5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 15, 2008 4:01 PM by Joey Morelli

    Action/Title Safe Areas

      I am having problems setting up guides for safe areas and I wondered if
      anyone else had some advice or tips.

      In the Preferences under Grids & Guides the Action Safe and Title Safe are
      preset to 10% and 20% respectively. But this relates to the size of the
      comp, I am working in HD so my comp is 1920 x 1080 and the Title/Action safe
      guides are set proportional to that. However in reality I have to set my
      Title Safe area to be Title Safe for 4:3 within a 16:9 HD comp for
      international sales to countries still using 4:3 TV.

      If I change the value for the Title Safe area in the Preferences to say 30%
      to show a guide closer to the 4:3 safe area I need to adhere to it changes
      BOTH the width and the height so the width might be accurate but the height
      is way out. On top of that I also have to work with 14:9 Title Safe areas
      for some projects too so I'd like to see those.

      I can drag guidelines to sit over the correct areas but this a pain as the
      guides are just for each individual comp not all the nested comps I work
      with when making the animation so I have to make them anew for every comp
      and project to make sure text is safe, I can't just click on the Action/Safe
      when I want to see it.

      I downloaded a Photoshop comp from the BBC in the UK and have been importing
      that as an overlay to check my Title safe but I really wanted to know if I
      am missing something. Avid Media Composer for example shows guides for
      widescreen comps 14:9 Action Safe, 14:9 Title Safe, 4:3 Action Safe and 4:3
      Title Safe, is there nothing I can do in After Effects to have the guides
      permanently set to multiple safe areas or even just the correct height and
      width for 4:3 safe within a 16:9 comp?

      Thanks in advance.

      BBC links if anyone is interested:
        • 1. Re: Action/Title Safe Areas
          Joey Morelli Level 1
          I made these that I use for centercut work (one for 720 / one for 1080). Drop them on the top of your timeline and apply the "Screen" Blending Mode to get rid of the black background:


          • 2. Re: Action/Title Safe Areas
            Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
            No, all current versions of AE do not support pillarboxed safe area overlays. Certainly one of the things that would make a good feature for CS4, now that everyone is doing HD work. ;-) Simply use the templates provided, import them and use them as locked guide layers. It's still a kludge, but works...

            • 3. Re: Action/Title Safe Areas
              shooternz Level 6
              It is a simple process to make up some .psd Safe Area Templates of your choice if you have CS3 PhotoShop. Use the Markers provided in the appropriate size PhotoShop project (eg 720p) and draw in the lines tracing the markers. (Red looks cool)

              The psd (alpha) does not require any keying /blending in Premiere or AEFX. Use a Transparent BG option.
              • 4. Re: Action/Title Safe Areas
                Level 1
                Many thanks for those links silversurfer. When I compare them to the ones I
                got from the BBC they don't match up though; your Action Safe is their 3:4
                picture area and your Title Safe is wider than their Action Safe. This is
                the other issue I have run into, that different broadcasters have different

                The guides the BBC give as safe margins for 4:3 Title Safe within a 16:9
                widescreen frame are 10% top and bottom and 20.5% left and right. Doing the
                math for an HD 16:9 frame makes a box 1132 pixels wide by 864 high with the
                margins set at 394px left, 1526px right, 108px bottom and 972px top. (Their
                4:3 Action Safe is 5% top and bottom and 17% left and right.)

                It would be great in CS4 to be able to set templates that can quickly be
                called up across comps and projects, the single percentage option they have
                right now for both width and height is pretty useless. I have been importing
                a Photoshop template but it's an inelegant kludge.

                I was hoping I was being dumb and had missed a vital feature, but it seems
                not! :-(
                • 5. Re: Action/Title Safe Areas
                  Joey Morelli Level 1
                  My bad...didn't notice you were in the UK (I am in NTSC land).