How to pan in an image (Ken Burns effect)

Ken Burns effect consist in zooming and/or panning in an image. This effect give the possibility to take maximum advantage of a single still picture. Note that this picture should be large enough.

Let’s take a big image on the internet.

We find really nice photos on flickr! Look this one I found ==> panorama (original size). It was made by Jasmin Cormier and released under creative commons license.

Now we prepare our project and load the image. Settings -> Format : 720×576, 25 fps. Then Settings -> Preferences -> Recording tab. In “Video in” set the import images duration to 10 seconds for example. My total project actually last 49 seconds due to the sound track I chose. As usual this part is up to you considering the effect you want to create. Now we load the file: File -> Load files. We choose the image and take Replace current project as insertion strategy. OK. The image is now right on the timeline with a duration of 10 seconds. Let’s give it a longer duration (50 s for example) by using the little arrow that appear at the edge of the picture in the video track. Done? If done by playing the timeline you will see only one picture that doesn’t move during 50s. Last thing: activate the Generate keyframes while tweeking button 

OK. Let’s give that some movement! To accomplish this mission we will use the camera tool and keyframing. Keyframing? Yes. It’s the operation that consist in choosing two different events at two points of the time and letting the software calculate the intermediate events by himself. Clear? No? Just follow me:

  • Go at the beginning of you project (ie time = 00.00.000). In the compositor window, activate the camera tool (Adjust camera automation)… and now the tool Info (the question mark button). In the dialogue box that appear enter these values: X:518.9438 , Y:135.6880 , Z:3.0000. This will zoom on the water-closet and make it appear at the bottom right of the screen.
  • In the timeline window use now the manual go to tool to go the instant of time 7s. Then in the camera tool dialogue box enter these values : X:497.9438 , Y:-117.3120 , Z: 2.5000. The compositor window shows now the paper.
  • Let’s do the same at the time 13s with the following values: X:-20.0562 , Y:-128.3120 , Z:2.8000.
  • Done? Now go to the beginning of your project and play the whole thing.
  • You got it.

Well this project is a bit complex to continue this tuto till the end. You know now how to use the camera tool and you are aware of what keyframing is. Almost all effects in Cinelerra are keyframable.

Additional informations: You can view the keyframes you created and the curves symbolising the camera with View –> Camera X,Y or Z. For a comfortable view click on the Fit all autos to display button. Here is an extract of my project:

Good job. Add some other effects to ameliorate the image. Why not some blurs?

You’re done.

How to load images to make a simple presentation (slideshow).

Presentation (slideshow) is the easiest way to begin to learn Cinelerra. Let’s see.

Some photos of my country from Arnaud Bertrande’s point of view.

First let’s prepare our project. Launch Cinelerra. Then Settings -> Preferences -> Recording tab. In “Video in” set the import images duration to 2 seconds for example. This means that the images are imported with a duration of 2 seconds. You will be able to give them the duration you wish after. Now let’s define the format of our project. Settings -> Format. This part is up to you. It depends on what you want to do with your final video (internet video, dvd, archiving, hd video etc).

Load the images. Files -> Load files… Browse the directories and select the images you want to load. Cinelerra can use media directly from a dvd-driver, an external hard disk, an usb-drive … You can either load a single image (with a duration of 2 seconds) or several.  Choose the Insertion strategy and apply.

Notes on Insertion strategy:

  • Replace current project delete all you have on the timeline and load the pictures in different tracks. One picture per track.
  • Replace current project and concatenate tracks delete what you have on the timeline and load the pictures in one single track.
  • Append in new tracks keep what you have on the timeline and load the pictures in new tracks.
  • Concatenate to existing tracks paste the pictures in existing tracks
  • Paste at insertion point load the files where the insertion point (ie the vertical line that move on teh timeline) is.
  • With Create new resources only the pictures don’t appear on the timeline. They are in the media folder in the Resources window.

We will use the second option for this project: Replace current project and concatenate tracks. We could equally choose Concatenate to existing tracks since we have nothing loaded yet.


OK. Our images are now lying on the timeline. Let’s give them the duration we want. Some pictures can last 3 seconds, others just a fraction. For that we go on the edge of each image in the timeline window (a little horizontal arrow appear), left click, drag to the right or to the left. You’re done.


Images are loaded. Durations are set. Let’s add some transitions between each pictures. Dissolve transition (Resources window -> Video transition) is the most common transition but Cinelerra give the ability to create your own transition. (see ==> So just drag a transition and drop it at each junction. Right click on the transition icon to adjust the length and… Voila!


Add effects (why not a gradient effect?), an audio track. Render the whole project (Files -> Render). That’s all.