Video frame layout
Above is what a typical video frame looks like when you are working in Photoshop. (A full Photoshop PSD template is also available at File:Treet 720p template 17apr09 psd.zip).
Here is an overview of some of the important elements:
- The Treet TV Watermark is placed in the lower right at all times automatically. Never use this area.
- Lower Thirds (or just "Thirds") is the industry term to refer to titles and information that appears at the bottom of the screen. (They are also know as "Astons" in the UK, after an early system used to generate them.) Typically, the lower third background is designed, then the text is superimposed on top of the background during live production.
- Graphics or Video inserts are usually superimposed over a camera view which is appropriate. Sometimes the camera view is the speaker referring to the image or video, at other times it may be a long-shot of the stage to give the viewer context. If graphics are provided full screen they are not superimposed and fill the frame.
- Action and Title safe areas are traditional guides used to avoid having information cropped off the screen due to overscan. These guides are automatically inserted for you by Photoshop if you choose a video format when you create a document. For Treet videos, we observe the outer guide (the action-safe zone) and try not to place any important information outside that area.
Guidelines for Lower Thirds
Lower thirds are used to reinforce the subject being portrayed in the video. Typical uses for lower thirds are:
- To display the name of participants in a show when they appear on screen.
- To provide URLs mentioned by the participants.
- To provide a context, such as a general show title or subject, which can be shown from time to time to remind viewers what they are watching.
Of course there are many other uses for lower thirds and if you watch broadcast television you will see how broadcasters use them for sports scores, stock tickers, upcoming show announcements and even advertising. Note that lower thirds should not be used in a way that associates them with displayed images or graphics. In other words, do not use lower thirds as captions for graphics overlays, but only to refer to something seen in the video itself.
When designing lower thirds, observe the following:
- Usually, a subtle halo or drop-shadow is used around the edges of the third to set it off from the video background.
- The size shown above is typical, but size your lower third to be appropriate to the subject matter. If you are displaying a lower third with a score, make sure that the third is designed so that the score and player name look good in the context of the third.
- A show may contain more than one type of lower third. For example, for sports you may want player profiles, website info, upcoming match thirds. Designing different thirds for different purposes can give viewers an instant recognition of what you are trying to get across.
- Often, thirds are designed with transparency so that a subtle hint of the video shows through a portion of the third. For example, the third may "fade out" to the right or left. Avoid transparency of less than 85% in cases where text will be superimposed.
- When designing thirds, put sample text on a layer above your third so you can be sure the background does not interfere with the chosen text font or color.
- Don't be afraid to be creative and always observe professional broadcasts to get ideas. Lower thirds need to be neither "lower" nor "third", and it's just as possible to design overlays that swing in at the upper right or upper left. There is no hard and fast rule. These are simply guidelines.
Graphics or Video Inserts
Full screen graphics can be supplied at 1280 x 720 pixels. If not full screen, inserts that accompany a participant, or action, will occupy between 30 to 60 percent of the screen area and can appear on the right or on the left. The sample insert above is typical.
When designing inserts keep the following in mind:
- Use a drop shadow behind the insert to set it off from the accompanying video material.
- Make sure your insert has a high enough resolution. Remember that Treet shoots at 1280 x 720 pixels, and if your image is not large enough, it can appear pixellated or blurry when shown on better screens.
- Include graphic inserts which are important and omit those which are secondary. When a graphic insert appears, it will be the viewer's prime subject because it calls attention to itself. Including "ancillary materials" as inserts can often distract the viewer so that they miss what is being said or done in the show.
- If an insert requires captions or photo credits, include them as part of the design of the insert itself. Do not use lower thirds for this purpose.
When preparing any of the on-screen materials remember that lower thirds and inserts should always be used in cases where there are strong relationships between what is being said and the graphic material.
|DO Include inserts specifically referred to by a participant. "I have a picture here of our new house."||DON'T Include inserts as "ambient" material designed to accompany a general discussion. For example, if somebody is talking about their house, but not specifically any aspect of it, including a "slide show" of their house is distracting, avoid it and replace it with a stronger reference scripted into the show.|
|DO Include URLs and email addresses referred to by the speaker||DON'T Include general URLs or email addresses except for those which refer to the show's website or the show's email address|
|DO Include participant information for lower thirds||DON'T Include lower third information for inanimate objects or non-avatar aspects of the show|