Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Lay Off Ken Burns

Ken Burns has made quite a few documentaries, and within these motion picture reminiscences he has made famous a part of cinematic grammar: The image move... be it a push in, a pull out, a pan across, or otherwise.

In fact, Apple has named a particular tool the Ken Burns Effect.

And Sunday, I watched a movie where someone had clicked the button "Apply Ken Burns Effect" to their photo montage.


Please do not do that.

Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should.

Please avoid the "Ken Burns Effect" and stick to moving a picture when you should move a picture. This is right up there with avoiding the wide variety of "transitions" available to you. Guess what? The Cube Effect Transition was only cool because it was possible to do it, not because it looks good.

Please avoid.


The Lesson? Actually think while making your movies. If your brain is not engaged in the choice, you probably shouldn't make it.

Hey, that's good advice for most of life.

~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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