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Your Digital Photos

Panning & Zooming Still Photographs

If you have ever watched a Ken Burns' documentary on PBS, you know how effective it is to pan and zoom still images. Ken Burns has commented that people who've seen his shows comment on his use of video, although he's using mainly still images. To give these images a movie like movement, he uses an animation stand and a video camera that is programmed to follow a path as it pans and zooms. The resulting video brings life to what might otherwise be a fairly static presentation and lets him zoom in on details within a larger scene. When your photos are in digital form, you can get the same effects with programs that let you simulate the camera and camera stand. In effect you are turning a single frame into a movie which you can then save in a variety of movie formats. You can then e-mail it, insert it into a slide show, place it on a Web site, or distribute it on a CD/DVD. The feature that allows you to do this is available both in stand-alone programs such as ImageMatics StillMotion Creator and built-into programs such as iPhoto.

Imagematics StillMotion Creator gives you a great deal of control over the areas of the image to be zoomed and panned.

To create a basic pan and zoom, you specify which areas of the image are to be shown in the first and last frames of the sequence. On most programs these "key frames" are outlined boxes that you can drag to change their size and position. For example if the first key frame outlines the entire photo and the second just a single face, the "camera" will automatically zoom and pan from the overview to the isolated face. Each key frame is positioned on a time line that specifies when the pan starts and ends.

In Photoshop Elements you can select a start and end point and when you playback the slide show, the image will pan and zoom smoothly from one area to the other.


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