Frequently Asked/Answered Questions

RollingCredits has been designed as an easy-to-use application and we've tried very hard to cover all the important points on using the product but... Here are a few things users wanted to know that we missed in our documentation or perhaps was not as clear as it could be. And... Thanks for asking.
Note: A great site for general iMovie information is the "unofficial" iMovie FAQ.

What are the best typefaces to use for movie credits? I've heard that Helvetica Bold was the best but it's kind of boring.

Well, you know that the answer to this is that you use the font that suits the job. In his introduction, John Lasruk says something like — You don't have to stick with only Helvetica, but bold and simple is best. You would also be well advised to stay away from highly-decorative fonts with small details, especially at smaller sizes. They don't work well on TV.

Consider the following: You might get away with a typefce like Edwardian Sctipt as a heading — if it's very large and at a slow scroll rate. But the script would not work at all well for the actual information in the credits. Here our old friend Helvetica fits in quite nicely.

What is a good line space to use?

It all depends on whether you want your credits to be readable (by non-speed readers) or not. If you care about readability, it depends on a couple of factors. If your scrolling speed is very slow, you can use inter-line spacing that is relatively tight - a line-height multiple of 1.0 (single line spacing) or even less. If your scrolling speed is fast, you will need to space your lines out more. A good idea might be to get someone else to read the credits as they scroll by. If you do it yourself, you might unintentionally choose a line space value that is too small because you already know what your credits say.

What are TV-Safe colors and why use them?

Essentially, what John Lasruk was saying about choosing colors in his introduction to RollingCredits was "Use TV-Safe colors".

Choosing the right color: If your RollingCredits movie is destined for television, be aware that very strong colors and TV don't get along together. Such colors, particularly pure reds, will look blocky and the colors will bleed on television. Use slightly grayed-down colors, or pastels instead. Similarly, large areas of pure white are a no-no; use light gray instead.

Here's a more technical answer without getting too technical:
When choosing colors for your titles you should.

  1. Avoid colors saturated over 80%
  2. Color combinations where the hues are very far apart should use even lower saturation values.
  3. Avoid "Pure White" backgrounds, as they can cause some television screens to "bow"
  4. Avoid using pure colors — those that have a non-zero value for only one of the RGB components.
  5. Avoid selecting any R, G, or B value that is larger than 204. Some even say to set color values no higher than 180.
  6. Set your Black values no lower than 16, 16, 16
  7. Set your White values no higher than 235, 235, 235
Your titles may look dull and dark on your computer monitor but using these suggestions should help them look better on your TV.

NOTE: Even if you follow these guidelines, and all your colors are TV safe, it may not be safe* to watch some combinations of colors without sustaining permanent eye damage*. You probably already know that you should not put MAGENTA text on a CYAN background.

But how do you decide what colors are going to work together? Well, for those of us who could use some guidance, take a look at the image below courtesy of Adam Polselli.
Check out the "get the look" in the articles section and don't forget to take a look at Adam's photographs.
* Just kidding about the permanent eye damage...

This image from Adam's site (used with permission) presents an intriguing way to pick a color scheme. Photos usually contain a huge number of colors/tints/shades or whatever you call them, that usually go quite nicely together. As you see below, the colored dots represent a color scheme derived from a photo. The lines drawn from the colored dots show where that color came from. Hint: You can use RollingCredit's colorpicker Magnifying glass to "grab" colors from images displaying on your screen.

Color Scheme - Adam Polselli

Another site you might like: Easy RGBA whole bunch of color tools.

What does "Title Safe" mean? (and Action Safe)

TV display technology is such that there is an area at the edges of the TV image that is either cut off by the "plastic" bevel around the TV monitor, or has poor image fidelity. A rough guide is that anything within 5% of your RollingCredit frame is going to disappear when viewed on a TV. Inside this 5% is known as the Action Safe area. Anything outside 10% of your image area is traditionally not displayed as clearly as the part of the image within that border. The "sharp" 80% of your TV monitor is known as the Title Safe area. It is recommended that you keep your titles within the Title Safe area. Note the scrolling credits can ignore the top and bottom Title Safe borders.

"Title Safe" only applies to video shown on a TV set. If you're only showing your video on a computer monitor, you can pretty much ignore Title Safe restrictions.

When I adjust tab settings, sometimes nothing happens. What's wong?

When you are adjusting tabs or margins or even line spacing, it is important that you select the text to which you want to apply the adjustments. Sometimes, you can just place the cursor (the blinking insertion point) somewhere within the line or paragraph that you want to alter. Experiment to find out what works and what does not. If you are unsure, select ALL the text you want to affect.

Another thing with tabs, if you have set a tab marker and the first word(s) in the line are not aligning, make sure that you have put a "tab" in front of the text you want to move over.