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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

How do you film photos / drawings like Ken Burns style?

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It does not have to be like Burns exactly, but in that style of moving parallelly around a photo or drawing, zooming in / out, etc. Can that be done easily in post or is it in-camera?

I have a copy stand, but can't move the camera. And really I don't use the copy stand to film photos, I just inject the still photos into the video software. But I'd like to move around the photos or drawings, zooming in and out. If I need certain equipment for camera movements what do you recommend?

Thanks

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Today one can do it the digital editing stage.

 

Hi David,

Ken Burns used to use a motion control camera, like they used to film the effects scenes for Star Wars. Sounds crazy, but true. This was done around Boston, I think the name of the company was the Frame Shop.

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https://books.google.com/books?id=XLX7WKMfzcIC&pg=PA1926&lpg=PA1926&dq=ken+burns+interview+using+magnets+to+hold+photos&source=bl&ots=E5pIX2qdst&sig=ACfU3U273yqdGyVrIi3G6CX8xY5DvUXn0w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiErtzzrcrkAhUwIjQIHRD5ArcQ6AEwFnoECA0QAQ#v=onepage&q=ken burns interview using magnets to hold photos&f=false

This link has a page from an interview with Burns where he said that only 1 to 2 percent of the photos in "The Civil War" were rephotographed on an animation stand, most were done low-tech using magnets holding photos down to sheet metal.

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Another link:

https://www.pilotonline.com/blogs/article_798c174d-2f9b-52dd-9b9a-e0405722a521.html

"Burns and Squires set up a small studio in a corner of the Library of Congress with an easel and a metal board, affixing magnets to hold the photographs. They used only two lights with two umbrellas to illuminate the photographs."

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Hi David,

I may have been mistaken about the motion control rig, as that is what we used for commercials at that facility. How much work was done at the frame Shop I don't know, just that I was told that is where Ken Burns did the work. They have been long closed now, and the owner is not with us anymore, so I can't confirm anything at this point. If I ever run into the guy who ran the camera. I will be sure to ask him about it.

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For moves on flat art using old traditional animation stands, the stand only moves the camera toward or away-from the art. The rest of the axis were achieved by moving the art. In the old days there was often a pantograph off to the side of the platen which was used to plot out the move.

If anyone wants a full-size Oxberry, in two weeks I have to dismantle one in Seattle and take it to the scrapyard. I have asked around extensively and no one has room for it - it's huge! We will, of course, salvage the camera.

If you have After Effects you can do everything the Oxberry could do and more, on your laptop.

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