Using Text in Your Video

/ Lauren Colman

Movies and videos are often remembered for the images, storylines, and musical accompaniment. You may not realize, though, that text can help tell the story just as much as the images.

What would a newscast be without the name of the person being interviewed at the bottom of the screen? Can you imagine the latest action film without the opening title sequence? And you know you wait at the end of a film to see the name of the Key Grip and Best Boy! Check out four ways to kick your video up a notch with text.

Title Card

A Title Card sets the tone for your video. The image, font and text used sets an expectation for what's to come while establishing your video's brand.

Your chosen imagery and typography can convey the message or overall feel. Is it dark and ominous? Use a large, bold, Gothic font and dark colors. Is it sweet and playful? Use pastel colors and a swirly cursive font.

Title Card in Video

Lower Thirds

Literally located in the lower third of the frame, Lower Thirds is used to identify speakers, similar to a byline in print media. Information can include things like station identification, name, title, etc.

Part of the beauty of Lower Thirds is the chance to incorporate branding in the form of a logo or simply by using the brand's colors as the text or background of the text.

Lower Thirds Text in Video


Subtitles are used to translate the video into a language other than the one being spoken. Captions are intended to aid the hearing-impaired and deaf viewers but can also be used when the spoken word is difficult to understand clearly.

Both subtitles and captions are customarily placed at the bottom of the screen and are frequently displayed as white text on a solid or opaque black background.

Subtitles Captions Text Video


At the end of your video, consider using credits to inform your viewers of the team of people that helped bring your video to fruition. Traditionally the list of cast and crew scroll on white text up a black background. Feel free to get creative and change the colors and fonts to best represent your video's brand.

End Credits Movie Video Text
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