Grain boundaries (GBs) in polycrystalline materials play a pivotal role in controlling their mechanical and physical behavior. High-resolution electron microscopy (HREM) was used to study thermally activated GB migration in thin films of Al and Au at elevated temperatures (T > 0.5 Tm). Grain boundary engineering via epitaxial templating allowed the manufacture of well-defined grain and interfacial geometries. These techniques enabled the observation of tilt, but also twist and general GBs at atomic resolution in-situ at high temperatures. Surface-energy driven GB migration occurred in general GBs, whereas tilt GB motion was curvature driven. Digital analysis of HREM video recordings have given considerable insight in the dynamics of GB motion at elevated temperatures. It is not surprising that the complex and diverse migration mechanisms depend on GB geometry as well as on interatomic interactions. The results provide, among others, direct evidence for collective effects by concerted atomic shuffles, ledge propagation in (113) symmetric tilt GBs, and motions of triple junctions at elevated temperatures.