Also known as "kinestasis", the Ken Burns Effect is a camera technique that allows the filmmaker to retain some visual interest when all there is to work with is a static image. The camera focuses on part of the image, then slowly pans over it, optionally zooming slowly in or out as it does so. This can be used to slowly reveal details in the case of panning or zooming out, or focusing attention on specific details in the case of zooming in. A FeetFirstIntroduction is often in order.

If you want to get fancy, slide multiple cells across each other at different speeds to simulate MotionParallax and give the illusion of depth.

This technique is most frequently used in documentaries (where period photographs may be the only visuals, aside from TalkingHeads, the filmmaker has to work with) and in LimitedAnimation (where one fancy painting can fill in for a hundred or more cells of real animation). In one context, this effect wins awards; in the other, it draws cries of "LazyArtist!" Go figure.

[[TropeNamer The technique is named after]] documentary filmmaker Creator/KenBurns, who used it extensively in ''TheCivilWar'' and other documentaries. Burns himself credits Jerome Liebling and the 1957 National Film Board of Canada documentary ''City of Gold'' as his inspirations for the technique.

Among animators, this technique is sometimes called a "Filmation Pan," because [[{{Creator/Filmation}} Filmation]] made such frequent use of it ''(e.g.,'' Kirk delivering his "Captain's Log" summary as we slowly pan across a painted alien landscape in ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries).''


* Ken Burns was the TropeCodifier with ''The Civil War'', which was all photos and TalkingHeads, but he uses it in all his documentaries, starting with ''Film/BrooklynBridge'' (1981), continuing on through ''Film/TheStatueOfLiberty'', ''The Civil War'', and others, and including projects such as ''Prohibition'', ''The War'', and ''Series/TheVietnamWar'' that have plenty of live-action footage.
* 1973 Manson Family documentary ''Film/{{Manson|1973}}'' is an example of this effect from well before Ken Burns started making movies. Not only did the filmmakers pan and zoom with still photos, they also moved photos around the screen.
* Used extensively in ''Film/{{Amy|2015}}'', possibly because that film eschews another documentary trope, TalkingHeads. One particularly chilling instance has a Ken Burns pan on a grainy photo of Music/AmyWinehouse suddenly freeze as her friends talk about her first overdose.
* ''Film/HoopDreams'' is mostly live-action but uses this trope occasionally, such as when the camera zooms in on SpinningPaper news articles or when it zooms in on Arthur's middle-school yearbook photo.
* ''Film/NineEleven'', the accidental documentary made when two French filmmakers were on the scene for the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, uses this when showing a still photo of a chaplain's dead body being taken out of the WTC.
* ''Film/ForAllMankind'', a documentary about the Apollo missions to the Moon, uses this when showing photos of the Earth and Moon.
* The PBS documentary series ''Secrets of the Dead'' both pans and zooms when showing still photos and images, in classic Creator/KenBurns style.
* ''American Experience'', another PBS documentary series, also uses this technique.
* UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy assassination documentaries:
** ''Film/FourDaysInNovember'', a 1964 theatrical release, uses this when showing stills.
** ''The Lost JFK Tapes: The Assassination'', a collection of archival footage and news coverage from Nov. 22, 1963 (originally produced in 2009 for the National Geographic Channel), uses The Ken Burns Effect a lot, especially when playing radio bulletins over still photos.
* ''Series/ClassicAlbums'': The camera will zoom in on still pictures or details of the album covers.
* ''Film/InTheRealmsOfTheUnreal'', about the works of outsider artist Creator/HenryDarger, cuts the art of Darger into layers and pans across them at different speeds to create a parallax effect that makes the images look more three-dimensional.
* In the 1997 informative video ''Film/TheKidsGuideToTheInternet'', the webpages of 1997 were small and text-heavy. To make it visible to the viewer, the page is zoomed in and panned left to right.
* ''Film/TheTimesOfHarveyMilk'': Used heavily throughout the movie, with many many pictures being panned and zoomed. Possibly the most notable instance comes when a newspaper photo of Dan White (Milk's murderer) is shown as his confession plays. As the audio clip goes on, the camera zooms in on White very very slowly, ending with a tight closeup on his eyes.
* ''Film/TheSorrowAndThePity'': Used periodically throughout the movie. In one quite effective shot the camera shows Marshal Petain, then pans over to show Hitler on the other side of the picture, thus illustrating the Franco-German summit in 1940.
* ''Film/HeartsAndMinds'': Used sparingly, as the film is mostly live footage. One instance shows a picture of Ho Chi Minh, then zooms out from the picture as Senator Fulbright muses about how Ho wrote to the United States government in 1946, expecting support for a rebellion against colonial oppression.
* ''Film/GatesOfHeaven'': Used only once, when Phillip Harbert points to a framed photo of William James, and the camera pans over the photo while Harbert recites a James quote: "Emotions are not always subject to reason but they are always subject to action."
* ''Film/OJMadeInAmerica'' uses this trope fairly sparingly, usually with slight zooms meant to focus attention on the subject of a picture, commonly O.J. Simpson.
* ''The Creator/JamesDean Story'', a 1957 documentary co-directed by a young Creator/RobertAltman, was an early example, generally employing quick pans and zooms. The film's intro touts its use of "a new technique--dynamic exploration of the still photograph."
* Creator/TurnerClassicMovies makes heavy use of this in the short documentaries sometimes used as filler between features. Typically a film still, or a production still, or a photo of a movie star, will be subjected to extensive panning.
* Used sparingly in ''Film/TroubleTheWater'', one example being a slow zoom onto a photo of Scott Roberts' grandmother, as he talks about how she died in Hurricane Katrina when the doctors and nurses at her hospital abandoned her and the other patients.
* ''Film/InTheRealmsOfTheUnreal'', a documentary about reclusive folk artist [[ Henry Darger]], uses this effect on the illustrations of Darger's enormous magnum opus to life. As the film goes on, it increasingly animates the still images to bring them to life.
* ''Film/WhenWeWereKings'': We see a grainy newspaper photo of reporters George Plimpton and Creator/NormanMailer, staring in open-mouthed astonishment. The camera then zooms out to reveal that it's a picture of George Foreman tumbling to the ground as he's knocked out by UsefulNotes/MuhammadAli.

