FCP – Creating Large Scrolling Paragraphs of Text

Here are some notes on how to make scrolling chunks of text. The bad news it that if you have a big chunk of text (not just a collection of simple one line credits) in a the form of a paragraph that needs to be scrolled from the bottom to the top of the screen FCP will shite the bed.

In FCP, after pasting it into the Text > Scrolling Text Tool you will find that it will not wrap nicely and if you use a big font the text will probably flow off screen to the right. To use FCP to create large chunks of scrolling text start out by choosing a readable font size (21 Arial is ok) and then manually go to the exact word that is just off to the right of the screen and hit return! You will have to do this for every words that is off the screen to the right!

SOLUTION: Motion (or Live Type?) to the Rescue! Here are some of my notes and I apologize for the somewhat jumbled order of the explanation.

Fire up Motion and create a new project with a text layer.

Create a nice log time span ( Change Properties tab > Timing IN and OUT – I had a big paragraph of shite to put at the end of a TV show I edited so I choose 30 seconds)

Set In out out Points at the start and end of the 30 second piece. It helps to change the scale from Frames to Time code. (hours:mins:seconds:frames)

In the Inspector, click the text tab then format button and whack your text in to the text box at the bottom of the screen. I used a nice biggish 22-pt Arial font. Make sure you text box is in the title safe area. Also select “Paragraph” in Text > Layout > Layout Method.

In the time line highlight the text layer then give it a scrolling text behaviour. Do this by clicking on Add Behavior > Text Animation > Scroll Up.

You may find that you text mysteriously disappears when you move the playhead to bear the end of the 30 seconds. What is happening is that you text box is not long enough and so text at the end of you chunk of text just flow out in the void. To Fix this Click on text tab > Layout and look for Bottom Margin. For me it had a negative value (-1000 or summin) change it to -2000 – making the text area bigger and now when you’re near the end of the time line you’ll see the end of your text hopefully.

With the playhead at the beginning of you time line make sure that you text box is dragged off the bottom of the screen. (use Text > Layout > Top Margin and set it to zero) I then moved the play head to the end of the time line and adjusted the Rate of scroll (Behavior Tab > Rate) so that the text was just off the top of the screen at this point. To get a faster scroll rate make the length of the text shorter. (My setting were also left margin 0 and right margin 514)

So in summary if you want to use FCP (even the latest version) to create big scrolling blocks of text easily you’re shite out of luck and you better hope you have Final Cut Studio with Motion. Perhaps there is an easier way to do this (use iMovie and just export it to a mov file ?? I know iMovie does credits easily) so I’d love to hear from you if you know how to do this easily in FCP or iMovie.