(Not for the mathematically challenged)
POV-Ray is still the best Ray tracer, there are many tutorials available to get you started and it is FREE. Get it here: http://www.povray.org/
The effect I wanted was the view from a helicopter as it was flying over a city but you could also use this technique for making documentaries based on old photos or for whatever else your imagination can dream up.
First I loaded an overhead picture of a city onto a plane (the geometric type) in POV-Ray then pointed POV-Ray's 'camera' at it. Next I worked out a starting and ending position for the camera, largely by trial and error, then used
POV-Ray's animation functions to output the rendered frames as a sequence of images. All that remained was to batch convert the images to .jpg and use a program like
JPGVideo http://www.ndrw.co.uk/ (also FREE) to make the sequence of images into a movie clip.
If you are unfamiliar with POV-Ray read the 'quickstart tutorial' then have a look through help for 'animation' and you'll have all the knowledge you need.
NOTE: Remember there are all those lighting and atmospheric effects at your disposal.