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Create camera movement in post-production – iMovie tutorial

By using the Ken Burns effect to add action to static clips, you can create cool digital camera moves like zooms and pans with ease. Just follow this guide.

10-minute Intermediate Tutorial
iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial
Camera moves can be tricky to perform well, especially when shooting with a handheld camera.
Even if you are using a tripod, it can be challenge to pan smoothly (unless you have an expensive tripod with a fluid head). And whenever you zoom into a distant subject, the magnified view amplifies any camera shake. Instead of panning and zooming on location, you can do a much smoother job by re-creating these moves in iMovie. This enables you to shoot a static clip using a cheap tripod and then create perfect camera moves using iMovie post-production tools, like the Ken Burns effect. Here’s how…

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step by Step

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step 1

Step 1: Create a project
Go to File>New Project. Create a project with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a frame rate of 30fps. Choose No Theme and click Create.

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step 2

Step 2: Import clips
Go to File>Import Movies. Browse to the Source Clips folder on our disc. Tick ‘Create new Event’. Tick ‘Optimize video’. Tick ‘Copy files’. Click Import

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step 3

Step 3: Add clip to project
Select the shot of the three swans in the Event browser and drag it to the Project window. We couldn’t zoom in close enough on location.

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step 4

Step 4: The End
Click ‘Crop, Rotate & Ken Burns’ icon. Click Ken Burns button in the Viewer. Click on the Viewer to swap from the green Start rectangle to the red End one.

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step 5

Step 5: Crop and zoom
Drag the red rectangle’s corners to crop the image tightly around the swans. The yellow arrow shows the movement the camera will make as it zooms.

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step 6

Step 6: Smooth moves
Click Done! Now hit the space bar to play the edited clip. The camera will start with a wide shot and zoom smoothly into a mid shot of the swans.

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step 7

Step 7: Add next clip
Now add the second clip to the project. The tripod- mounted camera remains static as the swan swims past. We can follow the swan with a digital pan.

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step 8

Step 8: Crop and re-frame 9: Create a pan
Click the Ken Burns icon once again. Click and drag the green Start rectangle. Drag the rectangle to Centre the swan within the cropped frame.

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Step 9

Step 9: Create a pan
Click and drag Crop the red End rectangle so that it’s the same size as the green Start rectangle. Drag the rectangle to the right to follow the swan. Click Done.

Click the image below to zoom in and view the annotations.

iMovie - Ken Burns Tutorial - Annotated

To complete this tutorial, you’ll need the source clips from our Issue 96 tutorial files download.