Used by permission of the copyright owner Fred Shippey
I wanted to establish the image size requirements to obtain the maximum iMovie image quality using the Ken Burns Effect.
I started with a high resolution scan I had shot on 4x5 film several years ago for sharpness testing. It had been scanned on a high-end professional scanner. The file was 5120x3840. I downsized that file in Photoshop (bicubic interpolation) to: 2560x1920, 1280x960, 640x480 and 320x240. I saved these files as JPEG - Quality level 10.
I created a new iMovie 3.0.1 project bringing the five test images into as still images. The Ken Burns Effect was set to Zoom: 5.00 and Duration: 15.00. The iMovie was exported to iDVD 3 and as a QuickTime Full Quality DV file.
Looking at screen grabs of the full images from the DV file, the 5120x3840, 2560x1920, and 1280x960 images were the same quality. The 1280x960 image was very slightly better than 640x480 image. The 640x480 image was slightly better than 320x240 image.
Looking at screen grabs of the 5x zoomed images from the DV file, the 5120x3840, and 2560x1920 images were the same quality. The 2560x1920 image was better than 1280x960 image. The 1280x960 image was much better than 640x480 image. The 640x480 image was very much better than 320x240 image.
When I viewed the DVD I had created on a TV set, the quality differences were not as apparent.
Conclusion: When using the Ken Burns Effect at maximum zoom (5.00x), using an original image at least 2560x1920 produced the highest quality zoomed-in image. If you don't intend to use the Zoom Effect, a maximum image size of 1280x960 is sufficient.
- All the above sizes are for the NTSC system
- Your are NOT going to see the actual quality of the photos and or movie until you output it to tape, DVD, watch it on a TV, or watch it on a broadcast monitor.
- If you would like to see the full test, it is available here of on Prof. Pixels site (Mr. Shippey)
- If you want a little better results and more control over the effect use Still Life or Lennart's favorite Photo to Movie
- Make you iLife easy and do a 4x3 crop in iPhoto! This way no matter what the size of your image iMovie and iDVD will import it correctly.This is not necessary when using the Ken Burns effect, but if you do a 4x3 crop, then decide at the time that you do not want to use the Ken Burns effect. You will not run into problems with iMovie trying to guess how you want to resize the image.