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Learn iMovie Week: Zoom and pan using Ken Burns

Use the Ken Burns effect to add smooth and steady camera moves to your video footage, such as zooms and pans in the third Learn iMovie Week Tutorial

If you’re shooting video on an iPhone you can’t zoom in to an interesting subject. If you shoot using a digital SLR it can still be a challenge to zoom in smoothly while panning to reframe. Thanks to iMovie’s Ken Burns commands you can film a wide shot, then digitally zoom and pan to create a tighter composition. We’ll show you how using a static clip. We will split it into three sections. After applying a zoom and pan to the middle section, you’ll learn how to crop the third section so that the camera holds on to the close-up view. This helps you add professional- looking camera moves and can be really helpful when dealing with problematic footage.

1: Create a new project

Go to File>New Project. Choose No Theme. Set the Aspect Ratio to Widescreen and the Frame Rate to 30 fps. Finally, click Create.

2: Import clip

Go to File>Import. Browse to the ‘Camera’ clip that you can download from our Tutorial Files page. Create a New Event. Tick Optimize Video then choose Full – Original Size.

3: Split the clip

Go to View>Playhead Info. Drag the clip into the Project window. Scrub to 6:00 and right-click. Choose Split Clip. Go to 12:00 and split the clip again.

4: Zoom in

Click on the middle section to highlight it with yellow. Click on the Crop, Rotate and Ken Burns icon. Then select the Ken Burns tab in the Viewer.

5: Zoom and pan

Click on the green Start label to change it to a red End label. Drag the red box’s corner handles to crop the shot. Drag inside the box to pan.

6: Jarring jump

Play the scene. At six seconds the camera zooms and pans. However, when we get to the third clip it suddenly jumps back to a wide shot.

7: Crop the clip

Click the middle and choose Edit>Copy. Click the third section and choose Edit>Paste Adjustments>Crop. Click the Crop icon to see the Ken Burns controls.

8: Create static shot

Drag the green Start box so that it overlaps the red End box. As the start and end points are the same the camera won’t move. Click Done.

9: Playback

Play the sequence. The camera will hold a wide shot for six seconds, then smoothly zoom and pan into a closeup. It will then hold on to the closeup.

Click Image to Enlarge:


This tutorial is the third in our Learn iMovie Week series; for more articles just like this, visit the Learn iMovie Week tag. At the end of the week, we’ll be giving away a prize to one lucky person who gets in touch with a question or problem related to iMovie on Mac or iOS. To get involved, simply tweet your question, plus the hashtag #LearniMovieWeek, to @iCreateMagazine or post on our Facebook wall.