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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #55

Fixing Ken Burns By Stephen Schleicher

While many applications allow you to animate still images to create a ?Ken Burns Effect, there are going to be times when you cant scan a photograph.  These shots will need to be captured via traditional means with a film or video camera.  If the photographer captured the clip to fast or too slow, you can slow it down in Final Cut Pro, but this can introduce jitter and strobing.  This Quick Tip will show you one way to fix the problem.

One of my students is working on a documentary about Wild Bill Hickok, and was fortunate enough to be able to access photo from the local historical society.  But when it came time to edit, she realized her shots were too fast.

The Original Clip.


The solution, of course, is to time remap the footage and slow it down the appropriate amount.  In this case, a speed setting of 25% worked for the project.  This caused a problem on NTSC monitors that showed up as a flickering in the image.  This could be seen around the high contrast areas of the image and in the face toward the end of the move.

There are a couple filters that can be applied to this clip to fix it.  The first is the Motion Blur effect that can be found under the Motion Tab in the Viewer window.  This will certainly solve the problem, but it may reduce detail in your image.

Motion Blur applied to the right half of the clip shows a slight bluring of the image compared to the original on the left.

The next trick you can use is the Flicker Filter.  The Flicker Filter reduces flicker caused by interlacing in still images that have thin vertical lines.  This is often apparent in tiled images, or in fabrics.  In the case of young Hickok his shirt, vest, and even his hair could be causing the jitter.

If flicker is introduced because fields have been reversed due to the slow down, applying the Shift Fields effect can be used.  This filter shifts the layer up or down 1 pixel to get the fields to align correctly.

Finally, I also found the Stop Motion Blur filter to do a good job on footage that is exceptionally jumpy.  The Stop Motion Blur filter blends frames in the clip, and allows you to adjust the time, steps, opacity, and blending methods.  For this clip I used the Composite Below Blend Operator and it solved the problem too.

So while Ken Burns can be done with ease with a scanned image, you can fix Ken Burns on video footage with numerous filters in Final Cut Pro.

For more Final Cut Pro Quick Tips, be sure to visit my site at www.stephenschleicher.com.


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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (www.digitalmedianet.com), where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at schleicher@mindspring.com

Related Keywords:ken burns, wild bill hickok, schleicher, filter, final cut pro, slow motion, flicker, jitter, strobing

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