Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy Forum
subtitle sizes?
subtitle sizes?
by olivia Wyatt on Nov 13, 2013 at 7:17:34 pm


I am working on my first foreign language doc and creating the subtitles in final cut pro. I am using the font Arial. I have read many forums on appropriate size everywhere from 18-24, but I realize font sizes vary between programs. For example in FCP if I select 22 it is way bigger than if I select 22 in After Effects. I am not fully knowledgeable about why this difference occurs, therefore am confused about which size to select for FCP. So my question is which size is the best size to select for easy viewing on both a TV and movie screen if I am using Final Cut Pro to generate the subtitles.

thanks so much

Re: subtitle sizes?
by Shane Ross on Nov 13, 2013 at 7:35:50 pm

Unless you have a network or client telling you what size they need to be, it's all up to you. My rule of thumb is "what is easy to read, but doesn't get in the way." And I do find it odd that font sizes differ between NLEs (even between Avid and FCP) as well as between AE and NLEs.

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Re: subtitle sizes?
by Greg Ball on Nov 13, 2013 at 7:43:37 pm

In our subtitling business, we like either Helvetica or Arial. You should only have two lines of text on the screen at any given time.

Re: subtitle sizes?
by olivia Wyatt on Nov 13, 2013 at 7:52:42 pm

Thank you Greg! What size do you recommend if you generate the subtitles in Final Cut Pro? I am hoping for it to be visible on a screen and a TV

thanks so much!

Re: subtitle sizes?
by Andreas Kiel on Nov 14, 2013 at 11:26:19 am

Hi Olivia,

As Greg said Helvetica or Arial is a good choice.
Regarding the font size interpreted differently it's really odd and a pain.

If you own PhotoShop there might be a solution to create a series of editable layered TIFFs which will look the same in any NLE. I wrote a tool for that it's called psTitles.
Also another little tool I wrote years ago could help. Its called gRender. It takes an XML and creates a new sequence where each subtitle has a 1 frame duration. You can render out this new sequence as image sequence. This also will work with most NLEs – except FCPX.

Look at:

The psTitles and gRender apps are totally free but you need TitleExchange to be installed since the apps do use some of it's libraries. It doesn't matter if you want to use TitlesExchange or not – it just needs to be installed.


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Re: subtitle sizes?
by Greg Ball on Nov 14, 2013 at 12:25:11 pm

We size them at anywhere between 22 and 30, but we don't use FCP for subtitles. We use our own proprietary software. However if you use Digital Heaven's subtitle plug in, it starts off at 30 in FCP.

Re: subtitle sizes?
by Alex Vargas on Mar 13, 2014 at 4:23:10 pm

Hello Greg,

This is already an old thread, but subtitling isn't, so here we go…
Maybe Digital Heaven started at 30 in earlier versions, I can't say, but I am cutting a feature in FCP7 using Digital Heaven version 2.5.1. My fonts in DH are set at size 22. In my version of DH they start at size 6. Did you mean that the start suggested font size in DH is 30?

I wish I had clear info on a standard size with Digital Heaven_Subtitle for film cut in FCP7, but so far I am going with my gut.
If there is anybody who knows of a font size using Digital Heaven_Subtitle that fits the standard please be kind to share it.


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