The Ken Burns Effect: Bringing Photos to Life | Jason Boone | Skillshare

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The Ken Burns Effect: Bringing Photos to Life

teacher avatar Jason Boone

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Resolution and Pixels

    • 3. Setting up your Project

    • 4. Framing, Composition and Movement

    • 5. Basic Animation and Keyframing

    • 6. Writing the Script

    • 7. Editing Your Sequence

    • 8. Export and Share

    • 9. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Filmmaker Ken Burns is known for his documentary series on PBS, including The War, National Parks, Baseball, and numerous others. Burns signature style includes camera movements across photographs, including pan and zoom moves. This method is a great tool for filmmakers, helping to bring life to a two dimensional still image. Learn how to bring photos to life in your video productions following in the footsteps of this great documentary master.

In this class you will create a short documentary video sequence (1 minute in length) with the provided photographs utilizing the Ken Burns effect in your editing process. I will be using Adobe software products for this course, specifically Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop. However, the fundamental skills discussed in this course can be executed in any video editing program. A very basic understanding of video editing is helpful, but not required for this class.

The assignment will teach you how to bring photographs to life through composition, framing, and movement. You will develop a better understanding of cinematography, video editing, and storytelling.

The subject matter for the short documentary sequence is JFK’s moon speech. Photographs are provided, as well as an audio narration for you to edit with. You don’t need to edit the audio narration, only the photographs.


Meet Your Teacher

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Jason Boone


Jason Boone is a video producer and avid traveler. He has a BA in Television Production and an MA in Digital Journalism and Design. His work has been featured on PBS, National Geographic, Discovery, Yahoo! and Current TV.

