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How to Create a Video with Incremental Movement in After Effects

The need to create new and more exciting ways to present products, film funny scenes or even keep up with social media trends, is pushing video editors to take the best out of their hat and perform some magic. One cool effect that many people are talking about these days, is the incremental movement effect, something that's quite common in movies and now also in many advertising videos, creating a great impression both for the audience, but also for those marketing chiefs that eventually approve these videos.

There are no clear statistics of how many people are using this effect today, but it has a great impact in most of the ways it's presented to the audience. This is most particular in memes that use this “repetition” effect to create an out-of-this-world ambience. For example, the illusion of dropping a phone i.e. to the ground, and then making as if it returned to the hand of the user by “inverting” the world.

After Effects can help in creating incremental movements in video

It's also a popular effect in advertising when you need to repeat something multiple times, such as a box of products in a mass production line. This could be recreated using only some metal tubes and one box of the product, just using the incremental movement effect, one can do this and so much more.

In fact you might not have noticed, but many videos have this effect, starting with a slow-moving or panning camera, to a fast focus on the important part of the frame. It can be done suddenly to create “drama”, but also in a slow, more consistent way to pan the whole scene with a special focus area of what was filmed.

The Advantages of Using It

There are a lot of moments in the video edit where you can use this effect. For example when trying to catch up the movement of a runner, a cyclist or even cars in motion (this last example might be a little harder to accomplish). These cool shots are used in cinema when the subject in a car, or even running is “frozen” as the camera follows his exact speed, generating quite an otherworldly effect as only the background moves.

But it can also be made by adding movement in a video editing program like After Effects by using simple formulas that will allow the user to create this effect with ease. Actually the fact that it's being requested a lot more in social media, means that it's not only effective in selling something, but also quite easy to accomplish if you know the formulas.

If you're interested in using it by panning the camera around, there are a lot of ideas that can be taken from cinema, which will surely help “polish” your video and give it the necessary creative touch that you are looking for. Some studios have even created a great guide to camera movement that you can check out if you want to learn a thing or two to make your videos more visually-enticing.

How to Add It Digitally?

There are a few formulas that you can input into After Effects so the program can perform this marvelous effect. But there's one that stands out from all of them, and it's explained in this helpful video, that will allow you to “keep track” of an object, or even make as if it's moving even when it's just a simple photo.

The first step is to choose a video that has a subject still with the least movement possible. Even if there's camera movement, sometimes this effect has a good impact when applied. If possible, the subject needs to have a little "air" to the sides of the frame, in order for the transition to be much smoother and look as if it is really moving.

This effect can also help create movement between different parts of a giant photo, since Adobe Premiere and After Effects allow you to import massive photos, you can take a still and create movement within, panning the camera around the things you find most important. It can also generate dramatic effects while moving faster, or even shacking, a very useful resource when creating videos about comics, adding that extra layer to some event - like a punch.

When you know how to use it, there are hundreds of situations where you can use this movement. Think about a situation where the camera needs to be elsewhere and then it's just a matter of learning the formula, adding increments to make it look much smoother, or even adding that sense of urgency to that movement.

Take some stills, or even try those “video scraps” lying around on a disc somewhere. Adding a little motion can turn your video into something much more captivating.