Video Tips

Cheat Sheet: Timing tips from our creative director

Eliza Talvola


Text Timing Tips & Techniques from our Design Team

Timing is everything! Not only should you be able to decide how to tell your story, but also when you tell it. With Animoto’s timeline controls, you can set the pacing of your text and elements throughout your video.

This feature opens a whole new world of possibilities! And nobody knows them better than Animoto’s Creative Director of Motion and Video, Martin Koch.

In this little cheat sheet, Martin will share tips for using time to create videos your audience can’t stop watching.

At a glance:

Use the playhead to time your elements

Timeline view will be your go-to for timing your text and elements. You can use your playhead to mark specific starting and ending points that your item will follow. For example, you might want your elements to sync with your music or audio or have text appear on-screen as it is said aloud. To do this, just follow the instructions and watch the example below.

How to use the playhead: Animoto text and element timing

Drag and drop the playhead to mark where you want your elements or text to appear. Then, trim and drag each item along your timeline and align it with your playhead.

Use elements as backgrounds:

Use elements as backgrounds: Animoto text and element timing

Elements can make your video come alive! And there are so many different ways to use them. Don’t just view them as stickers, but as building blocks for your videos. With a solid shape, you can make sure that your text doesn’t disappear into the background. Here are a few pro-tips to keep in mind.

  • If you’re using an element as a text background or highlight, make sure that they appear and disappear in sync with your text.
  • Adjust the opacity of your elements to create a translucent effect that shows your background and makes your text more eligible. Just select your element, click on the tear drop icon, and adjust the slider to make it more or less translucent.
  • Create a tint effect over your media by placing elements over photos and videos and adjusting the color and opacity.
  • Scale graphical elements to full screen to create a transition effect between text-only blocks. Check out the example below! It was made with just one text-only block and a handful of elements.

Text and element timing: Use elements as transitions

Choose the right colors:

Using bold color palettes: Animoto text and element timing

Colors can change the entire mood of your video The right color palette can enhance your story, boost viewer engagement, and help you to build a cohesive brand identity. So when you’re adding elements and text to video, keep these colorful tips in mind.

  • For promos and internal comms videos, create a color palette based that adheres to your brand guidelines.
  • Choose a color palette that matches the mood of your video. Keep in mind things like contrast, seasonality, and accessibility to create a varied but cohesive palette.
  • Invert colors throughout the video to create visual variety while staying on brand.
  • If you’re not sure what color or font combinations to use, try out different Themes to find one that suits your video.

Create subtitles or closed captions

Create subtitles: Animoto text and element timing

Closed captions engage audiences and make your video content accessible. They're also super handy for translating content and reaching people who speak different languages. Just use these tips to make your captions pop.

  • Time your closed captions to appear as they’re said aloud.
  • Use contrasting colors so that your text is easy to read at first glance.
  • Create a text animation lockup where a part of a text stays the same and a word gets replaced over time. Check out the example below so see it in action.

Text and element timing text: Text carousel

Time text for emphasis:

Emphasize the moments that matter and capture your audience’s attention with timeline-based video editing. Time your text and elements to enhance visual features, call out certain parts of your audio, or point out important details.

  • Sync text with voice-overs and audio from talking-head videos to make your message stand out.
  • Use text to emphasize brand names, features, specs, and more.

Create lower-thirds:

How to make lower-thirds: Animoto text and element timing

If you want your video to look like it was made by a pro, use this tool from their toolbox: lower thirds. Lower thirds are small text boxes that appear in the corner of your video. They can be used to introduce people, titles, product names, and more without drawing too much attention from the visuals on screen.

Use these tips to create your own.

  • Leave enough time for the viewer to read your lower third text twice.
  • Use lower-thirds to introduce new characters, but don’t repeat them every time that person or product appears on screen.
  • Combine graphical elements with text to make the text stand out over your video.
  • Play with multiple element shapes in different colors to create graphic-rich layouts.
  • Play with contrast by combining round shapes with more angular shapes, bold and thin font, and more.

Break up text-heavy blocks:

Break up text-heavy blocks: Animoto text and element timing

Nothing will make your audience tune out faster than a wall of text. Instead, use timing controls to break text-heavy sections into bite-sized pieces. This will lead the viewer through your video bit by bit, making it less of a slideshow and more of a video that unfolds over time.

  • Place multiple text boxes on top of each other in the same spot. Then, time them so that they appear one after the other.
  • Use bold and concise language to grab attention.
  • Draw attention to different parts of the screen by placing text in different positions. For example, you could have a short text box pop up in the upper left side, and then the conclusion appears on the lower right.

Build anticipation:

Build anticipation: Animoto text and element timing

Build up the hype! Instead of laying it all on the table at the same time, use timing controls to tease out the most important parts of your message. Think special announcements, results, product launches, giveaways, and more.

Use elements emphasize details of your video:

Use arrows to point out details: Animoto text and element timing

It’s not always easy to call attention to small details of your videos. Maybe you need to point out specific features in a demo or troubleshooting video, or you want to highlight certain words or URLs. Instead of creating new blocks to share close-ups, add elements like underlines, arrows, and circles to guide your viewer’s eyes. Here’s what we mean.

  • Add arrows to point out features or buttons during software and product demos.
  • Add underlines, shapes behind text, and outlines to highlight text parts and make them stand out. Think of it as bolding, but more eye-catching.

Tell your story at your pace with Animoto

With these tips in your back pocket, you’ll be creating stunning and dynamic videos just like the pros. Learn more about how to time your text and elements here and then get started on your next video with our fan-favorite templates.

Happy video making!