Title Safe and Action Safe Areas
This is one of the areas in which I still run into problems, even for designers who have developed for video before. Maybe with creative people, this one seems to be the rule that slips their minds the most. Guidelines have been established about where best to keep text and main action of you full video image. This is not a hard and fast rule, however; creatively, you can place your images and text anywhere onscreen you wish. Keep in mind that most televisions, especially older models, cut off the outer edges of the video screen. Therefore, any image, be it video or graphics, that falls outside of what's call the "Action Safe" area of the screen will tend to be cut off by the television. This is approximately a 15% border around all four sides of the actual video edge. The "Title Safe" area is approximately a 30% inward area from all four side of the outer video edge. The video associations of the world have established these areas so that your images fall within optimal viewing areas once the video signal is played on a standard television.
Who wants to read text that has parts of the words cut off because the designer created them too close to the edge? Designers, please don't feel the need to have to get too close to the edge. It may seem like you're wasting a great deal of space around the edges while cramming everything in toward the center, but trust me, the end result will look much better (and more evenly centered) than you think.
Keep in mind that these are just some of the basic rules and regulations for graphic designers and video producers to live and work in this world in perfect harmony (well, close enough for now). In future articles, we'll talk about other guidelines for developing graphics for video.