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How to Use "Photo Motion" in Final Cut Pro - Part 1

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/1/2011

Giving still images the illusion of movement is a great way to spice up photos that you want to include in your videos.

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    Using Still Images

    One of the most striking things about documentary film is its use of still photos as a way of presenting a very clear image. It allows the viewer a chance to focus on a single picture and is one of the most effective visuals in any production. Editing software allows us to slowly zoom or pan across a picture, making it more dynamic and energetic. Most editing software will allow the user to do this, including popular programs like Final Cut Pro.

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    Be Selective

    When you are going to import a photo into Final Cut Pro and apply “Photo Motion" to it you have to make sure you pick the right photo. You want to make sure the photo is large enough and has a high resolution because you are going to be zooming closely on it and want to make sure that it maintains its clarity at all times. If it is a scanned picture make sure it does not have any creases or physical wear unless you want that effect to be visible. Sometimes when showing old newspapers or magazines it is desirable to see its degradation, but if the content of the image itself is the focus then it needs to look the best. Sometimes the colors can be distracting, which is why many video producers prefer black and white images. Always remember to be selective and do not use photos that simply look great and do not assist the story in any way. This is a common fall back to home digital video producers, but is sure to take the audience immediately out of the story you are constructing.

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    Getting Started

    Once you have a photo or picture secure on your hard drive you simply import the file as you would with a video. It will go into the "Browser" where you may opt to put it into a bin with the rest of the photos you are using. The best way to use photo motion is to begin by dragging the clip into the timeline to the location you want it to be and shortening it to the length you prefer. The standard length for putting photo clips into a film project is two to four seconds. Then double click on the clip and open it into the Viewer. This way you can have the photo clip open in the Viewer so you can adjust its settings. You can also see the changes that are being made in the Canvas. Now you are ready to make altercations to the motion settings that will allow the images to appear as if they are moving.