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1. Intro: Hi, My name's Jason Boone and I'm a video producer for my first skill share. Of course, I'm going to be talking to you about the Qin Burns effect. Ken Burns is a documentary filmmaker known for his Siris on PBS, including the war, national parks, baseball and numerous others. Burns Signature style includes movement across photographs, including Pan and Zoom moves and varying compositions. And this class you'll create a short, one minute documentary video sequence about JFK's Moon speech way. Choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other thing not because they are easy, but because they are hard photographs and a narration tracker provided you apply Ken Burns Effect. The photos in your editing process assign. It will teach you how to bring photographs to life through movement, framing and composition. Through these exercises, you will develop a better understanding of cinematography, scripting, video editing and the storytelling process. Now to teach this course, I'll be using Adobe software products, specifically Adobe premiere Pro and Photo Shop. But you can use any video editing program you like along with some photo editing software. And a basic knowledge of video editing is helpful, but it's not required, so let's get started 2. Resolution and Pixels: understanding a few technical aspects about photography and video is gonna help you immensely when you start working with photos and your video productions. So in this module we're gonna discuss resolution and pixels. Now, both photos and videos are made up of pixels or picture elements. The greater the number of pixels, the more crisp and clear your image will appear. Resolution is simply a measure of how many pixels and image contains. The most common high definition video resolution is 1920 by 10 80 which essentially means 1920 pixels wide by 1000 and 80 pixels high. Let's take a look at some of the various flavors of video resolutions. Here we have three different high definition video resolutions in a standard definition video resolution. We have four K 1920 by 10 80 12 80 by 7 27 20 by 4 80 Just be aware that there's a shorthand when discussing resolution, and you may hear people say four K two K 10 80 or 7 20 Now let's compare one of our exercise photographs with our video resolutions. Here we have a picture of Buzz Aldrin on the moon. This photo has a resolution of 2700 by 2700 or 2700 pixels high and 2700 pictures wide. This is a good resolution toe work with in high definition video, you can see the size of the photograph compared with high definition video frame 1920 by 10 . 80. You would have to scale this photo down to see the entire photo in this video frame. Now, that's gonna give you pretty sharp picture that you can scale up and see very good detail when you're working in this 10 80 or 7 20 video sequins. 3. Setting up your Project: having a standard workflow is important, and I found the organization makes the editing process much easier. Whether you're working with a team or whether you're working all by yourself, I'll give you a quick preview of how I stay organized. Now, wherever you keep your files, it's important to have a standard folder directory that makes sense, and that's gonna make sense. Whether you have to pass off this project to another editor, someone else, it's important that they need to be able to understand what you did also for yourself. If you're coming back to this project weeks or even months later, it makes it much easier and much cleaner. If you have everything organized. I like Teoh create folders for all the different assets, such as audio photos, human project files and video. And for more in depth projects with more assets, you would have more sub folders. Now let's go over to premiere and get our premier project set up. Make sure you have your project panel open Your project panel is kind of the heart of your project, which is where all your media and your sequence files will live. If you can't see it go upto window and hit project, and then it should pop right up. Now similar to the folders on our drive, we're gonna create folders for our media assets here in the project panel. If you go to the bottom of the project panel, you're going to see a new been button. Let's go ahead and click That will give us a folder. Now let's create one for audio. We're gonna have photos and let's create one for sequences. And then let's go ahead and create our secrets like this. And then right next to the new bin folder, there's a new item button. Let's click sequence here. This is the sequence or timeline, where we're going to be editing our video together and go under digital SLR 10 80 p 24 frames. If you're working on an older version of Premier it just find a, uh, created sequence that's 1920 by 10 80. I'm gonna call it JFK Main Speech. Now that we've got our folders set up, we're gonna bring all of our assets in. So there's a variety ways you can import us cause a secret folder. There's a variety of different ways we can import our media, you can control or right click Select import. You can do file import if you have your project panel selected, or you can simply double click in your project panel to bring up the import dialog box. The way I like to do it is just have my folder over top here and just simply drag and drop . So we're gonna drag Jeff Key JFK Moon speech straight over into our audio folder. Uh, it's taking a little bit there. We're gonna grab our photos, drag all of our photos in here. Okay, Now, in the exercise files, I've provided an Adobe Premier Pro Sisi 2015 project file with everything as you see here, so you don't need to create this. But if you like the practice, you can go ahead and create it. And now that we've got everything set up, one of the most important parts of this process is familiarizing yourself with the