One question we get asked a lot is how to create the Ken Burns Effect using Animoto. So we decided to create a quick guide to help you get videos with the same polished look. But before we get going, you might be asking: What’s the Ken Burns Effect?

Named for a well-known documentary filmmaker, this effect slowly zooms in on a still image, sometimes adding a panning shot as well. You can create the effect using video editing software, but you don’t have to. In Animoto, there are a number of styles that zoom in on or out of images in a way that’s similar to the Ken Burns effect. Take a look:

Creating the Ken Burns zoom using custom styles

If you really want the documentary look, a good place to start is with our custom styles — Classic, Documentary, and Frameless. Though these styles don’t automatically give you that beautiful zoom, there are a couple easy ways to adjust your settings to add it to your video.

Style: Documentary
Song: “A Whimsical Journey” by Abbas Premjee

Option 1: Add a spotlight to images you’d like to have a zoom. To add a spotlight, select the image you want to have the effect, and then click on the star icon.

Option 2: Click “Customize Style” and select “Framing.” Then, select the full frame option. This setting always adds a zoom to images.

Other Styles with effects similar to the Ken Burns Effect

Animoto has more than a dozen styles with that dynamic zoom, but we’ve decided to “zoom in” on just a few. Check them out:

Song: “Better” by Jaime Gerard


Co-designed with wedding photographer Lee Morris, this style – with its simple backdrop – is a timeless classic.


Co-designed with the team at Seniors Ignite, this fun, fashionable style uses bursts of subtle filters to give it a contemporary look.

Away We Go

Co-designed with Clickin Moms, an online community for female photographers, this style showcases your imagery in a vibrant and colorful way.

Light Panes

Subtle light panes illuminate the frames of this style in a sophisticated way, making your photos stand out.


Co-designed with boudoir photographer Jen Rozenbaum, this video style showcases your imagery in a stylish and sophisticated way.

Bon Voyage

Bring a postcard to life with a style that showcases your adventures with a bit of flair.

It’s easy to create videos that add movement to your still images. Explore our full list of styles to find the right look for your next video or slideshow.

Which of our zooming styles is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter by tagging @Animoto.