imovie

Adding Photos with the Ken Burns Effect

You can add photos to a movie, and use iMovie to create special effects for the photos.

One popular special effect is to pan across a photo or zoom in and out of a photo as it plays in your movie. This is known as the "Ken Burns effect," after the filmmaker who frequently used the technique in his documentaries.

First you need to grab a single frame from your video to use as a still photo.

Move the Playhead to the frame you want to select.

In the menu at the top of the screen, select File...Save Frame As...

In the dialog box that comes up, type in a name for the frame and select the folder into which you want to save it.

From the Format picklist, choose jpeg.

Then select the Desktop temporarily to store the file and click on Save.

Now open the iPhoto program and drag the jpeg picture you just created into the iPhoto library.

Note: if you have a photo from some other source, such as a digital still camera, that you want to use in iMovie, just drag it into your iPhoto library. It just has to be in jpeg format (and you can use Photoshop to convert photos to jpeg format).

Now go back into iMovie, and click on the Photo button in the button bar at the bottom of the Shelf area on the right.

You should see a thumbnail of your photo displayed (or click on Photo Library and navigate to a subfolder in your iPhoto library if you put the photo there).

You can adjust the time the still photo will be displayed in your movie with the slider bar that has an icon of a hare on one end for a quick clip of your photo clip, and a tortoise on the other for a longer photo clip.

You also can zoom in or out in the photo with the zoom control just above.

When you have the photo set the way you want it, click on it and drag it down into the video track on your Viewer Timeline.

You then can edit it as you would a normal video clip.

Ken Burns Effect

To add the pan or zoom to your photo clip, select the picture in the iMovie photo library and check the box at the top labeled Ken Burns Effect.

To apply a zoom, check the Start button and then use the Zoom slider bar to zoom in or out on the photo to the desired view.

Then check the Finish button, and use the Zoom slider bar to zoom in or out on the photo to a new view.

The photo then will open at the first zoom view, and gradually change to the second zoom view.

To apply a pan, check the Start button and move your mouse cursor over the Preview screen in the upper right until your cursor turns into a hand icon. Click and hold down on your mouse and you can move the photo from left to right or up and down to center it at a new point.

Then check the Finish button, and again move your mouse cursor over the Preview screen in the upper right until your cursor turns into a hand icon. Click and hold down on your mouse and you can move the photo from left to right or up and down to center it at a second point.

The photo will open centered at the first point you set and gradually shift to being centered at the second point you set.

You also can combine zooms and pans so you start out with a full view of a photo, for example, and then zoom in on one element in the photo.

Finally, you can adjust the time the photo will be displayed in your movie with the slider bar that has an icon of a hare on one end for a quick clip of your photo clip, and a tortoise on the other for a longer photo clip.

When you have the photo set the way you want it, click on it and drag it down into the video track on your Viewer Timeline.

You'll also see a red line appear under the clip, with the red area moving slowly to the right. When an effect is added, the affected video must be regenerated, or rendered.

This red line shows the progress of the rendering process. It may take a few moments for the rendering to complete.

When the rendering is done, you can move the Playhead to the beginning of the clip and then click on the play button to see your photo clip play, with the Ken Burns Effect now applied to the clip.

You then can edit it as you would a normal video clip.