[[folder:Non-documentary examples]]


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* All of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' closing credits.
* ''Anime/DotHackSign'' uses the LimitedAnimation variant of this trope.
* ''LightNovel/GrimgarOfFantasyAndAsh'' does something similar as well in some scenes, especially in the ending theme's animation.
* In ''Anime/HolsPrinceOfTheSun'', due to time and budget constraints some of the battles weren't animated, opting instead for fast-panning stills.
* Parts of the ''Anime/LastExile'' ending sequence consist of pans over old photos.
* ''Anime/BelladonnaOfSadness'': Takes LimitedAnimation to its logical extreme, as much of the film is simply a camera panning and zooming around still drawings.


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/BattlesWithoutHonorAndHumanity'' uses this in the recap of the events that begins each film, and during some transition sequences.
* ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid'' uses this to liven up the photo montage that illustrates the gang's trip to New York City and thence to South America.
* ''Film/BlackAndWhiteInColor'' uses this throughout the opening credits, which play over a series of era-appropriate early 1900s still pictures of French soldiers. It's a film set in a French colony in Africa in 1915.
* ''Film/TheChristmasThatAlmostWasnt'' uses this for the ending {{montage}} of Santa delivering presents.
* ''Film/DaysOfHeaven'' uses this throughout the opening credits, which play over a series of era-appropriate 1920s still pictures.
* ''Film/{{Dillinger}}'' uses this for the opening credits, in which the credits play over a series of stills of the Great Depression as the camera pans and zooms. This is also used for a couple of [[TimePassesMontage Time Passes Montages]] within the movie.
* ''Film/IAmJoaquin'': Used nonstop from the beginning to the end, in a 20-minute short film about the history of the Chicano people and their culture. There is no live footage in the movie, just 20 minutes of still photographs, with the camera panning and zooming to bring the photos to life.
* Both ''Film/LadySnowblood'' and sequel ''Film/LadySnowblood2LoveSongOfVengeance'' have sequences with stills and drawings, a nod to the original comic, complete with pans and zooms.
* ''Film/TheLastMetro'': A lot of quick panning and zooming of still photos in the opening montage in which an unseen narrator explains the setting (Paris during the German occupation of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII).
* Still pictures and this trope are used in ''Film/TheLifeAndTimesOfJudgeRoyBean'' for a comic TimePassesMontage, which shows Roy's posse doing stuff like catching a bad guy in an outhouse and catching another bad guy seemingly about to [[BestialityIsDepraved violate a sheep]].
* The last reel of silent film ''Film/SadieThompson'' has been lost due to decay of the negative. When Kino released the film on DVD, they included a "restored" ending that used still pictures from the set along with the original dialogue. The DVD employs the Ken Burns Effect, panning and zooming to make the still pictures more lively.
* The opening credits of ''Film/SoylentGreen'' use this effect to portray the progression of life in the US from the wide-open prairies of the turn of the late 19th century to the polluted, overcrowded cities of 1970.
* ''Film/ThreeBrothers'': Both pans and zooms used when Raffaele is looking over the crime scene photos of a judge, like him, who was assassinated by terrorists.


