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Ken Burns Effect for Avid Media Composer

Check out this short video tutorial on how to create the 'Ken Burns' effect using the Pan and Zoom effect within Avid Media Composer.

You can continue reading for a full text based tutorial on this same concept.....

Using the Pan and Zoom with Media Composer or Avid Xpress is often a big mystery for Avid users.  Here are the basic steps on how it works.  The Pan and Scan effect produces a similar effect used by the famous director 'Ken Burns'.  The effect can simulate a motion control camera effect that is used for zoom into still images to produce smooth motion.

Click on these images to see the difference between using the Pan and Zoom feature, compared to importing the image directly into an Avid bin.

Pan and Zoom applied









 Standard Import into Avid Bin


1:  Find a hi-res (mega-pixel) image.  The higher the resolution, the better.  Leave this image on your computer's desktop.  DO NOT import it into Avid Xpress.

2: Within the Avid software, you'll need at clip one clip in your sequence.  This clip is only for placement purposes.  The contents of the clip doesn't matter, you're only using it for placement and timing.  For the purposes of this tutorial, use a clip that runs 2 to 5 seconds.


pan_and_zoom_effect.gif3:  Navigate to the Avid effects pallette and choose the pan and zoom effect from the image category.






4:  Place the 'Avid Pan & Zoom' effect onto your 'dummy' clip within the Avid sequence.










5: Click on the effect editor button located in the upper left corner of the timeline window..  It looks like a pair of seatbelts. This will open the Avid effect editor.


6: Within the Avid effect's editor. Click in the upper left corner to activate the 'file open' dialog box.


















7: Find your hi-res (mega-pixel) file that you would like to use within the Pan and Zoom effect.  In this example, I am using a hi-res picture labeled 'carnival'.









 8:  The image should now appear within the Avid composer window.





















9:  Use the 'Zoom Slider' to zoom into your image.  You should see a bounding box that will give you an idea of what the actual viewer will be seeing. 

At the bottom of the Composer window you'll see two keyframes.  The keyframes are those two small triangles at the beginning and end of the clip.  A keyframe is active when it is pink.  Click on the first keyframe, and set the zoom slider until the 'target' is zoomed into your image.  Click on the last keyframe and expand your 'target' area to reveal more of the video image. 

10.  Then toggle the Display setting to 'target' to see the final output.




















After setting the Display parameter to 'target', you can see the image still looks clear without becoming pixelized.



















*You'll also want to change your Avid Pan and Scan 'filtering' parameters to something other than 'real-time'.  This will improve the quality of the final output after you've rendered the effect.

So, the basic science in creating a motion path is to work in 'Source' mode when creating keyframes, and then switch back to 'Target' mode for output.


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