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Applying the Ken Burns effect to still images

From: Effective Storytelling with Final Cut Pro X

Video: Applying the Ken Burns effect to still images

So did you take the stills plunge and find a place for them in your story or did you decide to put your photojournalist cap on and edit an entire piece using just stills and audio? Whenever you do decide to use stills, you don't have to sit still on them forever. You can easily heighten the dramatic effect of an image or a portion of an image by zooming in or out on it. You'll use motion effects to do that, in Final Cut Pro X, it's called the Ken Burns effect. In the Project Library let's open the Moving Stills project.

Applying the Ken Burns effect to still images

So did you take the stills plunge and find a place for them in your story or did you decide to put your photojournalist cap on and edit an entire piece using just stills and audio? Whenever you do decide to use stills, you don't have to sit still on them forever. You can easily heighten the dramatic effect of an image or a portion of an image by zooming in or out on it. You'll use motion effects to do that, in Final Cut Pro X, it's called the Ken Burns effect. In the Project Library let's open the Moving Stills project.

If you remember from the previous movie, we created a compound clip that contains six different still images. At the moment, some of them don't even fill the frame and you see what's behind them, which in this case is Paul. We also have the music, and we're going to combine these things together to make a very interesting story, but first we have to make changes to those still images. To do that, we double-click the Compound Clip to open them in a separate timeline. The first thing we want to do is select the clip that we want to work on, and we'll start at the beginning with the boy on the rock.

Then we choose the type of transformation, which is crop. Now crop happens to have three different possibilities. The first type of crop, which is Trim, allows you to drag an edge to remove certain pixels from the image. I am going to undo that because we want to use or at least start with all the pixels in this image. The second crop option brings up a frame in your image that represents the aspect ratio of your project. You have the choice then of resizing the image, but maintaining the aspect ratio.

By moving that over the portion of the clip you want, you would now see this as a still image, but cropped in this particular way. I am going to undo those options, and the next thing I want to do is show you the third option, which is what we're going to use to apply moves on these still images. The Ken Burns effect brings up two different framings; one is the red framing, which represents the end of the zoom, and the green framing represents where you are going to start the zoom, and notice you see Start and End next to those frames.

Well, let's go ahead and leave the starting frame as it is with the wide shot, but let's click into the End frame and drag a corner to make that smaller, and then we can click inside and drag down to reposition this, so that the boy is more centered in the frame. If you don't want to be that tight and you want to create a little bit more space around the boy, you can certainly do that, but go ahead and resize, so that the boy is the center focus of this image. While you're in the Crop mode, you have the ability to preview this motion effect, and we see the zoom in to the boy, just as though the camera were zooming in.

This allows you to direct the focus and attention of your viewer to this boy. It's allowing you to make a statement about this boy. The other thing you can try is swapping the framing, where you might start with where you were ending up, and then end up where you were originally starting. Let's preview that effect. We see the boy is sitting on rock, we zoom out to see the pastoral scene that he is sitting in. You might like that better. For now, let's swap those back to what we started with because the purpose of this particular project is to focus in on the children of the community.

So we'll leave that one as it is. If you're finished, you say Done. Then we can continue, and what you're doing is simply choosing Crop, choosing the Ken Burns type of crop, and then choosing where you want to start and end each motion effect. So in this case, we could start with a little bit of a wider shot to include more of the kids that are in the shot, but then we might want to end around the boy who is so intently playing the xylophone. Do you want to include the sticks in the xylophone? Is that important? Or is the look on the boy's face what you're after? You can choose, as a storyteller, that's one of the choices that you make.

So once you get familiar with the process of what you're doing and how this effect works, you can fairly quickly create some interesting effects. If we wanted to just zoom in to the group of children in the middle of the frame, we can just crop and reposition our End frame and click Done. The teacher is quite a beautiful image. If we go into Crop > Ken Burns, we are going to reposition the start and make this starting position a little wider, and we're going to create the end zooming in to the teacher, the board and one of the students.

