Premiere Pro Tutorial: How to create the Ken Burns effect in your videos

Video Tutorials
September 23, 2022

Premiere Pro Tutorial: How to create the Ken Burns effect in your videos


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Learning how to use the Ken Burns effect in Adobe Premiere Pro can help you add some movement to still images you want to include in a video. It is a useful tool in many video editing programs.

A Ken Burns Effect is a gradual zoom or pan across a still image. The Ken Burns Effect is named after the legendary documentary filmmaker who used this technique extensively in his films. You can use this technique to draw attention to specific details in an image or just to break up the monotony of still images.

What is the Ken Burns Effect in Premiere Pro?

The Ken Burns Effect in Premiere Pro is a relatively simple effect you can use to add movement to images and video footage. While there is no preset function for this feature, it can be done in a few simple steps using keyframes and Effects Control. When you are happy with your Ken Burns Effect results, you can save it as a Preset to use again later.

Download this clip of the Ken Burns effect showing autumn tree fall foliage

How to Create the Ken Burns Effect in Premiere Pro

In just a few quick steps, you can add a Ken Burns Effect to an image in Premiere Pro.

  1. Create a New Project

Open Premiere Pro and create a new project.

  1. Import the Picture

In the editing window, import the picture you want to use for the Ken Burns effect.

  1. Add to the Timeline

Drag the picture to the timeline so you can add effects to it. Use the “Effect Controls” to add keyframes and start editing the image.

  1. Adjust the Settings

In the “Motion” section of Effect Controls, you will need to adjust the “Position,” “Scale,” and “Rotation” settings.

  1. Add the Keyframes

Select the frame where you want to start the Ken Burns effect. Drag the playhead to where you want the effect to start. Click on the Scale animation button (it looks like a stopwatch). This will add the first keyframe. Click later in the clip where you want the effect to end and increase the scale value. This will create your second keyframe. Repeat this process for the Position and Rotation properties, if you want all effects to happen at once.

  1. Finalize the Effect

Continue adjusting Position, Scale, Rotation, and keyframes, as needed, until you achieve your desired result. Once you are satisfied, you can export the video using either the Ctrl+M shortcut or by navigating to File > Export > Media. In this window, you can adjust the video quality, format, and final resolution.

Download this clip of the Ken Burns effect showing beautiful snow covered trees

How to Save the Ken Burns Effect as a Preset in Premiere Pro

To save yourself some time for future projects, you can save the Ken Burns effect as a Preset.

  1. Finalize Your Effect

Adjust the settings on your project until you are happy.

  1. Save the Preset

When you are ready, navigate to the Effect Controls Panel. From there, you will right-click on Motion and choose the Save Preset option.

  1. Choose the Settings

After clicking on Save, you will be asked which values you want to save. Choose the Scale, Rotation, and Position settings you want. Keep in mind that you will likely have to make some adjustments for each effect since not all images are the same and you don’t want to use the same Ken Burns zoom every time.

How Do You Add Zoom Effects in Premiere Pro?

Zoom effects are a quick way to give still images video-like effects or even add a zoom to videos that need more motion.

  1. Choose Your Image or Clip

Import the image or clip you want to add a zoom effect to. Drag it to the timeline.

  1. Use Effect Controls

With the clip selected, navigate to Effect Controls > Motion. Click the timer icon next to both Position and Scale. Make sure you are at the beginning of the timeline. This will automatically add a keyframe that includes both properties.

  1. Choose the Clip Length

Drag the blue time control icon to the end of the clip, or to where you want the zoom effect to end.

  1. Adjust the Settings

Manually change the Scale and Position settings on the frame where you want the zoom to end. This will automatically add another keyframe. You can move the second keyframe closer to the beginning of the timeline if you want the zoom effect to happen faster.

Tips for Creating Ken Burns Effects in Adobe Premiere Pro

The Ken Burns Effect can quickly become a favorite tool, especially if you use a lot of still images. However, to keep your work looking professional, here are a few tips on using the Adobe Premiere Pro Ken Burns Effect.

  • Pay attention to timing: Pay close attention to the timing of your zooms. If they are too fast or slow, they can stand out to the viewer and ruin the effect.
  • Add variety: If you use the Ken Burns Effect frequently, be sure to adjust the settings for each image. Adjust the direction of the pan, how closely you zoom, and how long the effect lasts.
  • Avoid zooming too close: The resolution of your starting image or video footage will dictate how close you can zoom in before the quality gets too low.
  • Use as a transition: Using a Ken Burns Effect as a transition from one image to the next can improve the power of your storytelling.

Utilize Storyblocks Templates for Easy Video Content Creation

Knowing how to create basic effects like the Ken Burns Effect in Premiere Pro takes you a step closer to becoming a VFX master. If you want to speed up your video content creation process, you can use templates with pre-programmed effects. Just add your custom text and images.

Storyblocks is an innovative subscription service that offers royalty-free stock video footage along with Adobe Premiere Pro templates and Adobe After Effects templates. With the All Access subscription, you get unlimited downloads each month, including template downloads. These templates help you speed up your workflow and make it easy to seamlessly add motion graphics to your editing projects.

Ready to accelerate your content creation? Join Storyblocks today.

Alyson Klush

Senior SEO Specialist

Alyson is a Sr. SEO Specialist at Storyblocks with a focus on content. Outside of work you can catch her with her Pomeranian, Theo, or visiting local wineries and breweries.


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