Pan and scan effects can be added to still images used in videos to give the viewer a sense of motion. It is commonly referred to as The Ken Burns Effect. This is not because he was the first to use it, but rather because he was the innovator who made it popular through creative use of the effects in his PBS and History Channel historical documentaries.
The Ken Burns effect gives the illusion of constant motion, which helps retain a viewer’s attention. Most viewers will lose interest in a video if there isn’t some motion or change taking place on the screen every 3 to 10 seconds. Pay attention to what directors and editors do with motion pictures. They constantly change camera angles every few seconds not out of necessity, but with the intention of taking advantage of this psychological aspect of the viewer. It keep the viewers engaged in the movie. Without motion, viewers quickly lose interest.
The video shown above is good example of using Ken Burns’ pan and scan effect to add motion to a series of still photo images.
The Ken Burns Effect does something similar with pan and scan effects added during the editing phase of video production. Most sophisticated editing tools have the ability to add these effects. With pan and scan, a smaller area of a larger still image is slowly panned across the screen. The image itself does not move, but the viewable area appears to move. The way that Ken Burns does it, every still photo scene has some motion effect. Most of the time it is very slow and barely noticeable, but the viewer’s mind does see it. Sometimes it is a slow scan from the right to left on an image. Sometimes that is reversed. Other times the slow zoom-in or zoom-out is used.
The Ken Burns Effects can be a great way to incorporate still photos into video production whenever video clips do not exist. Company history documentaries, family history videos, and some types of tutorials can be mad effective through the use of these techniques. When done properly, the effects can be as interesting as with the use of actual video clips.