Killing the Ken Burns Effect in iMovie

In the most recent version of iMovie, here’s how to get rid of that zooming and panning on your still images:


Click on the large image in the iMovie editing window, and you’ll see a Crop box symbol appear at the top (above).


Click that Crop box symbol, and then you’ll see the three buttons as above. Click the Fit button, and all the Ken Burns junk will be eliminated for that photo.

Photojournalism tips from a pro


In “7 Photojournalism Tips” (above), you’ll see beautiful images made by Reuters photojournalist Damir Sagolj as he tells us, in a voiceover, his advice.

Some of this you’ve heard before, but it will be well worth your time to watch the video.

Smarter: Keeping up with journalism

I read a lot of posts and articles and news about journalism — about the evolution of this field. Job prospects. Technology. New content formats. Ethical problems, scandals, lawsuits. New publications, new websites, new mobile apps. Thank goodness for Twitter — that’s how most of the information comes to me.

Last week I started a new project. The idea is to help journalism students keep up (at least a little) the way I do, but without expecting them to read 100 different articles a week.

I called it Smarter.

If you’re not on Tumblr, you can follow it on my blog, where there will be one post each Sunday.

Some tips about upcoming deadlines

Please read the Course Schedule from now up to the end of the semester and start thinking about how you will manage your time.

The deadlines will not change. What we do during class might be adjusted, but NOT the deadlines or the assigned work.

Both the audio and photo story and the final project account for a big part of your final grade. The points and percentages are explained in the syllabus under both “Course Requirements” and “Grades and Grading Policies.” You can also read details here: Required Work. Read more of this post

It’s not the camera. It’s you.

If you want proof, see the shots Jim Richardson took with an iPhone 5s in Scotland.

“Little by little we come around to taking the pictures the camera can do well.” — Jim Richardson,  who shoots for National Geographic Magazine

See Richardson’s Instagram feed.

Video resources for beginners

My list of links to helpful video resources is here: Video Resources

A few things mentioned in class:

  • Aspect Ratio (Wikipedia): This is either 16:9 or 4:3. Make sure you understand it.
  • The Basics of Image Resolution (Vimeo Video School): This will help you understand the many choices that are offered for video size when you are ready to export.

With faster Internet speeds, we are not as worried about file size as we used to be. However, you still do not want to upload a 600 MB video! Compressing a video can result in poor image quality and/or very poor audio quality, so it is not something to be done in a quick and sloppy way.

This is a very good tutorial at Vimeo: Trimming and Cutting with iMovie (1 min. 15 sec.). Other helpful videos for learning iMovie are linked below it on the same page.

To repeat something I said in class: I don’t promote iMovie over the more sophisticated editing programs (Final Cut and Premiere, among others). But I like iMovie — and it provides a very simple environment for learning about trimming videos and putting together short video stories.

It takes a bigger investment of time to learn the sophisticated programs. You can learn iMovie faster. If you find you like editing videos, then go ahead and move up to an editing program with more features.

Check, check and check again: Images on TV

Here’s a funny story about what happens when journalists are not careful about their work:

Photoshopped book title from Paula Broadwell’s Gen. David Petraeus’ biography goes viral on web

During the 5 p.m. newscast, 7NEWS wanted to show the book cover of the Petraeus biography, written by Broadwell. So someone did a Web image search, found an image of the book cover, and downloaded  that image.

They showed it on-air.

Only it wasn’t the correct cover.

“The editor pulled the image of the book cover from the Internet without realizing it had been doctored.”

Take this as a cautionary tale — when you’re reporting to the public, you can’t be quick and sloppy. You really MUST check things carefully, or you can end up looking like a total idiot!

Resources for Soundslides

Download and install the free demo version of Soundslides Plus for Mac.

Instructions (PDF): How to upload a Soundslides to Dropbox

Instructions for beginners: Soundslides: A Brief Introduction

See examples of Soundslides stories.

Tips for type of story, audio timing, captions, etc.:


Soundslides stories are great with a combination of natural sound and interviews. For tips on multitrack editing with Audacity, download this PDF.


To learn more about data journalism …

If you liked what we did in the past two weeks, here are some things to consider:

You could learn Python. Yeah, actually learn it. Here’s how.

When you read Yau’s chapter 8, you probably noticed he gave you three different examples. The first one used R, a programming environment that’s good for making statistical graphics. The second example used Python (yay! You have that!). The third example used Flash, in a particularly horrible way.

If you want to learn more about this stuff, you can’t try to learn three things at the same time.

But you can learn them one at a time. You could do the Python stuff in Yau’s chapter 8. You can try it. You can make it work. Read more of this post

Photojournalism materials

Here is the PowerPoint I showed in class about Better Photos for Journalism Stories (shooting tips). Useful for review before you go out to shoot the next time. It’s a PDF, so you can see my talking notes.

Here is the Web page from the week 6 class meeting: Links for Week 6. From that page, you can access the notes about using Adobe Photoshop for photojournalism, and the notes about how to make screen captures, and the link to my favorite screen-grab software (SnapzProX).

Remember, the screen-capture tools are also useful for determining the width and height of an image on a website, such as your own blog.

If you have any questions about photo shooting or photo editing, please post them here, as a reply to this post.

You’re also welcome to share any good links you’ve found that are relevant to photo shooting or photo editing.