Use cross dissolves for gentle transitions.

Cross dissolves are among the most popular editing techniques in cinema history. Use one to slowly fade in and fade out of scenes.

What is a cross dissolve?

A cross dissolve is a post-production video editing technique in which you gently increase the opacity of one scene over the previous one. In contrast to the jarring transition of a plain jump cut, one scene fades into the next, and the two images briefly overlap.

 

Cross dissolves, sometimes called cross-fades, were at their most popular during the early days of cinematography and can be considered one of cinema’s earliest special effects. In older movies, they were often used to show the passage of time, create a montage-like effect, or provide a gentle transition from one scene to the next. 

 

Considerations for cross dissolves.

Any footage can dissolve or fade into any other footage, but in order to create a nonintrusive dissolve cut, a video editor has to consider the following:

 

1. Composition. As one shot dissolves into the next, the two shots will both be visible for a few frames. The composition of each shot should complement the other.
 

2. Lighting. In general, scenes that dissolve into each other should also have similar lighting levels or be lit in different ways that look interesting together.

 

3. Film grain. Make sure that each shot has similar film grain. Otherwise cross-fades will lose the gentle, dreamlike quality that makes them effective.

A news lower third title superimposed over a photo capturing a skateboarder in midair coming off a ramp
A person talking to the camera with a video "subscribe" lower third in the bottom right of the image

Lower thirds at work in the world.

Social media

Social media lower thirds are often used as branding elements. YouTube videos, for instance, commonly feature a subscribe button or the creator’s handle or channel name.

 

Filmmaking

Lower third titles provide an understated, cinematic intro for a film, especially when paired with beautiful typography. Anything from credits to a location indicator are perfect uses of the lower third graphic.

 

Broadcast television

Networks fill their lower thirds with a lot of information: stocks, game scoreboards, breaking news updates, the date and time, weather updates, logos — you name it. These lower thirds can stay static, but they also may run like a scrolling banner to fit even more information.

 

Closed captions

If you turn on subtitles on your TV, chances are they’ll be centered in the lower third of your screen. Whether you create a professional video for a client or want to add captions to your Instagram video, it’s easy to use minimal lower third captions to make your video more accessible to everyone.

Adding a "main title" lower third to an image of a cityscape in Adobe Premiere Pro

How to add lower third graphics in Adobe Premiere Pro.

 

1. Open the Essential Graphics panel and browse the available graphic templates.

 

2. Drag and drop your desired template onto the timeline where you want it to appear.

 

3. Customize your graphic. You can change the size, duration, color palette, font, transition preset, and more.

 

You can also make your own title from scratch using the Type tool. Watch this tutorial for step-by-step instructions.

A lower third title superimposed over an image of a desert valley
A lower third title superimposed over an image of people working at desks in an office space

Best practices for creating lower thirds.

It’s important to understand the impact a lower third has on the composition of your frame. Watch out for clashing colors, crowded type, or unnecessary information that can clutter your video. Audience consideration is another factor that can help you determine the best way to design your graphic. A personal video might feature a modern lower third with more latitude for creative exploration, while corporate lower thirds typically stick to the essential information displayed in the brand’s colors.

 

Where to find lower third templates.

Premiere Pro comes with a gallery of lower thirds templates, but if you don’t find the effects template you’re looking for, you’ve got a few options.

 

Check out Adobe Stock.

Search Adobe Stock video templates to choose from hundreds of professional lower third graphics.

 

Make your own template in After Effects.

Speed up your video editing workflow by using Motion Graphics templates (MOGRTs). These templates are made in After Effects. As you create them you can specify which elements will be editable in Premiere Pro, such as color, animation, and text. Once your MOGRT is loaded into Premiere Pro, you can reuse it as many times as you want. You can also edit directly in Premiere Pro, so there’s no need to return to After Effects to make changes.

 

Make a lower third in Adobe Photoshop.

You don’t need to use a video maker to create a lower third. You can design your own custom lower third graphic in Photoshop and export your design as a PNG. Make sure to save your PNG with a transparent background for a clean lower third look. Then import that PNG into your video editor of choice and place it on the timeline.

 

Peruse your plug-in options.

The Adobe Video Partner Finder is a directory of Adobe-approved plug-ins for filmmakers. If you want to expand your app’s capabilities or quickly download a premade lower thirds pack, use this resource to make it happen.

Do more with Adobe Premiere Pro.

Make visually stunning videos virtually anywhere — for film, TV, and web.

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