In the classroom, there is a young girl who is staring at the camera. We could be zooming into her and some of the other children that are looking at the cameraman. Notice as we move from one image to another, the crop stays on. Final Cut is anticipating what you want to do. So we'll just zoom in. We are in fact just using this motion effect in order to create the effect of zooming in. And then finally we have the shot of the kids with the Kawomera sign. In this one, let's go ahead and crop, but this time let's start with a close-up of the sign and a few of the kids, and then zoom out to the ending frame.

But we may not need to be so wide, so go ahead and reposition and resize however you want to, to tell the story you're telling. Once you have created these zoom ins, it's nice to add a little touch to smooth them out, and that is transitions. By pressing Command+T you add a transition to all the selected clips. Now I'll press Command+Left bracket, and that will take me back to my primary project and here I see the zoom ins. Let's take a look at a few of these clips to see how effective those zoom ins have made this project.

(Video Playing) Paul: If people love their trees, their coffee trees, then the coffee trees are going to be taken care of. And the trees have to produce food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and eduction for their families and their communities in order to be loved. Otherwise you look at the trees if you are a farmer and you say, these trees are producing strife, and misery, and poverty, can't love that -- Diana Weynand: So zooming in or out of an image gives you the ability to guide or force your audience to look at something that they may not have seen, or that isn't that visible in a wider shot.

It's a great opportunity to juxtapose two ideas, one spoken and one visual. So ask yourself, what do you want your audience to see and then guide them to it.

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This video is part of

Image for Effective Storytelling with Final Cut Pro X
Effective Storytelling with Final Cut Pro X

39 video lessons · 11761 viewers

Diana Weynand
Author

 
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  1. 5m 54s
    1. Welcome
      1m 20s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 34s
  2. 16m 21s
    1. Exploring different types of storytellers
      7m 9s
    2. Identifying story elements
      5m 9s
    3. Finding the essence of the story
      4m 3s
  3. 15m 6s
    1. Organizing footage into folders
      5m 29s
    2. Creating a disk image as a contained workspace
      4m 51s
    3. Importing folders and stills as keyword collections
      4m 46s
  4. 22m 52s
    1. Adding keywords to make clips accessible
      3m 33s
    2. Using favorite tags to call clips into action
      7m 16s
    3. Making notes to capture observations
      4m 1s
    4. Performing a complex search
      2m 28s
    5. Prepping clips for editing
      5m 34s
  5. 28m 47s
    1. Finding the meat of the clips
      5m 11s
    2. Don't be puzzled over your first edit
      4m 27s
    3. Creating project versions and developing story diversity
      5m 16s
    4. Putting story threads in order
      7m 25s
    5. Sculpting the story within the timeline
      6m 28s
  6. 46m 5s
    1. Trimming distractions from a story
      6m 48s
    2. Compounding thoughts into one primary story project
      9m 52s
    3. Evaluating the project for story content and pacing
      7m 1s
    4. Fine-tuning the edits in a project
      7m 36s
    5. Refining the primary sound bed
      7m 55s
    6. Organizing separate story segments into independent storylines
      6m 53s
  7. 24m 11s
    1. Storyboarding a narrative script using placeholders
      7m 22s
    2. Recording a narration track to explore script ideas
      4m 40s
    3. Changing pitch in a temporary narration track to identify different characters
      5m 27s
    4. Adding sound effects to create depth
      6m 42s
  8. 41m 2s
    1. Embellishing the story with cutaways to B-roll footage
      9m 3s
    2. Finessing cutaways to enhance the story
      5m 3s
    3. Editing and arranging a still-image storyline
      6m 22s
    4. Applying the Ken Burns effect to still images
      6m 33s
    5. Altering your story's "look" using the Color Board
      8m 4s
    6. Applying effects to enhance story elements
      5m 57s
  9. 28m 57s
    1. Retiming to lengthen or shorten music and clips
      6m 48s
    2. Adding freeze frames to end or start sections
      6m 40s
    3. Video finishing touches
      8m 6s
    4. Audio finishing touches
      7m 23s
  10. 1m 7s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 7s

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