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Thread: How long? Titles and Credits.

  1. #1

    Default How long? Titles and Credits.

    Most films have a Title and Credits. We have all seen extreme examples of the legibility and length. From less than 1 second long exposure of the 'best boy' name as it scrolls in small font up the screen (along with lots of other names); to the Producer's name which might appear for an eternity (perhaps visible for up to 10 seconds). Understandably, some editors may pander to their clients or boost their egos etc.
    If the message is simple; and the text is displayed in an easily readable font; then how long a display is necessary? At the moment, I am judging around 2 secs might be reasonable for a simple credit, such as "Narrated by Tim Andrews".

    But - does anyone have a rule of thumb which they use when setting the length?

  2. #2


    something ive been pondering over just recently. i would say it depends how long the piece is. 5 minuet short doesn't require 2 minuets of titles. im working on a 12 minuet piece and the (non intrusive) titles will be overlayed through the opening scenes for approximately the first two minuets. this is just the important stuff like film title (obviously) writer, director actors. names will be on screen for approx 3 seconds.

    end credits.... does it matter? dont most people switch off as the credits roll ? more so a youtube audience.

  3. #3


    I'd agree with enc adding that the number of people involved with the project will also have a bearing. Also the pace of the piece may determine the speed of the titles. So I would say it's not just about how long it takes to read and how important the person is to the project. I always think of it as part of the over all project. I'm doing a piece at the moment which is about 10 mins long and I've put about 30 seconds of music for the end titles. The may be me and one or two others to credit so they roll slowly by I think that is right for this piece.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
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    Based on nothing other than personal opinion and preference:

    I think two seconds at maximum legibility (ie if you do a fade or any sort of transition in/out add the time for these) is about right for a credit - if that person is the only person being credited on the screen at that time. If you have, for example, three people (produced by x, directed by y, screenply by z) on the same screen, I'd suggest apply the "normal" rules of "read the whole thing aloud and that's your timing".

    The title of the film may benefit from being on screen for a bit longer - especially if it is overlaid over a sequence.

    For opening credits for a solo amateur production, I don't like to see more than one credit (eg "A film by Tim Andrews" or "Midnight Blue Productions presents") and a title (and often either or both of these have more impact it they don't appear slap bang at the beginning). For a club production or group production, it might be acceptable to have two or three credits (eg "Staines Video Makers presents" ..." a film by Tim Stannard" ) but it very much depends. If there is a legitimate scene setting piece of film going on under the credits, there's room for more. But the last thing we want to get into is the situation with some US made for TV films where credits still appear well after the first commercial break.

    No, credits at the front of an amateur film should be kept to a minimum. Credits showing actors names here are definitely a turn off for me. They work in Hollywood films because it prompts me to look out for certain actors who I'm familiar with. In amateur films Fred Bloggs and Jane Doe mean nothing to me - although if they do a good job, I'll be looking out for their names in the closing credits.

    Credits at the end present a different problem. There's no risk of losing the audience - the film has finished! However, I feel there's a bit of an obligation to all those involved to persuade everyone else to sit through the credits rather than simply get up go or switch off. Often, in addition to all involved directly in the making of the movie, it's desirable to thank various other people or organisations for their help, locations, loan of props etc. So there are can be quite a lot to get through. To be frank, people reading these credits are only interested in seeing their own name appear so we need to give something else to keep the rest of the audience entertained.

    So it's often quite nice to have a postscript shown here - either taking up a small part of the screen next to rolling credits, or as full screen cut-ins between fixed pages of credits.

    Bloopers are a common choice, but in amateur film I find we have to be a little careful as in far too many I see, the bloopers are not funny to the general audience as they are all too often concerned with "in jokes" or the personalities of the cast and crew - which of course, are unknown to the world in general.

    Another suitable choice is an addendum - this can be particularly usefl in the case of a documentary where something has occurred after the main filming and editing has been completed and you want to update the audience.
    In "The Great Director", the (real) director simply had a rear shot of me (the Great Director of the title) looking out over the river whilst caressing my camera, whilst the credits rolled, turning to smile at the (real) camera after they finished. This added nothing to the film, but gives the audience time to wind down whilst reading the (if they want to) the credits.

    Another approach is simply to start rolling the credits before the end of the film, such that their end coincides with the end of the film. I've done this in the past in a coupe, of ways: In my "sort of documentary" of Sunbury Regatta, as the film was concluding, I credited the other people involved by way of crawling text (I only credited two other camera crew - I wouldn't recommend this approach for more than two or three people). In my more recent Sheppeton Raft Race film, I simply took the final section, of the girls reflecting on the day, shrunk it to 1/4 screen size and rolled the credits next to it. I felt it worked well, but I'm happy to take criticism.

  5. #5


    My initial concern about the length of one credit has been wonderfully solved using TimS' reminder about the 'read it aloud' rule. Thanks for the references to you own clips, it was very interesting.
    My next (dare I say) homegrown production lasts about 2:45, and I have 4 credits. I rather liked the suggestion about rolling credits early. And also the 'addendum' suggestion, as it gives the viewer a little gift for having sat through the credits.
    If I ever finish this clip, I shall post a link - so you can see the adsurd and weird interpretation I have made of your wise words.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimAndrews View Post
    the adsurd and weird interpretation I have made of your wise words.
    What a fantastic euphemism for "blatant disregard I have shown for your waffley clap-trap"

    Whilst I know you're aware of this Tim, others reading may benefit from related words of wisdom I remember reading when first getting into film making: "Don't make your titles better than your film"

    You only need to look at poor wedding videos with stock title sequences to see how a good title can make average footage look even worse. Sadly, the reverse isn't true!
    Last edited by TimStannard; 08-31-2011 at 07:57 PM.

  7. #7


    That's perhaps a little disingenuous. I'm sure he was meaning interpretation but not necessarily in a literal sense.

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