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SMPTE-2046-2 Safe Title Guides for After Effects and Premiere

Posted by BobM on July 14, 2016

For whatever reason, the default safe area guides in Adobe After Effects and Premiere still come set as the old-school 80% Safe Title / 90% Safe Action, guides established in the 1960s. Well, we live in 2016 where almost all HDTVs display the full raster pixel-for-pixel, or come shipped with at worst a 2-3% crop (which you should really turn off because it's making your image soft.)

In any case, both SMPTE and the EBU revised their safe area guidelines years ago to a still conservative but much better 90% Safe Title / 93% Safe Action setup. Here's some numbers you can punch into After Effects and Premiere to use the new guides.

 

After Effects

From the pulldown menus, go to Edit > Preferences > Grids & Guides where you will find a group at the bottom called Safe Margins:

smpte-guides-aftereffects.png

As shown, change Action-safe to 7% and Title-safe to 10%, and Center-cut Action-safe to 25% and Center-cut Title-safe to 32%.

NOTE: I am using the Center-cut Action-safe value of 25% which does NOT represent Safe Action, but rather shows where the left and right borders of the 4x3 raster would be, as I think it's more useful to know what part of the image will be completely cut off. If you want the proper 93% center-cut Safe Action, enter 30% instead of 25%.

 

Premiere

Safe areas are set at the project level rather than the application preferences level. From the pulldown menus, go to File > Project Settings > General and you will find a group at the bottom called Action and Title Safe Areas:

smpte-guides-premiere.png

This is a little bit different than After Effects as Premiere gives you separate control over horizontal and vertical size, but doesn't give you a separate set of guides for center-cut reference. However, you could instead just use the Action Safe areas to represent center-cut Safe Title area, putting in 32% for Horizontal and 10% for Vertical.