content . So go ahead and listen to the JFK speech that I put together. You're not gonna need to be editing this, but just go ahead and listen to this and familiarize yourself and think about possible visuals that you'd like to use over the speech. Also, familiarize yourself with all the photographs. We have, uh, have included 10 photographs here. There's which you're going to be editing together over the narration. So go ahead and click through these. If DoubleClick um, it brings him up in the source panel here. 4. Framing, Composition and Movement: using the Ken Burns effect on photographs allows you to be a cinematographer in the edit room. Use many of the techniques and tools a cinematographer would use, such as framing, composition and movement, for example, utilizing just one high res image, I can edit together a sequence of shots, including a wide shot, a medium shot and close up. I can set the scene with the wide shot, moving to a medium shot and then cut to several close ups to reveal specific details of the visual. Let's look at this picture of JFK. We don't have much reference here of what's going on in the photo. It's just a close up on JFK's face, but when we apply a slow zoom out, we can reveal what's happening in the scene. You can apply this same effect to the shot of Buzz Aldrin. I can start off on an extreme close up of the reflection in this helmet and then zoom all the way out to a wide shot. Here's a shot of the Saturn five rocket. If I had sound effects of a launch edited together with narration, I could do a nice tilt up or possibly a tilt down. I can vary the speed depending on what type of music were using. Or if I only have a set amount of time, I can draw it out by making the move slow. Now just a cinematographer uses these techniques in the storytelling process. So can you. With photographs, you can draw viewers. I toe where you want it. You can use close up shots and movement to help convey emotion, and you can use master shots to set the scene. Using these techniques in conjunction with music and narration can help to create a very powerful and engaging piece of material. But unlike the cinematographer, you weren't using a camera. You're using animation and key framing to bring your photos to life. 5. Basic Animation and Keyframing: we're gonna bring the Ken Burns effect to life through basic animation and key framing. Nike framing allows you to change, in effect, their attributes over time, whether it's scale, position, rotation or even a change in the volume of an audio clip. Let's revisit the photo of Buzz Aldrin on the moon Here we had a slow scaling effect, zooming out to a wide shot of Aldrin on the moon. We're gonna recreate this with key framing in Adobe Premiere Pro. Okay, so we're back in premiere and let's take a look at this photo and put it into our timeline . Open up your photos, and if we double click the photo here, this is the photo we want to use. Aldrin underscore Apollo 11. We want to drag it into our timeline. So we have to open up our sequence here. DoubleClick are sequence. You can see we have the timeline here and the program. And then our source monitor would take the photo, drag it into our timeline here, and you can see it come up in our program panel here, and it should look like this. You don't want it to be auto scaling to see the whole photograph in your program monitor. If it does that, we need to change in a setting in our preferences, which under general is a default scale to frame size. You want that to be unchecked Now we've got it in our timeline. And again, if you look for all you newbies, this timeline in program are looking at the same thing. When we move it on our time line, you can see it's moving on our program monitor here and we move on our program monitor. You can see it moving in our timeline. Okay, so now we want to apply an animation to our skill in position properties to apply a slow zooming out effect on this photograph. We want this animation to be safe five seconds in length. So we want to, and we want a little bit of time before it and after the animation. So let's make this photograph on our time line. 10 seconds. It'll give us a little bit of a buffer there so you can drag this out to 10 seconds. Um, here's one way to do it. You can type in 10 here. That's gonna bring your play head straight to 10 seconds and then you can drag that photo out. I don't bring it exactly to 10 seconds, and we want our animation to started about two seconds. And so let's go Two seconds in their play. It's in the right position. And how we gonna do this? We've got to start adding our key frames to make this photo animate. So what we're gonna do is open up the effect controls panel, which is right here. If you can't see it, Goto window effect controls. There's nothing in the panel right now. Why is that? We need to select a photograph on our time line, and then all of our attributes pop up in the panel here. So now if you drop down motion, we can see scale in position, these air, the two attributes we're gonna at key frames to and change our animation. And if you see here, there's a timeline view as well. If I'm shuttle on the timeline, it's moving. My play hit here and in the program honor again. Let's move this back to two seconds where we want our animation to start. Now, if you look over here by position and scale you can see the toggle animation button. This is gonna add key frames. And there we go. We've got key frames now. We want our animation. We want a position and scale our photo to the beginning position of our animation. So we're gonna we want it to begin on Aldrin's faces the close up. So we're gonna do, we're going to scale up and then we're gonna move the position. Now, this is X and Y attributes of our position X being right to left. And why being up and down. So we're gonna move our why? To move the photo intelligence