I'm not really a video expert, I'm more into Geographical Information Systems (GIS). I've recently been able to make some great time-based animations of Geographical Data using the excellent QGIS with Time Manager plugin, and mencoder. The former outputs a series of static PNG files and the latter converts to a video.

I would like to improve these by adding text to the video, so that over a specific period of time (i.e. specific number of frames) some text is showing. This text should vary by month or week of the video.

I'm wondering if anyone has any good techniques for this. My first thoughts were that I would have to either:

  • Alter the relevant PNGs programmatically, perhaps using a tool like Image Magick. This would require selecting the correct frames to work on somehow
  • Do it in video-editing software. I don't know whether there are any that can do something like this. Ideally it would be open-source and able to run on Windows as this is a work project.

Does anyone have any experience with either of these two methods, or some general advice?

  • 1
    I don't know for sure (and don't have it in front of me to check) but doesn't Windows Movie Maker have a basic function like this? I think it's included with Windows. Jan 11, 2012 at 14:58
  • Quite possibly, but certainly not the locked down, hobbled version of XP that I have here at work. But thanks. Maybe could try at home
    – Stev_k
    Jan 11, 2012 at 15:24

1 Answer 1


If you don't want to mess around with either of the free video editor versions available from Windows, WinXP (Windows Movie Maker) or Win7 (Windows Live Movie Maker) as these may not be flexible enough for your project, then you can try out a pro version with a free demo (good for 30 days) of Sony Vegas Pro 11.

Once you set up your trial version, add your video to the timeline, then use the "media generator/text" (title) features to add the titles you want. There are lots of options on the text generators.

Three links that are of interest.

Free Demo Version of Vegas Pro 11 (make sure you choose the correct version for your computer as in 32 vs. 64 bit): http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/download/trials/vegaspro?keycode=64506

Tutorial on how to use the media generator/text on Vegas Pro 11:

Expert advice and overview of Vegas Pro media generator: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/media_generators_in_vegas_pro_software

Likely you can get your whole project done under the 30 day trial period and render a final version ready to post or show. If you don't understand how to render there are tons of tutorials out there, so just for fun I'll add one more link:

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.