Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Creating a Star Wars Style Opening Crawl in PowerDirector

One of the most iconic visuals from the Star Wars films is known as the opening crawl. Each film begins with the same opening sequence, in which the text "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...." is displayed, followed by the Star Wars logo. After the film's episode number and subtitle are displayed, a three-paragraph introduction in yellow text scrolls away from the viewer.
Before there was Star Wars, there was Flash Gordon,
one of George Lucas' major influences. 
The first Star Wars movie was released in 1977, but this text effect has certainly stood the test of time. It still looks good even today, and evokes strong memories for many people.  Let’s see how easy it is to create this text effect with the Title Designer in PowerDirector. 
Colorboards are found in
PowerDirector's Media Room



Create a new project in 16:9 aspect ratio. On the first track, insert a black colorboard from the Media Room and drag it to the desired length of the text intro. This is not necessary if you plan to keep just a plain black background, but it will be easy to replace if you want to change the background to a star field like in the movies, or even use some other kind of image.
Next, go to the title room and click the icon to create a new title template (2D title). This will open the title designer. 
We'll use the "Text" and "Effect" tabs on the left for this project. 

Drag the text box so that the right, left, and top sides are flush with the side of the preview area. Type or paste your text in the text box. For our example, we’re going to use a slightly modified version of the text from Episode IV, A New Hope. NOTE: The text box will automatically resize to match the line length of your text. So you will need to manually insert line breaks to make the text fit it into the display area.

Now select the text box (do not select all of the text as you would do in a word processor) and change the font to News Gothic bold. Change the color to a custom color: Red 229, Green 177, Blue 58.  Save your new title template, and add the title to timeline track two. The default font size should be set to 24, and you probably won't need to change that.
Set the Starting Effect to "Perspective Scroll Up."You don't need an Ending Effect.



You can control the speed of the scroll by adjusting the length of the title track on the timeline – the longer time set for the title to play, the slower the text will scroll. Once you have the text scrolling the way you like it, you can replace the black colorboard with any image. Just make sure you set the image on the timeline to the same length as the scrolling text. 

Then you just need some music. The original score by John Williams is amazing, but also copyrighted. And not even the awesome power of The Force can overcome Disney’s lawyers. So for this example we will download the free clip “Perc Peds” as our background music from DirectorZone.



It's that easy! Here’s an extra tip for putting a Star Wars theme into your videos: download these two fonts: 
Star Wars Jedi Hollow and Star Wars Jedi Outline

They look like this:
The Star Wars Jedi Hollow font has a neat special effect – if you type the “@” symbol and set it to this font, it will display a correctly proportioned Star Wars logo: 


So now you can make a Star Wars style opening crawl for your own video projects. If you don't own PowerDirector, you can download the trial version here. Still have questions? Ask away in the comment section below. 


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