What is a title safe area?

Hello Everyone,

Its Josh here from Loveridge Digital, this week on “Getting into it with Loveridge Digital” we are going to cover what a title safe area is in video production.

The Title Safe Area is one of those TV production jargon terms that still cause lots of confusion even though nothing has changed in terms of technical requirements since 2009.
To truly understand why title safe areas are used it’s vital to understand how the first popular TV sets differed from the TVs that are commonplace today. (CRT) or Cathode ray tube televisions, which dominated household TV sales starting in the late 1950s, were designed in a way that made the edges of the picture invisible to the viewer. In 1961 the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers made specific requirements to ensure that text and graphics would not be cut off by the CRT’s rounded edges. Thus SMPTE RP 8 was created. It specified a Title Safe Area for TV Transmission which was a 80% of the screen rectangle with rounded corners. In 1963, SMPTE RP 13 added a Safe Action Area which was a maximum image area rectangle that should contain all significant action in the video. This rectangle was 90% of the screen with rounded corners.

Moving forward to 2009, CRTs were being replaced by fixed-pixel-matrix televisions which in turn prompted SMPTE to develop a new Standard which was SMPTE ST 2046-1, and a new Recommended Practice, SMPTE RP 2046-2.

SMPTE ST 2046-1 redefined the Safe Action Area as 93% of the Production Aperture. This is slightly larger than the Title Safe Area which, since 2009, has been defined as 90% of the Production Aperture.
With this new standard, we also have more room for titles. However, because the new Title Safe Area uses the same 90% margin that was previously used as the Safe Action Area in 1961, a lot of video producers are still confused.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that there are now two Title Safe Areas to consider in a 16:9 frame: the 16:9 Title Safe Area and the 4:3 Title Safe Area.
The 16:9 Title Safe Area is used for both HD content and when HD content is being downconverted to SD.
This is why many video producers will ensure that all graphics, text and frame composition elements are placed within the 4:3 Title Safe Area.
While the technical requirements for Titles within videos for television may seem over the top and very strict, they are vital to vanguard the end-users experience to ensure that all text is legible when broadcasting.

Thank you very much for taking the time to watch the video, I hope you found it informative and engaging, until next time

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