Research Essay On Ken Burns, And The "Ken Burns Effect".

1460 words - 6 pages

Many people have at one time or another viewed a historical documentary film that was created by Ken Burns. Most school media centers have at least one set of Burns's documentary films that are used in classrooms for teaching students specific subject matter. According to the late historian, Stephen Ambrose, "More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source." (Ken Burns. About the Filmmaker) Ken Burns is one of America's most well known and award winning documentary filmmakers who has incorporated the exceptional style of a historian into his storytelling pictures. His unique style has led to an approach to filming historical documentary movies as being known as the Ken Burns Effect. This exceptional style of documentary has impacted filmmakers and the world as a whole.Ken Lauren Burns was born, July 29, 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended and graduated from Hampshire College, in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1975. (Ken Burns: Biography) Burns received his B.A. degree in films studies, design, and still photography, during which time he attended only one history class. Later, he received an L.H.D. from Bates College in 2002. (Ken Burns Biography - NewHampshire.com) Burns had a fondness for baseball and movies. His father, who had worked with photography and given him his first camera, significantly influenced him. In fact, Burns's first documentary film was shot during his high school years high school using camera he had received from is father. John Ford, a movie director and cinematic pioneer, was another significantly influential person in his life. Subsequently, just as John Ford had attended college to become a film director, so too did Burns.After college Burns traveled to New York City. It was here where he formed Florentine Films, an independent film company, along with his wife Amy Stechler and Ric Burns, his younger brother. Ric would also go on to become a notable historical documentary filmmaker. Ken and his wife gave birth to two daughters, Sarah and Lily, before moving Florentine Films to New Hampshire.Burns became a writer, director, cinematographer, editor, producer, and music arranger.(Barsam) He is known for his signature technique, The Ken Burns Effect, of historical documentary filming by panning archival still photos by gliding the camera and tightening the frames(Barsam), mixed with live motion films clips, connecting the still photos to first person dramatic narrations, modern interviews, and music.(Ken Burns: going inside the photograph) Presentation Zen further describes the Ken Burns effect as:A technique for adding motion to still photography. In this technique, life is given to a photo by slowly panning or zooming in and out to give emphasis or create drama, etc." "The photo captures a moment in time allowing the viewer to slow down and think and wonder and reflect. Photos allow for greater emphasis and may have less distracting elements, giving the presenter or narrator/filmmaker more freedom to...

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