face. Let's skillet in a little bit more. Move it. So that's a good starting position there. Okay, now we want to go five seconds. So we go back down to our timeline. Let's go to seven seconds. It'll start. Animation starts at two seconds and ends at five year seven seconds. Now, let's get this back into a wide shot here and you see, a soon as I changed one of the attributes on position here, it auto adds a key friend because I changed the attributes. It's gonna add a key frame, see, when I change scale boom and adds a key frame. Now, if you want to get rid of these key frames, if you look right here, this is how we can navigate between key frames and also add or remove key frames. So I just click these arrows here, it's gonna jump between two key frames. Now again, we're at the end key frame here at seven seconds. We want to get this. You could scale it all the way out until you start to see the edges of the photograph and then bring him just in the frame here so we can get it as wide as possible. Then change our why. Position attributes to reposition it right there. It looks good to me. Okay, So, essentially, our animation should be ready to go. Let's drag it to the beginning of our timeline here and hit space bar or play on the program on here and let's see what we got. So one second and then a two seconds, the animation starts zooming out, so it's looking good. It ends at seven seconds, and then we have another three seconds before it goes to black. So this looks pretty good, but it's a little bit. It's a little jarring at the beginning of the animation and at the end of the animation. So what we're gonna do is come up here. We can select our key frames, and we're just gonna add, like, a smoothing effect to both of these key frames. So let's at the beginning here, right, click or control Click and we're going to just add a little ease out. Now, this is just affecting the key frames here. He's out and you'll see. They change if we drop down scale here. I'm gonna undo that and redo it. So if you could see right now, if you're looking at your lawsuit here, changing the speed at which this animation begins, just smooth it out by adding an easy out. Now let's get our ending key frames and we want to add and he's in and you'll see that change there. So now let's watch our animation again. Two seconds. It should start, and it's a nice, smooth start, and now it's going too smoothly. Come to a stop at seven seconds. So that's exactly how we wanted to look. Now if we we can move our key friends around. If he would say we wanted to start a three seconds, we can go to three seconds and then we can just grab all of our key frames and move it. And now our animation will start in three seconds. And if we need to adjust either the beginning or the end of the animation, drag your flight, head over the key frames and then adjust accordingly. Now that we know how to animate nad key frames, let's get our video planned out through a script. 6. Writing the Script: it's time to map out our visuals with a video script. A little pre production planning goes a long way, and writing a rough script is gonna help our edit come together smoothly. Now the script serves as a blueprint in the editing process and will also allow us to communicate our vision with others before actually going through with the edit. Now I've provided a script document. The exercise files, which you can access as a Google doc or download, is a Microsoft Word document. And when you open up the script, you're going to see that the audio column is all filled up with air narration. Again, we're just editing photographs utilizing the Ken Burns Effect over audio narration. So all we're gonna do is fill out our visuals in the video column on Page two, you'll find video terms to describe our framing, composition and visual movements, as well as the names of all the photographs for reference. So let's start with the 1st 15 2nd chunk of our script here, which is basically this row. We're gonna listen to our narration again and familiarize ourselves with this section and think about what photographs we might want to put over it. And what kind of movements were gonna want on those photographs? Let's go ahead and get back into premiere and listen to our audio again. The 1st 15 seconds. Go ahead and double click. You are way file here in the project panel. It's gonna launch in our source monitor. Let's bring it to the beginning and go ahead and listen. The 1st 15 seconds, man in his quest for knowledge and progress is determined and cannot be retired. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we joined in it or not. And it is one of the great adventures of all time. Okay, It's right about 14 seconds, actually. So I think what we can do here is we're gonna be able to put in. I'm gonna wanna put in two photographs within this 14 2nd span of time here. And I think it would be good to have a shot of JFK at the podium to kind of open up with. So I think I'm gonna go with this one here, and it would be nice to kind of have a revealing shot. Slow move, revealing his face. So I'm gonna do a tilt up shot from the podium somewhere around here, slowly tilting up to reveal his face. Let's go ahead and write that in our scripts and the video calling here and the photograph iss JFK 02 and we're gonna have a medium shot, and it's gonna have a slow tilt up to reveal face and the way I like to form at this. You can format, however you'd like, but I do lower case for the image or the visual. And then I do all caps just for the keywords of the composition in the actual movement. Okay, so that's covering our first little sentence. Here. Be a seven second move and for the next let's pick. Let's listen to that section again. Your face will go ahead when we joined in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time. I think this JFK rocket shot the same move. We're going to