November 21st, 2017 by Sean

Create a Smooth Image Pan in Explain Everything

Be like Ken Burns in Explain Everything

Do you feel that your projects could use a sense of professionalism? Adding a smooth image pan, or the ‘Ken Burns effect’, to your project can add cinematic feel to your presentations.  Sam Gleason, Explain Everything user extraordinaire, is back this week with another tip! Sam has been using Explain Everything since 2014 and currently works full time creating tutorials for Southwestern Advantage. He’s been kind enough to demonstrate some of his great techniques to help make your projects more engaging!

This week’s Tuesday Tip will demonstrate how to create a smooth pan with an image to add a cinematic effect to your projects!

What you’ll need:

  • Explain Everything (of course)
  • A project with an inserted image
  • A love of adding little details to make your projects more impactful


This great technique can add a sense of gravitas and professionalism to your projects! Now go practice your best Ken Burns transcript!

Happy Explaining!

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In this tutorial I will teach you how to smoothly pan an image or create a ‘ken burns’ effect, which is a zooming or panning effect used on still imagery. When I create an Explain Everything video I always do the audio first, so that’s finished and now I’m just going to focus on the visuals. Behind my stage you’ll see the visuals I’ve prepared for my video on the four California regions. And this is the text I’m going to use. I like to slowly reveal the text as my video unfolds so I’m going to cover up the text that I”m not ready to talk about yet. To do that I’m going to use the custom color picker tool and get a sample of the sidebar color. And then I’m going to just create three rectangles to cover up the text I’m not ready to use yet. there’s one cover. There’s another cover. And then I’ll make one more.

I’m going to get the first picture I want to use next. I’m going to start by talking about the valley region, so here’s a picture of the valley. I need to send it to the back of the stage next.  There we go. Next I’m going to lock the vertical in this image. And what that means is when I try to move the image, it’s only going to allow me to move it side to side, no up and no down and no horizontal. Lock vertical, there. Now, when I move the image around, it’s only left and only right. It makes for a real smooth pan.

I’m ready to record, so I’m going to mute my audio to not record over what I’ve already done and I’ll turn on the mixer and slowly pan the image while my audio plays.  I’ll stop it there because I’m talking about the desert. Now I want to go back and smooth the image pan. Unfortunately, because I’m screen casting you won’t really notice the smoothing effect making it any better. But trust me, it really looks a lot better after a smooth.

Ok, I’m going to rewind here. Ok, I started talking about the desert, but I was still panning the valley picture. I want the valley picture to stop panning here, so I’m going to lock my audio and I’m going to delete the rest of the image pan. Now the image pan will stop right where I start talking about the desert. Bam, right there. That’s where I’m going to start talking about the desert. I’m going to make the desert text appear, right where I start talking about the desert. So I’m going to delete this and that’s going to make it look like the text is appearing next I’ll get rid of the valley picture and replace it with the desert picture. And I think on the desert picture instead of doing an image pan I’ll do a “ken burns” effect. That’s where you do a slow zoom on a picture and I’ll show you how I get that done.

I’ll send that image to the back just like I did with the valley picture and then I’m going to lock the rotation. That way when I zoom the image I don’t rotate it at all. Now all I do is experiment with he kind of zoom that I want. So, do I want the image to slowly zoom like this, or maybe I want the image to zoom out. I’m going to reveal more of the stage here just to see how much of the picture I have to work with. I might want to start in real close up and then slowly zoom out. And then I think I’m going to zoom in. So what I’m going to do is get it ready and hit the record button and slowly zoom the image.

Ok, there we go now I’m going to smooth that zoom. And my frame rate just went up a little bit on my screencast app, so you might actually see an improvement in the zoom, let’s see if you do. Smooth, there we go. Oh, that’s good. I want it to stop zooming when I talk about the mountains. There. So this is where I want the zoom to stop. So I’m going to lock my audio so I don’t delete that, but delete the rest of that zoom. Well, I think I need to go a little more. It’s hard to tell when I’m screen casting because the audio is a little off, but I think I have it in the place I want it. So I’m going to reveal the mountain text and then get my mountain picture, and again my goal is to have the mountain picture and the mountain text pop up when I start talking about the mountain. I think I’ve got that set up right, again it can be a little off when you’re screencasting. The audio and the video are sometimes not in sync.

Ok, this is ready, I’m going to record and zoom. Oh good, now that time I stopped zooming before I started talking about the coastal region. Sometimes it helps to know what you’re going to say so that you can stop a zoom at the right place. Then you don’t have to go back and trim anything. Here I am smoothing that zoom. Looks pretty good! Ok, now I’m just going to do the same thing with my final region and I’m just going to kind of go through it quickly because you’ve seen me do it a few times. I’ve deleted the cover for the coast and now I’ve deleted the picture for the mountain and I’m bringing the coast in. I’ll send that image to the back and then prepare for my zoom and record. This will be good like that.

So on that one I did kind of a hybrid. I zoomed out and I realized i was going to run out of picture space, so I stopped and I just panned it to the left. Let’s see how the whole thing plays.  

That’s all for this video tutorial. I hope it’s given you some ideas for your own videos!