Using text in video

5 Tips for Text and Captions

The use of text and captions on corporate and promotional video can be an important part of conveying your message. With the wide availability of consumer-level editing software, screen capture tools and the ability to generate video from slideshows, it is easy to produce DIY promo videos, but also easy to fall into traps that can cause a business' intentions to backfire. Throughout this process it is important to remain true to the key point which is that the video is all about clearly communicating a message. Flash over substance, especially with smaller businesses, is not the idea. A real world example of bad practice is spending longer on the whizzy transitions between Powerpoint slides than on the actual CONTENT itself. Is that what you want an audience to come away with - "Loved his use of words flying in and out - but what was he talking about?" So here's 5 things to look out for when using text in video : 1. Don't try to cram too many words on the screen. By the time you have embedded your video into a 320x180 pixel box on your website, nobody is going to be able to read small point sizes. Long sentences become very clunky, visually dull and drag out the video runtime. 2. Leave the viewer long enough to be able to read what is on screen. Play back the video before you upload it (or during the edit process) and read the words aloud at a moderate pace to ensure you have left the words on screen for long enough. 3. Don't major on whizzy transitions. The viewers eye (and ear) will be distracted from what else is going on. Focus on the words. Your business is the important thing, not your ability to play around in iMovie. 4. The text should reinforce the message or sentiment of what else is happening on the screen, not clash with it. Be careful not to use text when the rest of the screen is very busy e.g. for my promo of the graphics at an exhibition, we stayed away from text as this would have distracted from the visual importance of the client material. 5. Use fonts and colours that resonate with your brand, choosing colours that will contrast well on the screen. White out of light blue, as I recently saw, is not ideal. Recent evidence has shown that light text on a dark background is preferred by viewers than vice versa. Don't use fonts that are too fancy as they can become harder to read when shrunk down on small screens. Keep it simple, keep it engaging.