FCP 7 Tutorial - Creating Effects With Still Images

Getting Started

Incorporating still images into your movie is a great way to create visual interest, and also lets you incorporate information that you wouldn't otherwise be able to include. Many documentaries include still photographs to give information about historical time periods when the moving image didn't exist, and even narrative films use still photographs to create montage sequences. Many animated movies are made entirely from still photographs, in which the scene changes a little bit in each frame to create the illusion of movement.

By guiding you through adding movement to still photos, creating a freeze frame from a video clip, and importing stills to create an animation, this tutorial will give you the tools you need to use still photographs in your movie.

Adding Camera Movement to your Still Photo

To add movement to your still image, such as creating a slow-pan from left to right or slowly zooming in, you'll need to use keyframes. Start by importing a few stills into your project. Now double click on one of the images in the Browser window to bring it up in the Viewer. Choose the duration of your image by settings in and out points, and drag the clip from the Viewer into the Timeline.

To create a zoom and pan that focuses on the woman's face, I'll use the keyframe controls along the bottom of the Canvas window.

Adding Camera Movement to your Still Photo

Start by setting your playhead to the beginning of your clip in the Timeline. Add a keyframe. This will set the initial position and scale of your photograph.

Now bring the playhead to the end of the clip in the Timeline. In the Canvas window, choose the Image+Wireframe from the drop-down menu shown above. Now you'll be able to adjust the scale and position of your photograph by clicking and dragging. Click and drag the corner of the photograph to make it larger, and click and drag the center of the photograph to adjust its position. You should see a purple vector that shows the change in relation to the photo's initial position.

Render the clip in the Timeline, and observe your handiwork! The photo should gradually get larger and larger, stopping on your subject's face.

Creating A Still Image Or Freeze Frame From a Video Clip

Creating a still image or freeze frame from a video clip is easy. Start by double-clicking on the video clip in the Browser to bring it into the Viewer window. Using the playback controls in the Viewer window, navigate to the frame in the clip that you would like to make into a still image, or freeze.

Now hit Shift + N. This will capture the frame you chose, and turn it into a ten-second clip. You can adjust the duration of the freeze frame by moving the in and out points in the Viewer window. To use it in your movie, simply drag and drop the clip into the Timeline.

Create a Stop-Motion Animation With Stills

Stop-motion animations are created by taking hundreds of still photographs. If you want to use still photographs to make a stop-motion animation in FCP 7, it's really quite simple. Before you begin, change the Still/Freeze Duration in the User Preferences window. To create the illusion of movement, the stills should be 4 to 6 frames each.

Create a Stop-Motion Animation With Stills

If you're working with hundreds of photographs, it's going to be difficult to click and drag to select all of them. Double click on the folder, and FCP will open a new Browser window displaying only the contents of your folder. Now you can hit Command + A to select all.

Create a Stop-Motion Animation With Stills

Now drag and drop the files into the Timeline. They will appear in the Timeline as multiple clips, each with a duration of four frames. Render by hitting Command + R, and watch your new animation!