start in on a close up of his face and then do a zoom move out to reveal the entire White Shut. I think this would be a good visual for next photograph, so it's go and put this in JFK Rockets. It's gonna be a close up on a close up of face. Slow zoom out to a wide shot. Okay, so we've got our 1st 2 visuals there. Let's do one more here and then thesis from 15 to 20 seconds for the eyes of the world. Now look into space to the moon and to the planets beyond. Let's go ahead and listen to the tone of that for the eyes of the world. Now look in his face to the moon and the planet beyond here. Okay, I think an obvious choice might be one of the moon shots. Um, actually, let's go with Earthrise, and I'm gonna have a shot of just Earth and do a tilt down move and reveal just part of the moon. Here. Let's go ahead and put that in our video column for the next Earthrise. Either close, upper medium shot of earth, slow tilt down to reveal moon. Okay, Now, go ahead and continue this process for the rest of the script. And then once you're done, save your script out and share with us on the project gallery. And then this will be our blueprint to edit our sequence together 7. Editing Your Sequence: Okay. I've got my script already to G O. Now we just need to go and edit and apply our key frames and put everything together. So let's go into premiere here, open up our sequence and get started. First will drop in our audio file in the audio track here. If this isn't already open here, just double click your tracks. You can see the way for mode here. Okay, Now open up our photos. Let's go ahead and close audio. Go back to our shift and start cutting. First photos JFK 02 medium shot. Slow tilt up. Okay, so let's grab JFK. Oh, to bring it right in. He's gonna be about seven seconds. Let's go to seven seconds and drag this out. Okay. So slow. Tilt up. Let's go to our effect controls panel and starter animating here can drag these to make sure it's I could size here, So we're gonna add key frames to our position because we're just moving position, But let's scale it up. Do like a medium shot here. Okay. We're gonna start just below his face to get starting position. They're going to drag that key frame to the beginning. here and the end of our animation will be here. Okay, now let's drag that to the end. Take a look at it, man. And his quest for knowledge and progress is determined and cannot be deterred. The great. Okay, now we'll bring that key frame back just a little bit, and then he's in, and it's just gonna hold on that for a little bit. So let's see. Cannot be hurt. Okay, let's go back to the script. Next one is the JFK Rockets, with a slow zoom out a wide shot from the close up of his face. This is a cool photograph. Okay, let's go to, like 14 15 seconds. Drag this out, select it and at our key frames here. Now, if you look this photographs a little bit lower resolution. So it's all subjective, though, if if the photograph isn't looking good enough for you, if it's looking a little too greeny, you know you don't have to use use it. So it's It's all subjective and up to you what you want to use and what you don't want to use. Quality wise because we're scaling this up quite a bit. There's a good position to begin. Drag your key frames over to the beginning, and one way we can quickly key frames and get it back to a wide shot is just hit the reset reset parameters and it's it's getting for a little frozen up right now. But you're there. We go. OK, now, as long as our play heads over the key frames here, we just scale it back up to where the edges filled the frame. And there we go. And now we grab our key frames, bring into the end. That's quite a bit quicker than adjusting all these parameters and trying to find. Tune it back to center. Okay, whips. Let's go back into the Fed controls panel. All right, got that Now. Earthrise close up of Earth. Slow tilt down to reveal Moon. Where's Earthrise? Here's your thrice You'll see I can. You can either drag the photo in from the source monitor or straight from the project panel . However you'd like to do it. This one ends around 2021 seconds. So let's dragged in and you can see I'm just selecting the time here and manually typing in , and that snaps your play head right to that time. And now I'm going to zoom in to look at my workspace a little bit closer, just hitting the plus and minus keys. Okay, now select the Earthrise photograph. Go back to effect controls to at our animation. Let's bring the play head so we can see the photograph. It's actually a good starting position right there. So let's keep from the position. Drag it to the beginning, and that would just move the Y parameter to reveal a little bit of that moon as our end, then dragged that to the end. Let's go ahead and take a look at these 1st 3 photographs, man, and his quest for knowledge and progress is determined and cannot be determined. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we joined in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time for the eyes of the world. Now look into space to the moon and planets beyond. You know this transition right here between JFK rockets and Earthrise. I think we should add a cross dissolve, which is basically going to dissolve between the two time Looks good, but you see the photograph of JFK come to do an abrupt stop. That's because of the key frames. When you add a cross dissolve, it adds a little bit of time for the transition. So we have to adjust those key frames on each of the photographs or the clips that were part of the transition. So now it'll transition smooth way dio. Okay, so that was Earthrise. Now we dio JFK a one medium shot slow pan left to right. So grab JFK one bringing into your timeline. It's about 10 seconds. So we drag it out to about about 32nd mark there, select the photograph, Let's get it. So it's gonna pan from left to right. We