The advances in technology in the last two decades means we all have access to good quality video recording hardware, such as our phones and entry level cameras are cheaper than ever. With that, video recording and editing is becoming more mainstream. People record videos for YouTube, Instagram, for personal use, and even class projects.
One notable difference between using specialised video recording equipment and a phone camera is the drama that can be created by framing and using zoom on a shot. Luckily modern video editors, many of which are available to use for free, utilize the Ken Burns Effect. This is a panning and zooming technique developed by the eponymous documentarian which allows you to mimic the zoom and pan effects of using more expensive video recording equipment.
By using these effects your videos can have a significantly more polished and professional air, which can then help you get your point over more clearly or provide a more enjoyable experience to your viewers. On a more technical level, if you use video recording in a professional sense such as to create lessons or tutorials, the point you are making will be enhanced if people can see and read your screen comfortably.
The first thing you need to do, apart from shooting your video, is to choose a video editing tool. The best tool for you will depend on what platform you are using; android, IOS, windows or something else, the features you require (most modern video editors will allow you to pan and zoom), and whether you want a free editor or are willing to spend a little for something with a little more polish and force behind it.
To help you with this, we will discuss some of the most popular video editing tools and let you choose what suits you best. At the end we will show an example of how to Pan and Zoom using iMovie, a free video editor included with Apple devices, and seems to work wonders for basic panning and Zooming tasks.
Movie Editors 101
You can go from completely free to hundreds of dollars for movie editing software. If you are a beginner however, we prefer to keep things cheap, and simple to see if the hobby is for you before spending your heard earned cash.
Some of these recommendations are free, and a few toward the end will come at a premium, however they may suit your needs better in the longer term once you have a better idea of what is needed for your projects.
Kapwing is a wonderful video editing tool that works through a web interface. You can use it with any PC or mobile. The free version allows you to upload and store 250 Mb files of video, that are up to seven minutes long, it does however allow you access a vast number of features. The downside is that the free limit is somewhat small, and you have to finish editing and exporting your project in two days if you are using the free version. We still think its worthy of a try to see if you like it, and all the better that it’s free when you’re just starting out.
Movie Maker 10 is an easy-to-use free movie editor for windows PCs. It’s doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it will allow you to do the basics like joining videos, adding an audio track, adding text and panning and zooming. Definitely worth a try if you’re editing requirements are simple and you don’t want to be constrained by the size of your file or have to upload your videos online.
Wondershare Filmora is a group of applications that have been loved by many creators for their usability and versatility. FilmoraGo is the mobile version of the application which works both with Apple and Android devices. It packs a decent punch while not being too expensive and has a ton of fun features for vlogging and making fun video. Filmora have more punchy applications for Mac and PC as well which could be worth exploring as well, though these are a little pricier.
Adobe offers a variety of video editing software which is available to you for free with certain adobe subscriptions. These are generally reliable and could be a good starting point if you already pay for an account.
Movavi is a popular movie editor for Mac and Windows. Although not free at the point of entry you can access a free trial. It is targeted to a more professional audience and will produce sleek video for educational and work purposes as well as be able to produce near clips for Instagram, YouTube and more.
There are other very popular choices out there – two that are worthy of a mention are Camtasia which is available for Mac and Windows. Camtasia is an application specifically designed for the professional user in mind, with the ability to complete all basic video editing tasks including pan and zoom, but also giving the user a number of templates for tutorials, demonstrations and gives the ability to record screen as well as edit video. They offer a free trial and could be a good investment for a professional on the way up in the video editing world.
How to choose a movie editor? Well, we suggest following these steps;
- Quantify your immediate needs
- Find more than one option within your current budget
- Try them all! You may well find that the free ones work perfectly well for your needs as they are becoming punchier every day
- Using a computer will give you more flexibility and control but you can try the phone applications if you don’t have access to a computer
Panning and Zooming Demo in iMovie
We will just discuss quickly how to pan and zoom on an iPhone, just to give you an idea of how easy it is. You don’t need an iPhone and can find tutorials for most editing platforms either on the developer’s own site or by private individuals who are keen to share their knowledge. Follow these steps for a quick pan and zoom;
- Load the video clip you want to edit into iMovie
- Move along the clip until you find the frame where you want to start zooming
- Click the magnifying glass (top right corner in video) symbol to crop the video and pinch to zoom*
- Repeat the above step to zoom out again on a later frame
- Preview the video and make any required adjustments
Note that if you want to use the Ken Burns effect on a photo this is slightly different, but incredibly straight forward. Check out the image below for instructions.