Using keyframes to add movement to a still image

Occasionally you will need to use a still image in a sequence. However, its generally not a good idea to use still images in a movie as still images do not keep the attention and interest of the audience for very long. Sometimes you have no option but to use a still image and so a simple technique can be used to make a still image more interesting.

A simple and effective way of making your still image more interesting is to make the image move within your Avid sequence. By combining the use of scaling and position effects and keyframes, you can zoom into or out of an image. Zooming in draws the audience closer to the point of interest while zooming out reveals more of the surroundings.

The following instructions will show you how to create a zoom in effect on an image. The image will first appear at its original size, and then after a few seconds start to zoom in. Then the image will stop again for the remaining few seconds of the clip.

  1. Import an image into your bin and edit about 6 seconds onto the sequence.
  2. Go to the Tools menu and choose the Effects Palette
  3. In the Effect Palette select Image from the list on the left
  4. Then click and drag the Resize effect, from the list on the right, onto the clip in the sequence. When an effect is added to a clip it is indicated with a pink rectangle.
  5. Next go to the Tools menu and choose the Effect Editor
  6. When open, the Effect Editor should list a number of effect options, such as Background and Scaling. The clip should also be highlighted pink. If not, move the Playhead to the clip and click the Effect Editor window to activate the tool.
  7. Notice that two pink triangles appear at the start and end of the clip in the Sequence Monitor. The pink triangles are keyframes, which allow you to make changes over time.
  8. As we want our image to remain still at the start and end and only move during the middle, we will add two more keyframes to show where the movement starts and ends.
  9. Move the Playhead a few seconds into the clip
  10. Press the Add Keyframe button on the sequence monitor
  11. Then move the Playhead a few seconds from the end of the clip and add another keyframe
  12. There should now be 4 keyframe triangles on the Sequence Monitor
  13. Click and select the 3rd keyframe so it highlights pink.
  14. Then in the Effect Editor adjust the Scaling and Position properties. Activate Fixed Aspect before adjusting the scaling so that the image stays in proportion.
  15. Notice the numbers to the right of the Scaling and Position faders. Once the image is in the final position write these numbers down as you will need them for the next step.
  16. Select the 4th keyframe. Then click on the Scaling numbers and type in the quantity you wrote down in the previous step.
  17. Do the same for the Position numbers

That’s it. You should now have an image that zooms into a focal point. All that remains is for the effect to be rendered.

In the example movie there are four images. Each image either zooms in or out. To zoom in (as instructed above) you adjust the Effect properties on the 3rd and 4th keyframe. To zoom out adjust the effect properties on the 1st and 2nd keyframes.


About shazmagill

I work as a Senior Technical Demonstrator and Lecturer in digital storytelling at Cardiff School of Journalism, Cardiff University. I teach and support any tools necessary for our students to function as journalists or media practitioners. This means anything from audio recording techniques, video editing, photography and print and mobile publishing. I have recently completed MA in Arts Practice (Fine Art) at the University of South Wales exploring the subjective and objective view and community storytelling through art of the Rhondda valley.
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