might want to start over here and then key frame that position. That's a start. And of our animations to bring that key frame over to the beginning. We were just gonna move the X value position over a little bit and then dragged that here. So that's gonna be just this slow pan over beyond surely the opening vistas of space. Okay, that's good. Now, Saturn five were at 30 seconds here. Saturn five oh, to medium shot tilt up. Now let's grab Saturn 502 and I'm dragging it over into here. Let's zoom back out and zoom back in on this position here soon, my little. See it. Okay, let's get back to the script. I forgot. How long is this? This is another roughly 12th clip. So let's go to 40 seconds. Okay, Here's the play. Had snapped into their drag that out and select the photo. We're gonna animate this. Drag the play head over so we can see the photo. Okay, We're gonna start kind of at the bottom. Maybe we can scale out a little low too far. Hebdo. Let's start there with position. We're just gonna be moving. Are animating r Y position. So we got the beginning of our animation. Let's go to the end, Which should be up here. So this is a nice tilt up. Let's see how it looks. It is. I'll go and they may well have. Okay, that's looking good. Just for time. Sick. I'm not watching them. It would take 20 minutes to watch all these slow animations. Okay, Next up. 40 seconds. His Muno one. Let's go to moon on one. Grab that and you'll notice in the script. It goes from 40 seconds to the end, and we have three photographs and how we can just kind of find Tune these in accordingly. So what would you here is this says Slow. Zoom in. So we want to start out a little bit wider. So let's scale out on this a little as much as we can. That's a good starting position. Okay, there's a beginning of our animation. Now we'll go in just a little bit more and that and you know, let's in this one. Not at the end of the clip. Let's have it hold. So it goes, he's in here, and then it's gonna stay there for a little bit. And just for fun, let's add a little rotation. So at zero, and unless rotate it by like 10 degrees, let's see how that looks. And we're gonna ease into the rotation as well. That's good on here in our timeline and watch it fly the Atlantic, we choose to go to the booth. Okay, now, our last two photographs Apollo 11 pain left to right, and then our aldrin shot on the moon Slow zoom out, which we have already done, which will redo. Okay, so Apollo 11 strike that in drag it right about here. Let's go ahead and drag our next one. And just to fill out the whole timeline never go. Okay, so let's grab this. Apollo 11 drag our play head over to see what it is. Very cool shot. This is a pan from left to right. So let's zoom in and let's g o great. Here. Let's start there key from our position. Starting animation there. I'm gonna go from left to right. Well, just a little bit. Just like a sweep across. We choose to go to the moon in this. Detained. We used to go to the moon and it's very cool. Okay, Now for this final shot, we'll do the same. Zoom out and reveal. So this is scale and position K. Let's do the same thing. Start off on Aldrin's helmet. Nice. Close up, Aereo. Ah, a little too much headroom there. There we go. Now make sure that's at the beginning. And then let's go ahead and do the reset. There, you and then just move it up a little. Please. I think there's a yeah, we can scale out a little. Let's see how far we can scale out. Actually, that's good. Back up. And there we go. Drag this maybe to hear. Yeah, well, let's watch the end of the other things. Not because they are easy, but because they are. Now, if we had more time, we could add some nice transitions and fades. But for the purposes of time, um, we're just gonna keep a little simple. I'll add one other thing, which is just across dissolve at the beginning and end so we could come up from black and then will fade out into black for the end. And that'll be it. I just did a keyboard shortcut to add a fade to black. We'll pull it back a little. There we go. Okay, Now that we're all done with our edit, we're gonna figure out how to export it and share it in the project gallery. 8. Export and Share: Now that we've finished with our edit, let's get our video uploaded so that we can share our work in the Project Gallery. Now there's a variety of hosting options online, but I'd suggest going with one of the two popular sites, Vimeo or YouTube. Now let's get back into premiere and figure out how we can get a Vimeo or YouTube friendly file toe upload. So go ahead and open up your sequence and make sure your timeline panel is selected here. And then we're gonna get a file export and select media. This will launch our export settings dialog box, and we're going to check out some of the formats and presets here now under format. We're gonna select h 0.264 This format is good to keep your video and audio quality high and maintaining a relatively small file size. Now under preset Adobe Premiere has a variety of presets, many for video and YouTube at the bottom. So I'm gonna go ahead and select YouTube 10 80 p HD, which once we export, this will be able to just drag and drop right up into use. You bunch, we have an account created. We don't need toe change any of the settings here. That's what the presets for. Everything's good to go. We just name the file and then export it. Once you have your video uploaded to YouTube or vimeo, go ahead and share a link or in bed your video in the Project gallery. 9. Final Thoughts: I hope you enjoyed the course. And remember that practice makes perfect. Try out this effect in your next production to help bring your photographs to life. Whether you're spicing up a family photo slideshow or adding life to a historical photograph in a high end feature length documentary, The Ken Burns Effect is a great tool to have in your film making arsenal.