The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

How Ken Burns Brought the Civil War to Life

It’s no secret that documentarian Ken Burns popularized the technique of panning and zooming on still images, otherwise known as the “Ken Burns Effect”, in his 1990 film ‘The Civil War’.

In that documentary Burns worked with over 16,000 archival photographs. Instead of showing static images on the screen, he used a tripod to pan across and zoom into points of interest in the photos. Now, most modern slideshow tools have motion effects built-in and the ‘Ken Burns Effect’ is as easy as a mouse click or two.

We recently came across an article in Videomaker magazine talking about this and using still photos in a video production. For most of you reading this blog post, it’s a different way of thinking about slideshow creation since most of what we do as slideshow artists is work with still images and occasionally video. It’s a great look into the world of videography and how videographers perceive working with still images.

There’s a lot to be said for a stunning image on the screen, but does it add or take away to include a mirage of effects and motion? Do you add a lot of motion to your slideshows or keep them static?




Amanda works in Photodex's marketing department and heads up the company's pr and events efforts. She loves photography, living in Austin and making slideshows.