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Being Ken Burns: Using Static Photos in Your Videos

/ Lauren Colman

Adding a still image among video clips can stop the flow of your story, jolt the viewer and give your video a slideshow feel. One way to introduce movement is to apply the Ken Burns Effect, an effect that simulates the movement of a camera when recording footage.
This effect is named after the filmmaker that made this his signature visual style in his documentaries. Ken Burns Effect adds a smooth pan and zoom to your static photos in a video. A tilt is a sweeping shot captured up and down, a pan is a sweeping shot recorded moving from left to right. Slight movement brings images to life and adds dimension to photographs in a video.

There is no perfect recipe for applying Ken Burns to your photos. You can decide what regions of interest you want to emphasize and add the effects to highlight a part, or parts, of your images.

Check out these tips to help you decide how to use Ken Burns Effect in your video:

Zoom with purpose

Zooming in creates intimacy. If you have a photograph of a group of people but want to call attention to a single person in the shot, start wide and zoom into the subject. Zooming out exposes more detail. In a photo of scenery, try beginning with a close-up of a certain aspect then zoom out to show the whole image. Don't over-zoom. Some images may not need a zoom at all. Try just applying the pan.

Vary the moves

Try not to use the same pan and zoom movement on all of you images. It can get boring for the viewer. Diversify! Try different combinations of zooming and panning on your images to create fluid movement throughout your video.

Mind your speed

Try to maintain a similar speed, or pacing, with your effect to match the speed of your moving footage. You can do this by changing the duration of the image in your video. For a more dramatic effect, start and end your image with a still shot (meaning no pan or zoom). Doing this will add emphasis to the image.

Avoid hard transitions

Try to avoid hard cuts. Invisible, or smooth, cuts won't distract from the story and create a nearly seamless transition from one image or video clip to the next. Try using smooth transitions like cross dissolve or crossfade.

Adding Ken Burns Effect in WeVideo

It's easy to apply the Ken Burns Effect to images in the WeVideo editor. You can add it to a single image or bulk add it to multiple photos at one time.
To add an animation to a single image, double-click the photo your want to modify the click into the Animation tab. Adjust the Start point for the animation by choosing the scale and position of the image. The start point is the size and position that the clip will start.
Once starting point is set, switch to the End point and do the same.  The end point is the size and position that the clip will end. Click and drag the photo to move the area of interest and use the slider to adjust the zoom.
Ken Burns Effect Animation WeVideo
For more on adding Ken Burns effect to your images in the WeVideo editor, visit our Support Center.
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