Photography For Real Estate

Tips and techniques for real estate photography

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

Posted by larrylohrman on December 4, 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.


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

  1. Come on, Ken Burns is so 1999! We need to get into something different in order to move forward and look professional.

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