How to Create Square and Landscape Videos with Lower Thirds
The post, How We Published 31 Videos in 31 Days: Behind the Scenes of the Colorectal Cancer Expert Series, explained how our team used tools to maximize quantity and optimize quality. In this post, you'll learn how to create square and 16:9 versions of videos, and add lower thirds.
- Your phone - I have an iPhone.
- Video Crop app - this app doesn't leave a watermark in the corner of your videos.
- iMovie - I have a Macbook Air and this video editing software is free. There are other options, and if you use a PC, please post a comment about the tools you'd use for this project.
- Adobe Photoshop - You can also use any software that allows you to create PNG files with a transparent background.
- Keynote - You can also use Powerpoint + a file converter.
- Shoot the video and trim it on your phone. By trimming the video on your phone, you're guaranteeing that both versions (square and 16:9) will be the same length.
- Create a square version using your phone and the Video Crop app. For a detailed look at creating square video, check out this blog post.
- Save both versions to your computer ASAP. You do not want to risk losing the footage because of a dropped or lost phone.
- In Photoshop (or your software of choice), create two files: one with a 1:1 aspect ratio and one with a 16:9 aspect ratio. My canvas sizes are 15" x 15" and 15" x 26.667".
- In each file, create a layer for your lower third's "background" if you want one. A background isn't always necessary, but it does make the text more legible. I created our blue wave background in the landscape file and then duplicated it in the square file. Be sure your logo is placed in the same spot in each file.
- Create a layer for your text. For our Colorectal Cancer Expert Series, I had two layers: one for Name and Title, and one for Question. In the photos above, you can see each of the layers.
- Save these PSD files as your templates so you have a consistent lower third for the series. I saved mine as Landscape.psd and Square.psd.
- Export as PNG. You'll export each file more than once if you have more than one text layer. For these videos, I had the Name and Title layer visible and exported the file, saving as Name.png. Then, I turned off the visibility of the Name and Title layer and turned on the visibility of the Question layer, then exported again, saving as Q1_What is CRC.png.
- Do this for the square file too. I had 4 files for each video: Name.png, Q#_Title.png, NameSquare.png, and Q#_TitleSquare.png.
- Wash, rinse, repeat. Edit the layers for each video you produce.
Note: this is a step you can do before you even shoot the video. I did create a few of the files before filming and had to go back and edit them after filming because the doctor reworded the question. So, if you're going to create these beforehand, be very specific with your expert and be sure they use the exact wording you give them for the title if they are to say the title as with these videos.
Creating Your 16:9 Video
- Start a new movie project and import your four PNG files and two video files (square and landscape). You could create separate projects for each aspect ratios, but I chose to have them all in one. At times, while I was editing, I wished I had done two separate projects for each video. Live and learn.
- I always started with the 16:9 version because it's the easiest version to produce. Drag your 16:9 video to the project timeline, then drag your 16:9 lower third files onto your video and release it when you see a green "+" appear next to your cursor while dragging. Reposition your lower third, and lengthen or shorten it, depending on your preference. We had each lower third file visible for :06 seconds.
- If you want your lower thirds to dissolve in and out, click on your lower third file in your timeline and a Video Overlay Settings button will appear above your video preview, next to the Color Balance button. Change the Fade to 0.5s.
- Make any necessary color or volume adjustments to your video.
- Export by selecting the File option from the Share button in the top right corner.
- Upload the file to YouTube and other platforms.
Creating Your Square Video (Part 1)
- iMovie (at least my version) does not have a square video option, so it takes some extra steps to create a square video.
- Drag your square video to the project timeline, then drag your square lower third files onto your video and release it when you see a green "+" appear next to your cursor while dragging.
- You'll notice your square files do not automatically appear as an overlay as the 16:9 files did. It's ok!
- Click on your lower third file in your timeline, and then click on the Video Overlay Settings button. Select Picture in Picture from the first drop-down menu.
- Resize your lower third graphic and position it over your video.
- The Picture in Picture setting has a default dissolve (fade) of 0.5s.
- Make any necessary color or volume adjustments to your video.
- Export by selecting the File option from the Share button in the top right corner. Be sure to include "unfinished" in the file name, or something to denote that it's not the final square video.
- If you play your video, it will be a square picture in the middle of a 16:9 video, with black boxes flanking it. Now we need to get rid of those.
Creating Your Square Video (Part 2)
- In Keynote, start a new document using a white standard presentation theme.
- In the top right, click on Document.
- Choose Custom Slide Size from the Slide Size drop-down menu. Set your size to 1024 pts x 1024 pts.
- Next, I always change my zoom (top right) to 50%.
- Locate your "unfinished" video in Finder and drag it into your Keynote presentation.
- Position your video so that the square video covers your square presentation slide and the black boxes on either side.
- File > Export To > QuickTime...
- No adjustments needed in the Export box.
- Save your video.
- Your video will be an M4V file, which is not an acceptable format on social media platforms. Don't freak out!
- If you google this issue, like I did, you'll see that you a have to download file conversion software (which looked a little sketchy). DON'T.
- In Finder, go to your square video files and edit the file extension, just like you would edit the file name, changing it to .mp4. You'll be asked to confirm your decision to change the file extension.
- Upload your square video to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other platforms you want!
I know this looks super time-consuming, but once I did the first few, I was spending about 5 minutes creating both versions of each video.
Have you created videos using other tools? What did you use? Any advice for me to use in future projects?