Knowledge is power...

Return to Blogs

Ken Burns Effect in Final Cut Pro and Express


Randy Grafton

April 10, 2012 06:04PM

I had seen the Ken Burns effect before I knew what it was called and found it to be a very engaging technique for stills in video. The effect is easy to add in iPhoto but not so straight forward in Final Cut Pro/Express. I found some other blogs mentioning how to do it but they fell short of any still photos that needed to be smaller than the screen size of the project. 

I have to assume you understand keyframe editing/animating in Final Cut.

With your still image already scaled to size and selected in the Viewer window, go to the Effects tab of the Browser window. Navigate to Video Filters -> Perspective. Add the filter 'Basic 3D' to your photo in the Viewer window. With this filter you will be modifying the Scale parameter. To have the effect "come at you", start with a value of 100 for your initial keyframe and increase the value for a subsequent keyframe. To have the effect "go away from you, start with a value over 100 for the initial keyframe and decrease to a value at or above 100. By staying at or above 100 you will keep your photo at the size set by the Scale parameter of the Motion tab in the Viewer.

On a side note I found that keeping the keyframes to two, an initial and "destination" keyframe provided a very smooth, almost soothing motion effect. I also found that experimenting with the rotation parameters in the Basic 3D effect on the same keyframe timings for the scale parameter added some additional appeal to the effect.

The Author

Randy Grafton