Illegible Text/Subtitles in your Video?

Sometimes you’ll create a video with subtitles that look fine in iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or Premiere, but when you export it, the text in the final version looks distorted and is barely readable.

These suggestions for avoiding that problem comes from the folks at Telestream.  Although it comes from the user manual for their ScreenFlow software, which we use in the Vitale Digital Media Lab, it also applies when you’re exporting videos from your video editing program of choice:

Digital video was designed primarily for capturing real world images, so it is often difficult to capture the thin lines of text legibly. Here are a few tips to consider when you are using text in your video:

  • Use larger point sizes (e.g., at least 25 points or more). Larger characters always render better than small ones.
  • Do not use serif fonts (e.g,. Times Roman). Always use sans-serif fonts (e.g., Arial or Helvetica).
  • Use boldface fonts, since they render better, especially at smaller sizes.
  • Do not use odd values for the output movie’s frame height or width. Always use even numbers. Also, input sources having odd height or width values can result in illegible titles.
  • Always generate non-interlaced video. Interlaced video is much more prone to poor quality text rendering because it may introduce flickering.

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