The name "Lower Third" (Or lower 3rd) traditionally refers to any type of graphic that appears in the "lower third" portion of the screen during a video or broadcast. Lower Thirds are just one type of a family of graphics called "titles". Lower thirds are most commonly used to inform the audience of a subject's name. Due to the prevalence of popular graphics editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop, the production of these graphics might seem straightforward to a layperson. However, live broadcasts often require the operator to make quick changes mid-broadcast, a task that is not possible with traditional graphics editing programs. For that reason, dedicated software is required to automatically apply real time text changes to graphical backings. This is called Titling software.
The humble beginnings of on-screen graphics began with processes as simple as text written on paper and scrolled in front of the camera. The early seventies saw the rise of the first "character generators", hardware devices which were used to overlay text characters onto the "lower third" of a broadcast. Over time these devices evolved from simple to complex, with increasing options for graphics, fonts, colors, and more. With the rise of digital broadcasts (i.e. streams), many titling solutions have arisen that operate completely on software.
The process of adding a lower third title to a live broadcast starts with the Design phase. The visual elements of a title, such as colors, animations, font and size, are constructed before the broadcast. If the graphic designer is aware of the content, she will likely build dedicated graphics with that content in mind. Some titling solutions allow designers to designate certain text fields as "variables", allowing the operator the ability to change the text in those design through a variety of methods, such as from within the titling software itself, or through the use of external files. The broadcast operator runs the titling solution during the broadcast, giving real-time control of on-screen graphics.
Adding titles to videos is a separate process from Live titling because there is no need to control titles in real time. For this reason, many video editors still rely on conventional graphics solutions. However, the advances in titling introduced by television industry have carried over into the post-production realm, and now many professional video editors rely on advanced titling plugins as part of their workflow.
Many websites offer lower third and other title templates which can be downloaded, modified, and re-used by editors and broadcast operators alike. The formats for these templates can vary from single image files to movie files to multi-layered project files for use in graphical or video editing software. Here at NewBlue, our project templates are compatible with the Title Designer, available as part of the Titler Live and Titler Pro software downloads.
NewBlue offers professional titling solutions that allow for the easy creation and control of lower thirds in both Live and Post environments. Build to address the needs of professionals dating back 70 years, NewBlue's Titler Live and Titler Pro lines offer state-of-the-art solutions at a fraction of the price of conventional hardware stacks.
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