How to Imitate the Ken Burns Effect in iMovie Using iLife '11

When shooting and editing video, you can zoom into a video clip image and pan across the image, and you can combine zooming and panning in ways that suggest movement or the passing of time. Whether or not filmmaker Ken Burns is a household name, his documentaries (such as Ken Burns’ Jazz) have been watched by millions, and iLife pays him respect by naming this zooming and panning effect after him — the Ken Burns button at the top of the cropping view in the Viewer pane.

Ken Burns uses variations of this effect with photos in his documentaries with great success. You can use these effects on any source video clips, including clips you create with photos from your iPhoto library.

To add the Ken Burns effect, follow these steps:

  1. Select a clip in the Event Browser, and click the Cropping tool on the toolbar.

  2. Click the Ken Burns button at the top of the cropping view.

    Two cropping rectangles appear superimposed over the image in the Viewer pane, marked with these two words:

    • Start (in green) shows the cropped image at the start of the zoom or pan.

    • End (in red) shows the cropped image at the end of the zoom or pan.

      Adjust the Start and End cropping rectangles of the Ken Burns zooming and panning effect.
      Adjust the Start and End cropping rectangles of the Ken Burns zooming and panning effect.
  3. Click inside the Start cropping rectangle and then adjust its position and edges.

    Drag any corner or edge of the cropping rectangle to crop the image, or drag from the center to move the cropping rectangle, to show how the zoom or pan should start. As you drag the rectangle, the yellow arrow shows the path of the zoom or pan to the End cropping rectangle.

  4. Click and adjust the End cropping rectangle the same way as in Step 3.

    Click inside the End cropping rectangle and adjust it in the same way as in Step 3 to show how the zoom or pan should end. As you drag the rectangle, the yellow arrow shows the path of the zoom or pan from the Start cropping rectangle.

  5. Click Done to apply the Ken Burns effect.

To make the cropping rectangles easier to select, or to reverse the zoom and pan effect, you can exchange the positions of the End (red) and green (Start) cropping rectangles by clicking the small button with two arrows inside the selected cropping rectangle.

To remove the Ken Burns effect and restore your video to its original size, click the Fit button.

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