[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* The season 3 episode of ''Series/{{Community}}'' titled [[Recap/CommunityS3E14PillowsAndBlankets "Pillows and Blankets"]] uses this camera technique to full effect - fittingly enough, since it's a parody of Creator/KenBurns documentaries (especially ''The Civil War'').
* Similar to the Sadie Thompson example above, many official and fan-made reconstructions of missing ''Series/DoctorWho'' episodes use this technique on set photos and sceencaps (alongside clips from existing episodes, CGI, and composited images) timed to the existing audio.
* Used in several episodes of ''Series/{{Spaced}}'', with comics (instead of photographs) telling the story.
* This effect was used for the old-timey photos shown in the opening credits of ''Series/{{Cheers}}''.
* Also used by the intro to the final season of Series/TheVirginian ("The Men from Shiloh").
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000:'' In the episode ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S11E13TheChristmasthatAlmostWasnt The Christmas That Almost Wasn't]]'', the movie uses this effect for one scene near the end. So they parody it by also using this effect in the final host segment, with the various characters exchanging gifts.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/WarThunder'' has this on the loading screens, but with the panning controlled by the user's mouse.
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' does this with its fight-scene artwork but using faster and more dramatic camera effects than the typical occurrence of this trope.
* ''VideoGame/{{OFF}}'' slowly pans the camera across detailed black-and-white illustrations while explaining each zone's particular industry, e.g. farming cattle for metal.


[[folder: Web Media ]]

* ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'' uses this to show panels from the reviewed comics.
* This [[ video about a scoring technique]] for a homebrew clone of the video game ''VideoGame/{{Lumines}}'' uses pans and zooms over static images from 0:24 to 1:17 when telling the story behind the clone. An [[PopUpTrivia annotation on the video]] points this out: "interestingly enough, Creator/{{kenburns}}-style zoom effects like this make the titles in front *more* readable"
** In fact, this effect is quite common on YouTube. If you are uploading an audio recording but lack an accompanying video (for example, a song without a music video), you need some kind of video to go along with an audio. Many YouTube videos use the Ken Burns Effect to pan and zoom still pictures while the audio plays. See [[ this video]] (of an old Linda Ronstadt tune) for an example.
* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony'': The episode "Time" is a parody of documentaries, so the opening and closing scenes feature extensive panning and zooming over still images.
* Parodied (along with many other Burns stylistic tics) by Burns himself in "[[ Ken Burns' In-depth Eugene Mirman Profile]]".
* [[ This video]] describing [[ a viral tweet]] uses this presentation, but bizarrely, instead of a variety of ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' screenshots, there is only a screenshot of the family looking across a railing from the episode "Fland Canyon". What's even more odd is that it keeps zooming into the same specific area of the screen (the top right), with the exception of one iteration at 0:20, which awkwardly zooms into Homer's crotch instead.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TheMoonAndTheSonAnImaginedConversation'': Used repeatedly for the still pictures of the narrator, his father, and their family, as the son tells the story of his toxic relationship with his dad. Sometimes also used with animated backgrounds.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Walking}}'': Before all the shots of people walking, there are several stills of people not walking—sitting in cars, at home in apartments, waiting on a bus. The camera glides over these stills, which act in contrast to the exuberant motion of the people walking.