Turn your HDSLR vacation photos into a movie – idea from Mike Matas

by planetmitch14 Comments

Mike Matas has created something with his Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews) HDSLR that I've not seen before – a really unique way to show off all of your vacation photos without spending hours boring your friends. And, he got to use all of his 3000+ photos! Now, you don't have to use an HDSLR for this – the Canon EOS 5D Mark II wasn't required (tho we all know how beautiful the shots can be!) – so you can do this with a Canon or a Nikon or even your point and shoot shots. Maybe this style should be added to articles like this? “10 Tips for Taking Your Best Ever Vacation Photos

Redrock Micro

When I first saw this (it was sent in by Karl Hab), I was blown away by it's simplicity (I downloaded the full size which you can do for free as a registered vimeo member) and it was a lot of fun to scan thru the individual images as well.

So I wrote to Mike Matas and he sent us this additional info:

I went on a trip across India in January and took over 3,000 photos. When I got back I started trying to go though them all and pick out the good ones so I could share them on a web gallery. I ended up just being so overwhelmed with the number of photos and was unable to pick a small set that I felt did the trip justice. So I ended up with the idea of just sharing all 3,000 photos. I took out all the portrait photos and what was left imported in an unedited order into Final Cut Pro and set them to playback one after another at 15 photos per second. It ended up being a great way to experience the trip.

Morocco & Spain from Mike Matas on Vimeo.

Check stills from the film at my website www.mikematas.com
Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mike_matas

1,000 miles
2 weeks
4,000 photo
in 2 minutes.

Music by Patrick Books


So, it looked simple enough and it dawned on me that I had an opportunity to give it a shot – not with vacation photos, but with a ton of shots I've been doing this fall for a small town high school marching band. I've been doing ‘slide shows' for them for a couple of years and I thought that it might be kind of fun to put together an entire season of the better shots in Mike Matas style… I used Aperture to do the ‘slide show' and then went into iMovie 11 to put on the intro and outtro because I already had the titles set up there.

I tried a couple of different things than Mike did – I made the first and last image stay on the screen a bit longer – and I actually took the last 6 or so shots and did the same with them just to see what happened. I was trying to give the viewer an idea that the video was about to end. Did it work?

Small Town Marching Band from planetMitch on Vimeo.

I think it worked out pretty well! What do you think? What makes it work and what doesn't?

Music selection makes a big difference as well I'm sure – in mike's case, his music was electronic and fast and ended abruptly. In my case, I selected a simple royalty free selection of banjo music that came with Aperture and it didn't end smoothly with the images, which is why I tried the slow down at the end… did that help?

If you're interested, I've also set up a thread on the planet5D forum where you can submit your ‘Mike Matas' video as well!

(Photo credit: snap from the video)

Zeiss Cinema Lenses


  1. That is really cool. I thought about doing this with some photos I had after giving my camera to a buddy (for the day) while it was set on burst mode (8fps). It was of a wakeboard competition and he didn’t know what he was doing so there are about 5-6 shots of every scene.

    This makes me want to go back and finish it.

  2. The concept within both videos work well. I really like them. Something that I notice that almost needs to be certain/planned out is to have several sequences shot or a few scenes to make a piece easier to watch. For instance, in Mike Mata’ piece, he has several shots were he just held the shutter button down and created a nice stop motion sequence. Most vacation shots aren’t shot this way unless your intentions are to present it in a sequence. Overall, Mike Matas’ piece was my favorite. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yeah, it’s quite working indeed. I did that with my iPhone shots because with that sort of camera you tend to overshoot and it works really well for long sequences in the same place, where you look for differents pov, and it becomes almost like a time lapse, very cinematic, but… I put some spaces within the movie, using the music (I don’t choose repetitive music) and specific break shots during 1 or 2 sec, even more if you really like a photo. I think that it creates at least some rhythm, breaks a little bit the hypnotizing effect, and frankly, it avoids my eyes to decease with agonizing pain…

  4. Great idea, I just got back from a trip and had seen Mikes video a few days before I left, it really inspired me during my travels and am working on a combination of this technique and the video that i shot. It was fun to fire off sequences of pictures and get the stopmotion thing going as Ellsworth mentioned.

  5. Ellsworth,
    I just finished watching and came to precisely the same conclusion: this piece would have been MUCH stronger if there were places for the audience to catch its breath. It needs planned moments where the pace slows and we explore an individual scene, either through more stop-motion like when she’s on the train reading the iPad, or by staying with one shot and slowly zooming into it or panning through it, or by displaying a brief video clip associated with the frame (if it had existed). The frenetic pace is a great bridging device but it’s exhausting when the entire piece is made to rely on it. Still, a massive improvement on the traditional trip slideshow, and inspiring.

  6. There are good ideas and bad ideas. And this is a bad idea. You really can’t experience the trip, it’s dizzying and there’s nothing creative about it. It’s one thing to step back from the trip, edit your pictures well, and try to tell a story with a selection that a complete stranger would find appealing, and another to throw them all in at a pace no human being can follow. It’s a gimmick that doesn’t work.

  7. Here’s a similar for a photo shoot gallery that lasts only 3 minutes. vimeo.com/5533204

    I think these “overview” videos are important to do. Most people will not sit through a few thousand “slides” let along a few hundred. Too little time, life too fast paced, attention spans drastically reduced. A short and fast vacation movie like this gives folks an absolute overview. It would be great if there was also a slower paced version for those who wish to spend 10-12 minutes viewing the trip. In iMovie or aperture it’s a matter of resetting the pace and different music.

    I read once that a good movie can be ruined by bad sound and a OK movie can be made great with great sound. Seen that proven time after time on Vimeo posts.

    I found this trip in far off lands to be quite nice. And I would be willing to see the long version now that I’ve had a taste of the trip.

  8. Nice, looks just like picture review on my camera! Hold the next button down and go, I found the same thing when my wife shoots in burst, some great candid timelapse of our kids.

  9. Oh I almost got sea sick watching that. Why not shoot half stills and half video and make a short video instead.. Looked like some really great shots in there but since it went so fast you were unable to experience it 😛

  10. Dan McComb, I totally agree and sorry everyone for the terrible grammar. 🙂
    I need to start grammar checking my comments before I post them.

  11. Wondering how it would effect a person with epilepsy,im not trying to be funny.
    i think its an excellent way to show your photographs as your subconcious is capable of taking all of this in .

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