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Friday, 13 September 2013


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Take it that the new Flickr full screen mode is not appreciated.

I consider this sort of criticism to be effete drivel. Ken Burns endeavors to make documentaries that will appeal to a broad audience. In the modern era, that means that there has to be movement. Since Burns seems to be rather successful, I would say that the technique works. One can criticize other aspects of his documentaries, but this is just plain silly.

[You did notice it's a cartoon, right? --Mike]

I didn't realize Flick does that. But then, I don't visit often.

"Flickr did not get that memo…."

Me thinks it landed on the stack of other memo's they apparantly didn't get….


The cartoon is a criticism of web developers aping the Ken Burns style inappropriately, not of the documentaries themselves.

And yes, even as someone who's defended Flickr's redesign (yeah, I'm the one), that new fullscreen mode is just awful.

Loved the XKCD. I also noticed it was aimed at Flickr and not Ken Burns. I would say "Ken Burns Syndrome" describes the making of outstanding documentaries. A technical restraint Burns faces is how best to present still photos for on-screen viewing. To put them up corner-to-corner for static viewing does not let viewers see much detail. Burns' camera moves through parts of photos to show detail that can not be seen otherwise. If you do not buy this, pay attention to your own eyes next time you look at a picture. We zoom in and out of the whole image and the longer we look, the more we do so.
This is very different from any online photo sharing that just lets pictures wander around.

That cartoon is just perfect!

I used to favor Flickr's slideshow, especially so in their "lightbox" mode, and the link I supplied was to that when I alerted people to sets that I had taken they might be interested in.

But no more. I admire Ken Burns and his wonderful documentaries as much as anyone, but enough with the movement, already!

I did not read it as criticism of Ken Burns Effect, I saw it as criticism of any effect that is overused to the point of becoming a cliche.

I've done video slide shows to music using the effect - family and vacation shots - and enjoyed the results. And yet I find it very distracting on flickr. I'm not sure why the difference.

The "Ken Burns effect" isn't mandatory in Flickr's slideshow mode. Starting with a single image if you step through the menu under the "three dot" icon on the lower right you get a normal slideshow. Still, the default set up for slideshow mode is boneheaded and annoying. There ought to be a simple way to shut off the sliding image effect.

The term 'Ken Burns Effect' has now, alas, become lingua franca. But it demonstrates a common contemporary condition of cultural myopia and historical ignorance: The technique of panning and tilting across still photos in a motion picture was used prominently in documentaries produced by David L. Wolper's company in the 1960's, and, as I recall, was hailed by TV critics at the time as being a marvelous way to "liven up" historical stories for which there was no actual motion picture footage available.
Another point: Neither Burns nor Wolper RANDOMLY panned and tilted across the old photos; the fact that people actually wish their photos to be RANDOMLY panned and scanned is a monument to human stupidity.

If that was a critique, I'm a critic. But it WAS funny. Except to my clients, who wouldn't understand why I was showing it to them. "Oh cool, we like that too," would be the universal response.

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