8/11/04

The Ken Burns Effect on Steroids

Photo to Movie makes it simple.

You know you’ve arrived as a filmmaker when you have a special effect named after you. The new versions of Apple’s iMovie actually feature something called the “Ken Burns Effect.” If you’ve ever seen one of his movies — Jazz, The Civil War, Baseball — you know it well. The camera glides over an archival still photo, slowly panning, swooping, and gliding until it isolates a single area, and then zooms in on a telling detail. Or vice versa, as the case may be. The sense of motion is compelling, and handled well, revealing.



Now, thanks to LQ Graphics and their product Photo to Movie, there is an elegant way to achieve exactly those effects that took Ken Burns thousands of dollars and an expensive film school education to achieve. Photo to Movie makes it easy to import a set of photos, organize them in the iMovie timeline, then specify key frames that define the motion of the photos in the final movie. Transitions between photos include cross fade, wipe, iris, slide, push, zoom, color fade, and slide changer. Multiple tracks of audio can be added. Sophisticated font handling tools make is simple to add complex motion graphic effects to titles. Finished movies can be exported to NTSC or PAL, burned on a DVD, or formatted for viewing via e-mail, on the web, on a CD-ROM. I smell Oscar!

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