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When I first started making videos on GoAnimate I was super impressed with how easy it was to create professional-quality videos. After a few minutes I felt pretty confident with my budding skills, but with one big exception: the zoom functionality.

After all, I’m not a filmmaker — just a guy with a dream, and some catchy dialogue. With the help of the platform, I told myself, I could make pretty competent videos even without messing around with zooming in or out.

And then one day, recently, while making our NFL Season Launch video, I really wanted the audience to see the characters’ facial expressions to hammer home a joke — so I was like FINE, I’m going in. I quickly became an expert and now want to share what I know because I’m good like that (and work here).

A practical way of doing this is looking at 3 use cases.

1. Zooming in during a scene. In the shot below, I thought the highest entertainment value was achieved by zooming in on the man’s face and his thought bubble to frame the joke.

 



Here’s how I did it inside our platform. The first step is to click on the background of the frame, which will pop up the “Scene Settings” panel (as shown in image heading this article). I then clicked on the “Composition” tab.

Notice the tiny blue camcorder logo in the upper left of the screen. That blue rectangle/border represents the perimeter of where the scene will start. You can of course adjust the size and position of this starting screen.

Next, click on the little camcorder itself and a smaller, purple, rectangle will pop up. This is the perimeter you will zoom into. Scoot this box around until you’re happy with the placement; you can also make it bigger or smaller, though we advise against making it too small (for example 10% of the original screen is probably too small). Again: the blue box is where your shot starts and the purple box is where it will end up. In both cases the ‘X’ inside the box is the center of the new shot.

Now, let’s talk about timing. Click on the camcorder again to make sure the “Scene Settings” panel is prominent again on the screen. Then look to the bottom of the panel to find the aptly titled “Timing.” The circle on the left signifies when, within the frame, the zooming will begin. If you want to start zooming as soon as the frame starts move the bottom knob all the way to the left. Similarly, if you want top stop zooming at the end of the screen, move the top knob all the way to the right. For every variation in the middle just adjust the knobs accordingly. We advise against zooming too quickly, as it just doesn’t look great on the screen — but you should test it out yourself and see what works best for your project.

Remember, in this example, we are zooming in. So the purple box is smaller than the blue box.

2. Zooming out during a scene. As you probably guessed, this process is very similar to zooming out. Again, it’s a matter of artistic intent. In this scene below we found zooming out made it a little more enjoyable. Take a look.


 

To zoom out click on the background of the frame to pop up the “Scene Settings” panel and then the “Composition” tab. Then everything is the same as zooming in (described in #1) EXCEPT that the purple box will this time be bigger than the blue box.

Remember, the purple box represents the outline where the shot will end up — that’s why, in cases where you zoom out, it will be bigger than the blue box representing where the scene starts. All else is the same in terms of timing and best practices.

3. Starting a frame on a zoomed in shot. You might, as you make more videos, as I did, decide that sometimes it’s artistically advantageous to alternate between wide scenes and tight ones. For example, after you spend a few animated minutes in outer space it might work for your audience to get more “grounded” with a tight shot. Check out the example below.


 

In this use case — we simply follow the same opening steps mentioned above to get the camcorder on the screen. We then just adjust the blue box to start zoomed in on the characters’ faces. You can leave the box there for an intimate conversation. Or you can click on “End Composition” in the “Composition” window to zoom out or in from the zoomed start.

Give it a whirl. Zooming in and out adds to the wow factor of your videos; your audience will enjoy the piece more and it will add to its impression of your brand savviness.

Note on the numbers in the composition panel: Above the “Timing” nodule you’ll see size and position numbers for the start and end of the composition. The best way to use these is to get a sense of the size of your shots, and also to write down the positions of your boxes if you want to replicate them exactly on another screen later in the video.