One of the coolest features ever is the ability to create a movie on your Mac from static photos. Not only does the effect add motion to photos, it’s so easy all you have to do is click.
It’s called the Ken Burns Effect and it’s already built in to your Mac via iMovie and iPhoto. There’s no easier way to add the pan and scan motion effects to a slideshow of static photos. But there is a better way.
Pan And Scan Motion
The scan and pan motion effect is so easy that you don’t have to do anything in iPhoto. Grab a bunch of digital photos, plunk them into an album, click Slideshow, select the Ken Burns option, and you’re good to go.
Wait. There’s more. You knew there would be, right?
A few settings here and there can change the movement, direction to vary the motion (the same motion all the time gets pretty boring) of the pans and scans, but controls are nominal.
iMovie works in a similar manner. Either drop static photos from iPhoto onto the iMovie timeline, or take snapshots of movie frames (my favorite) and drop into the timeline, then apply the same Ken Burns Effect to create movies from photos.
The first problem crops up when you want more control over which part of the static photo to move from and which part to move to. For that kind of effect you need a better tool than iPhoto or iMovie.
Enter Photo To Movie, one of the two best Mac tools to give you even more control, more effects, more transitions, and the ability to make a stunningly professional movie from mere photos.
The process is decidedly simple. Drag a photo to the time line, click to create a starting point box, click to create an end point box, set the time and motion, and Photo To Movie makes an ultra smooth transition from point to point to point.
Yes, it’s that easy. Repeat the process from photo to photo, dragging each photo to the time line, setting a start and end point. You can also add transitions between photos, set text on the photos, and even zoom in close or pull back for a wide angle shot.
Fine tune the pan and scans with motion paths, an inspector to change the duration of the motion, as well as ease in and ease out points. The timeline scrubber lets you drop in audio—a music background—as well as titles for each photo.
The built-in media browser lets you drop in photos from iPhoto.
You get visual rubber band controls for transitions, durations, and ease in and ease out. Even apply the settings to one or many photos at a time.
The results are stunning and fast, and comparable to another of my favorite photo movie Mac apps, Fotomagico. There’s not much to not like but both suffer from a similar affliction.
Those wonderfully detailed, crisp, clear vibrant photos you see in iPhoto? Somehow they get washed out, blurred, smashed, and mashed when Photo To Movie (or Fotomagico) creates the movie. I don’t know exactly why that happens, but it’s disconcerting—the crystal clear, sharp focus photo doesn’t render well to a QuckTime movie.
Another nasty nit is the frequent updates which make Photo To Movie one of the more expensive Mac apps I’ve ever owned. It only costs $50 (minus a nickel), which I consider reasonable, but upgrades from previous versions are $30 (minus the same nickel). More transitions will cost you another $20.
There’s no easier way to make stunningly attractive Ken Burns Effects on your photos using a Mac than Photo To Movie, but the end result quality leaves something to be desired.