Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fast & Cheap Ken Burns Effect in Final Cut Pro

So you want or need a Ken Burns effect quickly and you don't have $50 for a plug-in and don't want or feel like messing with Keyframes. What's another option?

iPhoto. It's free and you already have it installed. The Golden Triangle applies here: Good, Fast, Cheap…Choose Two.

With iPhoto you'll get Fast and Cheap since the export will be limited to 640 x 480.

So how do you do it?

1. Load your photos for the Ken Burns Effect into iPhoto.
2. Select them all in iPhoto so they're all highlighted.
3. Click on the little "+" plus sign at the bottom left of the iPhoto interface.
4. Fourth from the left, or Fourth from the right, click on "Slideshow".
5. Name it, Make sure "Use selected items in new slideshow" is ticked, and hit Create.
6. From here tick ""Ken Burns Effect".
7. Hit the "Music" button with the iTunes icon and at the top of this sheet UNTICK "Play music during slideshow". Hit OK.
(OPTIONAL) Leave Effect and Transition alone if you want the Ken Burns look, but feel free to experiment with them though.
8. Tap Preview for a quick preview of the slideshow or Play to actually watch it. (Tap Escape to cancel the slideshow if you hit Play and have seen enough) (iPhoto will start the Play from the image that's highlighted.
9. Click Settings with the gear icon if you want to adjust the duration of the slides (images). The default duration is 3 seconds. You should leave "Automatic Ken Burns Effect" ticked. Repeat Slideshow doesn't really matter since we're going to export this slideshow as a movie file.
10. Optional - If you want to adjust the duration of a particular slide, click it in the timeline at the time (or use the arrow key buttons on the bottom left) to highlight it, then click "Adjust". If you want to fine tune a photo's "Ken Burnsiness" then Tick "Ken Burns Effect" and adjust Start or End, the Zoom and by dragging it around the starting position of the image. (Keep in mind the speed of the Ken Burns zooms is a function of the initial zoom position of the image and the duration it's on screen)
11. Hit Shift + Command + E to Export it. From the export dialog choose Large (640 x 480) [I'm not sure if iPhoto supports larger exports than that, more experimenting is needed] then select where you want it saved, give it a name and hit the Export button.

You'll end up with a .mov (MPEG4) 640 x 480 movie of your slide show you can then dump into FCP. Is this the best way to do this? Absolutely not; but it's fast. If you want a Cheap, Good -but not Fast- way to do this you'll need to bring all your photos into FCP then Keyframe moves on them (I suggest doing 10 moves then repeating them over and over with Option + V but that's for another post).


Burns said...

you can also do that with the Imovie that comes with your mac, just make them in that... its fairly easy and then drag them over to final cut

Bart Peaslee said...

I have tried these and the iphoto slide show to quicktime does not pickup the Ken Burns effect.
Is there special software required?

Jesse Watkins said...

Awesome information! Thanks for documenting this—saved me a couple hours.

Lisa said...

The same is true in iMovieHD and with higher resolution. :-) Thanks for the tip!