Turning Real Estate Still Photos Into Ken Burns Style “Video”

December 4th, 2007

I find it interesting that is promoting a new service of creating “video” from still shots you send them. An example of one of their new video tours is at the bottom of this page. Yes, I guess this could technically be called video because you could post it on youtube. But more accurately this is panning over still photos, a technique popularized by Ken Burns in the movie The Civil War.The Ken Burns approach is actually very effective. Sharon Nyman, a Realtor in Key Largo, FL that shoots her own photos told me that when she purchased a TV spot on, spotrunner sent a well known professional videographer down to Key Largo to shoot her video. But after the video was edited the Spotrunner decided to do the Ken Burns thing on photos that Sharon had taken. She said in the end everyone in the process agreed that panning over her still photos made a better TV spot than the video that the professional had shot.The great thing about this Ken Burns approach is not hard to do yourself. There are a couple of very easy ways to do the panning and create Ken Burns type video.

  1. Use monoslideshow which is a add on web template that you can add to Lightroom. You don’t have to have light room to create monoslideshows, Light room just makes it easier. I’ve talked about this before. The disadvantage with monoslideshow is that you cannot control every aspect of the panning. Monoslideshow does the panning automatically and you can give it a few parameters that tell it how much panning to do. This is the quick and easy way.
  2. The other way to do panning is to use an application like Imagematics. This application allows you to precisely control every aspect of panning over still images and then write either a flash movie or other movie formats. My Friend Kevin at introduced me to Imagematics a number of years ago. This is the application that Kevin uses to produce the “movie” slide show tours (press the “Movie Slideshow” button) available at

The bottom line on Ken Burns type video is that I think you will continue to see more an more of this type of video because it is easy to create, it is less expensive to produce than real video, it looks great and in the real estate context many people cannot tell the difference between this and video shot with video equipment.

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4 Responses to “Turning Real Estate Still Photos Into Ken Burns Style “Video””

  • Does the ‘pro’ version of the imagematics software have any significant improvements ? And can anyone recommend any others that might be worth looking at ? [there doesn’t seem to be a trial option for the imagematics software].

  • I have a 2 year old version of Imagematics on my Windows machine and I recall convincing myself at the time that the Pro version was worth it but I’ll have to say that when I look at the comparison now between the personal version and the pro version it’s no longer clear why the personal version wouldn’t do every I’d want.

  • The movie slideshow on looked a bit jerky to me. Is there another software solution that has a smoother panning effect?

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