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Photo to Movie Blog

Titling Techniques in Photo to Movie

Posted April 11th, 2009 by Chris

Photo to Movie 4.2 (Mac OS) introduced title effects. In this section, we’ll take a look at title effects and other title basics. With the exception of the title effects, everything in this article applies to both Mac OS and Windows versions of Photo to Movie.

Photo to Movie has some great support for titles. You can make them look and behave the way you want. It is easy to add, position, and edit the titles, complete with custom font, color, and styling.

Adding and positioning titles

Once you have added some photos to your document, you can add some titles. Start off by dropping 3-4 photos into your timeline. Make sure the overall document duration is between 20 – 30 seconds.

The default title duration is configured in Photo to Movie > Preferences… The factory default is 3.0 seconds.

Position the scrubber near 5 seconds in your timeline. Then choose the menu item Title > Add Title. This will place a new title in your timeline with the default title duration.

You can use the inspector at the right to change the text of the title.


You can also drag the green box on in the preview to position the title where you want it.

Selecting and previewing titles

The scrubber will initially be positioned at the start of the title in the timeline. Try moving the scrubber to the left of the title in the timeline while still keeping the title selected in the timeline. You’ll notice that the text of the title disappears in the preview, but the green box outlining the title still appears.

The preview only draws the text of the title if the scrubber is over part of the title in the timeline. But it will always draw the green box where the title would appear as long as the title is selected in the timeline.


Now click on one of your photos in the timeline and then drag the scrubber. The view will switch to the editing view and then back to preview once you drag the scrubber. You’ll notice that the green box no longer appears since the title isn’t selected in the timeline anymore.

Now move your scrubber back to time where the title is active (your photo should still be selected). You’ll notice that the title now draws, but without a green box since the title isn’t selected in the timeline.

You can reselect the title by clicking on it in the preview or in the timeline.

Now move the scrubber a few seconds to the left of your title and hit the Play button. If you’re using the default title timing and effects, you should see the title fade in at the beginning and fade out at the end. The fade-in and fade-out effects are only displayed during live preview, not during editing preview.

For effects that change the size or location of the title (such as the Move or Scale effect), a 2nd green box, lighter than the first, may be shown to indicate this motion and/or scaling.

Styling titles

You are free to apply text styles to the title. One of the great things about Photo to Movie is the ability to apply different styles within the same text. For instance, you can choose to underline a single word or change the color of each letter in your title. This flexibility can be used to create some great title effects.


To apply styling, select the text to which you want to apply the style in the inspector. Then apply effects as desired either from the Title menu or by using the Fonts panel (Title > Fonts > Show Fonts…).

When editing your slide show, you should always take care to make the text large enough for the rendered video. It’s best to make titles that are at least 10% of the height of your rendered movie. Since the text is scaled accordingly as the movie is rendered, you can achieve this sizing by making the text in your titles at least 30pt.

Editing title effects

Photo to Movie 4.2 (Mac OS) introduced title-in and title-out effects. Prior to this version (and on Windows), the only title effect is a fade-in and fade-out. With Photo to Movie 4.2 (Mac OS), you get a few new ones: Move, Scale, and Typewriter.

To change the title effects, create and style your title as described above. Now select your title in the timeline. In the inspector, select the Effect tab.


At the top of the Effect inspector, you can enable/disable the in/out effects as desired and you can also set their durations.

To set the in or out effect, select the top menu item in the Edit section for the effect you want to change (in or out). Then set the effect type and parameters (if any) for that effect below.

Viewing title effects

Each title effect can be applied to the in/out effect for the title. Below, the descriptions of the two versions are separated by slashes.

The fade effect fades the title in/out.

The movie effect moves the title in/out from/to the selected side of the frame.

The scale effect starts with the title small/large and zooms it to large/small.

The typewriter effect shows/hides one letter at a time to reveal/hide the title.


Title effects are only shown during live preview, not during editing. So to see your effect, you need to move the scrubber to the left of your title and hit play.

For effects that change the size or location of the title (such as the Move or Scale effect), a 2nd green box, lighter than the first, may be shown to indicate this motion and/or scaling.

Using title tracks

Photo to Movie 4.1 (Mac OS) introduced the ability to have multiple title editing tracks. You can have as many titles in each track as desired; but the multiple tracks help if some titles overlap in the timeline. Earlier versions (and on Windows), you can still have as many titles as you want, but they may overlap in the timeline making it more difficult to see them and edit them.

You can add additional title tracks by choosing the menu item Title > Add Title Track. Titles can be dragged back and forth in the timeline to change their timing, but also vertically from one track to another. The tracks themselves can be re-ordered along the left side of the timeline by dragging and dropping.

If you add a new title in a way such that it will overlap another title in the timeline, Photo to Movie will create a new title track and put the new title there. Try moving your scrubber to the middle of an existing title in the timeline. Now choose the menu item Title > Add Title. You’ll see that Photo to Movie creates a new title track and puts the new title there.

If you have a document where you have multiple overlapping titles in a single track, select all of the titles in your document by clicking on one, then choosing the menu item Edit > Select All. Now Edit > Cut. Then Edit > Paste. Your titles will be put back into your document so that there are enough tracks so that none of them overlap in any individual track in the timeline.

Adjusting title timing

Drag either end of the title in the timeline to make it longer or shorter.

Directly edit the start, end, or duration in the inspector with the Timing tab.

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