Add camera moves to timelapse footage

Enhance your statically framed timelapse projects with digitally created zooms, tilts and pans


Video footage is usually captured at frame rates such as 25 or 30 frames per second (fps). When you play the footage the action unfolds at a ‘real time’ speed. On the other hand, the timelapse technique captures an image at specified intervals (such as one frame every five seconds).
In a timelapse clip you can see the hands of a clock spin more quickly (as you’ll see in our downloadable source clip). It is possible to capture timelapse sequences on an iPhone (if it’s running iOS 8) or on specialised gadgets such as the GoPro Hero4 Silver. To capture a successful timelapse sequence your camera needs to be fixed on a static tripod. Thanks to iMovie’s Ken Burns tools you can add more interesting camera moves to statically framed timelapse clips.


1 Import the clip

Go to File>New Movie. In the Create window choose No Theme. Click Create. Click OK. Click Import Media. Browse to our GoPro sourced Timelapse clip. Click Import Selected.


2 Add to Timeline

Double-click on the thumbnail in the Event window to add a yellow selection border to the whole clip. Drag the clip to the Timeline. Play the clip to see the timelapse action unfold.


3 Split the clip

At this stage the camera remains static throughout. Scrub the playhead until the girl in the blue hat is about to exit the frame. Right- click on the clip and choose Split Clip.


4 Split it again

Scrub the playhead forward until the lady in red is passing the tower. Right-click and choose Split Clip. The timelapse clip is now chopped up into three sections.


5 Choose Ken Burns

Click on the middle section of the timelapse footage. Click on the Cropping icon above the main viewer. In the Style section click on the Ken Burns button.


6 Choose zoom end point

Click on the End rectangle to select; it will change to a white border. Drag a corner handle to shrink the size of the End rectangle. Drag inside the rectangle to place around the tower.


7 Test the zoom

Click the blue tick icon to apply the zoom. Play the sequence. The camera will zoom in to the End point of the middle section. It will then jump back out to full frame in the third section.


8 Copy the zoom

Click on the middle section in the Timeline. Choose Edit>Copy. Click on the third section and choose Edit>Paste Adjustments>Crop. The third section will now also contain a zoom.


9 Adjust zoom start

Click on the third section. Click the Cropping icon. Drag the Start rectangle and place it over the End one. Click the tick. Now the third section will feature a static zoomed-in frame.

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