iMovie Ken Burns Effect

The Ken Burns effect in iMovie allows you to change the cropping of a video clip or photo over time. You can use this simple device to add movement to your visuals. You can also use this to effectively show detail in large photos of wide or long objects. With a little creativity, you can use a sequence of Ken Burns effects to highlight objects in a photo.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: iMovie Ken Burns Effect.

Hi, this is Gary with Let's look at using the Ken Burns effect in iMovie.

I'm using iMovie 10 and we're going to take a close look at the Ken Burns effect. The Ken Burns effect can be used with video but it is most often used to enhance still photos in videos. By default you probably have it turned on.

So you drag and drop a photo like I have done here and you have the Ken Burns effect which makes the photo kind of zoom in or out depending upon which way you've got it.

Let's take a look by clicking Adjust and then going to Cropping. Here you can see it is set to Ken Burns. We've got a start rectangle and an end rectangle. We can adjust either one of these. For instance, for dramatic effect we can zoom in here and have it start on one of these faces here like this. Then we can have it end showing the whole group like this. Now when we Preview you it here, move the playhead back and preview it, we will see how it does that.

So there is a lot you can do. For instance on the second photo here you may want to have it start pretty wide and then end by zooming in here. This is a pretty high res photo so it should work really well. We can close the Adjust window here and then scrub across and see exactly what is going to happen there.

Now you can very easily reverse the Ken Burns effect swapping start and end there. Now we can see reverse there. So it comes in very handy for centering in on something or moving out from something in a video. It helps photos come alive.

You can do the same thing with a moving video. So let's look at that. For instance if I were to take this video clip here, move it to the beginning, and I can set the cropping to Ken Burns and have it start very close and then move out. Now, the video, while it is playing, is changing its cropping.

One of the reasons you don't see it very often with video is the resolution of the video, when you zoom in, is not that great. Because usually it is zoomed all the way out and that is the best resolution, matching what you are doing. Then zoomed in you are actually just magnifying in on pixels so it gets a little blurry.

One of the things that I like to do with the Ken Burns effect is to be able to show a large object in more detail. So let's look at this here, the lighthouse, and we can set it so that it starts at the base of the lighthouse and then ends with the top. Then we may want to go ahead and increase the duration of this, four seconds is probably too short. So now when we play it we get a nice detailed look at the lighthouse even though the resolution of the video isn't anywhere close to that of photos. You still get a lot of good detail in as you watch that happen.

You get the same thing here with this final photo that I have. This is actually a panoramic photo. If I would go in here and look at the cropping I would set it to Fit. You can see it is just a very long narrow photo. It is going to give me black bars at the top and the bottom. You won't be able to see much detail. These photos are now more common now that you can take them with the iPhone so using a Ken Burns effect here where I start at the left and move to the right creates a nice looking effect as you pan across the scene like this.

So for one final trick let's return to this video here where we've got three faces and let's say we want to go from one to the other and then to a third. That would be kind of neat. So let's do that here. We just go from one to two. We will do that over a period of say eight seconds. So you have eight seconds going from one to the other. Now we can preview that and see how that goes. One to the other. It would be nice to continue to go to the third face.

We can do that by basically taking this clip here, I'm going to copy it and paste it, and it is going to duplicate it here. But then I'm going to go into the cropping here and I'm going to reverse so I have start and end. It is going to be start and it is going to start on this face here which is where we ended, and I'm going to go down to this face. So we have it picking up and carrying on. Let's take a look at what happens now when we scrub past all of this. We go from one face to this face, and this face down to this face. You can just keep going with that. I can take this. I can copy, paste it, and have it go back to the original. Put it like that and have it end there.

So you can do it with a whole bunch of faces or objects or all sorts of things using that little trick plus the Ken Burns effect.

Comments: 5 Responses to “iMovie Ken Burns Effect”

    5 years ago

    excellent work, keep it up. thanks sanford

    webgal pat
    5 years ago

    Love the trick at the end. Thanks for all your great videos!

    5 years ago

    will it work with hd panoramic stills? thanks Sanford

      5 years ago

      Not sure how your still differ from regular photos — but it is easy to try it, so why not try it?

    5 years ago

    Great videos and tutorials ,please keep it up !

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