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How to use text as a video mask in Final Cut Pro X

Add textured titles to movies for more movement and colour in your title sequences by placing video clips inside text

mainPlacing the contents of a video clip inside text provides a slick way to enhance your production’s graphics. For example, you could have a clip of firefighters running towards their engine as they answer an emergency call. As the animated title slides onto the screen you can fill the text with moving flames from a clip on another layer. This textured font adds an extra layer of colour and meaning to your movie, and makes it stand out from the crowd of preset title effects.

We’ll show you how to layer up two contrasting clips, featuring town and country scenes, and then use various layer blending modes to place the footage inside animated fonts. Once you’ve mastered this technique you can then use it to combine any source clips that you prefer.

You can download all the resource files you need for this tutorial from here, so you can follow along every step of the way.


Step 1

1 Create Event

Choose File>New>Event. Label the project Textured Titles. Go to File>Import Media. Browse to our source clips folder. Shift-click to select both clips. Click Import Selected. Click Import.

Step 2

2 Layer clips

Drag the Country clip onto the Timeline. Add Town to a layer above Country so that both clips run parallel with each other. Trim the end of both clips to a duration of four seconds.

Step 3

3 Add title

Go to the Titles Browser. Drag Drifting onto a new layer above the two clips. Double-click the purple bar to make the text editable. Type TOWN. Select and delete the subtitle.

Step 4

4 Modify size and position

Drag the TOWN text into the centre of the screen. Choose Window>Show Inspector. Click on the Text tab. Select the TOWN text and increase the Line Size to 250.

Step 5

5 Duplicate the text

Click on the purple title bar and choose Edit>Copy. Choose Edit>Paste. A duplicated title bar will appear. Drag this duplicate title onto the layer above the Country clip.

Step 6

6 Change blending modes

Click on the upper title bar. Click on Inspector’s Video tab. Set the Compositing section’s Blend Mode to Linear Burn. Click on the Town clip and set its blending mode to Soft Light.

Step 7

7 Play the clip

Tap the Spacebar to play the clips. At this stage the two video clips mix together using the soft light blending mode. You need to limit the blend to the inside of the animated text.

Step 8

8 Create a stencil

Select the lower title bar. In the Inspector, go to the Compositing section of the Video tab and set Blend Mode to Stencil Alpha. Now the Country clip appears inside the text.

Step 9

9 Swap the layers

Repeat the process to layer the Country clip above the Town clip and then use the same blending modes to make the Town clip appear in the COUNTRY text.

Click Image to Enlarge: