Conquering Credits

Although most people leave when the credits start scrolling, credits are probably a very frustrating piece to create for a movie. There are so many problems that can happen when making scrolling credits. I have done three or four movies with scrolling credits, and I’ve only gotten them just right on iSundae II.

If you’ve tried scrolling credits before, you’ve probably gotten results that look like the letters are dancing quickly back and forth. This is not too hard to fix.

First, let me explain what causes that dancing effect. Video is displayed on your screen by rapidly scanning the video onto the screen. This happens one line at a time. If your moving text has a small area that is only the size of one or two pixels, the scanning causes the small area to seem to dance. There are three things that you can do to improve the quality.

Enlarge the Text

By changing the size of your text, the small areas will be enlarged, creating less room for dancing. This is pretty simple to do. Just make the size of the text bigger.

Choose a Sans-Serif Font

Serifs in fonts are the little fancy bits. Loops, extra lines on the bottom or top, and little swirls are all serifs. I apologize to fancy font fans, but serifs just mean trouble when working with scrolling credits. Picking a sans-serif font (that means without serifs) is easy. Just look for fonts that have “sans-serif” on the end of the font name.

De-Interlace the Clip

Digital video is scanned in parts. To display digital video, the screen scans first either odd or even lines, and then the other half. This speeds up display, but it ruins your credits. This is relatively easy to fix. Just apply a de-interlace filter to the credits.

Now you’re on your way to having beautiful credits. Of course, if you have the time, it’s always good to get fancy with your end credits. Maybe somebody will stay and watch them. Just make sure your audience can still read them!

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