Final Cut Pro X : Use any title template as default text or lower-third

This tip gives you control over the default titles you can add to your projects using new menu commands in Final Cut Pro 10.0.3. It requires you to go deep inside your copy of FCP and make a simple change. If you have Motion, you can modify a title template you use often and make that new template your default title.

Although the new version of Final Cut Pro X advertises features designed to attract and placate ‘professionals,’ Apple have also been paying attention to the problems new users have in getting straightforward tasks done.

There are now two simple Title templates: ‘Basic Title’ and ‘Basic Lower Third’ – these act more like the text tools in other editing applications – you use them to overlay text onto video. Unlike the rest of the Titles in Final Cut, they don’t animate on or off the screen. They don’t have any associated graphics either. Although they are ‘basic’ in that respect, you can use multiple fonts, colours, sizes and effects in the text. You can also reposition them simply by dragging the anchor point.

You can add these two titles to your timeline using two new menu commands:

The tip

The Title templates that Final Cut Pro adds to your project are stored in two specific subfolders of Final Cut ▸ Contents ▸ PlugIns ▸ MediaProviders ▸ MotionEffect.fxp ▸ Contents ▸ Resources ▸ PETemplates ▸ Titles:

To navigate inside Final Cut Pro, first Control- or Right-Click the application and choose ‘Show Package Contents’ from the context pop-up menu:

Context menu item showing 'Show Package Contents' selected.

Final Cut Pro will use any Motion Title template named ‘Basic Title’ or ‘Basic Lower Third’ stored in the ‘Bumper/Opener’ and ‘Lower Thirds’ sub-folders of the Titles folder (in Final Cut ▸ Contents ▸ PlugIns ▸ MediaProviders ▸ MotionEffect.fxp ▸ Contents ▸ Resources ▸ PETemplates ▸ Titles):

If you have Motion, you can modify the existing templates to show different typefaces, sizes and colours as defaults. If you don’t have Motion, you can duplicate a template you like, rename the duplicate’s folder and ‘.moti’ file to ‘Basic Title’ or ‘Basic Lower Third’ as appropriate and replace the copies built into FCP.

Apple have protected Final Cut Pro, so if you are using Motion, you’ll have to save your replacement templates in the Movies folder as normal and use the Finder to copy them from there into Final Cut Pro. When you attempt to replace the ‘Basic Title’ or ‘Basic Lower Third’ folders, you will may have to enter your mac admin password. This also applies if you don’t have Motion and are using another template to impersonate ‘Basic Title’ or ‘Basic Lower Third’.

Note that you are reading this tip from a post on a blog – given that you are messing with Final Cut Pro X internals, be careful – you might want to duplicate Final Cut Pro X before trying this one. At the very least, store a duplicate of the original ‘Basic Title’ or ‘Basic Lower Third’ folders outside Final Cut before you start. I am not responsible for any data loss on your computer, proceed at your own risk!

1 comment
  1. Thanks, Alex. Incidentally, have you come across anything that would suggest the ability to create overlays for the display? Like the Title Safe overlays?

    Purpose: Having shot 2.35:1, I want to edit 2.35:1. FCPX only works in 16:9. On FCPX timeline, we can add a mask, but it doesn’t work in the event browser. And there is a processor tax for it. Simply displaying a mask on the display as a custom overlay would be a sensible design solution. Have Apple left an opening?

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