can stir up powerful emotions and reactions, keep you on the edge of your seat for an eternity. Remember that red-orange carpet from The Shining, with the blood-red elevator doors? Oh yes! Anyways, back to lower third examples. 

These graphics or pieces of text that we place in the lower part of our videos will never have that much effect as Stanley Kubrik’s color palette. However, there are a few rules you should follow: 

  • Make sure the color of your lower third graphics complement the accents on-screen 
  • Ensure your lower third font does not clash with the rest of the video 
  • Make sure the lower third color is neither too weak nor too flashy on the eyes 

Typography fonts should be, above all, clear, readable. Most documentaries these days use Sans Serif font types. Lato, Code, Futura are also reliable choices. If you want to aim higher, you can try experimenting with two different fonts. There are a couple of type pairing guides out there. You can use them to help find the right fonts.

The lower third animation style refers to the transition effects you want to add to your text and graphics as they appear and disappear from the screen. It would be best if you didn’t go crazy on these animations. You wouldn’t want them to distract the viewer’s attention from the actual footage. 

Professional video editors can create some smooth animations of lower thirds using a graph editor to customize every little movement of an object on an algebra-like graph canvas. 

The lower third shape should be a standard square or rectangle – something that’s highly predictable and easy on the viewer’s eyes. 

Logos are not necessary, but if your company requires them, try to include them discreetly in the video. 

But Where Do I Find Lower Third Templates? 

The good news is, you don’t have to worry much about type pairings, graph editors, color-matching and so on. Instead, the salvation is here in the form of customizable templates. 

In our Vidalgo database, you will find a large variety of editable lower third designs and animations. You can choose one and add your text, change the colors, fonts, and size depending on your video. What is more, our AI-powered tool will suggest different color palettes that go well together, so it will go smoothly. 

After the lower third template is edited to your liking, you can export it as an mp4 or .avi and add it into your video editor of choice, where you can place it on your video. Please mind our space and size suggestions. You could have some killer lower thirds, but if you don’t place them right, it’s for nothing. 

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